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Schwabacher, Simeon Aryeh


SCHWABACHER, SIMEON ARYEH (1819–1888), rabbi and preacher. Born in Oberndorf, Wuerttemberg, Germany, Schwabacher served as rabbi and preacher in Prague, Hamburg, Landsberg, and Schwerin. Later he went to Lemberg (1856–60) to act as preacher of the "enlightened" congregation, and in 1860 he was invited by the maskilim of Odessa, with the support of the governor of the town, Count Stroganov, to act as *kazyonny ravvin. His sermons in German made him well known; he published several works of homiletics, introduced new practices into the Great Synagogue of the town such as a choir, and concerned himself with the organization of modern relief activities for the poor. He also established the vocational school Trud, a mutual aid society of Jewish shop clerks, a soup kitchen, an orphanage, and an old-age home. His ignorance of Yiddish constituted a barrier between him and the masses and with the rise of a Russian-speaking class of maskilim his influence with the Jewish intellegentsia also declined. His opposition to Ḥibbat Zion also caused him to lose popularity within the community, and in 1887 Schwabacher was removed from his rabbinical office. During his 27 years as rabbi he made an important contribution to the shaping of the character of the Odessa community as the first modern community in Russia.


M. Reichsberg, Penei Aryeh (1889), J. Hayot, Misped Mar, in: Sefer Mazkeret Kodesh le-Sh. A. Schwabacher (1902); Nedelnaya Khronika Voskhoda, 7 (1888), 1226, 1251–55.

[Yehuda Slutsky]

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