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Lehren

LEHREN

LEHREN , Dutch family of bankers, communal leaders, and philanthropists. moses lehren (d. 1815), a banker at The Hague who originally came from Lehren-Steinfeld (Wuerttemberg), was parnas and posek of the Jewish community. Moses' son hirschel (Ẓevi Hirsch; 1784–1853) lived in The Hague but subsequently settled in Amsterdam. With A. *Prins and S. Rubens he founded in 1809 an organization on behalf of the Jews of Ereẓ Israel. In order to combat the heavy expenses of the emissaries of the yishuv and difficulties relating to the distribution of money (*ḥalukkah) between the rival groups there, he strove to concentrate the collection of money throughout the whole of Western Europe in this one organization, the "Pekidim and Amarkalim of the Holy Land." In 1824 he succeeded in convincing all the parties involved, and in that year the new body was recognized by the rabbis of Jerusalem as the exclusive agency for collecting money on behalf of the Holy Land. Lehren carried out his reforms in the age-old system thoroughly and uncompromisingly, and for this he was attacked from many quarters; suspicion was even cast on his integrity, but he was vindicated by Moses *Sofer of Pressburg among others. After vehement attacks on him (in Der Orient (1843), 44 and passim) he published a reply written by the chief rabbi of Jerusalem (Emet me-Ereẓ (1843/44)). Hirschel Lehren was extremely Orthodox and leaned toward kabbalism. Because he was opposed to the lenient and assimilationist leaders of the Amsterdam community, he set up his own minyan with his followers, but they had to leave Amsterdam and settled in The Hague. Here he asked the municipality for permission to hold private religious services, but, following the intervention of the central Jewish authorities, he was forbidden to have his own minyan. Lehren sent petitions to the minister and the king, but he had to put an end to the activities of his "sect" in 1834. When the Reform movement tried to gain adherents in the Netherlands, he and A. Prins issued a collection of statements by European rabbis (Torat ha-Kena'ot, 2 vols., 1845) and one by Palestinian rabbis (Kinat Ẓiyyon, 1846).

His brother akiva (1795–1876), a banker, was parnas of the Amsterdam community. After Hirschel's death he became president of the "Pekidim and Amarkalim" fund. Akiva was the central pillar of Orthodoxy in the Amsterdam community. Another of Moses' sons, jacob meir (1795–1861), was also a banker and parnas of the Amsterdam community. From 1827 until his death he was president of the rabbinical seminary in Amsterdam. Owing to the influence of the Lehren brothers, J.Z.H. *Duenner was nominated head of the rabbinical seminary in Amsterdam and afterward chief rabbi of the city.

bibliography:

J. Meijer, Erfenis der Emancipatie; het Nederlandse Jodendom in de eerste helft van de 19de eeuw (1963), 21–29; idem, Moeder in Israel; de geschiedenis van het Amsterdamse Asjkenazische Jodendom (1964), 74–83; Y. Yellin, Zikhronot le-Ven Yerushalayim (1924), 47–49; Ya'ari, Sheluḥei, 181–6 and passim; J. and B. Rivlin (eds.), Iggerot ha-Pekidim ve-ha-Amarkalim me-Amsterdam (1965), index; S. Bernfeld, Toledot ha-Reformaẓyon ha-Dati be-Yisrael (1900); D.S. van Zuiden, De Hoogduitsche Joden in's Gravenhage (1913).

[Jozeph Michman (Melkman)]

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