Creizenach, Michael

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CREIZENACH, MICHAEL (1789–1842), German mathematician, educator, and proponent of Reform. In his native Mainz, Creizenach received a traditional Jewish education as well as training in mathematics and philosophy. He founded a Jewish boys' school in Mainz and conducted it according to the principles of Reform Judaism. When the school closed, he continued his studies at Giessen University. Creizenach was appointed teacher and preacher at the Philanthropin high school in Frankfurt in 1825. During his tenure there he exercised a decisive influence toward the adoption of Reform. The Reform services he led attracted many worshipers, and an annual confirmation of boys was held at the school. The young rabbis, impressed when they went to preach there, spread the school's influence throughout Germany and beyond. Creizenach's publications cover a wide area of interest. He wrote a mathematical textbook for use in schools and participated in the editing of the periodical Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift fuer juedische Theologie with Abraham Geiger (vol. 1 in 1835), Israelitische Annalen with J.M. Jost (1839–41), and the Hebrew periodical Zion (1840–42), also with J.M. Jost. He also published a periodical, Geist der pharisaeischen Lehre, of which only six issues appeared (1823–24). He edited Abraham ibn Ezra's Yesod Mora with a Latin and German translation (1840). Creizenach's most important work of Jewish interest was Schulchan Aruch oder Enzyklopaedishe Darstellung des Mosaischen Gesetzes… (4 vols., 1833–40). In this work he tried to prove that talmudic Judaism was a reform of biblical Judaism and, thus, that the Reform Judaism of his own time was a legitimate approach to Judaism.


Loehren, in: Philanthropin, 1 (1904), 178; D. Philipson, Reform Movement in Judaism (1907), 109; M. Eliav, Ha-Ḥinnukh ha-Yehudi be-Germanyah be-Ymei ha-Haskalah veha-Emanẓipaẓyah (1960), 140, 245.

[Getzel Kressel]