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RAPHALL, MORRIS JACOB:

Rabbi and author; born at Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 3, 1798; died at New York June 23, 1868. At the age of nine he was taken by his father, who was banker to the King of Sweden, to Copenhagen, where he was educated at the Hebrew grammar-school. Later he went to England, where he devoted himself to the study of languages, for the better acquisition of which he subsequently traveled in France, Germany, and Belgium. After lecturing on Hebrew poetry he began to publish the "Hebrew Review, and Magazine of Rabbinical Literature," which he was forced to discontinue in 1836 owing to ill health.

For some time he acted as honorary secretary to Solomon Herschell, chief rabbi of Great Britain. He made translations from Maimonides, Albo, and Herz Wessely; conjointly with the Rev. D. A. de Sola he published a translation of eighteen treatises of the Mishnah; and he also began a translation of the Pentateuch, of which only one volume appeared. In 1840, when the blood accusation was made at Damascus, he published a refutation of it in four languages (Hebrew, English, French, and German) and wrote a defense of Judaism against an anonymous writer in the London "Times."

In 1841 he was appointed minister of the Birmingham Synagogue and master of the school. He continued in these capacities for eight years, and then sailed for New York (1849). In that city he was appointed rabbi and preacher of the B'nei Jeshurun congregation, where he continued as pastor till 1866, his duties then being relaxed owing to his infirm health.

Raphall was the author of a text-book of the post-Biblical history of the Jews (to the year 70 C.E.). He received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Erlangen (Germany).

Bibliography:
  • Jew. Chron. July 17, 1868;
  • Morais, Eminent Israelites.
J. I. Co.
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