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SOSSNITZ, JOSEPH JUDAH LÖB:

Russian-American Talmudic scholar, mathematician, and scientific author; born at Birzhi, government of Kovno, Sept. 17, 1837. When he was only ten years old he prepared a calendar for the year 5608 (=1847-48). At the age of nineteen he went to Riga as a teacher of Hebrew, and there made the acquaintance of Professor Novik, who gave him access to the library of the polytechnical school, where he studied German and perfected himself in secular sciences, on which he published articles in Jewish periodicals. In 1875 he was invited to Berlin by H. S. Slonimski to act as coeditor of "Ha-Ẓefirah," but as he refused to write against Lichtenfeld, Slonimski's antagonist, he was dismissed. In 1888 he settled at Warsaw as editor of the scientific and cabalistic departments of "Ha-Eshkol." He went to New York in 1891, and two years later he founded, in 104th street, a Talmud Torah, of which he was principal until 1897. Since 1899 he has been lecturer on Jewish ethics in the Educational Alliance.

Sossnitz has written on different treatises of the Talmud, and on astronomy, geometry, physics, etc. His published works are as follows: "Aken Yesh Adonai" (Wilna, 1875), an attack upon modern materialism and particularly upon Büchner's "Kraft und Stoff"; "Ha-Shemesh" (Warsaw, 1878), an essay upon a scientific demonstration of the sun's substance, based on modern investigation and accompanied by astronomical tables; "Seḥoḳ ha-Shak" (Wilna, 1880), a manual of chess, based upon A. von Breda's method; "Der Ewige Kalender" (Riga, 1884); "'Iddan 'Olamim" (Warsaw, 1888), a perpetual calendar for Jews, Christians, and Mohammedans, with tables for comparison; "Ha-Ma'or" (ib. 1889), an essay on Jewish religious philosophy, containing, besides, notes on Biblical and Talmudical exegesis.

Bibliography:
  • American Jewish Year Book, 5665 (1905), p. 192;
  • B. Eisenstadt, Ḥakme Yisrael be-Amerika, pp. 43 et seq.;
  • Sokolow, Sefer Zikkaron, p. 41;
  • Zeitlin, Bibl. Post-Mendels. pp. 375-376.
E. C. M. Sel.
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