Luria, David ben Jacob Aaron

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LURIA, DAVID BEN JACOB AARON (1800–1873), educationalist; a pioneer of Haskalah in Russia. He was born in Minsk into a wealthy family. Influenced by the program of Max *Lilienthal, Luria concentrated on reform of the educational system of the community of Minsk. In 1843 he transferred the talmud torah of Minsk to new premises, provided its pupils with clothing, introduced European methods of study and order into the institution, engaged new teachers, and added secular studies and the Russian language to the traditional curriculum. The success of the institution encouraged the establishment in 1845 of a school for the children of "house owners" under the name of "Midrash Ezraḥim" ("School for Citizens") which was attended by about 100 children. At the end of 1846 the Russian authorities, who were about to open a government school for Jews of the town, closed Luria's educational institutions. He continued to spread the ideas of the Haskalah in Minsk, and his house was regarded by Orthodox circles as a "meeting place for heretics." He contributed to the periodicals Ha-Maggid and Kokhavim and published a collection of commentaries to verses of the Bible, and other essays, in the spirit of the Haskalah, Omer ba-Sadeh (Vilna, 1853).


L. Levanda, in: Yevreyskaya Biblioteka, 3 (1873), 365–77; J.L. Levin, Zikhronot ve-Hegyonot (1968), 43–46; Ha-Shaḥar, 4 (1873), 569.

[Yehdua Slutsky]