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MIELZINER, MOSES:

American rabbi and author; born at Schubin, province of Posen, Germany, Aug. 12, 1828; died at Cincinnati Feb. 18, 1903. His father, Benjamin, rabbi in his native town, gave him the first instruction in Talmudic literature, while he received his secular education from L. I. Braunhart, a man of superior gifts, who, after having been a pupil of Heinrich Heine in the course founded by the Culturverein in Berlin, was appointed principal of the Jewish school in Schubin in 1835, and remained there until his death in his ninety-eighth year in 1904. In 1843 Mielziner was sent to Exin, where he attended the yeshibah of the aged rabbi Wolf Klausner, and in 1845 he went to Berlin in pursuit of further secular education, attending at the same time the Talmudic course of Rabbi J. J. Oettinger. Having prepared himself privately for academic studies, he entered the University of Berlin in 1848, and remained there until 1852, when Samuel Holdheim, who took a great interest in him, recommended him to Waren in Mecklenburg as teacher and preacher. The Orthodox reaction introduced by the "Landrabbiner" Lüpschitz in 1853 forced Mielziner, much to the regret of his congregation ("Allg. Zeit. des Jud." 1854, p. 527; 1857, p. 369), to resign his position. He went to Denmark, where his brother Solomon was minister in Aalborg, and soon obtained a position at Randers in 1854. In 1857 he was called as principal of the religious school to Copenhagen, where he remained until 1865, when he was called to the rabbinate of the Congregation Anshe Chesed in New York ("New Yorker Staats-Zeitung," 1865, No. 215). When this congregation was absorbed by the Beth-El congregation, he opened a private school, which he conducted until 1879, when he received a call as professor of Talmud and rabbinical literature from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. Upon the death of Isaac M. Wise March 26, 1900, he became president of this institution, and held this position until his death.

Moses Mielziner.

Mielziner was not a voluminous writer. Apart from several sermons which he published, the first of which was delivered in Waren, 1854, he wrote "Die Verhältnisse der Sklaven bei den Hebräern," Copenhagen, 1859, this being the thesis for which he received the degree of Ph.D. from the University of Giessen. This book appeared also in an English translation under the title "Slavery Among the Ancient Hebrews," Cincinnati, 1895. As a result of his lectures at the college he published: "Jewish Law of Marriage and Divorce," Cincinnati, 1884; "Introduction to the Talmud," ib. 1894; second edition, New York, 1903; and "Legal Maxims of the Talmud," ib. 1898. Mielziner edited a Danish almanac for the year 5622 = 1862-63, and "A Selection from the Psalms for School and Family," Cincinnati, 1890. He also contributed to the "Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums," "Ben Chananja," the "American Israelite," and "Die Deborah," and wrote articles for the "Year-Book of the Central Conferenceof American Rabbis" and for The Jewish Encyclopedia.

Mielziner married in 1861 Rosette Levald of Copenhagen, and of the seven children who survived him, one, Leo, is an artist, living in Paris, and another, Jacob, is a rabbi at Helena, Mont.

Bibliography:
  • American Israelite, Feb. 26, 1903;
  • Allg. Zeit. des Jud. 1903, pp. 271-273;
  • Program of the Hebrew Union College, 1903, and Beretning om den Jödiske Religionsskole's Virksomhed i de Forlöbne 50 Aar, Copenhagen, 1904.
A. D.
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