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Szántó, Simon

SZÁNTÓ, SIMON

SZÁNTÓ, SIMON (1819–1882), educator and writer, born in Nagykanizsa, Hungary. Son of a rabbi, he received a strict religious upbringing in the talmudic schools of Lackenbach and Golcuv-Jenikov, and managed under great difficulties to obtain a secular education in Bratislava and at Prague University, where he studied German literature. He also studied Jewish theology under S.J. *Rapoport, and was ordained a rabbi in 1844. In 1845 he moved to Vienna, where he founded an elementary and secondary school for boys in 1849 which combined Jewishness with modern secular learning. It became the first Jewish school in Austria entitled to issue officially valid diplomas. Szántó taught Bible and Hebrew literature at the Vienna bet ha-midrash; he was also appointed inspector for Jewish religious instruction at public schools and official interpreter of the Hebrew language. In 1861 he founded, with Leopold *Kompert, a weekly journal, Die *Neuzeit, which he edited until his death. He contributed to the Jahrbuch fuer Israeliten and was its editor from 1865 to 1868.

Szántó was a prolific writer with a precise and lively style, writing a large portion of Die Neuzeit himself as well as many articles in the Jewish and Vienna daily press, chiefly on education. He wrote a bible commentary (1845), two historic novels, Bilder aus Alexandrias Vorzeit and Judentum und Romantik, and many essays on Jewish history, some in Hebrew. He was a devoted follower of Adolf *Jellinek and a forceful fighter for his ideas of Jewish reform. Szántó also participated in the Reform *synods of Leipzig and Augsburg.

bibliography:

K. Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, 41 (1880), 161–4; azdj, 46 (1882), 93–95; Wininger, Biog, s.v.

[Hugo Knoepfmacher]

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