Schachnowitz, Selig

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SCHACHNOWITZ, SELIG (1874–1952), Orthodox journalist and writer. Of Lithuanian origin, Schachnowitz served as cantor of the Swiss-Jewish rural community of Endingen between 1901 and 1908. In 1908 he began his work as editor of the Israelit, Germany's leading modern Orthodox newspaper, which appeared in Frankfurt am Main. He also taught at the Breuer yeshivah and was a prolific writer. In the main he depicted famous personalities in Jewish history, such as Don Abarbanel of Spain (1937), the leading figure at the time of the mass exodus (1492), Moses Schreiber of Pressburg (1933), Maimonides (1935), and the mystical rabbi Seckel Loeb Wormser of Michelstadt (1912). He also wrote about Jewish folkways of Galicia (1910), the Khazars (1920), the Falashas (*Beta Israel) (1923), a proselyte to Judaism in Vilna (repr. 1943), retold the Bible, and wrote a sympathetic description of Ereẓ Israel in 1932, thus attenuating the hard-line anti-Zionist approach of Agudat Israel. In 1938 he managed to receive an immigrant permit for Switzerland, where he visited the many Jewish refugees in the camps. He helped give them the steadfastness to endure the hardship of their life. In 1952 his death in Zurich was widely deplored. Some of his books were translated into Yiddish and English. His retelling of the Bible was reprinted by the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland (1970).


Kaufmann, Bibliographie, No. 1449.

[Uri Kaufmann (2nd ed.)]