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 11) online

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al-Kabir, being continued beyond this plain by the
Jabal Nusairiyyah, while beyond the valley of the
Orontes rise tlie mountains anciently known as the
Amanus, although they have no generic modern
name. In the south, Lebanon finds its continu-
ation in the west-Jordan hill-country of Palestine,
but on the east of the great dejiression the chain
of Anti-Lebanon comes to its northern terminus
south of the Lake of Hums, the valley of the Orontes
being marked by only slight elevations. Southward,
however, the east-Jordan plateau shows consider-
able elevations (comp. P.\lestine). The valley be-
tween the two halves has been fully described, so
far as its lower portion, the Jordan valley, is con-
cerned, in the article Palestine. The northern
part, the fertile district of the ancient Ccple Syria,
has its watershed at Baalbek. In this vicinity arise
the two great rivers which drain the plain. The
Nahr al-Litani, the ancient Leontes, flows .south-
ward, and is separated by the chain of the Jabal al-




Dabr on the east from the source of the Jordan, the
Nahr Hasbani, which flows parallel with it. The
Leontes then turns sharply to the west, entering the
Mediterranean a little to the north of Tyre. The
course of the Orontes (Nahr al-Asi) is directly an-
tithetical, since it flows for a long distance north-
ward through tlie entire plain, and does not bend to
the west until it reaches the northern limits of the
Jabal Nusairi^'yah.

The seacoast of Syria consists for the most part
of a narrow strip of land, the Lebanon frequently
extending almost to the water. In the north the
coast has many more indentations than in the south,
and consequently possesses better harbors. The best
of these is St. George's Bay, on which
The is situated Beirut, now the commercial

Seacoast. center of Syria. The coast district,
for the greater part, is separated from
the interior by a mountain chain which is crossed
by few passes. It must, therefore, be distinguished
from the interior in political relations also, since
the fact that its inhabitants, the Pheuicians, were
a maritime and commercial people whose interests
lay seaward rather than inland, had its basis pri-
marily in geographical conditions. The southern
portion of the eastern desert which borders on Pal-
estine is barren and uninhabitable, but the greater
part of the northern district between Anti-Lebanon
and the Euphrates may be regarded as inhabitable.
From Anti-Lebancm to the Euphrates a range of
hills runs northeast, and in their northern portion in
ancient times there was a series of settlements at the
various springs, although now only heaps of ruins

In like manner the road from Damascus to the
Euphrates runs along the southern slopes through
a series of oases which were inhabited. Of these the
most Important are Palmyra and Damascus. Pal-
myra, or Tadmor, still is, as it has ever been, a
stopping-point for caravans from Damascus to Bag-
dad, and, having all natural facilities for the devel-
opment of a great commercial city, it became the
capital of a powerful kingdom in the third century
of the present era. Damascus also is an extremely
ancient city, and owes its greatness and its im-
portance to the fact that it is an oasis in the desert.
The water from the eastern slope of Hermo;i
forms the Nahr al-Barada and tiie Nahr al-A'waj
(respectively the Amana and the Pharpar of the
Bible), and these streams, Mowing to the east, are
lost in swamps in the desert, thus forming a large
oasis, in the center of which the city lies. Since
there is no direct route from the valley of the Jordan
to Coele-Syria, tiie road from southern Syria to the
north, like the highway of commerce from Arabia to
the north, natui ally passes through Damascus. It has
already been stated tiiat the route from the Euphrates
to the sea was by way of Palmyra and Damascus.

With the exception of the latter city, all the an-
cient towns are now abandoned, and this entire
region, which once was populated, has now fallen
into the hands of the nomads, who continually press
forward from the interior of Arabia. The statement
has already been made that the extensive district of
Syria never had a political unity of its own, nor
does it appear in history, except as a part of some

great empire, such as the Babylonian or the Persian.
(For the earliest history compare Damascus; Hit-
TiTES. ) It was not until after the death of Alexander
that a kingdom bore the name of Syria. When his
dominions Avere divided among the Diadochi, who
succeeded him, the greater part of the Asiatic prov-
inces of the empire of the Achaemenidse came, to-
gether with Babylon as the capital, into the posses-
sion of Seleucus I., Nicator, and his successors, this
Seleucid kingdom being called Syria, although this
term was scarcely accurate. The capital was sooa
shifted westward, Seleucus himself, the founder of
the dynasty, making Antioch on the Orontes his me-
tropolis, and thus creating a center of Greek civiliza-
tion in western Asia. The inherent weakness of the
new kingdom lay in the fact that it was a huge con-
glomerate of the most varied ethnic components,
with no essential unity. An additional factor was
the war with the Egyptian Ptolemies for the pos-
session of Egypt. This conflict lasted
Ethnic for a century, and it did not end until
Factors, the reign of Antiochus III. (198 B.C.),
after it had seriously weakened tlie
kingdom, especially under Antiochus I. (280-261).
The danger was equally great when the Parthians
won their independence in the middle of the third
century. Even Antiochus III., the Great (223-187),
who was able to resist Egypt, was powerless to
subject the Parthians.

The war against the Romans ended in 190, when
the battle of Magnesia broke the power of Antiochus.
By the terms of peace he was forced to surrender all
lands lying north of the Taurus and Halys. The
kingdom now hastened to its fall. The endeavor of
Antiochus IV., Epiphanes (175-164) toHellenizethe
Jews led to the Hasmonean revolt and the loss of
southern Syria. Despite all the struggles for the
throne, the dynasty, although reduced in territory
to Syria alone after the middle of the second cen-
tury, retained a show of power until the invasion of
the Armenians, who conquered the country under
their king Tigranes in 83 b.c. Their power, how-
ever, was of short duration, for they in turn were
soon crushed by the Romans. The last of the
Seleucids, Antiochus XIII., Asiaticus (69-64), lost
his kingdom in 64, when Pompey declared the entire
country a Roman province. This province was placed
under a Roman governor at Antioch, although the
smaller Syrian dynasties, such as those of Comma-
gene, Chalcis, Damascus, Petra, and Jerusalem,
were left undisturbed. In 70 c.e. Palestine was
separated from Syria, and itself became a province
ruled by an imperial governor. Later, duiing the
reign of Hadrian, Syria was divided into three parts:
Coele-Syria (with Antioch as the capital), Syria
Euphratensis (with Hierapolis as the capital), and
Phoenice (with Emesa [Hums] as the capital); the
last named province embraced the coast with the ad-
jacent inland districts.

The present (1905) population of Syria is 3,317,-

Bibliography: Burckhardl, TraveU in Swna, 1822; Porter,
Five Years in Damascus, ia55; Burton and Drake, Unex-
plored Si/ria. 1873; Riemann and Puchstein. Reisen in
Norclsi/ricn. 189(); Ciiinet, Syrie, Lihan ct Palextine, 1896;
Oppenheini, Vnm Mittelweer zum PersischenGolf, 1900. See
also the bibliographies of the articles Palestine and Phenici a.
E. G. H. I. Be.




HTJDAH) : Russian jurist and editor, bornatPon
jewezb, government of Kovno, Oct. 27, 1858; a
descendant of the family of Joel Sirkes 13. He
studied law at the University of St. Petersburg, and
is at present (1905) practising his profession at the
St. Petersburg bar. He was associate editor of the
" Regesty i Nadpisi " (documents relating to the his-
tory of the Jews in Russia), published by the Society
for the Promotion of Culture Among the Russian
Jews in 1899; since that time he has been editor of
the " Voskhod." Syrkin is the author of a book on
art, entitled " Plasticheskol Iskusstvo " (St. Peters-
burg, 1900).

H. R. G. D. R.

SYZYGIES. See Cabala.

SZABOLCSI, MAX: Hungarian author; born
at Tura Aug. 27, 1857. In his youth he studied
Talmud, and for a short time attended the rabbin-
ical seminary at Budapest, later writing for He-
brew periodicals under the pseudonym of " 'Ibri
Anoki," and preparing a Hungarian translation of
the haggadic portions of the treatise Sanhedrin.
His most important literary activity, however, be-
gan with the TiszA-EszLAR affair, in which he took
prominent part b}'^ contributing articles for the de-
fense to the "Debreczeni EUenOr." In 1884 Sza-
bolcsi became editor of the "Jildische Pester Zei-
tung," and two years later he assumed control of
the Hungarian religious paper "EgyenlOseg," pub-
lished weekly at Budapest.

s. L. V.

gary, on the slope of the hills of Tokay. Its Jew-
ish community is one of the oldest in the country.
Its age is shown by the two cemeteries, the more
modern one of which has been in use since 1780.
Its oldest existing Jewish document, relating to the
hebra kaddisha, is dated 1790, at which time the so-
ciety had ninety-six members. In a document dated
1787, which is extant, the community pledges itself
to build a school. The tirst teacher was Leopold

The first rabbi of Szanto known by name was
Rabbi Jeremiah, author of the "Sefer Moda'ah."
His successors have been: his son Joab, author of the
" Hen Tob " ; Eleazar LOw, called '' Shemen Rokeah "
(d. 1837) ; Nathan Lipschitz ; his son Leopold Lip-
schitz (d. 1904 in Budapest, where he was president
of the Orthodox congregation); and the present in-
cumbent (1905), Paul Jungreise (since 1896).

The Jews of Szanto number 1,500 in a total popu-
lation of 5,000.

Bibliography: Lovy, Ar Ahauj-SzdntM IsmiUta Ixkoln
Mfuiogrt'ifiajd, 1901.
6. L. V.

SZANTO, EMIL: Austrian philologist; born
at Vienna Nov. 22, 1857; died there Dec. 14, 1904;
son of Simon Szanto. He studied at the Univer-
sity of Vienna (Ph.D.), and in 1884 was appointed
privat-docent at his alma mater; in 1893 he became
assistant professor and in 1898 professor of Greek
history and archeology.

Szanto was considered an authority in his spe-
cialty, Greek epigraphy. Among his works may

be mentioned: " Untersuchungen ilber das Attische
Burgerrecht," 1881 ; " Plataa und Athen," 1884 ; " An-
leihen Griechischer Staaten," 1885; "Hypothek und
Scheinkauf im Griechischen Recht," 1887, in col-
laboration with Edward Hauler; "Das Griechische
Bl\rgerrecht,"1892; and " Reisein Karien," 1892. In
1887 he brought out a second edition of Bojesen's
"Handbuch der Griechischen Autiquitaten."

Bibliography: AUg. Zeit. des Jud. 1894, No. 52; Oaiterrei-
chMche Wochenschi-ifU 1894. No. 52.
8. F. T. H.

SZANTO, SIMON: Hungarian journalist; born
at Nagy-Kanizsa, Hungary, Aug. 23, 1819; died in
Vienna Jan. 17, 1882. He was a son of Rabbi Mcir
Szanto, and when only ten years of age lost both
parents. He received his education at the yeshi-
bot at Lakenbach and Gross-Jcnikau (Bohemia),
the public school at Prague, tjie gymnasium at
Presburg, and the University of Prague, studying
philosophy and Jewish theology under S. J. L. Ra-
poport. In 1845 Szanto went to Vienna, where he
founded (1849), together with his brother Josef, a
Jewish school, of which he was the director. Later
he was appointed docent at the Theoiogische Lehr-
anstalt at Vienna.

In 1861 Szanto founded, together with his brother-
in-law Pick, the weekly journal "Die Neuzeit," of
which he became sole editor after having been asso-
ciated for a short time with Kompcrt. For a time
he was editor also of Busch's " Jahrbuch fQr Israeli-
ten," and of J. von Wertheimer's "Jahrbuch ft\r
Israeliten." In 1864 he was appointed Hebrew in-
terpreter at the juridical courts of Vienna, and in
1869 supervisor of religious instruction at the Jewish
schools of Vienna.

Szanto contributed numerous feuilletons and es-
says to various periodicals. For Busch 's " Jahrbuch
far Israeliten" he wrote " Bildcr aus Alexandriens
Vorzeit"; for Wertheimer's "Jahrbuch." "Schul-
lehrers Paradoxa" and "Fahrende Juden "; and for
the "Wiener Zeitung," " Sturmpetition eines Pflda-
gogen," these articles appearing over the pen-names
"Dr. Unbefangen," and " S. Pflager." He con-
tributed also to "Ost und West," "Bohemia," the
"Orient," the "Tagespresse," and the "Frauenzei-
tung." He was the author also of the poem "Der
Juden Vaterland " (Vienna, 1848).

Bibliography : AUg. Zeit. des Jud. 1882. pp. 93 et ncq.
s. F T H.

SZEGEDIN: Town of central Hungary. Jews
are mentioned there as tax-farmers during the Turk-
ish rule in Hungary (1552). When the Turks were
driven out of that country the Jews of Szegedin had
toleave; subseciuently, in 1714, three Jews, who had
settled there without the permission of the magis-
trate, were expelled, and at the conscription of 1768
the authorities claimed that not one Jew was living
in the town.

In 1719 Charles III. granted to Szegedin tlie priv-
ilege, enjoyed by most of the free royal cities, of
admitting Jews and Gipsies, or refusing to admit
them, at its pleasure: and Szegedin. like the other
cities, exercised this privilege with the utmost rigor
to the disadvantage of the Jews. In 1781 Michael
Hayyim Pollak settled in the city without permia-




sion of the magistrate, but three years later six fami-
lies obtained such permission. After this the number
of tolerated Jews gradually increased ; there were 11
families in the town in 1785, 18 in 1786, and 58 in 1799.
In virtue of the decree of 1790 the Jews were to re-
main unmolested in wliatever circumstances they
were at the time of the decree. This encouraged
them to acquire houses within the limits of the city;
and whereas in 1788 only the above-mentioned
Pollak possessed a house, in 1807 ton Jews were
house-owners. In 1813 a boundary-line was drawn
within which Jews were permitted io acquire
houses, but as early as 1824 the Jews encroached on
ground beyond this boundary, though the ordinance
was not repealed until 1859. In 1825 the commu-

the basis of government. These statutes were
modified in 1867 and thoroughly revised in 1870;
in 1903 new statutes went into force. In the period
between 1788 and 1902 twenty-three judges, or presi-
dents, conducted the affairs of the community.
Toward tiie end of the War of Liberation the Diet,
the members of which had fled to Szegedin, emanci-
pated the Jews (July 28, 1849) ; but this act had no
practical results. The proposition of Provost Krem-
minger in 1861 to elect Jews to the municipal coun-
cil shows the respect which the community enjoyed.
As early as 1789 the community decided to build
a synagogue, having so far held services in a hired
apartment; but in consequence of the opposition of
the municipal authorities this project could not be


(From a pbolngraph.)

nity had increased to 111, in 1831 to 367, and in 1840
to 800. In 1884 there were 800 Jewish taxpayers
in Szegedin.

The first communal statutes, referring especially
to worship, were drafted in 1791, and included
nineteen sections; they were enlarged in 1801 and

revised in 1830. Until 1867 a commis-

Organiza- sioner delegated by the municipal au-

tion. thorities presided at the election of the

governing board. In 1825 it was de-
cided to elect a committee of thirty -one members,
whose rights and duties were determined in 1830
and revised in 1833. After a futile attempt to re-
organize the communit3'in 1842, a marked advance
was achieved in 1857, when the magistrate under-
took the work of organization. In 1863 Leopold
Low, the chief rabbi, drafted statutes that are still

carried out until 1803; and when permission was
given to build, it was on condition that the syna-
gogue should have a chimney and a kitchen, so
that it might have the appearance of being a private
house. It contained 129 seats for men
Syna- and 99 for women. This synagogue

gog-ues. was replaced by a new building in
1839, with 400 seats for men and 260
for women, which was dedicated on May 19, 1843, by
IjQw Schwab, chief rabbi of Budapest. After the
great floods of 1879 it was renovated, and services
are still held there (1905). Opposite this building is
a newer and more imposing synagogue, one of the
notable edifices of the country, erected at a cost of
500,000 crowns; it seats 806 men and 623 women.

The first rabbi of Szegedin, R. Jehiel, officiated
from 1789 to 1790; his successors have been Hirsch



Szeg-edin ^

Bak (1790-1843), Daniel Pillitz (1843-47), Leopold
Low (1850-75), Wilhelm Baclier (1876-77), and the
present incumbent, Imnianuel Low (since 1878). In
1831 a dayyan was appointed as assistant to the
chief rabbi, and in 1894 an associate rabbi also was
engaged. The community has had a notary since

The Szegedin Hebra Kaddisha was founded in
1787; about the same time the Jewish liospital was
established, in a rented building ; but in 1856 the com-
munity erected a hospital-building of its own. The
first cemetery was laid out in 1793; it
Synagogal was enlarged in 1810;butin timeit was
and Phil- surrounded by houses, in consequence
anthropic of the rapid growth of the city, and
Societies, tlie bodies had to be exhumed (1867)
and reburied in a common grave in
the new cemetery. The Hebra Kaddisha had 490
members in 1903, and a fund of 120,000 crowns.
The Bikkur Holim was founded in 1821, and reor-
ganized in 1861 under the name " Rofe Holim." In
1831 a society for the relief of the poor was founded
iinder the name Hebrat Orhe 'Aniyyim, and in 1837 a
similar society, tlie llebrat 'Aniyye 'Irenu, which
still exists. The Women's Society, which was tlie
first one of its kind in Hungary, was founded in
1835 by Johanna Kohen. Chief Rabbi Low founded
in 1860 the society Hebra de-Saudikos. A society
for dowering poor girls was founded in 1865. Since
1892 the Orphan Society has had its own building,
equipped with all modern improvements. The
Young Women's Society conducts a kitchen during
the winter for the benefit of poor children.

The community founded in 1820 a school with
four classes, in which only Jewish subjects were
taught. At the same time the Talmud Torah was
formed to provide instruction for poor children. In
1839 steps were taken to organize, with the funds of
the Talmud Torah, a regular public

Schools, school, but the project could not be
carried out until 1844. The girls'
school was opened in 1851, through the efforts of
the society Hebrat Ne'urim (founded in 1833 and in
existence until 1855). A new building was erected
in 1871, but it was replaced by other buildings in
1883 and 1895. It has eight teachers and one as-
sistant; in 1902 there were 546 children on its rolls.
The community provides religious instruction in
the secondary schools, which contained 454 chil-
dren in 1902. The new hall of the community, built
at a cost of 150,000 crowns, is one of the most beau-
tiful edifices in the city. Among the ciiaritable
foundations should be mentioned the fund of 60,000
crowns donated by David Kiss for clothing poor

Szegedin has a total population of 87,410, inclu-
ding 5,863 Jews, 1,243 of whom are taxpayers.

s. A. Low.

SZENES, PHILIP: Hungarian painter; born
at Szent Miklos Torok in 1864. After studying at
the technical school at Budapest, he devoted him-
self to art, residing for several years successively
at Munich, in Italy, and at Paris. In 1895 he was
awarded first prize by the Paris Academy of Art, and
on his return to Budapest lie at once took rank with
the foremost painters of Hungary. His chief works

are: "Samson and Delilah," "Esther," "Judith,"
"St. Cecilia," "After Dinner," "The Evening
Paper," "Sunbeams," and "The Shepherd." Col-
lections of his works are found in the National Mu-
seum of Budapest, in the Kunstvereiu at Dresden,
and in the private gallery of Emperor Francis Jo-
seph I.

^. L. V.

ICH : Hungarian deputy treasurer; died Aug.,
1520. As a married man he liad had illicit inter-
course with a Christian woman, and when tiiis be-
came known, in order to escape severe punishment
he was forced to embrace Christianity ; lie was bap-
tized by Ladislaus Szaikai, Archbishop of Grau,
while the palatine Emerich Perenyi, whose first name
he thenceforth adopted, acted as sjjonsor. After
Szerencses' conversion he was appointed deputy
treasurer, in which position he exercised a great deal
of influence in favor of his former coreligionists.
Whenever they were in danger he sent them letters
of warning written in secret characters; and on one
occasion when he learned that an accusation of ritual
murder had been lodged against the Jewish commu-
nity of Ofen, he persuaded the king and the digni-
taries to deliver the calumniator to him. Wben an
order of expulsion was issued against the Jews of
Prague he made great sacrifices in order to secure its
revocation. He likewise rescued a Jew and a Jewess
who had been condemned to death by fire; and
he had the children of a baptized Jew brought up
in the Jewish faith. As long as he lived he distrib-
uted alms among the poor Jews every Friday. As
a token of their gratitude toward him the rabbis
of Ofen, Padua, and Constantinople ordered that
his sons, Abraham and Ephraim, who, like their
mother, had remained Jews, should be called up to
the Law by their father's name, and not, as was the
custom when the father had become a Christian, by
their grandfather's. This action was taken as an in-
dication that Szerencses was not considered an apos-
tate at heart.

But meanwhile the nobility of the realm, headed by
Stephan Werbiiczi, accused Szerencses of being the
cause of the financial embarrassment of the country;
and some of the members of the Diet of 1525 even
demanded that he be burned at the stake. Szer-
encses, indeed, had been grossly negligent in his
official duties, and, in common with many of the
most respected noblemen of the time, had made
free use of the state's money. He was therefore
imprisoned by King Louis II., whose favorite he had
been, but was released shortly afterward. On the
adjournment of the Diet servants of the nobles, re-
enforced by the rabble, attacked and plundered
his home, and he escaped the rage of the popu-
lace only by flight. At the same time the mob
stormed the ghetto, and seized all the valuables be-
longing to the Jews. When the Diet convened in
the following year (1526) on account of the threat-
ening incursions by the Turks, Szerencses was once
more restored to favor, but he died shortly after-
ward. On his death-bed, surrounded by many
Jews, he repented his sins, with tears and prayers.
His descendants adopted the name of Sachs.

8. A. Bu.




SZILASI, MOBIZ : Hungarian philologist ; born
1854; died at Klausenburg, Hungary, May 15,
1905. He studied philology at Budapest and Leip-
sic, and was appointed teacher successively at a
gymnasium in Budapest and at E5lv5s College.
In 1902 he was called to the chair of Hungarian
language and literature in the University of Klau-

Szilasi translated into Hungarian parts of the
works of Plutarch and Thucydides, as well as Cur
tins' "Griechische GescLichte" and Church's "Ro-
man Life in the Time of Cicero." He was the author
also of a Vogulic dictionary and of a " Vocabula-
rium Cseremissicum."

Bibliography: M. Eisler, in Dr. Bloch''s Oesterreichische
Wochenschrift, Vienna, June 2, 1905, pp. 342. 'Mi.

e. F. T. H.

SZILI, ADOLF: Hungarian ophthalmologist;
boin at Budapest in 1848; educated at Vienna
(M.D. 1872). In 1874 he went to Budapest, where
he became head physician of the ophthalmolog-
ical department of the Jewish hospital ; in 1883
lie was appointed privat-docent at the university,
and in 189.-) assistant professor. In 1902 King Fran-
cis Joseph I. elevated him to the Hungarian peer-
age, wlien he assumed the name " Szilsarkan^'." His
chief works are: "Eine Innervationserscheinungder
Iris" (1874); "Therapeutische Versuciie mit Eseri-

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 11) → online text (page 154 of 160)