1780 JOSEPH JACOB (Polyonnye, Poland)
Rabbi and author, he published the first Hasidic book, Toldoth Yoseph Yaakov, which put forth the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. He was the developer of the Hasidic doctrine of the Tzaddik, as the Holy One, the soul of the Hasidic body.
1780 January 7, ASSEMBLY OF RHODE ISLAND (USA)
Cancelled the "rights and property" of three members of the Hart family for supporting the British. Isaac Hart was murdered for the same "offence." Although many Jews were supporters of the revolution, others were supporters of the Tory cause. Some like Isaac Touro (father of Judah) decided to find refuge in Jamaica and other parts of the British Empire.
1781 - 1869 REBECCA GRATZ (USA)
Prototype of Sir Walter Scott's Rebecca in Ivanhoe. She was very active in philanthropic affairs, including founding of the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum and a Hebrew day school.
Was discovered by Sir William Frederick Hershel.
1781 March 6, GEORGIA (USA)
Governor James Wright ordered the Jews of the Georgia to leave, accusing them of being disloyal to his majesty by supporting the revolution. The order was never carried out.
1781 October 21, AUSTRIA
Joseph II rescinded the law forcing Jews to wear a distinctive badge. The regulation had been in effect since 1267, more than 600 years.
C. 1782 - 1854 MOSES ELIAS LEVY (USA)
Pioneer in Florida. Levy was a plantation developer who was rumored to have been the first to introduce the growing of sugar cane there. Levy fought against the idea of slavery and proposed that a Jewish agricultural school be developed to replace slavery. He also tried to encourage Jewish settlement of the area. Levy was not successful in either managing his farms or giving over his Jewish ideals to his children, both of whom converted. One of them, David Levy-Yulee, became the first senator of Florida.
1782 January 2, EDICT OF TOLERANCE (Toleranzpatent) (Austria)
Guaranteeing existing rights and obligation of the Jewish population, was enacted by Joseph II of Austria, the son of Maria Theresa. Joseph II was influenced by Wilhelm von Dohn, a friend of Mendelssohn and beginning with this edict, followed a generally enlightened attitude toward the Jews. The Edict
(with the final edict less liberal then the original), received mixed reviews by Jewish leaders including Ezekiel Landau and Moses Mendelssohn.
1782 May 2, THE FIRST JEWISH SCHOOL (Prague)
was opened in Prague under the guidance of
Rabbi Ezekiel Landau (see 1713). Despite his arguments with many of the Maskilim he supported the study of general education including history, grammar, and natural sciences.
The Sultan expelled the Jews after they failed to pay an exorbitant ransom. This was the third time they were expelled within a number of years.
1783 - 1869 (1 Tamuz 5529) SOLOMON BEN JUDAH KLUGER (MARSHAK) (Brody)
Talmudist and halachist. He studied under the Dubno Maggid and was known for his responsa. It is said that he wrote 375 books, although "only" 174 are known.
1783 March 31, HUNGARY
Joseph II allowed Jews to live in the "Royal cities", including Pest. By 1787, 81,000 Jews lived in Hungary.
1784 FIRST JEWISH PUBLIC SCHOOL (Altofen, Austria)
Was opened by Naphtali Wessely. Wessley advocated combining both Torah haAdam (human knowledge) and Torat Elokim (Divine knowledge) in one curriculum.
1784 - 1885 (16 Av 5645) SIR MOSES MONTEFIORE (Italy-England)
Sheriff of London and leading Jewish figure. Wealthy in his own right, he married into the Rothschild family and was extremely successful in his financial ventures. He retired at an early age (1824) and devoted his life to serving Jewish causes. He is noted for his numerous visits to Eretz Israel, contributions to many philanthropies, and intercessions into Jewish affairs. One of his greatest successes was his interference in the Damascus Affair (see 1840). He is credited with founding numerous agricultural settlements in Eretz Israel and the first Jewish quarter outside the old city walls (Mishkenot Shaananim). He added the top levels to the Kotel (Western Wall) to prevent Arabs from throwing garbage and stones on Jews praying at the Wall, and he rebuilt Rachel's tomb.
1784 January 10, LOUIS XVI (France)
Abolished the poll-tax on Jews in Alsace-Lorraine. This tariff was the same tax paid for market animals. It was paid by Jews who wished to enter certain cities. The poll tax had been instituted in many countries in Europe and dated back as far as the Roman Emperor Domitian (93 C.E.), though it was only adopted in Europe in the 14th century.
1785 COUNT PIERRE LOUIS ROEDERER (France)
French politician and economist. He posed the question of Jewish emancipation at the Metz Royal Academy, which he fully supported.
1785 - 1851 July 19, MORDECHAI MANUEL NOAH (Philadelphia, USA)
Author, journalist, and diplomat, he became the United State's consul to Tunis. Noah dwelled upon the problem of a haven for Jewish refugees. He wrote about the importance of a revived Jewish homeland. In 1825, he decided to acquire Grand Island as a Jewish city of refuge. The plan and the city faded. After he failed to keep his position in the elections for Sheriff of New York, he was appointed Grand Sachem of Tammany Hall by Martin Van Buren. In 1837 he came to the conclusion that the best solution was for the Jews to have their own homeland in Eretz Israel.
1785 - 1840 NACHMAN KROCHMAL (Galicia)
Tried to formulate a philosophy of Jewish history. He wrote the Guide for the Perplexed in Our Times. He endeavored to explain a Jewish philosophy of history using the mission theory. Together with Leopold Zunz he was part of the Wissenschaft des Judentums(The scientific investigation of Judaism/Hohmat Israel) movement which endeavored to study Judaism through modern methods of research.
1786 - 1866 JOSEPH ZUNDEL SALANT (Lithuania-Eretz Israel)
"Spiritual Father" of the Mussar (ethical) Movement established by Israel Lipkin Salanter (see 1810). Although an exemplary student of Hayim Volozhiner and Akiva Eiger, he refused to accept a rabbinical position, preferring to work for a few hours a day earning his living as a shopkeeper and spending the rest of his day studying. He moved to Jerusalem in 1837 and there again in his humility he refused any official position, opening a vinegar factory instead.
1786 - 1837 LUDWIG BOERNE (Germany)
Political essayist. He believed that freedom for mankind and freedom of the Jews were bound together. Though he was later baptized, he still fought for Jewish rights. His famous Letters from Paris called for an end to injustice in Germany. Boerne, along with Heine, are considered major influences in German literature.
1786 October 4, AARON LEVY (1742-1815) (USA)
A land speculator who had made many loans to the Continental Congress, he announced plans for a new town, Aaronsburg, to be built in the Penn Valley. This was the first town to be founded and named after a Jew. Unfortunately, it did not succeed and left him in difficult financial straits.
1787 November 12, JOSEPH II (Austria-Hungary)
As part of his "Aufklarung" (Enlightenment)policy, he forced the Jews to adopt family names. This was part of the European movement (including the Age of Reason in France) which encouraged rationality and science over religion.
1788 BOTANY BAY (Australia)
The first convicts arrived, at least six of whom were Jewish. One of them was John Harris who, after being freed, became the first policeman in Australia.
1788 - 1860 ISAAC BAER LEVINSOHN (Russia)
Called "the Russian Mendelssohn". He became a notable Yiddish satirist and Haskalah leader. In his Bet Yehudah (1837), he formulated a philosophy and described Jewish contributions to civilization in an effort to promote Judeo-Christian understanding.
1788 PRUSSIA (Germany)
The poll-tax was lifted from the Jews.
1789 WESTERN EUROPE
Approximately four hundred thousand Jews lived in Western Europe, three quarters of them in Germany.
1789 - 1866 (25 Adar 5626) ISAAC MEIR ROTHENBERG ALTER (Poland)
Scholar and Hassidic leader. Isaac Meir was recognized as an outstanding scholar from an early age. His Novellae on the
Talmud and the Shulchan Aruch are known as Chidushei Ha-rim and are still classical texts today. He was a follower of the Kutzk branch of Hasidim and became their leader. Isaac Meir founded the dynasty of Gur Hasidim which was one of the leading
Hasidic groups in Europe. He believed strongly in not separating himself, but working directly, on daily problems with ordinary people.
1789 July 14, FRANCE
Fall of the Bastille. Jews viewed the fall of Bastille as a triumph although by and large they were not allowed to participate in the election of the Estates-General which became the Constituent National Assembly. Many of them enlisted in the National Guard. At the same time, more then 1000 Jews in Alsace were forced to flee during the Agrarian revolt there.