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MORGULIS, MANASSEH

MORGULIS, MANASSEH (Mikhail ; 1837–1912), Russian writer and lawyer. Born in Berdichev, Ukraine, Morgulis was among the first to be educated in the government schools for Jews. In 1861 he completed his studies at the government rabbinical seminary in Zhitomir, and in 1864 he entered the University of Kiev, where he helped to create a Jewish students' circle working for the education of the masses and the propagation of information on Judaism in the Russian language. At the same time he contributed to the Hebrew and Russian Jewish press, as well as to the general press. In 1869 he graduated in law and settled in Odessa. He joined the group which published the Den, and in his "Impressions from Abroad," he presented a comparison between the situation of the Jews in Western Europe and in Russia. Attacking antisemitism in numerous essays, he sought to reform Jewish life from within. One of his longest essays dealt with the history of the education of the Jews (in Yevreyskaya Biblioteka, vols. 1–3).

Morgulis considered that Russian Jewry should accept Russian culture while remaining loyal to the religious-national values of Judaism. He therefore supported Yiddish literature, contributed to the Jewish press, and cooperated with the moderate *Ḥibbat Zion inasmuch as they minimized their projects for "the settlement of Palestine." Although initially he was a member of the committee of the Society for the Support of Agricultural Workers and Craftsmen of Syria and Ereẓ Israel, his violent opposition to political Zionism led him to abandon such activities; he also combated attempts to strengthen the Hebrew elements in the modern Jewish schools. A committee member of the Odessa branch of the *Society for the Promotion of Culture Among the Jews of Russia, he was also actively involved in the community's educational institutions, especially the vocational school, Trud, and the talmud torah, which were models for all the Russian communities. Morgulis' principal essays and studies were published in his Voprosyyevreyskoy zhizni ("Problems of Jewish Life," 1889), and his memoirs (in Voskhod, 1895–97 and in Yevreyskiy Mir, 1911) are of historical value.

bibliography:

L.M. Bramson, Obshchestvenno-kulturnaya deyatelnost M.G. Morgulisa (1912).

[Yehuda Slutsky]

Morgulis, Manasseh

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