Bresselau, Meyer Israel

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BRESSELAU, MEYER ISRAEL (d. 1839), Hebrew writer and one of the leaders of the Reform movement. He was the state notary for the Jews of Hamburg. In 1818, together with I.S. *Fraenkel he edited and adapted a prayer book for the Hamburg Reform Temple under the title Seder ha-Avodah. In answer to Elleh Divrei ha-Berit (Altona, 1819), a pamphlet which collated the views of the greatest Orthodox rabbis of Western Europe against Reform Judaism and its innovations, he published anonymously his polemic work Ḥerev Nokemet Nekam-Berit (Dessau, 1819; reprinted as appendix 4 in S. Bernfeld's Toledot ha-Reformaẓyon ha-Datit be-Yisrael, 1900). Ḥerev Nokemet Nekam-Berit, a rhymed work written in a satirical biblical style, is remarkable in its witty take-off on the Orthodox rabbis who opposed the reforms in the Hamburg Reform synagogue (temple). It ranks among the best Hebrew polemic literature written at the time of the Haskalah. To counteract Bresselau's polemic work M.L. Reinitz published Lahat ha-Ḥerev ha-Mithappekhet (1820).


Zinberg, Sifrut, 5 (1959), 298; Waxman, Literature, 3 (19602), 352, 408.

[Gedalyah Elkoshi]