Caro, David

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CARO, DAVID (c. 1782–1839), Hebrew writer and educator. Born in Fordon, Poland, he was attracted to the Haskalah movement at an early age and in 1800 moved to Posen where he joined the local group of maskilim and took a special interest in problems of education. His article "Giddul Banim" ("Bringing up Children," Ha-Me'assef, 9 and 10, 1810–11) is one of the best articles about education in the Hebrew literature of the period. In 1815, he founded the first Jewish school in Posen, where German was the language of instruction and where general subjects comprised most of the curriculum. He conducted the school according to the pedagogic innovations of his time, especially those of Pestalozzi, the Swiss educational reformer.

During the controversy over the Hamburg Reform Temple, Caro published a book called Berit Emet (Dessau, 1820) using the pseudonym "Amittai ben Avida Ahizedek" and with the false imprint "Constantina" (Constantinople). The first part of the book, called Berit Elohim, is divided into three sections: (a) letters to friends on questions of religion and ethics; (b) a defense of the changes introduced in the reformed synagogues; (c) a criticism of the pamphlet Elleh Divrei ha-Berit which had been published in 1818 by the leading Orthodox rabbis in Western Europe, attacking the Hamburg Temple. The second part, called Berit ha-Kehunnah, o Tekhunat ha-Rabbanim, strongly criticizes the state of the contemporary rabbinate. This was the first open attack by a Haskalah writer upon the rabbinate of his time. The second part of Berit Emet was republished by J.L. *Mieses under the title Tekhunat ha-Rabbanim (Vienna, 1823) with the pseudonym of the writer listed as Uriah mi-Mishpaḥat ha-Falaquera. At the end of the book, Mieses added some remarks of his own. Caro also published poems and essays in Bikkurei ha-Ittim (11, 1830).


Klausner, Sifrut, 2 (1952), 275–7, 279–82; R. Katz, in: ccar Journal, 13, no. 4 (1967), 4–46; N. Lippmann, Leben und Wirken des juedischen Literaten David Caro (1840).

[Gedalyah Elkoshi]