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Bondi, Jonas

BONDI, JONAS

BONDI, JONAS (1804–1874), editor, from 1860 until his death, of The Hebrew Leader, a Jewish periodical in New York City. Bondi was born in Dresden and educated in Prague. After a business career which ended in failure, he decided to emigrate to America, bringing with him his wife and four daughters. Nathan *Adler, who had been one of his teachers in Germany and who was at the time the chief rabbi of Great Britain, gave him a recommendation on the basis of his Jewish knowledge. This testimonial brought him to the notice of the officers of Anshe Chesed Congregation of New York City in June 1858, shortly after his arrival in the city. Bondi's help in solving some halakhic problems, related to the care of the congregational cemetery, resulted in his appointment as preacher of the congregation, but he served in that capacity for only a year. He then established his journal, which was published both in German and in English. His wife conducted a private school for girls. Bondi was a member of the conservative-historical school and a moderate in theology and practice, who believed that decorum, dignity, and intelligibility were essential if Jewish survival were to be assured, and who balked at the radical changes advocated by the Liberal and Reform leaders and editors. One of Bondi's daughters, Selma, became the second wife of R. Isaac Mayer *Wise two years after her father's death. The fine halakhic reference library which Bondi had assembled was given to the *Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati by I.M. Wise.

bibliography:

M. Davis, Emergence of Conservative Judaism (1963), 3321–3; H. Grinstein, Rise of the Jewish Community of New York (1945), index, s.v.Bondy, Jonah; G. Kisch, In Search of Freedom (1949), 89–90, 302–3.

[Bertram Wallace Korn]

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