Isidore Singer.

The 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

. (page 154 of 169)
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 154 of 169)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ia5. 152-163; 1884, pp. 17-30, 88-92, 126-127; M. Lemer, Die
Aeltesten Mischna-Compositionen, ib. 1886. pp. 1-20; J.
Derenbourg, Lcs Sections et les Traites de In Mischna, in
R. E.J. 1881, iii. 205-210; A. Berliner, in Ha-MUdernnah,
i. 20 et seq., 40 et seq.; J. S. Bloch, Einblicke in die Gesch.
der Entstehung der Talmudifichoi Literatur, Vienna, 1884 ;
I. H. Weiss, Dor, ii. 183-184, 207-217; \Aem,Mishpat Leshon
ha-Mish)iah, ib. 1867; L. A. Rosenthal, Ueber den Z%isavfi-
menhang der Mischna ; Ei)i Beitrag zu Ihrer Entstehungs-
gesch. Strasburg. 1891-92; idem. Die Mischna, Aufbau und
Qucllenscheidung, ib. 1903.

E. c. J. Z. L.

MISHNEH TORAH. See Moses b. Maimon.

MISSISSIPPI : One of the southera states of
the United States of America; admitted to the
Union in 1817. In 1682 La Salle took possession of
the territory for the King of France. It passed to
England in 1763, was ceded to Spain in 1781, and
to the United States in 1798. In 1724 a law was
passed in France by which "Jews were expelled,
and no other religion [than the Roman Catholic]
was tolerated." When the Spaniards took posses-
sion in 1781, a more tolerant government was estab-
lished. It seems that there were a few Jews in tlie
Natchez district at the close of the eighteenth cen-
tury. At any rate, in Natchez a tombstone has been
found bearing tlienameof Harris and the date 1828;
and there are indications that of the several people
of that name one had lived in the city a number of
years prior to his death.

It was about 1840 that the Jews had become

sufficiently numerous to found congregations; the

establishment of cemeteries usually preceded the

formation of religious organizations. In 1849 three

pedlers came to Woodville. One of them, Heniy

Burgance, died the same year. Loath to have their

companion buried with Christians, the other two,

Jacob Cohen and Jacob Sciiwarz, bought a small

piece of land for $50 and founded a

Early cemetery; this is still used. Similarly

Congrega- the few Jews who settled at Grand

tional Gulf bought a cemetery, which they

Activity, abandoned when, owing to frequent
inroads of the Mississippi River, they
moved to Port Gibson ; the Jews of Natchez
bought their cemetery in 1840, and organized Con-
gregation Bnai Israel in 1843; Jackson organized
a cemetery in 1854 and Congregation Beth Israel a
few years later; Meridian purchased a cemetery
in 1868, and organized Congregation Beth Israel
in 1869. In Columbus a B'nai B'rith lodge was

founded in 1872, a cemetery in 1875, and Congrega-
tion B'nai Israel in 1879.

Remarkable, and speaking well for Jewish zeal,
is tiie fact that almost all congregations were
founded by a few men. For example, Vicksbiirg
(1843) could not have contained more than 10 Jew-
ish families; Natchez (also 1843) had no more;
Meridian (1869) organized with 8 men; Woodville
held services on Rosh ha-Shanah, 1860, when but 7
families lived there. Brookhaven now has but
about 20; Canton, about 25; Columbus, 20;Stim-
mit, about 10; j^et all these places have organized
congregations. Some of these congregations began
as Orthodox ; those organized in the seventies and
after were Reform from the start. Now (1904) all
those mentioned above are Reform. Early in the
eighties, however, a few Orthodox Jews settled
here and there, and formed " minyanim " for the holy
days. Meridian first organized an Orthodox con-
gregation (Ohel Jacob) in 1894; Vicksburg followed
in 1900; these are at present the only places sup-
porting a shohet. Orthodox services were held in
Laurel in 190i and 1903.

In addition to the places mentioned above there
are small communities with congregations in
Brownsville, Greenwood, and Lexington.

Except in the Natchez district (Natchez, Vicks-
burg, Woodville, and Port Gibson), most of the con-
gregations lie within a limited strip of laud run-
ning east and west about the middle of the state.
Very few Jews live south of 82° or north of 83° 30'
N. lat.

In almost every instance Jews entered the state to
transact mercantile business. Thus, coming in con-
tact with Gentiles, and being isolated from their co-
religionists, fast friendships were formed with those
of other religious views, and to-day the members
of the two faiths mingle freely. Dur-
Communal ing the Mexican war there were too
Life. few Jews living in the state to call for
notice of their services; in the Civil
war, however, Jew and Christian fought side by
side. Federal soldiers displaced and mutilated
tombstones in Jewish as well as in Christian
cemeteries, thus effacing many records which would
now be of great interest. Quite a number of Jews
attained to the rank of captain; and there is no
camp of Confederate Veterans in the larger places
that does not include some Jewish members.

Bibliography: American Jewish Tear Book, 1901; The
Owl (New Orleans), Aug., 1901; Franklin L. Riley, Hist, of
Mississippi, Richmond, Va., 1900.
A. W. Wl.

MISSOURI : One of the central states of the
United States; admitted to the Union in 1821.
While yet a territory it was inhabited by Jewish
settlers, the earliest of whom were the Bloch family.
The Jewish communities of the state are as follows:

St. Louis : Jews began to settle here shortly
after 1830. At the present time there are six per-
manent and several temporary places of worship.
The Reform congregations are : Shaare Emeth, Tem-
ple Israel, B'nai El, and United Hebrew. These
four congregations aggregate about 800 families.
Of the Orthodox bodies there are: B'nai Emunah,
Tifereth Israel, and the Beth Hamidrash Hagadol.




All the Orthodox organizations have their places of
worship on the north side of the city. Tifereth
Israel was founded in 1899; its present membership
is 160, and it has a Talmud Torah where 200 chil-
dren receive daily instruction in Hebrew after pub-
lic-school hours. The Rev. S. Rosenberg is rabbi.

The oldest of the Reform congregations are the
B'nai El and the United Hebrew. The latter was
established in 1838. It held its first services in a
private residence, and its first synagogue was built
in 1858. Dr. lUoway was then rabbi. In 1881 a
new synagogue was erected at Twenty-first and
Olive streets. The membership is 146. Dr. H. J.
Messing has been rabbi since 1878. The Sabbath-
school has 80 pupils. The congregation has a
United Hebrew ladies' aid society, consisting of 80
members; and a young people's literary circle.

The B'nai El congregation was founded in 1852
by a consolidation of two previously existing relig-
ious organizations. Its synagogue, built in 1883,
is at Chouteau avenue and Eleventh street; pres-
ent membership, 150. The Sabbath-school num-
bers about 100 pupils. The Jastrow
Congrega- prayer-book is used. The rabbi (since
tions. 1877) is Dr. Spitz; he is also pub-
lisher and editor of "The Jewish
Voice," established in 1888. The congregation has
a ladies' aid society of about 100 members, and a
young people's society of about the same number.

Congregation Shaare Emetli was organized in 1866
with 83 members. It worshiped first at the Harmo-
nia Club on Market street. Its present synagogue,
on the corner of Lindell boulevard and Vandeventer
avenue, was erected in 1897 ; present membership,
289. The Sabbath-school has an attendance of 246
pupils. Dr. Samuel Sale has been rabbi since 1887.
Associated with the congregation is a ladies' aux-
iliary society.

Temple Israel congregation was organized in 1886.
Its synagogue is on the corner of Pine and Twenty-
eighth streets; present membership, 250. It has
Saturday and Sundaj' services. Dr. Leon Harrison,
rabbi since 1891, conducts services also in the United
Charities building on Friday-nights for residents of
the Russo- Jewish quarter. This voluntary office
was established by the Social Settlement League.
Besides the regular religious instruction of the young.
Temple Israel has a confirmation and postgraduate
class, a Bible class for women, and an alumni as-

The following are the chief Jewish philanthropic
societies and institutions in St. Louis: The oldest
Jewish benevolent society of the city, probably the
oldest in the West, is the Hebrew Benevolent Soci-
ety, instituted in 1842. It was legally incorporated
in 1847; present membership, 66. It has the char-
acter of a mutual benefit society. There is also a
fraternal benefit association under the name of
"Progressive Order of the West" (founded 1896),
with sixteen lodges, thirteen of which are in the
city; the total membership is 1,008 males and 848

The first systematic relief of the Jewish poor was
begun in 1871. The influx of needy Jews after
Chicago's great conflagration made a union of char-
itable activities necessary. Later on the large im-

migration of Russo- Jewish refugees made such union
still more needful. The United Hebrew Relief So-
ciety then became the leading charitable organiza-
tion of the Jewish community. The late Rev. Isaac
Epstein was president for many years, and Dr.
Messing vice-president from 1878. There were,
besides, three other benevolent societies. All of
them were in 1897 merged into one common associa-
tion under the name of " United Jewish Charities";
each retained, however, its own distinct existence
as to officers and the particular scope of charitable
work for which it had been founded; all relief is
dispensed at the main office of the United Charities.
This institution has its own building (erected 1901)
on the corner of Ninth and Carr streets. Since its
erection all the Jewish charitable and educational
societies of the city have joined the union ; of
these are to be mentioned : the Home for Aged and
Infirm Israelites; the Jewish Hospital; and the He-
brew Free and Industrial School, founded in 1879
by Dr. Messing. In this school over 400 children re-
ceive religious instruction twice a

Educa- week, and of this number 200 girls are
tional and taught domestic arts and industrial
Charitable branches three times a week. The

Institu- industrial department has recently
tions. been put under the management of
the Sisterhood, of Personal Service.
The pupils in the Jewish Alliance night-school
(present enrolment 460) receive instruction four
times a week in the elementary English branches,
and free reading-rooms and a library are open to
them. The Alliance and the Free-School societies
have recently been consolidated.

The Jewish Hospital was founded in 1900 and
dedicated in 1902; it occupies a lot of 200 feet
frontingDelmar boulevard; free treatment is given
to all poor applicants. It has also a training-school
for nurses. The Home for Aged and Infirm Israel-
ites was established in 1880 ; it is located on Jeffer-
son avenue.

The Jews of St. Louis number about 40,000 in a
total population of 575,238.

Kansas City : The Reform congregation B'nai
Jehudaii, organized in 1870, was incorporated in
1872, with 36 members. The present rabbi is Dr.
Harry H. Mayer; membersiiip, 190. The Sabbath-
school has 165 pupils and 8 assistant teachers. Free
religious instruction is given to the children of non-
members, mainly of poor parents, on Saturday
afternoons. There are the usual two Sabbath serv-
ices only. The synagogue is on the corner of
Eleventh and Oak streets. There are about six
congregations of the Orthodox persuasion, two of
which have their own synagogues: the Keneseth
Israel with 110, and the Gomel Chesed with 90,
members. The other Orthodox societi'js worship
in rented halls. The various benevolent organiza-
tions of the Jewish community were within the last
two years confederated as the United Jewish Chari-
ties, with a board of directors. The charitable, edu-
cational, and industrial work of its several depart-
ments is carried on in a rented building on East
Fifteenth street.

The Jewish residents of the city number about
8,000 in a total population of 163,752.




St. Joseph: The Jewish scttk-mcnt at St. Joseph
dates from about 1850. Tlic congregation was es-
tablished in 1859 with 7 members; in 1861 the mem-
bership was 20, when an old church building was
bought and transformed into a synagogue. This
was burned a year later. A new site, on the corner
of Sixth and Jule streets, was purchased, on which
the present synagogue was erected in 1866. The
present rabbi. Dr. Isaac Schwab, has held the office
since 1879. Tlie congregation has a membership of
59. The Ladies' Benevolent Society, with a present
membership of 60, is an important charitable factor
in the Jewisli community. Tliere is also an Ortho-
dox congregation composed of Jews from eastern
Europe. By their exemplary thrift tliese later com-
ers have risen from lowly beginnings to fair com-
petencies, and in 1900 succeeded in building a syna-
gogue of tiieir own. There is a Hebrew school
where daily instruction is given, and a ladies' benev-
olent society is c(mnected with the congregation.
The minister is S. Kanter. There are 75 members,
and about as many more families not affiliated with
the congregation, making a total of about 800 per-
sons in the Orthodox section of the community.
The whole Jewish population of the city may fairly
be figured at 1,200 in a total population of 102,979.

Other Towns: There are a number of other
towns of the state with Jewish populations avera-
ging from 12 to 25. In others, again, the number
is larger, as may be seen from the accompanying
list: Columbia, 9 families; total number of indi-
viduals, 31. Chillicotlie, 14 families, aggregating
,50 individuals; there is a benevolent society. Han-
nibal, 12 families. Joplin, 38 families, represent-
ing a total of aljout 150 persons; a ladies' aid soci-
ety. Jefferson City, 8 families, a total of 34 souls ;
there is a synagogue. Moberly, 16 persons. Se-
dalia, 16 families, aggregating 60 persons; a benev-
olent society. Springfield, 25 families, with about
100 individuals; a congregation and place of wor-
ship, with Friday evening services; a ladies' benevo-
lent society.

A. I. SCH.

MITATJ : Capital of the government of Cour-
land, Russia; situated about 20 miles from Riga on
the Drixa, an arm of the River Aa. The castle of
Mitau was founded by the German Knights in 1263;
and the town itself received its cliarter in 1435.
Under the rule of the Knights, Jews were not per-
mitted to reside in ]\[itau. In the sixteenth century,
when Mitau was already Polish territory, Jewish
merchants carried on a more or less extensive busi-
ness in the city ; yet even then they were not recog-
nized as permanent residents, and they had not the
right to organize a community ; and in the next
century, after the Cossacks' uprising (1648), the
Christians of Mitau finally caused their expulsion
from the city. The Jew Bar ben ha-Kadosh Rabbi
Benjamin, whose father was killed in Lithuania
during the Cossacks' uprising, was court jeweler
(1730) under Duke Ferdinand, and stood high in the
esteem of the Kinghts. He made numerous gifts to
the Jewish community, among them a funeral car-
riage and a coffin, which were still preserved in the
middle of the nineteenth century. A concession for

a cemetery was granted in 1730 to the Jews of Mitau
by the duke on the application of their representa-
tive Isaac ben Judah; and a hebra l>addisha was
founded in the same year. Zebi Hirsch Harif (d.
1738), son of Rabbi Moses of Lemberg, and an emi-
nent Talmudic scholar, acted as rabbi of the com-
munity. Duke John Biron, Ferdinand's successor
(1737), was friendly toward the Jews and transacted
business in partnership with his court Jew Lipman
(Levi). At that time there was a considerable num-
ber of Jewish residents in Mitau ; under the name
of "Bchutziuden " they lived in a separate quar-
ter called the " Judengasse," now the Doblen'sche

The Jew Meyer Kreslawe was given permission to
open a Jewish inn in the center of the city. This
was known as "Hotel de Jerusalem." It still ex-
isted in the middle of the nineteenth century, being
then owned by H. Michelsohn.

The successor of Zebi Hirsch Harif was another
prominent rabbi, Samuel ben Elkanah (d. 1742), au-
thor of the responsa collection " Mekom Shemuel."
He was probably follow^ed by Jekuthiel ha-Kohen
(d. 1775), father of Raphael ha-Kohen of Hamburg,
and a descendant on his mother's side
Eighteenth of Mordecai Jaffe, author of the " Le-

Century. bushim." He held the title " Rabbi of
the Province of Livland." His son
David Ezekiel Jekuthiel (d. 1823) succeeded him as
rabbi of the community. When Duke Ernst Biron
was banished to Siberia in 1741, the knights of Cour-
land attempted to expel the Jews from Mitau ; and
in 1760 the Diet passed a resolution forbidding
Lithuanian and Polish Jews to sojourn in Mitau
for more than a day or two (see Jew. Enctc.
iv. 312b, s.v. CouRLAND). With Biron's return
from exile in 1762 the condition of the Jews im-
provetl ; and his son and successor, Duke Peter, was
also favorably inclined toward them.

In 1784 a prominent Jew of Mitau, Kalman Bor-
kum, laid the foundation of a synagogue, which
was erected entirely at his expense. Both he and
his brother Samson were very active in promoting
the welfare of the Mitau community, and were
strenuous champions in defense of the rights of the
Courland Jews against the German merchants. The
son-in-law of Kalman Borkum, Dr. Elrich (d. 1809),
was a native of Russia, and came to Mitau (1770)
from Vilkomir, Lithuania, where he had practised
as government and city physician and had received
the title of court councilor. Markus Herz, husband
of Henriette Herz, visited Mitau in 1775. Judah
ben Mordecai ha-Levi Hurwitz, a prominent phy-
sician and scholar, practised medicine in Mitau
for a time.

Notwithstanding the influence of prominent Jews
at court, and in spite of the liberal views intro-
duced from Berlin into German Courland, the Jews
of Mitaii did not enjoy the rights accorded to the
Christians, and often suffered from official abuses
and from the enmity of the German merchants.
This is evident from the fact that in 1795 the mem-
bers of the Jewish comnumity of Mitau submitted
a memorandum to the knights of Courland assem-
bled at the Diet, in which they gratefully acknowl-
edged the protection hitherto extended to them, and




asked for relief from their uncertain legal condition.
The petition was signed by the elders Aaron Lipman
and Isaac Moses Eides and by other prominent Jews
representing the community. Among the latter
were David Levi, Joseph Sholem, Joseph Kirschner,
Marcus Jacob, Marcus Hirsch, Simon Abraham, and
Abraham Danziger. In reply to this petition to the
Diet submitted Jan. 13, 1795, the duke expressed an
opinion favorable to the proposal tliat Jews be per-
mitted to settle in Courland. However, before the
duke had an opportunity to act in regard to the
Jews, Courland was annexed to Russia (March 16,
1795). Catherine II., also, was very favorably dis-
posed toward the Courland Jews, some of whom
were among the early Jewish residents in St. Peters-
burg. When Emperor Paul visited Milau in 1797,
representatives of the Jewish community were re-
ceived by him in audience. In 1810 the Empress of
Russia gave an audience to a Jewish deputation,
and appointed Bar Seelig Klein and Samuel Kan-
dauer as court factors. By a ukase of May 12,
1797, the Jews of Courland received the same rights
as the Jews of Lithuania and Poland. Their privi-
leges were further extended by Alexander I. in 1805.
In 1835 the Jewish population of Mitau was
4,987 ; in 1850, only 4, 189. The decrease was due to
the migration in 1840 of 863 Jews of Mitau to the
South-Russian colonies, and also to the ravages of
the cholera epidemic in 1848. The income from the
meat-tax in 1850 was 8,010 rubles, and from the
candle-tax, 2,183 rubles. The Jewish population of
Mitau at tiuit time included 1 banker (who was an
honorary citizen), 5 merchants of the second gild,
49 merchants of the third gild, 48 merchant families,
85 house and real-estate owners, 45 tailors, 30 shoe-
makers, 28 capmakers, 25 milliners, 18 tinsmiths, 6
polishers, 6 glaziers, 4 painters, 4 watchmakers, 4
engravers, 2 opticians, 4 umbrella-
Occupa- makers, 3 cotton-spinners, 3 furriers,
tions. 3 cigarmakers, 2 dyers, 2 beltmakers,
4 turners, 1 brushmaker, 3 pipe-deco-
rators, 2 bookbinders, 1 tortoise-shell worker, 2 bas-
ketmakers, 1 gold-plater, 12 expressmen and drivers,
12 butchers, 6 innkeepers and cooks. There were
also a number of hucksters, hostlers, horse-dealers,
servants, day-laborers, porters, stone-crushers, wood-
cutters, water-carriers, etc. There were no Christian
porters in Mitau at that lime; and for many years
the moving of furniture was done by the Jews.

The first Jewisli government school in Mitau was
established in 1850 with one Jewisii and one Chris-
tian teacher, a Jewish i)rivate school having existed
there since 1824. In 1850 there were in Mitau a
Talmud Torah (founded in 1805), 10 licensed Jewish
private schools, a poorhouse, a synagogue, and two
houses of prayer. TIk; hebrakaddisha was founded,
as has been said, in 1730; a hebra bikkur hoiim in
1770; Jewish Women's Society in 184/); Prisoners'
Aid Society in 1829; Artisans' Association in 1815;
and a nunii)er of JewMsJi learned societies during the
early half of the nineteenth century.

In 1853 the income and expenditures of tlic .lew-
ishrommuinty amounted to 1,200 rubles. Tln' .Icw-
ish artisans were represented in the city council by
two delegates from among their number; the Jewish
charities were managed by a committee elected by

the community ; the Jews were represented on the
school commission by one rabbi and one merchant;
and S. Waggenheim was attached to the governor's
olfice in the capacity of "learned Jew."

Prominent among the Mitau Jews of the nine-
teenth century were the Sterns, Friedliebs, Rubin-
steins, Traugotts, and Marcus Erben. Besides the
rabbis already mentioned reference should be made
to Elihu, son of David Ezekiel; Israel David Fried-
man (probably also a son of David),
Prominent who erected a synagogue at his own

Persons, expense, and wiio died in Mitau in
1843; Ephraim Israel Jacobson, day-
yan (d. 1831); Moses Enoch Feiertag, dayyan (d.
1848); Ilirsch Rabinovich (died in the second half of
the nineteenth century); Mendel Israelsohn (d.
1861), assistant rabbi, honorary citizen, and member
of the rabbinical commission of 1852 ; and Solomon
Pucher (d. 1899), appointed government rabbi in
1862. Reuben Joseph Wunderbar, author of a his-
tory of the Jews of Livland and Courland, and
Adolph Ehri.ich were natives of Mitau.

The Jews of Mitau were more akin in language,
manners, and dress to the Jews of Germany than to
those of Poland and Lithuania. Notwithstanding,
however, their higher culture, they were never held
in favor by the Germans of Courland, who in the
last (juarter of the nineteenth century were strongly
influenced by the anti-Semitic movement of Ger-
many. The nationalistic movement of the Lets, the
native population of Courland, and their growing
activity in commercial and social affairs, have un-
favorably affected the prosperity of the Jewish com-
munity in Mitau. Moreover, the improved railroad
facilities have made Mitau practically a suburb of
Riga, which has attracted to itself most of the busi-
ness once belonging to the former. On the construc-
tion of the Riga-bi'inaburg railroad many of the
jirominent Jewish merchants of Mitau removed to

In 1904 Milan had 8,402 .lews in a total popula-
tion of about 35,000. See

Bibliogr.vpiiy: Wnnderlmr, 0'<.sr/i. drr Juilcn in deii Pin-
riiizcii Liv-iuid KurUiiid, yinau,isrhi.

MITER: A head-dress; one of the sacred gar-
ments of the priests. The high priest's miter was
designatetl as " iniznefet," and was made of fine
linen, to which the diadem ("ziz") of pure gohl,
inscribed with the title "Holiness to the Lord," was
fastened by means of a purple cord (Hx. xx^iii. 4,

The miter of the ordinary priests was called "mig-
ba'ah"; but the term is found only in the plural
form, "migba'ot." Tiiese miters were also known
by the compound name "pa'are ha-migba'ot," and
were likewise of fine linen (/A. xxviii. 40, xxxix. 28).
That " pa'are " (from " pe'erim " ; sing. " pe'er " ) is
not an adjective, but a noun, is evident from the
expression "pa'are pishtim " = "miters of linen,
worn by the priests " (Ezek. xii v. 18). Indeed, tiie
use of the "jie'er " was not restricted to priests. It

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 154 of 169)