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Neufeld, Daniel


NEUFELD, DANIEL (1814–1874), Polish writer and educator. His name is connected with the Jewish weekly in Polish, Jutrzenka (Ayyelet ha-Shaḥar). Published in Warsaw from 1861 to 1863, the paper expressed Polish-Jewish solidarity during the 1863 revolution. Its goals were threefold; the diffusion of learning and culture; the promulgation of the idea of Jewish responsibility toward the Polish state; and the defense of Jews against antisemitism. It published serious works of scholarship on Polish Jewry and emphasized Jewish integration into the life and affairs of the general community. Such well-known personalities as Ḥayyim Zelig *Slonimski, editor of *Ha-Ẓefirah, the historian Alexander Krausshar, and Mattias *Bersohn wrote for the journal. Publication ceased when its editor was exiled to Siberia in 1863.

Neufeld believed in a synthesis of Jewish and Polish cultures which would combine Polish patriotism and the Jewish religion. He was conservative in religious matters and progressive in his social concerns. Positively disposed toward Hebrew language and literature, Neufeld opposed Yiddish as obstructive of Jewish progress. He favored a scientific study of Jewish culture as a way of bridging past and present. Opposed to the maskilim of Galicia, he considered *Ḥasidism a positive force, hoping that it would encourage Polonization of the Jews. At the same time he opposed extreme assimilationist tendencies, regarding them as a break with talmudic tradition, which he saw as a nationalistic and political synthesis successful in preserving Jewish spiritual values. Presenting his ideas on education to Marquis Wielopolski, Neufeld called for the compulsory study of religion, along with Hebrew language, Jewish history, and the geography of Ereẓ Israel. Neufeld was editor of the Jewish department of a general encyclopedia published by his friend Orgelbrand. He wrote a scholarly study of Napoleon's *Sanhedrin and a pamphlet on the establishment of a *consistory in Poland. Although he began the important task of translating the Bible into Polish, he had difficulty in obtaining permission to publish his work, the Catholic censors preferring that Jews should have to study the Bible in a Christian translation. Permission was finally granted on condition that the title page carry the notice that the translation was intended for Polish Jews. The Book of Genesis with both the Hebrew text and a Polish translation appeared in 1863, under the title Piécioksiąg Mojźesza dla Źydów-Polaków.


J. Shatzky, Geshikhte fun Yidn in Varshe, 1–3 (1947–53), indices; A. Levinson, Toledot Yehudei Varsha (1953), 168–9; eg, 1 (1953), 245–6, 507–9.

[Moshe Landau]

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