Loewenstein, Bernhard

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LOEWENSTEIN, BERNHARD (1821–1889), rabbi, preacher, and pioneer of the Reform movement. Born in Mezhirech, western Poland, he was active in spreading *Haskalah and the ideas of the Reform movement. On the recommendation of Ludwig *Philippson, in 1845 he was appointed preacher and headmaster of a school in Liptó-Szent-Miklós, Hungary. In 1857 he became rabbi of the community of Bucovice in Moravia. His most important congregational work was done in Lemberg, where in 1862 he was officially elected rabbi and preacher of the community, and also served as teacher of religion at the high school and registrar of the community. His sermons attracted a large congregation, occasionally including even non-Jews. Loewenstein was involved in the opening of a new type of talmud torah, called Ohel Moshe, where Jewish and secular studies were taught. This was closed, however, after two years because of the opposition of the Orthodox. He was also active in the *Shomer Israel society which sought to disseminate culture among the mass of Jews in order to bring them closer to the culture of their surroundings. In addition to sermons, he published a collection of poems entitled Juedische Klaenge (Bruenn, 1862), translated into Hebrew by Judah Rohatiner. His son, Nathan *Loewenstein, was an assimilationist leader in Galicia.


N. Samuely, Rabbiner und Prediger Bernhard Loewenstein (1889); Z. Karl, in: eg, 4 (1956), 439–40; J. Tenenbaum, Galitsye Mayn Alte Heym (1952), index.

[Moshe Landau]