Berr Isaac Berr de Turique

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BERR ISAAC BERR DE TURIQUE (1744–1828), leader in the struggle for Jewish *emancipation in France, born in Nancy. His father Isaac Berr had been appointed Jewish "syndic" by King Stanislaus of Poland, duke of Lorraine. Berr himself, a naturalized French citizen, was a tobacco manufacturer and banker. In August 1789 he was chosen as one of six members of a Jewish delegation sent to Paris from Alsace and Lorraine to put the case for granting Jewish civic equality, acting as their spokesman at the bar of the National Assembly. He was a member of the Nancy municipal council from 1792, and in 1806 was a leading delegate in the *Assembly of Jewish Notables, sitting on its "Committee of Twelve." He later became a member of the Napoleonic *Sanhedrin. In 1816 he purchased an estate in Turique, adding "de Turique" to his name by royal permission. Berr translated N.H. *Wessely's proposals for Jewish educational reform into French under the title Instructions Salutaires Adressées aux Communautés Juives de l'Empire de Joseph ii (Paris, 1790). He also published letters in defense of Jewish rights, demonstrating the moral value of the Talmud. While supporting certain reforms in Jewish life and customs, including the abolition of Jewish communal and judicial autonomy, Berr did not advocate religious Reform (Réflexions sur la Régénération Complète des Juifs en France, 1806).


E. Carmoly, in: Revue Orientale, 3 (1843/44), 62–63; L. Kahn, Les Juifs de Paris pendant la révolution (1898), 27; Graetz, Hist, 6 (1949), index.

[Moshe Catane]