Bally, Davicion

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BALLY, DAVICION (1809–1884), merchant and banker, a leader of the Sephardi community of Bucharest and its president for some time and a fighter for emancipation. Bally, who was self-educated, promoted *Haskalah among Sephardi Jewry in Romania, tending to favor assimilation into Romanian culture. In 1836 he was appointed treasurer of the police, a position which he held on an honorary basis for ten years; at the same time he was sympathetic to the national revolutionary movement in Walachia. Bally called for administrative reforms in the Sephardi community and for new methods of educating Jewish youth. In 1861, when a boys' school was founded in the Sephardi community of Bucharest, Bally was appointed president of the executive committee. He emphasized the study of Romanian in the community school and also proposed the establishment of an educational framework for girls. However, his proposals and reforms encountered strong opposition; some were not accepted at all, while the remainder were short-lived. Bally fought against antisemitism and published articles in defense of the Jews in the press; as a result of his intervention the governor (Caimacam) of Walachia withdrew a sharply anti-Jewish work from circulation in 1858. When anti-Jewish policy was enforced after 1866 by the government led by the former revolutionaries of 1848, Bally unsuccessfully attempted to influence them to abandon it. In 1882 Bally went to Ereẓ Israel to spend his last years there and died in Jerusalem.

add. bibliography:

I. Massof, Davicion Bally, revolutionarul de la 1848 (1935?); A. Niculescu, Aux raciness de la democratie en Roumanie: "Pruncul Roman" (= L'Enfant Roumaine), premier journal libre roumain, chronique de la revolution valaque de 1848, 1 (2002), 325–57.

[Eliyahu Feldman /

Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]