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LANDESRABBINERSCHULE (Országos Rabbiképzö Intézet ), Hungarian rabbinical seminary in Budapest. A Hungarian law of 1837 required rabbis to have a secondary education and to register births, marriages, and deaths in Hungarian, and in 1844 parliamentary approval was given to the idea of a rabbinical seminary. In 1850 an indemnity of 2⅓ million florins was imposed on Hungarian Jewry for its participation in the 1848–49 Revolution. By 1856 one million florins had been paid, and the emperor set this aside for Jewish education and, in particular, a rabbinical seminary. It took 20 years of infighting between the Orthodox, who strenuously opposed the seminary idea, and those who inclined toward Reform before the income from this fund could be used for its declared purpose. The matter was finally decided at a conference of Hungarian Jewry (December 1868–February 1869), at which the majority decided on a middle-of-the-road college on the Breslau model.

The Landesrabbinerschule was opened in 1877. It has remained a state institution, administration and staff being appointed by the government, which approved the syllabus and also administered the fund. The course of study was ten years: five years of high school and five years at the seminary proper. During the latter period students were required to enroll at the university and obtain a degree. The following were directors of the seminary: M. Bloch (1877–1907), W. *Bacher (1907–13), L. *Blau (1914–32), M. *Guttmann (1933–42), D.S. *Loewinger (1943–50), A. *Scheiber (1950–between 1952 and 1956 with E. Roth). Other well-known scholars who taught in the seminary were D. *Kaufmann, I. *Goldziher, S. Kohn, L. *Venetianer, B. *Heller, M. *Weisz, D. Friedmann, S. Hevesi, and H.J. Fisher.

The seminary's annual reports (1878–1917 in German, since 1921, Hungarian) generally contain scholarly essays by the teaching staff. A jubilee volume (ed. by L. Blau) was published in 1927. The learned periodical Magyar Zsidó Szemle ("Hungarian Jewish Review," 1–65, 1884–1948) was initiated by seminary circles, as were Ha-Ẓofeh me-Ereẓ Hagar (later Ha-Ẓofeh le-Ḥokhmat Yisrael, 1–15, 1911–31) and Ha-Soker (1–6, 1932–39). The Jewish Literary Society also owed its inspiration to the seminary. Its library, which began with Lelio della Torre's collection and grew to over 40,000 volumes, includes many manuscripts and incunabula. When the Nazis occupied Hungary on March 19, 1944, the seminary building was sacked. By admitting all applicants – there were 174 students registered in 1944 – it saved some young men from deportation. Ninety graduates and over 60 students died in the Holocaust. With the liberation of Hungary by the Russians in 1945, the seminary gradually rebuilt its life under the present government, though on a limited scale. It trained Hebrew teachers and expanded the Tarbut high school with special emphasis on modern Hebrew. It maintained contact with Jewish scholars the world over and remained the only rabbinical seminary in Eastern Europe, housing a 150,000-volume library and serving students from neighboring countries into the 21st century.


L. Blau (ed.), Festschrift zum 50-jaehrigen Bestehen der Franz-Josef-Landesrabbinerschule in Budapest (1927); A. Scheiber, in: S. Loewinger (ed.), Seventy Years (1948), 8ff.; E. Roth, in: S.K. Mirsky (ed.), Mosedot Torah be-Eiropah be-Vinyanam u-ve-Ḥurbanam (1956), 365ff.

[Alexander Scheiber]

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