City in Alsace. Its Jewish community is of comparatively recent foundation. In 1784 there were no Jews in Mülhausen, and only since 1798, when the city was incorporated into France, have Jews been tolerated there. In 1830 the congregation, comprising seventy-six families, elected its first rabbi, Moses David Bernheim, who died in 1832 and was the first to be buried in the cemetery which the community had just acquired. In 1849 the community, which had then considerably increased, built a new temple with a seating capacity of 400.
In 1892 an organ was erected, which is played on Saturdays and feast-days, but not on Yom Kippur. In 1873 all the dead in the old cemetery were transferred to a new one outside of the city. The community of Mülhausen possesses an infirmary, founded in 1867, in which the aged of both sexes from Upper Alsace are cared for, mostly gratuitously; the annual expenses amount to 20,000 francs, the city of Mülhausen contributing annually about 5,000 francs. The ground on which the infirmary is built was donated by the father of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus. At present (1904) the institution shelters 27 aged persons: 15 women and 12 men.
In 1842 the Philanthropic Society of the Upper Rhine took into consideration the desirability of founding a school of arts and handicrafts, in which poor Jewish children might be gratuitously supported and might learn trades, so that they wouldnot be forced to become pedlers and petty traders. This school, for which the community offered a location, was established at Mülhausen. Since its foundation 540 pupils have studied there, a large number of whom have since become its patrons and have attained to distinguished positions. In 1903 it contained 39 students, whose ages ranged from fourteen to seventeen. The school has been recognized as an institution of public utility by the government, and the city of Mülhausen contributes an annual subsidy of 5,000 francs. The remainder of the expenditure, which amounts to 18,000 francs annually, is met almost exclusively by members of the Jewish community of Mülhausen.
The successor of the above-mentioned Bernheim in the rabbinate was Samuel Dreyfus, author of several articles published in the "Semaine Israélite" and "L'Univers Israélite"; died in 1870. He was followed in 1873 by Rabbi Solomon Moock, chaplain in the army of the Rhine. After his death in 1898 the rabbinate was filled by Felix Blum, author of "Le Synhedrin de Jerusalem" who is still in office.
The following Jewish organizations exist in the city: two large societies (one numbering 145, the other 171, members) for mutual support (they also contribute several thousand francs yearly for the support of the poor and for the education of children of indigent parents); a women's society (325 members), which devotes all its funds to charitable purposes; a fund for the assistance of the poor of the community (expenditures 10,600 francs); a society which distributes food to needy families once a week; a society for Jewish history and literature, in connection with which lectures are delivered on subjects relating to Judaism; a society of "Meṭaharim" and another of "Ḳabranim" (ḥebra ḳaddisha). Religious instruction is furnished in the higher schools by the rabbi, in the common schools by three male instructors and two female teachers.
The Jews of Mülhausen number 2,400 in a total population of 89,118.