1840 CLAUDE MONTEFIORE (London, England)
Founded an extremist Reform movement called Liberal Judaism. He supported the attempt by Oswald John Simons to establish a Jewish church. Montefiore considered Judaism to be a purely spiritual movement and opposed any form of Jewish nationalism, including Zionism.
1840 - 1898 (17 Iyar 5658) HERMAN ZVI SCHAPIRA (Lithuania-Germany)
Rabbi, mathematician and Zionist leader. The Russian pogroms of 1881 convinced him that a more activist role was necessary and he was among the first members of the Hovevei Zion movement, and, while a professor at Heidelburg, devoted much of his time to the Zionist ideal. He proposed two revolutionary ideas. One, put forth at the first Zionist congress, was to establish a "general Jewish fund", which would buy up large parcels of land in Eretz Israel and lease them out for agricultural purposes, an idea which led to the establishment of the Jewish National Fund in 1901. His second idea, put forth in an article (1882), was the promotion of a plan to found the first Hebrew University in Eretz Israel.
1840 ISAAC LYON GOLDSMID (England)
Became the first Jew to be conferred as a baronet (knighthood). Goldsmid (1788-1861), a renowned philanthropist, was very active the of emancipation English Jewry. His barony was soon followed by those of Moses Montefiore, and Anthony Nathan Rothschild.
1840 JACOB HENLE (Germany)
Published Von den Miasman und Kontagien (On Miasmata and Contagia) in which he proposed that micro organism were the cause of many contagious diseases. Henle (1809–1885) is considered to be the father of modern histology and one of the pioneers of dermatopathology.
1840 (5600) THE YEAR OF REDEMPTION
Judah Alkalai (1798-1878) in his pamphlet Kol Korei asserted that according to the Zohar, the messiah could possibly come around the Jewish year 5600 -1840. This was echoed in Persia by Matthais ben Samuel Mizrahi in his booklet Kol Mevaser. The idea had been brewing over the past few decades, beginning with the conquests of Napoleon. It was fanned by the various uprisings in Europe, the anti-Jewish edicts in Russia, the takeover of the holy land by Muhammad Ali, and cholera epidemic of 1832. The belief also spread to North Africa particularly Tunis and Morocco although some, notably Moshe ben Jacob Turgerman, argued that the concept was a dangerous error. In Europe there was divergences of opinion some (Menashe of Ilia) called it a “ fools belief”, others including Aviezer of Ticktin, a student of the Vilna Gaon, among the Mitnagdim and R. Arye Leib of Shpola among the Hassidim supported the notion.
1840 February 5, DAMASCUS AFFAIR (Syria)
A blood libel was started with the disappearance of Father Thomas, a Franciscan superior. After a "confession" was extracted from a Jewish barber, seven others were arrested, two of whom died under torture. The French consul Ratti Menton, accused the Jews of ritual murder and requested permission from Mahomet Ali to kill the rest of his suspects. Other Jews were arrested, including sixty three children who were starved to convince their parents to confess. Sir Moses Montefiore, Adolphe Cremieux, and Solomon Munk intervened on behalf of the Jews and in August the charges were dropped. This affair spurred early Zionist writers like Hess to promote the Zionist cause. The United States, England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia also lined up against France, although this had as much to do with international politics as their desire to defend human rights.
1840 February 17, RHODES BLOOD LIBEL
After the disappearance of a Christian boy, the Jews were accused his murder for ritual purposes. One Jew Elyakim Stamboli, was arrested and severely tortured, until he confessed. Others were arrested including the chief Rabbi, and the Jewish quarter was blockaded. The onset of the Damascus affair further inflamed the issue. The chief rabbi was tortured in the presence, and with the support of the vice councils of England, Austria and Sweden. Only in July were the Jews acquitted and released , despite the insistence of the vice councils that the Jews were guilty. The local pasha was removed from office.
1840 March 28, - 1861 FREDERICK WILLIAM IV (1795-1861) (Prussia, Germany)
Elected emperor of Prussia. Frederick William was decidedly not an advocate of Jewish civil liberties and believed that they should only have rights within their own community.
1840 July 12, - 1908 ABRAHAM GOLDFADEN (Russia)
"Father of Modern Jewish Theater". Goldfaden began his career by writing songs and was surprised to find them well received by the public. He composed dozens of songs, over 60 plays, and over 30 operas - all in Yiddish. Some of his plays were translated into Hebrew (Kuni Lemel) and are still produced today. After witnessing local pogroms, he decried assimilation as a solution and became a strong supporter of the Zionist cause. In his last play, Ben Ami, his hero leaves Russia after a pogrom and becomes a pioneer in Eretz Israel.
1840 July 25, ABRAHAM RICE (Reiss) (Germany-USA)
Became the first ordained orthodox Rabbi to land in America. Rice (c. 1800 – 1862). He trained in Germany and received ordination from Rabbi Abraham Bing at the Wurzburg Yeshiva. Rice settled in Baltimore and served at CongregationNidchei Yisroel. Conflicts arose regarding the congregants keeping of Shabbat etc which led to his leaving his position and founding his own congregation. Near the end of his life he was asked to return but he died soon after.
1840 August 11, ENGLAND
Lord Henry Palmerston, the Foreign Secretary, in a letter to the ambassador in Constantinople wrote: "There exists...among the Jews...a strong notion that the time is approaching when their nation is to return to Palestine.... I instruct ... to strongly recommend to the Turkish Government ... to encourage the Jews of Europe to return to Palestine."
1840 August 28, SULTAN ABDUL MAJID/ABDULMECID I (Ottoman Empire)
Under pressure from the Montefiore delegation and world opinion, released the survivors of the Damascus blood libel after almost 6 months of imprisonment and torture.
1840 September 25, LORD SHAFTESBURY (England)
Presented a paper to Foreign secretary Lord Palmerston (Henry John Temple). In it Shaftesbury (Anthony Ashley Cooper) called for the “recall of the Jews to their ancient land”. He believed that the return of the Jews to the land of Israel was not only a Biblical prophecy but in the best interests of British foreign policy.
1840 October 27, SULTAN ABDULMECID I (Ottoman empire)
Issued his Firman (royal decree) against blood libels. This was a consequence of both the notoriety of the Damascus blood libel, and his desire for acceptance into the European community. It stated in part " We cannot permit the Jewish nation, whose innocence for the crime….is evident, to be worried … as a consequence of accusations which have not the least foundation in truth...". Some historians claim than the mother of Sultan Abdulmecid I (1823-1861), Besma Allem, was of Georgian Jewish origin.
1841 VILNA (Lithuania)
Mordecai Aaron Guenzburg, together with the Hebrew writer Solomon Salkind, founded the first modern Jewish school in Lithuania. Guenzburg (1795-1846) attacked the Heder system of education. Although considered a Maskil (part of the "enlightenment movement"), he was a traditionalist who believed in the Torah. Guenzburg fought against both what he perceived as Orthodox extremism as well as the German Haskalah Movement. He served as the schools headmaster until his death.
1841 - 1842 EL SALVADOR
After the revolution it became an independent republic, with Dr. Juan Lindo serving as its president. Lindo, a descendent of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, was the founder of the National University of El Salvador, and author of the second constitution. His strong stand regarding education is reflected in his law which required each town with more then 150 people to erect a school. He also served as the president of Honduras (1847-1852).
1841 - 1920 MIRIAM MARKEL -MOSESSOHN (Russia)
Hebrew author and translator. She translated Herzl's Die linke Glocke (" The left Bell") from the German as well novels and a book on Jewish history Die Juden und die Kreuzfahrer by Isaac Asher Francolm published as Ha-Yehudim be-Anglia….. She was in correspondence with and respected by, many of the leaders of the Maskilim " enlightenment" movement. Y. L Gordon (1831–1892) dedicated his famous satire " Kotso shel Yod (The Tip of the Yod -1876) to her.
1841 April 24, MISSIONARY ACTIVITY
A severe ban against anyone attending a school supported by missionaries, or using a physician in a missionary supported hospital was issued by the Chief Rabbi of Constantinople. This was a reaction to increased missionary activity and actual conversions in the wake of the 1840 disappointment regarding the date of the coming of the messiah. Further bans were issued in Jerusalem and other parts of the Ottoman Empire and even Galicia. Prior to this, there had been some cooperation on practical issues between the Perushim leaders and some missionaries in Jerusalem.
1842 - 1885 PERETZ SMOLENSKIN (Russia-Austria)
Hebrew novelist laureate of the Haskalah. He started the monthly periodical Ha-Shachar (the Dawn) and is accredited with six novels including "The Wanderer in Life's Paths". Though he was not religious he was strongly nationalistic and opposed religious reform, fearing that it would weaken national feeling.
1842 TEMPLE HAR SINAI (USA)
America's first Reform synagogue was established in Baltimore, Maryland.
1842 January 27, LONDON (England)
First English Reform synagogue was founded. It was known as the West London Synagogue for British Jews.
1843 - 1910 MOSES LOEB LILIENBLUM (Lithuania)
Haskalist, nationalist, and author. His early works denounced Orthodoxy for not replacing their "ancient texts" with new ideas. After the 1881-2 Russian riots, he joined Pinsker in calling for settlements in Eretz Israel. Lilienblum was opposed to any dilution of Zionism, such as Ahad Ha'am's cultural Zionism.
The Pale was further narrowed, displacing approximately 150,000 Jews. Sir Moses Montefiore traveled to Moscow in an unsuccessful attempt to intercede.
1843 - 1902 MARK ANTOKOLSKI ("Mordechai") (Russia)
A social-sculptor considered by many to be the father of modern Russian sculpture. He first began with Jewish themes. His statue "Ivan the Terrible" (1871) was purchased for the Hermitage Museum by Czar Alexander. Antokolski believed that sculpture was a social and humane ideal. After many anti-Semitic attacks he moved to Paris. He was a traditional Jew who believed that one day there would be a school of Jewish art. This came true with the foundation of the Bezalel Academy by his student Boris Schatz.
1843 May, JERUSALEM CONVERSIONS
After a three year deliberation, two former rabbis of the Perushim community, Eliezer Luria and Benjamin Goldberg were baptized by the Anglican Bishopric mission. A third Abraham Nissim Walfin withdrew before the actual conversion. Their conversion led to a ban (not always kept), on any contact with the Anglican mission. This included medical services which happened to provide New Testament bibles in Hebrew by every bedside. It took a further ten years for Jewish hospital to be established (the Rothschild hospital) in July 1854.
1843 September 29, POPE GREGORY XVI
Denied Klemens von Metternich’s (1773-1879) chief minister of the Austrian Empire appeal for Tolerance Towards Jews. The Pope replied that the restrictions placed on Jews have a sacred origin and cannot possibly be lightened. “the Jews are forbidden such ownership ( property) by the sacred Canons as a Nation of deicides and blasphemers of Christ,”
1843 October 13, B'NAI B'RITH (USA)
Was founded under the leadership of Henry Jones at Sinsheimer's cafe on Essex Street in New York, to maintain orphanages and homes for the elderly and widows. It extended its work to many spheres of American Jewish life, including combating anti-Semitism (A.D.L.) and working with students on campus (Hillel). At the time of its founding, there were approximately 15,000 Jewsish in the United States. It was the first Jewish fraternal society in the world.
First rabbinical conference between the Orthodox and Reform movements was held.
1844 - 1923 SARAH BERNHARDT (ROSINE BERNARD) (France)
A celebrated actress, she was the leading lady of the "Comedie Francaise". She was noted for her roles in plays by Racine and Sardou. Though her parents baptized her when she was a child, she remained proud of her Jewish heritage.
1844 - 1910 KARL LUEGER (Austria)
Founder of an anti-Semitic Austrian Catholic party, the Christian Social Party (in 1893). He became mayor of Vienna in 1897 (see 1897) and was a strong supporter of Christian Socialism. When asked why some of his friends are Jews he replied “ I decide who is a Jew”. Although later praised by Hitler. in Mein Kamph, in reality during his administration, the Jews of Vienna did not suffer more than anywhere else in Europe at the time
1844 - 1914 MORDEKHAI DISKIN (Russia-Eretz Israel)
Pioneer and educator. Diskin worked as both a coachman and a teacher of Jewish Studies. He opened his house in Jaffa for free to new settlers who needed medical treatment. Diskin helped found the first modern religious school in the country: Nezah Israel in Petah Tikvah. He wrote a number of monographs which describe the difficulties of the early settlers.
1844 December 31, BASKET TAX (Korobka) (Poland-Lithuania)
The right to collect the tax on kosher meat, and its by products (leather etc). Its origin is found in 17th century eastern Europe when it was established in some towns as a means to help their communities pay a special “Jews tax” to local authorities. Any funds left over were used to pay for the Rabbi’s salary and educational services. The right of collection of the Basket tax was auctioned off to the highest bidder. There was great opposition to this tax since it hurt the weaker levels of society making kosher meat prohibitive. In many places the “intelligentsia” and other “privileged” people received exemptions It was still in force until the 20th century.
1845 ALPHONSE TOUSSENEL (France)
French naturalist and writer, published The Jews, Kings of the Epoch: History of Financial Feudalism. Tossenel (1803-1885) promoted the idea that the "Jewish spirit" was identical with capitalism and money-worship. "Every unproductive parasite living off the work of someone else, Jew, usurer, money-dealer - all are synonymous to me." He was influential in the development of German antisemitism in the 1880's.
1845 DR. DAVID CAMDEN DE LEON (1816-1872) (USA)
Was known as a hero of the Mexican War. De Leon served as a doctor under General Zachary Taylor and took charge of the troops after all the other officers were killed. He succeeded in not only saving the troops but encouraging them to counter-attack. For his action, he won a Congressional Citation and earned the nickname of the "Fighting Doctor." He was selected in 1861 by Confederate President Jefferson Davis as the Surgeon General of the Confederacy.
1845 July 1, DAVID YULEE (1810-1866) (Florida, USA)
Became the first Jew elected to the Senate, where he served until 1861. He resigned at the beginning of the American Civil War to become a member of the Confederate Congress.
1845 August 19, - 1934 EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD "Hanadiv Hayaduah" (France)
Philanthropist and art expert. Known as the "Builder of Modern Eretz Israel". Rothschild's interest began as early as the mid-1870's after viewing a play by Alexandre Dumas, La Femme de Claude. This play promoted the return of the Jews to their homeland. But it was only after being approached by Rabbi Samuel Mohilever that he became active in supporting the new settlements of Zichron Yaakov and Rishon Lezion and helped establish Ekron and Rosh Pina. Rothschild at first did not wish to use his name and so the soubriquet "Hanadiv Hayaduah" (The well-known benefactor) was used instead. Although later there was tension between the settlers and Rothschild's managers, he single-handedly helped maintain the early efforts of the Zionist movement. Rothschild established PICA, the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, which acquired land and established industries. It is estimated that he spent over 50 Million dollars in supporting the settlements, as well as another half a million to help develop an electrical power station.
1846 June 24, HUNGARY
The residence tax was officially abolished. In order to have it cancelled the Jews had to pay a one time fee of 1,200,000 florins.
1846 August 18, AUSTRIA
The Jewish Oath was abolished in Austria. Originally established by Charlemagne, a Jew taking an oath in a Christian court against a Christian was forced to stand on the skin of a dead animal, or be surrounded by thorns and call down the curses of Korach or Naaman if he were not telling the truth. In Romania it was only repealed in the 20th century.
1847 - 1935 MAX LIEBERMAN (Berlin, Germany)
A world-renowned painter, he borrowed many of his concepts from French Impressionists. Although he was Jewish, he did not show any interest in using Judaism as a subject for his paintings.
1847 - 1915 (12 Kislev 5676) SOLOMON SCHECHTER (Romania-USA)
Author, scholar and leader of the American Conservative movement. Born into a Habad-Hassidic family, he studied in Berlin and lectured on Talmud at Cambridge University in England. Schechter won fame for his work in editing and publishing documents recovered from the Cairo Genezah (the synagogue repository for sacred books and articles that are old or torn). He later headed the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and in 1913 established the United Synagogue of America. Schechter is considered to have developed much of the theory and ideology of Conservative Judaism, which was founded as a compromise between the Orthodox and Reform movements (see 1913). His works include "Studies in Judaism", "Midreshet Hagadol to Genesis" and "Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology".
1848 ISAAC LEESER (USA)
Founded the Hebrew Education Society which later led to the Sunday school system.
1848 LOUIS KOSSUTH (Hungary)
Led the revolt against Austria. Twenty thousand Jews were among the insurgents.
1848 - 1902 JACOB JOSEPH ( Kovno- NYC)
Rabbi and community leader. Jacob Joseph was the most famous preacher in Lithuania and the pale, before being offered the position as chief rabbi of new York. Despite reservations, he accepted it. Unfortunately, the internal conflicts in the religious community and opposition from without, hampered most of his activities. He died in poverty after suffering a stroke on 1987. In 1903 a yeshiva was opened in his honor. His great grandson Marine Captain Jacob Joseph died in Guadalcanal in 1942.
1848 - 1931 Nissim Behar ( Eretz-Israel)
Educator and early Zionist activist. Behar studies in Paris being sent there by Adolf Crémieux who had met him in Constantinople. Behar studied under Ben Yehudah and is considered to be the foremost educator in reviving Hebrew as a modern language. He taught Hebrew at the Alliance Israélite Universelle and later became its director. Behar moved to New York in 1901 and was very active in promoting the Zionist idea.
1848 PIEDMONT, (Italy)
As a result of full emancipation given to the Jews, 235 joined the Piedmontese army. Among them was Enrico Guastalla who fought against Austria, and was promoted to Major. Guastalla joined
Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italy's most brilliant soldier of the Risorgimento (Reunification), in his campaigns and was elected to Parliament in 1865.
1848 - 1916 REIGN OF FRANZ JOSEPH I OF HAPSBURG (1830-1916) (Austria)
Considered to be one of the most enlightened monarchs of the 19th century. During his rule he cancelled many of the restrictions against the Jews and made them full citizens of the state in 1867. During the Mortara Case (1858) he tried in vain to bring about the release of the Jewish child. Franz Joseph was highly appreciated by the Jewish community, to the degree that anti-Semites referred to him as the "Judenkaiser."
1848 THE VALERO BANK (Jerusalem)
Founded by Jacob Valéro (1813-1874). became the first Hebrew bank in Eretz Israel. The bank provided services for the Ottoman government and served as a mean to transferring funds to the Jewish communities. It closed in 1915. His son Hayyim Aaron Valero (1845-1923) a banker, purchased land in Hebron, Jaffa, and Jerusalem. His lands in Jerusalem included areas near the Damascus gate, today’s neighborhoods of Katamon and Makor Chaim , as well as the land for Bikur Cholim Hospital and the Manchane Yehuda market which used to be known as the Valero Market.
1848 March 20, BERLIN (Germany)
Riots and street fighting killed 20 Jews. Anti-Jewish riots spread to Bavaria, Baden, Hamburg, and many other cities.
1848 March 29, SARDINIA
Carlo Alberto granted full rights to the Jews.
1848 April 6, GERMANY
In every part of Germany, excluding Bavaria, Jews were granted civil rights. As a result, Gabriel Riesser (a Jew and an advocate for Jewish emancipation) was elected vice-president of the Frankfurt Vor Parliament, and became a member of the National Assembly. It must be noted that for the most part, these freedoms existed only on paper and were not enforced.
1848 April 17, ITALY
The gates of the Roman ghetto were pulled down. Although Pope Pius IX was in favor of considering the removal of the ghetto gates, a popular leader named Ciceruacchio led a group who tore down the gates Passover eve. The Jews in the ghetto at first thought they were being attacked and hid in their houses.
1848 September, SWITZERLAND
Under the new constitution of Switzerland, democratic rights were guaranteed - but only for those of Christian faith. It took another 18 years until full equality was granted to all (See January 14,1866).
1848 December 31, DOV BERISH MEISELS (Austria)
Was elected to the Austrian Parliament. He was also elected to the Municipality of Cracow in the same year. A vociferous supporter of Jewish rights, he aligned himself with radicals because "Juden haben keine rechte" (Jews have no rights).
1849 GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI (Italy)
Joined with Mazzini and succeeded in unifying Italy for the first time since the Roman Empire. Many Jews volunteered in the Civil Guard. Three Jews were elected to the National Assembly, three to the City Council and two to the Committee for Defense.
1849 - 1932 (19 Adar 5693) JOSEPH HAYYIM SONNENFELD (Slovakia-Eretz Israel)
One of the foremost leaders of "the "old Yishuv" in Jerusalem. The term "Old Yishuv" refers to those Jews who lived in Eretz Israel prior to the Zionist movement. He was instrumental in establishing (along with Diskin) schools and orphanages. Sonnenfeld was a dynamic rabbinical leader who preached separation between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox communities. At the same time, he was a strong supporter of the resettlement of Eretz Israel and the use of Hebrew as the official language. His scholarly works include responsa on the Shulchan Aruch as well as on the Talmud.
1849 March 4, AUSTRIA
Abolished discrimination on the basis of religion in the new constitution ("Octroyierte Verfassung")
1849 June 5, DENMARK
Article 84 of the new constitution negated discrimination against "any person on the basis of religious grounds." The Jews originally received the rights of citizenship in 1814.
1849 July 22, - 1887 EMMA LAZARUS (USA)
American poetess whose poem "New Colossus" is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. She wrote many poems about the problems facing the Jews all over the world.
1849 July 28, HUNGARY
First National Assembly, led by the revolutionary leader Kossuth, granted complete political and civil rights to the Jews in recognition of their loyalty.
1849 July 29, - 1923 MAX NORDAU (Hungary-France)
Author, theater critic, physician and
Zionist leader. Nordau had achieved international fame as a writer prior to meeting Herzl at the Neue Freie Presse. The
Dreyfus Affair awakened him, as well as Herzl to anti-Semitism. Nordau became Herzl's first convert and together they formulated the goals for the Basel Program. Nordau was a proponent of aggressive political Zionism. His famous "Nordau Plan" called for the settling of five hundred thousand Jews in Eretz Israel as a means of acquiring a Jewish state (1920). Jabotinsky later (1936) adopted Nordau's plan as the basis for his Ten-Year Plan.