Bally, Isaac David

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BALLY, ISAAC DAVID (1842–1922), Romanian rabbi and educator, son of the banker Davicion *Bally. Born in Bucharest, Bally received a traditional Jewish Sephardi education together with a modern one. He later studied at the Rabbinical Seminary of Breslau and was ordained as a rabbi. He was influenced by the ideas of Rabbi Zacharias *Frankel and attempted to apply them to the Sephardi and general Jewish milieu of Romania. Bally also received a doctor of philosophy degree from Breslau University. After returning to Bucharest he taught Jewish religion and Hebrew language and became the principal of the modern girls' school of the Sephardi community and secretary of the Ḥevra Kaddisha Association of the Sephardi Jews. Because of his dual cultural background – Sephardi and Ashkenazi – he could serve institutions associated with both communities for the good of all Romanian Jews. In 1881 he became secretary of the "Infratirea Zion" Association, which later became *B'nai B'rith. In 1886 the Julius Barasch Jewish Historical Society was founded in his home and he became its librarian and treasurer. In these offices he fought for the emancipation of the Romanian Jews and for their return to Jewish life. In 1882–85 he published five textbooks on Judaism in the Romanian language for pupils of Jewish schools. Bally also published popular books on halakhah (marriage and family purity) and Jewish history for Romanian-speaking Jews, manuals of biblical Hebrew, and a manual of Judeo-Spanish for Sephardi Jewish children. He also published a translation and commentary in Romanian on the Passover Haggadah (1902). Some of his didactic and moralistic works remained unpublished.


R. Siniol, Portrete si schite sefarde (1981), 95–101; L.Z. Herscovici, in: sahir, 8 (2003), 25–59.

[Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]