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Schorr, Moses


SCHORR, MOSES (Mojżesz ; 1874–1941), Polish rabbi and scholar. Schorr, born in Przemysl, Galicia, studied at the Juedisch-theologische Lehranstalt and the University of Vienna. In 1899 he became lecturer in Jewish religious subjects at the Jewish Teachers' Seminary in Lemberg, where he also engaged in wider educational and social work. In 1904 he was appointed lecturer and in 1915 professor of Semitic languages and history of the ancient Orient at Lemberg University, a chair which he later held in Warsaw. He was called there in 1923 to succeed S. *Posnanski as preacher at the moderately Reform Tłomacka Street synagogue, in which capacity he was also a member of the Warsaw rabbinical council. Schorr was one of the founders in 1928 of the Institute for Jewish Studies, which was the rabbinical seminary of Poland; he served there as lecturer in Bible and Hebrew, and for some years as rector. A member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, from 1935 to 1938 he was a member of the Polish Senate, defending the precarious rights of Polish Jewry against mounting official and unofficial antisemitism. When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, he fled eastward, but was arrested by the Russians, who moved on Poland from the east. Transported from prison to prison, he ended up in Uzbekistan, where he died.

Among Schorr's many scholarly works, the first treated Joseph *Nasi's correspondence with King Sigismund Augustus of Poland (in mgwj, 41 (1897), 169–77, 228–37). In 1899 he published Organizacja Żydów w Polsce… aż do r. 1772, a history of Polish Jewry's legal status and inner organization from its beginnings to 1772, which became basic to all further research in this field. This was followed by Żydzi w Przemycłu do końca xvii wieku ("The Jews of Przemysl to the End of the 18th Century," 1903), and a critical edition (1909) of the privileges granted to the Jews of Cracow by King Stanislaus Augustus in 1765. From Jewish history in Poland Schorr turned to Semitic studies, in particular ancient Babylonian and Assyrian law, becoming one of the leading scholars in this field and making it accessible to legal scholars unfamiliar with cuneiform script. Between 1907 and 1910 he published 184 legal documents with their transcription, translation, and a commentary under the title Altbabylonische Rechtsurkunden… (3 vols.). His Urkunden des altbabylonischen Zivil und Prozessrechts (1913) has remained an important reference book. A jubilee volume in Hebrew and Polish was published in 1935, on the occasion of his 60th birthday, as well as a memorial volume in Hebrew, Koveẓ Madda'i le-Zekher M. Schorr (1945).


M. Balaban, in: Księga jubileuszowa ku czci… Mojżesza Schorra (1935); M. David, ibid.; A. Weiss, in: Koveẓ Madda'i le-Zekher Moshe Schorr (1945), ix–xiii; Y. Gruenbaum (ed.), eg, 1 (1953), 303–4; J. Guzik, in: S.K. Mirsky (ed.), Ishim u-Demuyyot be-Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Eiropah ha-Mizraḥit Lifnei Sheki'atah (1959), 207–22; bibl; 217–22.

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