Altschul, Emil

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ALTSCHUL, EMIL

ALTSCHUL, EMIL (Elias, Uri ; 1797–1865), physician in Prague; professor of homeopathy at Prague University from 1849, author of medical and pharmaceutical works, and editor of a homeopathic periodical from 1853. Altschul attended the yeshivah of Bezalel Ronsburg and wrote a eulogy on him in Hebrew. In his Kol Kore, Kritisches Sendschreiben ueber das bisherige Verfahren mit dem Sterbenden bei den Israeliten, published in 1846, Altschul criticized certain established methods in Jewish practice concerning death and burial, stating that it was his intention to "harmonize modern ideas of medical science with the classic talmudic rulings" (xii). Altschul considered that the customary procedure of the ḥevra kaddisha when establishing death was hurried and inadequate, and that death should be certified only by a properly qualified physician. He also advocated the establishment of mortuary chambers at cemeteries. His suggestions influenced Jewish public opinion and were instantly adopted by the French *consistoire, which addressed to him a grateful message. His suggestions were also adopted in 1858 by the Prague ḥevra kaddisha.

bibliography:

azdj, 10 (1846), 339–40; 12 (1848), 195–7; 22 (1848), 608–9; C. von Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaisertums Oesterreich, 1 (1856), 21–22.

[Meir Lamed]

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