Isidore Singer.

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year King Sigisiiiund III. eonfirnied the decree of
expulsion; but witliin ten years (1616) he annulled
it, and reestablished the privileges granted by
Steplien Bathori. INIoreover, in 1625 Sigisniund j
granted the Jewish community permanent posses-
sion of the tracts of land occupied by the .syna-
gogue and the cemetery. Subsequently (1629) he
permitted them to own stores; but they were not




allowed to build houses. King Ladislaus IV., in re-
sponse to a petition of the Minsk Jews, confirmed
the privileges granted by his predecessors. In ad-
dition he allowed them to "acquire lots and to build
shops on them, as well as to buy old shops." They
were still precluded from building houses, though
they might own such if they came into their pos-
session for debts. Ladislaus also left in their pos-
session the brick-built synagogue, which he ex-
empted from taxation ; and he gave permission for
founding a new Jewish cemetery.

In 1629 the superior of tlie Minsk Monastery of
Peter and Paul brought before the civil court a
complaint against the Jews of Minsk, charging them
with having attacked the monastery during the
baptism of a Jew. In 1648 another complaint of a
similar character was made. On this occasion the
waywode severely reprimanded the Jews, threat-
ening them with prosecution if such a tiling should
again occur. In 1670 King Michael ordered the
Minsk judicial starost not to allow unauthorized
officials to judge the Jews and not to hinder the latter
from appealing to tlie king or to the royal court, as
they were subject only to the jurisdiction of the
starost. During the second half of the eighteenth
century the taxpayers of the Minsk Jewisli com-
munity repeatedly sent representatives to the chief
Lithuanian exchequer court in Grodno with com-
plaints against the elders of the Minsk kahal. The
elders were charged with depleting the public rev-
enues and with defrauding the taxpayers among llie
middle classes.

On Jan. 1, 1896, the Jews of Minsk numbered
43,658. There were about forty synagogues and
numerous houses of prayer. Five of the synagogues
belong to the Jewish community, the others being
controlled by sepaiate congregations or belonging
to private individuals. Among the numerous ye-
shibot the more important are: Blumke's yeshibah,
the Little Yeshibah, and tiie yeshibah at the Syna-
gogue of the Water-Carriers. The personnel of the
Talmud Torali consists of eight " melammedim " and
four instructors iu general subjects; out of the 334
pupils only 106 studied these subjects. The expendi-
ture of the Talmud Toraii amounted to 4,355 rubles
(1885). In 1879 a Jewish trade-school was estab-
lished iu Minsk with locksmiths' and carpenters'
departments; instruction was offered also in gen-
eral subjects, in Hebrew, and in religion. In 1885
the school had 112 apprentices, and it expended
5,912 rubles. The Jewish hospital, founded in 1829,
has accommodations for seventy patients; its ex-
penses amounted in 1885 to 8,068 rubles. The Jew-
ish poorhouse, witli eight)' beds, had an expenditure
of 5,356 rubles in the same year. Besides, there are
many charitable associations, of which the more im-
portant are: a society for the assistance of students
of the Talmud, with an expenditure of 3,000 rubles
(1885); a society for the assistance of indigent sick,
with an expenditure of 1,500 rubles (1885); and a
society (founded about 1820) for tiie distribution of
bread among the poor, with an expenditure of 3,310
rubles (1884).

H. R. M. R.

The following are the names of the Jews of Minsk
who obtained particular prominence:

District Rabbis.

Moses Zeeb b. Judab, author of " Kol Yehudah."
Menabein Mendel, son of the preceding.
Asher b. Lob, tosaflst.

Isaac Abraham (held office 1749-.55; d. 177fi).
Rapliael b. Jekuthiel Lifliinder U"56-«0).
Samuel of Indur (held office till 1777, when the district rab-
binate was abolished by the government).

LOCAL Rabbis.

Moses (d. 1696), son of the martyr Mordecal, who was killed
in Lublin Aug. 11, 1636.

Lob Ba'al ha-Tosefot (d. about 1708).

Lob b. Asher, author of " Sha'agat Aryeh."

Jebiel b. Solomon Heilprin (d. about 1743), author of "Seder

Moses b. Jehiel Heilprin, succeeded his father about 1744.

Jo.seph b. Simhah Rapoport.

(iershon Harif (1778-93).

Isiael b. Lob Mirkes (d. about 1813).

Samuel Segal (d. Dec. 27, IS18).

Israel b. Hayyim Heilprin (d. 1836).

Isaac b. Naphtali Hirz Pines (d. 18:36), chief of the bet din.

Judah Lob de Boton, son-in-law of Isaac Abigdor, author of
" Pardes Rimmonim."

Zeeb Wolf b. Moses (dayyan ; d. 1848).

Judah Lob b. Abraham (d. 1851).

David Tebele b. Moses, author of " Bet Dawid " (d. 1861)*.

Moses Zebi, appointed rabbi by the government.

Moses Samuel Pines (d. 1862), chief of the bet din.

Baruch b. Zebi, -i

Saul b. Solomon, ! dayyanim.

Hayylra Lipschitz,

Joel Harif, J

Aryeh b. Jacob (d. 1866), chief rabbi; authorof "Be'erHeteb."

Moses Judah Lob (d. 1889), son-in-law of David Tebele.

Jeroham Judah Lob Pearlman ben Solomon, Russian rabbi ;
born in Brest 1835; died in Minsk 1896. He was one of the
greatest rabbis of his time, and was suruamed " (iadol " (great
one) on account of his prominence in the world of Talmudical
scholarship. At the age of thirty he became rabbi of Selte, near
Brest, where he remained till 1871, when he was called to occupy
the office of rabbi in Pruzan, government of Grodno. After the
death of the two rabbis of Minsk, R. CJershon Tanhum and R.
Aryeh of Umen, the congregation of that city decided to appoint
him as its rabbi (1883); and he occupied the rabbinate till his
death (Benzion Eisenstadt, "Rabbane Minsk wa-Hakameha,"
pp. 24, 62, Wilna, 1899) .

Eliezer Rabinowitz, chief rabbi.

Isaac b. David Tebele, /. assistant rabbis.

Jacob b. Meir, '

Abraham Haneles, appointed by the government.


Aryeh Lob b. Zebi Horwitz, author of " Margenita Taba."
Aryeh Lob b. Asher, author of " Sha'agat Aryeh."
Raphael b. Jekuthiel.

Joshua Heshel, author of " Mazmiah Yeshu'ah " and " Yeshu'
be-Rosh " ; died in Jerusalem.
Dob Isaac b. Zebi Meir (d. 18.")1).
Israel Michael Jeshurun (d. 18.')1).
Abraham b. Joshua Evenzik (d. 1859).

Issachar Bar. surnained " the diligent " (" Masmid " ; d. 1879).
Gershon Tanhum b. Elijah Benzion (d. 1881).
Solomon b. Saul Levin.

Mandel, J. instructors at the yeshibah.

Ber of Krasni, '

Abraham b. Asher Anshel, author of " 'Aminude ha-Yemini."

Promixe.nt Preachers.

Moses b. Judah, author of " Eben Shoham," who was later
(17f)4) appointed preacher in London, where he published that

Israelii, Israel Asher b. Ozer. Russian preacher; twrn about
1806; died in Minsk June 6, lf<96. He was popularly known as
the "Grodnoer Maggid " and was the preacher of the Jewish
community in Minsk for more than tlfty-flve years. Besides be-
ing an able preacher he was an indefatigable communal worker
and very charitable. His simple life and his untiring exertions
in behalf of the poor endeared him to all classes of the popula-
tion. Numerous stories are still related in Minsk about his
merciful exertions to release men who were un.iustly impressed
for military service in the last years of the reign of Nicholas I.
as "poimaniki" or substitutes for others (" Ahlasaf," 5696, p.




Abraham b. Zeohariah Hamburg.
Joshua Isaao b. Jehiel, author of " 'Emek Yehoshua'."
Abraham Abele Rosens, author of "Mahazeh Abraham."
H. R. P. Wl.


Bampl, Issachar, author of a book " on Jewish customs."

Broyde, Aaron (d. 1897), one of the directors of the Govern-
ment Bank at Minsk ; he was honored with various medals.

Eliasberg. Judah Bezaleel (d. 1845).

Eger, Samuel, son of Akiba Eger.

Jolles, Isaiah Zechariah (d. 1853), author of " 'Et le-Dabber"
and " Dober Mesharim."

Kaplan, Jacob, corrected and added notes to the " Ere? Kedu-

Levanda, L., Hebrew-Russian writer.

Luria, Jacob Aaron, honored by Nicholas I. with a medal for
useful work in the Jewish community.

Luria, David, son of the preceding ; contributor to the He-
brew periodicals of his time.

Libowitz (1758-1&J3), the miracle- worker; an intimate friend
of Elijah Wiliia.

Maskileison. Abraham b. Judah Lob (d. July 19, 1848), author
of '■ Maskil le-Etan " and other works.

Maskileison, Naphtali (d. 1898), son of the preceding; pub-
lisher of the " Seder ha-Dorot," with his own critical notes and

Menahem Eliezer b. Levi (d. 1817), author of " Ya'lr Kinno."

Rabinowitz, Eliezer Lipitian (d. 1887), an eminent Talmudic
scholar, and owner of a famous library.

Rapoport, Jekuthiel Siissel (d. 1872), member of the rabbinical
committee appointed by the government.

Solomonov. Mordecai (d. 1897), author of many novellte on
Talmudical subjects.

Solomon, Menahem b. Elijah, author of novellae on all parts
of the Talmud.

Pioneers of "Haskalah."

Brill, Joseph, Hebrew writer.

Haneles, Abraham, rabbi appointed by the government.

Horowitz, poet.

Kaplan. Israel, author of " Le-Torah we- Da 'at."

Nofet, J. Zeeb, superintendent of the Jewish trade-school.

Sirkin, Joshua, prominent Zionist.

Sirotkin, Abraham, author.

Wohlman, Israel Mendel, ex-editor of the " Ha-Kokabim."


Blimowitz, Biir ; Eliasberg, Lipman ; Eliasberg, Samuel Jo-
nah ; Ettinger, Hillel ; Goldberg, David ; Jolles, Zusman ; Luria,
Hayyim; Luria, Samuel; Pollak, Benlamin ; PoUak, Moses;
Ragovin, Uriah ; Rapoport, Akiba ; Simhowitz, Mordecai ; Slias-
berg. Solomon ; Solomonov, Moses Zebi ; Zeldowitz, Biir ; and
Zeldnwitz, Baruch.

II. H. N. T. L.


siiin poet aud writer; born ill Glubokoye, govern-
ment of Wilna, in 1855. At the age of twelve Nikolai
removed to Minsk and entered the local classical gym-
nasium (graduated in 1875). The town of his gym-
niisium course supplied him with his pseudonym
"Minski," whereas his real family name is Wilenkin.
He began his literary career in 1876, and at once at-
tracted attention by his liighly artistic poem "Na
Rndinye." This appeared in the best Russian jour-
nal, " Vyestnik Yevropy," in which Minski has pub-
lished most of his poems. "Na Rodinye" is an
inspired poetical response to the sufferings of the
Bulgarian people wlien the Russo-Turkish war was
at its height. The period of Minskis elementary
studies corresponded with that distinguished by the
intense striving of Russian society for progress and
enlightenment, aud those auspicious years were im-
portant for the Russian Jewry. The stimula-
ting influence of the times was also reflected in the
Jewish circle in which the future poet philo.sopher
lived and studied. He obtained his iiigher educa-

tion in the department of law of the University
of St. Petersburg, graduating in 1879 with the de-
gree of bachelor of law. In that same year he
published his best poem, "Byelyya Nochi," which
reflects the spiritual life of the contemporary
youth with its restlessness and its dreams. The
characteristic feature of his poetry is its pessimistic
mood ; it exhibits a desire to lay bare the misery of
life. Very frequently Minski is the poet of sorrow,
but this sorrow is impersonal and concerns some
hated problem. The first volume of his writings
appeared in 1887 and was received with high praise
by the critics, who nevertheless pointed out the de-
fects of his verses. A second edition of his book was
soon called for. In 1889 Minski wrote a historical
drama, " Osada Tulchina," which shows an unusual
clearness in character-drawing, a plot of absorbing
interest, and an intimate knowledge of the history
of the time, besides beauty of style. The drama
describes in a characteristic manner the struggle
of three peoples — the Jews, Poles, and Little-Rus-
sians. Others of Minski's writings likewise are
of significance to Jews. In 1879-80 he published
in the Russo-Jewish journal "Razsvyet" a series
of war feuilletous under the signature "Nord-
West," written after the manner of Borne's "Paris-
ian Letters." In these writings he attacked fiercely
the enemies of Judaism. In the more recent period
of his literary activity, beginning with the nineties
of the nineteenth century, Minski has turned from
Jewish life and its interests, and has devoted him-
self to literary philosophy, tinged strongly with
Christian mysticism (see Brockhaus, and also Ska-
bichevski's " Istoria Noveishei Russkoi Literatury ").

BIBLIOGRAPHY : Entziklopediclieski Slovar, vol. vi., St. Peters-
burg, 1892; Bolshaya Entziklopediua, vol. Y.,ib. 1901.

II. H. N. R.

MINTEBS : Persons authorized to strike coin-
age cm behalf of a government. As early as 555 a
certain Priscus struck coins at Chalons (" R. E. J."
x. 237). One Gideon was minter at Milan in the
tenth century. In 1181 three Jews at Winchester
were apparently fined for minting, though the read-
ing of the document on which the statement is based
is ambiguous (Jacobs, "Jews of Angevin England,"
p. 73). Several "short-cross" pennies exist of the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries with names of mon-
eyers which may be Jewish, as David of London,
Isaac of York, Samuel, Simon, and Solomon of Can-
terbury ; but it is doubtful whether these were really
Jews {ib. pp. 392-396). A certain number of Ger-
man coins of the twelfth century with Hebrew in-
scriptions have been found (see Aronius, "Reges-
ten," Nos. 351, 389). A certain Jew, Jehiel, is
mentioned as mint-master on one of the coins of
Bishop Otto of Wlirzburg; another held a similar
position in Treves (Lamprecht, "Deutsches Wirth-
schaft-sleben," ii. 1452, 1472). Earlier than this a
Jew named Schlom was mint-master to Leopold V.
of Austria. He appears to have been murdered
during the Third Crusade (Scherer, " Rechtsverhiilt-
nisse der Juden," i. 121 et seq.). In Hungary the
early minters appear to have been exclusively Jews
(Kohn, "A Zsidok Tostenete Magrarorszagan," i.
240); and there are a number of Polish coins with
Hebrew inscriptions (see Numismatics). J




MINT AN (pjD): Literally, "count"; the quo-
rum necessary for public worship. The smallest
cougregation which is permitted to hold public
worship is one made up of ten men, boys over thir-
teen years being for this, as for other religious
purposes, counted as men. See Bar Mizwah.

The minimum of ten is evidently a survival in
the Synagogue from the much older institution in
whicli ten heads of families made up the smallest
political subdivision. In Ex. xviii. Moses, on the
advice of Jethro, appoints chiefs of tens, as well as
chiefs of fifties, of hundreds, and of thousands. In
like manner there were the decurio among the Ro-
mans and the tithingman among the early English.

The rule is laid down in theMishnah thus (Megil-
lah iv. 3); "They do not [1] 'divide' over the
Shema' [Hear, O Israel], [2] nor pass before the Ark,
[3] nor lift their hands, [4] nor read from the Law,
[oj nor conclude with the Prophets, [6] nor ar-
range the standing and sitting, [7J nor say the
benedictions of the mourners or the consolation of
the mourners, [8] nor tlie benedictions of the bride-
grooms, [9] nor use God"s name in preparing for
grace after meals, with less than ten."

The references in this rule are to: [1] The invo-
cation " Bless ye " (" Bareku ") with its response,
which, with or without a " Kaddish " preceding it, is
recited before the first benediction of Shema' in the
evening and morning service. [2] The repetition
of the prayer proper, i.e., the Eighteen or Seven
Benedictions, by the leader, and including the
responsive Kedushshah. [3] The priestly bless-
ing (Num. vi. 24-26). [4] The reading from tlie
Scroll and benedictions before and after the lesson.
[5] The haftarah with like benedictions. [6] Some
ancient funeral ceremonies. [7] Likewise forms no
longer in use. About these it is said (Ket. 8a, b)
that the mourners are not counted among the ten.
[8] The seven benedictions spoken at a wedding, or
at any meal of the bridegroom and bride within a
week from the wedding. [9] The sentence "Let us
bless our God, from wliose wealth we have eaten,"
instead of " Let us bless Him from whose," etc., with
which latter words grace is begun when three or
more have eaten at the same table (Ber. viii. 3).
The distinctions there suggested between ten and
eleven, or between ten and a hundred, have not been
followed in practise.

The Babylonian Talmud, in commenting on this
section of the Mishnah, finds the Scriptural authority
for ten men constituting a congregation in the words
(Num. xiv. 27): "How long shall I bear with this
evil congregation which murmur against me?"
which it refers to the scouts who were sent to spy
out the land of Canaan, twelve in all. two of
whom, Caleb and Joshua, were faithful, and only
ten "evil."

All male Israelites of the proper age, unless thej'
are und«r the ban, or have openly severed their con-
nection with their brethren by profess-

Eligible ing a hostile creed, are counted among
for the needful ten even though they are

Quorum, notorious and habitual sinners (Orah
Hayyim, 55, 12).

It is suggested (Ber. 47 and Yer. Ber. vii. 3) that
while slaves or boys under thirteen are not counted

in minyan, one slave or one minor boy may be ad-
mitted along with nine qualified men— at least when
the boy is nearly of full age (a budding boy) ; and
an example in an analogous case is given (Ber. 48a)
of two prominent rabbis counting a boy as one of
the three men necessary for saying grace after meals,
it having been ascertained that he liad ideas about
God and prayer. The codes are somewhat divided
on this subject: public service should be carried on
with nine men and one infant only in "case of need,"
that is, if the attendance of a tenth man is not ex-
pected for that service (Orah Hayyim, 55). Usage
varies: in some synagogues nine adults and a boy
over twelve years of age are deemed adequate for
minyan ; yet in the usage of other synagogues thej'
are not adequate.

While women may, in certain contingencies, take
an active part in public service, by reading parts of
the weekly lesson (Megillah 23a; allowed by all the
codes, but rarely, if ever, carried out in practise),
none of the authorities speaks of counting women in
the minyan.

The ten men include the leader. They and he
should meet in one room or enclosure ; Maimonides
(Hil. Teflllah, viii.) discusses how the ten may be
distributed iu two adjoining rooms without des-
troying the quorum; but they must be within hear-
ing of each other.

In the same chapter Maimonides explains as the
advantage of reciting the prayer with minyan: that
it is sure to be heard; and, following the Talmudic
passages below, the other codes concur.

It was the firm belief of the sages that wher-
ever ten Israelites are assembled, either for wor-
ship or for the study of the Law, the Shekinah
(Divine Presence) "dwells" among them. Thus
(Abot iii. 6): "U. Halafta, the man of
Presence Kefar-Hananiah, sajs: When ten men
of the sit down together to study the Law
Shekinah. [another reading has it: "to act as
judges"], the Presence dwells among
them ; for it is said (Ps. Ixxxii. 1): God ["Elo-
him "j standeth in the congregation of God ["EI.'"]."
A baraita (Ber. 6a) puts it plainly: "Whence
do we know that the Holy and Blessed One is
found at the synagogue; or that when ten men
say praj'ers together the Presence dwells among
them? " It answers each of these questions with
the verse of the psalm quoted above ; it being un-
derstood that the word " 'edah " (congregation)
means ten or more Israelites meeting for a religious
purpose. And the words in Solomon's prayer (I
Kings viii. 28), " to hearken to the song and to the
prayer," are shown by Abba Benjamin (Ber. ib.)
to mean that man's prayer is best heard at the syna-
gogue, for where men sing, there also they should
pray. Both in the Mishnah and in the baraita
quoted, consolation is held out to those who for
study or prayer meet in smaller numbers — even to
one who meditates or praj'S alone; but the stress is
put upon the merits and sacredness of the minyan.
The codifiers, such as Maimonides, his annotators,
and the author of the Shulhan 'Aruk, and many
popular writers, have unitedly given strength to
this sentiment, and have thus, for more than a thou-
sand years, made the daily attendance at public




worship, morning and evening, the rule among both
men and boys in Israel.

The treatise Soferim, written in Babylonia in the
seventh century, contains a passage (x. 7) often
interpreted as asserting that in Palestine at that
time seven men were allowed to hold public serv-
ices. Correctly interpreted it refers to the repeat-
ing of "Kaddish " and "Bareku " at the synagogue
for the benefit of late comers, and declares that in
Palestine such a repetition is permitted only when
seven (according to others, wlien six) men are present
who have not yet lieard these responsive readings.
In modern times various authorities {e.g., the Rab-
binical Conference at Breslau, the " Oberrath " in
Mecklenburg (1847), and Naphtali Zebi Judah Berlin
in AVoloshin) have declared the public worship per-
missible without the presence of minyan.

A. L. N. D.

MINZ (p'C) : Family of rabbis and scholars, de-
riving its name from the town of Mayence and found-
ed in the fifteenth ceotury. The family tree is as




Ellezer ha-Levi

Judah Minz

Abraham Minz

Isaac ha-Levl
Moses Minz

Moses Minz Joseph Minz Hannah = Meir Katzenellenbogen
i Minz I

Isaac Menahem Samuel Judah Katzenellenbogen
Minz :

I :

Moses Minz Isaac Katzenellenbogen

Zeeb Wolf Minz

Abush (Aaron) Minz (d. 1831)

I ,

r \ I I \ I

Alexander Mattnthiah Ahigdcir Hirsoh Judah Meniihem
Siisskind Minz Griinberg Klatzko Lob Nalium

Minz Minz Minz

I (d. I«fi2)

Meir Minz
(d. 1«<;6)

Judah b. Eliezer ha-Levi Minz (Minzi), the pro-
genitor of the most prominent branch of the
family, settled, or Avas born, in Italy in the fif-
teenth century. His cousin Moses b. Isaac ha-
Levi Minz (Minzi) was a rabbi in Germany. The
name "Minz," liowever, appears to have been
borne by others in Italy who were not related to
Judah INIinz: for Joseph Colon (Responsa, No. 2)
speaks of Joshua and Solomon, sons of an Abraham
Minz who liad formerly lived under the Duke of
Milan and then removed to another town in Loni-
bardy in order to avoid paying his part of the 18,000
gold pieces which the Jews of Milan had pledged
themselves to pay the duke. Asher b. Perez Minz
of Naples was related, perhaiis. to the German
branch of the Minz family. The last known direct
male (lesreiidant of Judah Minz was Moses b.
Isaac Menahem Minz, a descendant in the fourth

At tiie beginning of the sixteenth century the
Minz family of Padua united with thatof Katzenel-

lenbogen through the marriage of the daughter of
Abraham ben Judah Minz to Meir Katzenellenbogen
of Padua. The descendants of this alliance emi-
grated afterward to Germany and then to Russia,
and Zeeb Wolf b. Isaac, in Russia, a descendant of
the tenth generation, assumed the name of Minz.
From him is descended the present family of Minz.

Bibliography : Eisenstadt-Wiener, Da'at Kednshim. part iii.,
pp. 82-86 ; Nepi-Ghirondi, in Kercm ^emed, iii. 91 ; Mor-
tara, Indice, p. 39.

Abraham ben Judah ha-Levi Minz : Italian
rabbi; tlourished at Padua in the first half of the
sixteenth century ; father-in-law of Mei'r Katzenel-
lenbogen. Minz studied chiefly under his father,
Judah Minz, whom he succeeded as rai)bi and head
of the yeshibah of Padua. According to Ibn Yahya
("Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah," p. 51a, Amsterdam,
1697), it was with Abraham Minz that Jacob Polak
had the quarrel which ended in their excommunica-
ting each other; according to most other authorities,
the quarrel was with Judah ]\Iinz (see Jacob Po-
lar). Ibn Yahya further says that the Italian rabbis
believe that Polak and Abraham Minz died on the
same day (according to David Gansin 1530; accord-
ing to Halberstam in 1541). Minz was the author
of a number of decisions that were printed with
those of R. Lewa of Ferrara( Venice, 1511). He was
the author also of "Seder Gittin wa-Halizah," a
treatise on divorce and luilizah, printed with the re-
sponsa of his father and of his son-in-law {ib. 1553).

Bibliography : Nepi-Ghirondi, in Kcrem Hemed, iii. 91 ; Mi-
chael, Or hn-Hatiyim, No. 114; Mortara, in Mose; v. 307;

Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) → online text (page 149 of 169)