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ALKALAI, JUDAH BEN SOLOMON ḤAI:

Rabbi in Semlin, Croatia; died October, 1878. He became noted through his propaganda in favor of the restoration of the Jews to Palestine. By reason of some of his projects, he may justly be regarded as one of the precursors of the modern Zionists headed by Th. Herzl (see Zionism). His work, "Goral la-Adonai" (A Lot for the Lord), published at Vienna, in 1857, is a treatise on the restoration of the Jews, and suggests methods for the betterment of conditions in Palestine. After a somewhat able homiletical discussion of the Messianic problem, in which he shows considerable knowledge of the older writers, Alkalai suggests the formation of a joint-stock company, such as a steamship or railroad trust, whose endeavor it should be to induce the sultan to cede Palestine to the Jews as a tributary country, on a plan similar to that on which the Danube principalities were governed. To this suggestion are appended the commendations of numerous Jewish scholars of various schools of thought. The problem of the restoration of Palestine was also discussed by Alkalai in "Shema' Yisrael" (Hear, O Israel), 1861 or 1862, and in "Harbinger of Good Tidings" (compare "Jewish Chronicle," 1857, p. 1198, where his name is spelled Alkali). In his "Shelom Yerushalayim" (The Peace of Jerusalem), 1840, he replies to those who attacked his book, "Darke No'am" (The Pleasant Paths), which treated of the duty of tithes. Another work of his, "Minḥat Yehudah" (The Offering of Judah), Vienna, 1843, is a panegyric on Montefiore and Crémieux, who had rescued the Jews of Damascus from the horrors of the blood-accusation.

Bibliography:
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. i. 39;
  • Zedner, Cat. Hebr. Books Brit. Mus. p. 43;
  • Steinschneider, Hebr. Bibl. i. 28, v. 86;
  • Jew. Quart. Rev. xi. 605.
H. G. E.
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