Bernstein, Jacob Naphtali Herz

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BERNSTEIN, JACOB NAPHTALI HERZ (1813–1873), Polish communal leader born in Lvov, descendant of a distinguished rabbinical family. Bernstein led the Orthodox Jews in Lvov in resisting the establishment of a *Reform temple and a secular Jewish school. He opposed the reforms introduced into the community in 1848 and its first Reform rabbi, Abraham *Kohn. However, his efforts to force Kohn to resign were unsuccessful. Kohn was later poisoned, and Bernstein, who was included among the suspects, remained in custody for a year. After his release he continued to oppose the Reform and Germanizing trends, with the backing of the Polish nobility. A street has been named after him for the services he rendered to the Lvov municipality. Bernstein was the grandfather of the Jewish scholar J.N. *Simchoni. The play Herzele Meyukhes by M. Richter is based on Bernstein's life.


M. Balaban, Dzieje Żydów w Galicyi i w Rzeczypospolitej Krakowskiej 1772–1868, (1914); F. Friedman, Die galizischen Juden im Kampfe um ihre Gleichberechtigung (1929), 51, 60–63; N.M. Gelber, in: eg, 4 pt. 1 (1956), 247–64; J. Tenenbaum, Galitsye Mayn Alte Heym (1952), 50.