AMSTERDAM (formerly Amstelredam, and so written in Jewish documents):
- I. The Sephardim Until 1795:
- The First Two Synagogues.
- Increased Immigration.
- The Shabbethai Ẓebi Movement.
- The Amsterdam Portuguese Synagogue.
- Hebrew Printing and Publishing.
- The "'Eẓ Ḥayyim" School.
- II. The Ashkenazim Until 1795:
- Influx of Polish Jews.
- Internal Schisms.
- Autocratic Power of the Parnasim.
- III. The United Congregations from 1795 to 1900:
- Civil Disabilities.
- The Kingdom of Holland.
- Educational Work.
- Internal Development.
- IV. Statistics:
One of the capital cities of the Netherlands founded as a fishing village in the thirteenth century. No Jews lived there in the early period when it was under Spanish domination. The history of its Jews may be best considered under three divisions: (1) the Sephardim, until 1795; (2) the Ashkenazim, until 1795; (3) both congregations, from 1795 to the present time (1901).I. The Sephardim Until 1795:
There is no actual proof of the existence of Jews in Amsterdam before the latter half of the sixteenth century, though the probability is strong that some lived there earlier. When Holland joined the Union of Utrecht (1579), which, among other provisions, forbade persecution on religious grounds, the Maranos in Portugal fixed their hopes on Amsterdam, and, according to Franco Mendes and Graetz, the first Maranos settled there in 1593. They were Manuel Lopez Pereira, his sister Maria Nuñez, and her uncle Miguel Lopez. Their voyage had not been prosperous; they were first captured by English pirates and taken to London. They again set sail for Amsterdam, only to be flung by a storm upon the coast of East Friesland at Emden. Thence the Rabbi Moses Uri Levi (born 1544) helped them on to Amsterdam, and followed them shortly in order to receive them back into Judaism. Soon thereafter other Jews came from Portugal, mainly relatives of these first comers.The First Two Synagogues.
On Atonement Day, 5357 (October 2, 1596), they met together for worship—probably for the first time—in the house of Don Samuel Palache, ambassador of the emperor of Morocco to the Netherlands. The congregation numbered sixteen. Soon afterward a hall for worship was secured, named "Beth Ya'aḳob," after one of its founders, Jacob Tirado, and consecrated on New-year's Day, 5358. Moses Uri Levi was preacher: he spoke in German; and his son Aaron ha-Levi (born 1578) translated his sermon into Spanish. The rabbis of this synagogue, called "Ḧakamim," were Joseph Pardo (in office from 1597 to 1619), and Moses ben Aroyo (from 1597 until his departure for Constantinople). In 1616 Saul Levi Morteira became rabbi. Most of these facts, as well as many incidents of the times, are mentioned by De Barrios. In the archives of the city of Amsterdam, probably the oldest date dealing with Portuguese Jews is November 28, 1598, when there was entered in the "Puyboek," v. 22b, the announcement of the intended marriage of Manuel Lopez Homé and the above-mentioned Maria Nuñez. The community grew apace through the constant arrival of refugees from Portugal and southern France; and a second hall for worship was opened by Isaac Franco Medeiros in 1608, under the name of "Neweh Shalom." Its first three rabbis were: Judah Vega (in office from 1608 until his departure for Constantinople); Isaac Uzziel of Fez (1610-1622); and Manasseh ben Israel (1622).Increased Immigration.
Amsterdam could well be satisfied with this accession of Jews. Holland was, in those times, a rather poor country; and the Portuguese Jews brought great wealth into the land. They took part in transmarine enterprises and fostered trade. And not alone did the city's material riches increase through them: its intellectual wealth increased also. Mention is made of Jewish physicians and poets of about this time. From among the latter, it is necessary to mention only
Thus far the Jewish services had been tacitly rather than openly permitted by the city authorities. During the contests between the Remonstrants and the contra-Remonstrants frequent allusion was made to the liberty of worship enjoyed by the Jews. Accordingly the States General appointed a commission to make statutes concerning the Jews (1615), and a city ordinance, dated November 8, 1616, prohibited them from speaking publicly against the Christian religion or publishing anything against it, and forbade them to intermarry with Christians. At the same time special forms of oath for Jews were drawn up in Spanish (see "Handvesten," 1748, ii. 472). The result of the commission was a resolution (1619), granting each city authority to make its own regulations concerning Jews.Amalgamation.
The Portuguese Jews, as above described, had founded three congregations. When, in the beginning of the fourth decade of the seventeenth century, numerous Jews from other countries came to Amsterdam, those from Spain and Portugal wished to provide for a closer union with each other; after long negotiations, the three congregations were consolidated (1638). The synagogue "Beth Ya'aḳob" was sold; that of "Bet Yisrael" was remodeled and used as a school (Talmud Torah), and "Neweh Shalom" was retained as the common place of worship. A constitution of forty-two articles, which had received the sanction of the city authorities, was proclaimed in this synagogue (1638). With its supplement (Huishoudelyk Reglement) it plainly reveals the traditional autocracy of the "parnasim" (presidents and wardens); in all disputes they alone could decide. The following rabbis of the different synagogues were reinstated in the order of priority of appointment: Saul Levi Morteira (died 1660), David Pardo (died 1657), Manasseh ben Israel (in office until 1655, and died in Middelburg 1657, on his journey back from London), and Isaac Aboab da Fonseca (died 1693). The importance of the Amsterdam Jewish congregation in the middle of the seventeenth century may be seen from the following incident. While Manasseh ben Israel was in London, endeavoring to secure from Cromwell the readmission of Jews to England, Charles II. notified the Jewish congregation in Amsterdam (1656), that if they would support him with money and arms in his projected invasion of England, he would willingly grant them permission to settle there when he should have conquered the country. Though outwardly flourishing, the united congregation was not without its internal troubles. In 1640
Now came a time wherein all Judaism was set in a state of ferment. Shabbethai Ẓebi, the false Messiah, appeared. The great majority of the Portuguese Jews in Amsterdam in 1666 were infected with the prevailing mania, and conditions might have become serious had not Jacob Sasportas (a member of the rabbinical board) stepped forward to combat with all his energy the insanity which had seized upon everybody. It had already gone far indeed; prayers had been offered in the synagogue for the "King Messiah Shabbethai Ẓebi"; prayer-books had been printed in which the date was given as "the year one of the Messiah," and adorned with frontispieces portraying Shabbethai Ẓebi. Many of the congregation had even journeyed to Adrianople to see the "Messiah." Reaction, however, soon set in; Shabbethai Ẓebi's careercame to an ignominious end. The results would have been far more serious for the Portuguese congregation in Amsterdam had not the "mahamad" (board of wardens) persuaded the magistrates to sanction a resolution in 1670 that no one might sever his connection with the congregation under penalty of the severest excommunication.
Meanwhile, the financial resources of the congregation being in excellent condition, the members conceived the idea of building a synagogue worthy of the continually increasing membership. In 1670 the plans took definite form, and in 1671 the corner-stone of the new synagogue was laid, and four years later (1675) the consecration, with imposing ceremonies, took place.The Amsterdam Portuguese Synagogue.
Jews and Christians alike glorified this, certainly the most famous synagogue of Europe, and numerous copperplate engravings, still extant, made by the most celebrated Dutch engravers, depict its imposing proportions. At its consecration the congregation numbered 898 male members, of whom 586 were married and 312 single.Hebrew Printing and Publishing.
Peace now reigned and a period of quiet progress ensued. The congregation became the focus toward which all literary endeavor in Judaism converged. Menasseh ben Israel completed the printing of the first Hebrew book in Amsterdam, January 1, 1627 (compare Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." No. 2129), thereby laying the foundation for that development of Hebrew typography and publishing in which, until the beginning of the nineteenth century, Amsterdam had never been equaled by any other city. So highly esteemed was the Amsterdam imprint that even foreign reprints claimed the credit of being printed "with Amsterdam type." How far-reaching the Amsterdam book-trade was may be seen from a document, dated February 7, 1685, found in the city archives of Breslau (Brann, in "Monatsschrift," 1896, p. 476), which advised against the establishment of a Hebrew press in Silesia, "because there are three very large Jewish printing establishments at Amsterdam in Holland, whence books are sent by sea to Danzig and Memel, thus abundantly providing for the Jews of Poland and Lithuania." Besides the printing-house of Manasseh ben Israel, there were those of David Tartas, Imanuel Benveniste, and Joseph and Imanuel Athias. In the German(Ashkenaz) community the best-known presses were those of Uri Phœbus ha-Levi and Solomon ben Joseph Proops, the latter the founder of a family of printer-publishers who have supplied all Europe with their products (see Steinschneider and Cassel, "Jüdische Typographie und Jüdischer Buchhandel," in Ersch and Gruber's "Encyklopädie," ii. 28, 64-74). It was therefore not strange that Jews, from all parts of the world, were induced to visit Amsterdam, either to get their books printed or to seek the patronage of the influential men there. Jacob Sasportas (born 1610 in Oran, Algeria; died 1698), who became chief rabbi of the Portuguese community after Aboab's death, in his responsa, "Ohel Ya'aḳob" (Amsterdam, 1737), relates many things about the literary life of Amsterdam. The Jewish school of the Sephardic community (see below) also became distinguished for scholarship (see Shabbethai Bass, "Sifte Yeshenim," preface; Güdemann, "Quellenschriften," p. 112, Berlin, 1891).
The successor of Jacob Sasportas was Solomon de Oliveyra (died 1708), a scholar and prolific writer, who in turn was followed by Solomon Judah Ayllon (born at Safed, 1664). Ayllon, who had formerly been a zealous partizan of Shabbethai Ẓebi, came to Amsterdam from London, and was associated in the rabbinate with Solomon de Oliveyra (1701). While chief rabbi in Amsterdam he became the central personage in the contests that were instigated by Nehemiah Ḥiyyah Ḥayyun (1713), shortly after the latter's arrival in Amsterdam. Besides him, Ḥakam Ẓebi, then chief rabbi of the Ashkenaz community, and Moses Ḥages, an emissary from Jerusalem (born about 1660, died about 1741), took part in this matter (for particulars see Grätz, "Gesch. d. Juden," x. note 6). Ayllon died in 1728. He was followed by David Israel Athias (died 1753) and Isaac Ḥayyim Abendana de Britto (died 1760), who were chief rabbis together.These two, like their predecessors, held honorable positions as scholars. In 1637, under Saul Levi Morteira, the Jewish school "'Eẓ Ḥayyim" was founded; Solomon de Oliveyra, in 1699, introduced a rule that the pupils of the highest class should work out legal decisions every month. When Abendana became president of this institution, he had these exercises printed and published every month. Through them his reputation spread far and wide. The collection of his responsa was entitled "Peri 'Eẓ Ḥayyim" (Amsterdam, 1728-1811, 15 volumes). After Abendana's death the rabbinate remained vacant for a short time. In 1762 Solomon Salem (born at Adrianople 1717, died 1781) was called from Sofia to Amsterdam. He presided in the rabbinate nearly twenty years, and became well known as an author. His successor was David Acohen de Azevedo (installed 1782, died 1792), who was followed by his son Daniel (installed 1792), during whose period of office the emancipation of the Jews in Holland took place.II. The Ashkenazim Until 1795: Influx of Polish Jews.
Even less is known about the first settlements of German Jews in Holland than about those of their Portuguese brethren. In the beginning of the seventeenth century a few German Jews seem to have dwelt in Amsterdam, for in the burial-lists of the Portuguese congregation several "Tedescos" (Teutons, Germans) are mentioned. A congregation was not formed until 1635. Amelander, in his "Scheerit Israel," relates that in a book about which there exists no other information (perhaps a manuscript) by Maharam Maarsen, he read that the Germans held divine worship for the first time on New Year, 5396 (September, 1635). The Portuguese congregation helped its German sister-community in every way, and it grew rapidly also. Its first rabbi was Moses Wahl. It soon (1642) purchased in Muiderberg, about twelve miles from Amsterdam, the burial-ground still in use. The second rabbi was Isaac ben Joshua of Emmerich, who was followed shortly by his brother Abraham ben Joshua of Worms (died 1678). Soon after the persecution of the Jews in Poland under Chmielnicki, and especially during the massacres of 1654 and 1655, many Jews came by sea to Amsterdam, and founded a separate Polish congregation. Their rabbi was Judah Loeb ben Solomon of Wilna. They purchased (1660) a cemetery also in Muiderberg. In 1673, owing to disputes between the Polish and German communities, the magistrates stringently forbade the former to have separate communal institutions; they accordingly joined the Ashkenazim, and Judah Loeb went to Rotterdam, where he became chief rabbi. The German congregation had been presided over since 1667 by Isaac b. Simeon Deckingen of Worms. During his term of office the great Synagogue was built and consecrated on the first day of Passover, 5431 (1671); its construction cost 33,000 gulden ($13,200). In spite of this sum of money, considerable for those days, the German congregation was by no means so wealthy as the Portuguese, and in the ensuing period appeals for assistance had frequently to be made to the city authorities.
In 1672, the forces of Louis XIV. advanced to the neighborhood of Amsterdam, which was rendered unsettled by the encampment of French soldiers nearby. The road to the cemetery in Muiderberg being blocked, the magistrates granted to the Jews another burial-place within the city limits, where, from 1672 to 1674, more than ninety persons were interred, among them Chief Rabbi Isaac Deckingen (died 1672). In 1677 Meir Stern of Fulda was appointed to succeed him. His participation in the preparation of Judæo-German Bible translations is described by Grätz, "Gesch. d. Juden," x. 298. He was a cabalist, and gave instruction in the Cabala to Knorr von Rosenroth. In 1679 he was called to Cracow, but died en route at Niederwesel; his successor in Amsterdam was David Lida (formerly chief rabbi of Mayence), who came to Amsterdam in 1680. In the very first years of his rabbinate Lida engaged in a dispute with Nisan b. Judah Loeb, the brother-in-law of R. Wolf, then chief rabbi in Berlin, whose work he himself had published in Amsterdam. Lida left Amsterdam, but the Portuguese rabbinate interested itself in his behalf. Later he seems to have become suspected of Shabbethaism, and thus arrayed against himself not only the Ashkenazic authorities, but also the Portuguese. Then the "Wa'ad Arba' Araẓot" (Council of Four Lands) took up his cause, with the result that he made his peace with the Amsterdam congregation and returned there. He was appointed, with the approbation of the magistracy, as chief rabbi, for three years; but at the expiration of the term his contract was not renewed. He left Amsterdam, and went to Lemberg, where he died, 1696 (David Lida, "Beer 'Esek," 1684; responsa, "Ohel Ya'aḳob," Nos. 74-76; Jacob Emden's edition of the "Kiẓẓur Ẓiẓat Nobel Ẓebi," p. 59a, Altona, 1757; Buber, "Anshe Shem," p. 56). While he was in Amsterdam the notorious Eisenmenger visited him ("Entdecktes Judenthum," i. 843, Königsberg, 1711). Lida's successor was Moses Judah ben Kalonymus Cohen (died 1705), or, as he is generally styled, "Rabbi Leib Ḥarif." During his rabbinate city riots occurred (1696); the mob turned its attention to the Jews, and several houses were plundered. The authorities took energetic and prompt steps to protect the Jews, and the disturbances soon subsided. These outbreaks have been described in "Historie van den Oproer te Amsterdam, 31 Januari, 1696," Amsterdam, 1725, and in a similar work in Judæo-German by Joseph Maarsen; see Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." No. 5954, No. 1.
After Leib Ḥarif's death, Saul of Cracow was called to Amsterdam; while on the way he died in Glogau (1707). In the interim the duties of the office were discharged by Judah Loeb b. Anschel, formerly rabbi in London, then chief rabbi in Rotterdam. In addition, the Amsterdam congregation employed at this time three rabbinical associates—Josef ben Reuben Judah Cohen, Isaac ben Solomon of Zamosc, and Pinchas Selig ben Moses of Posen. But soon thereafter, about the end of 1708, there was again a chief rabbi, Aryeh Judah Kalisch. He was destined, however, to preside over the congregation for only a short time; Jacob Emden tells in his autobiography ("Megillat Sefer," p. 28) that quarrels in the congregation threw him upon a sick-bed, where he died (1709). His successor was Ẓebi Hirsch Ashkenazi, or, as he was universally known, Ḥakam Ẓebi; he was called from Altona. In the beginning he was regarded not alone by the Ashkenazim, but also by the Sephardim, as a superior being; owing, however, to his incorruptible honesty and unselfishness he soon had many enemies. Nehemiah Ḥiyya Ḥayyun, already mentioned, managed to render his position in the congregation untenable. Ḥakam Ẓebi, by his outspoken opposition to this unprincipled man, had drawn upon himself the ill-will of the Portuguese congregation, and of the authorities of his own community. The latter brought the matter before the magistrates, who, in order to obtain full information upon the subject, consulted not only the theological professors of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leyden, and Harderwyk, but also thePortuguese parnasim (wardens) as well. It was no wonder then that, with this array of counselors, Ḥakam Ẓebi was declared to have forfeited his office (1714). He went by way of London and Emden to Lemberg, where, after officiating as rabbi for a short time, he died in 1718.Internal Schisms.
His departure, however, did not silence the disputes in the congregation; the magistrates therefore would not grant permission for the election of a successor. The duties of the office were meanwhile discharged by the assistants (dayyanim), Moses Frankfurt, Joseph Dayyan (both well known as owners of printing-offices), and Isaac of Zamosc. Ultimately the city authorities issued the desired permission, and Abraham Judah Berlin, formerly rabbi in Halberstadt, became rabbi (1717). Peace seems to have been restored during the thirteen years of his incumbency, but on his death (1730) disputes broke out again, and another five years elapsed before a successor was appointed. Since agreement in the congregation was impossible the following curious program was arranged: the magistrates allowed each one of the seven parnasim to nominate a candidate, and of these the magistrates themselves, by a resolution dated Jan. 31, 1735, selected three, to whom the rabbinate was to be offered successively in a certain fixed order. The first one on the list was Eleazar of Brody, who accepted the appointment, and was received with great honor (1735). A medal was struck in celebration of his arrival, but he did not stay long; for he left Amsterdam in 1740 to settle in Jerusalem, and died in Safed (1741). This time the position was not left vacant; the congregation had become more harmonious, and it appointed Ḥakam Ẓebi's son-in-law Aryeh Loeb, who was the son of that Saul who died in 1707 on his way to Amsterdam, to enter upon the duties of the rabbinate. Aryeh Loeb, or, to give his full name, Levi Saul Löwenstam, became known principally through the heated discussion between his brother-in-law Jacob Emden and Jonathan Eibenschütz. When Emden fled from Altona he found refuge with Aryeh Loeb in Amsterdam. It was owing to Loeb's influence that it was decided (1740) to establish a bet ha-midrash (college for Jewish theology), provided with a full library. It was in many ways a prosperous period for the Amsterdam congregation. In 1730 the increase in Jewish population necessitated the opening of another synagogue, which was further enlarged in 1750.
Owing to its printing establishments, libraries, and scholars' associations, the Ashkenazim community of Amsterdam soon acquired a reputation throughout Europe superior to that of the Portuguese. Aryeh Loeb died in 1755; his son Saul Löwenstam (born in Rzeszow 1717, died 1790) became his successor. Löwenstam's name is distinguished in the annals of Jewish scholarship; the large number of literary "approbations" which were sought of him prove this.
During the whole of this period the power of the parnasim was almost absolute. Consulting only those who had already served in the office, they modified at will the statutes of the congregation and procured the approval of the magistrates. For the lay members of the congregation there remained nothing but implicit obedience. A petition presented by a large majority of the members to the magistracy in 1780, in which they protested against the arbitrary action of these officials, may be regarded as a harbinger of peace.At first it met with no success, but in course of time these abuses were remedied. During the rabbinate of R. Saul's son, Jacob Moses Löwenstam, who was elected in 1790, the emancipation of the Jews in Holland may be said to have commenced. The new times demanded new rights.III. The United Congregations from 1795 to 1900: Civil Disabilities.
Although the Jews in Amsterdam enjoyed full religious freedom, their civil liberties were materially restricted during the whole of the period described. By a decree of 1632 every ordinary pursuit was closed to them. Only those actually pertaining to their religion were permitted; such as dealing in meat and other provisions, Hebrew printing and publishing. They were also allowed to dispense drugs. The universities would perhaps have accorded degrees to Jews, but the Hof van Holland decreed (1658) that no Jewish advocate might plead before the courts. The oppressive effect of such statutes was felt more and more. When, therefore, the French took possession of Amsterdam (1795) many of the Jews there became imbued with revolutionary ideas, and founded an association called "Felix Libertate" (1795). This "People's Society," as the expression then ran, became the soul of a movement to acquire civil rights for Jews. The first attempt was directed toward securing the right to vote and to serve in the Citizens' Guard. The chief movers in this matter were Moses Solomon Asser, Jacob Sasportas, and H. de H. Lemon, who labored zealously in the cause, both in speech and in writing. The pamphlets and newspaper articles, for and against it, were numerous. But, strange to say, they met with opposition within the Jewish camp, as well as outside of it; in both congregations the rabbis and parnasim arrayed themselves in opposition more persistently than the members. Probably the full extent of the movement was not quite clear to them, and the parnasim, no doubt, feared a diminution of their autocratic power. But the "Felix Libertate," undismayed, petitioned the "Nationale Vergadering" (National Assembly), asking that Jews be given equal rights with other citizens, and a commission was appointed to consider the matter. For eight days it was publicly discussed in the Assembly. Finally, a resolution was adopted declaring that Jews should possess equal rights with their fellow citizens (1795). These discussions, however, produced divisions in the Jewish congregations themselves. Jacob Moses Löwenstam, chief rabbi of the Ashkenazim (called Jacob Saul in official documents), and Daniel Acohen de Azevedo of the Portuguese community, proposed to expel members of the "Felix Libertate" from their congregations. These, however, separated of their own accord, and formed a new congregation, "'Adat Yeshurun," with Isaac Graanboom as rabbi (installed 1797, died 1807). They erected a new synagogue, consecrated Sept. 27, 1799, and also purchased a cemetery in Overveen, near Haarlem. The strife attained large proportions, and every week during the years 1797 and 1798 both sides published so-called "Discourses" in Judæo-German, which afford interesting contributions to the history of the time (see Roest, "Cat. Rosenth." pp. 70 and 71). Attempts at reconciliation were made from many quarters, but for the time remained unsuccessful.The Kingdom of Holland.
Holland became a kingdom. Louis Bonaparte not only sanctioned the emancipation of the Jews, but showed himself in all things their friend. Soon after his coronation in 1806, in order to bring about a reconciliation, he appointed a commission consisting of the Dutch jurist Jonas Daniel Meyer, Jonah Rintel, and Judah Litwack, the last two of the new congregation. After many meetings and resolutions a compromise was devised and approved by the king; at the same time a new royal statute for the senior congregations was announced. King Louis interested himself not only in the Amsterdam community, but also in the affairs of the Jews of all Holland, to regulate which he appointed an Ober-Consistorium. He endeavored likewise to raise the grade of instruction for Jewish children; he also formed two regiments, of 813 men each, made up exclusively of Jews; but they were disbanded on the incorporation of Holland with the French empire (1810), and the Jewish soldiers, like other Hollanders, were distributed among the French regiments.
William I., of the House of Orange, who was crowned king of the Netherlands in 1815, like other members of his house, was friendly to the Jews. Soon after his coronation he appointed a committee to regulate the relations of the Jews to the state. A law was passed (1814) concerning the "Israelietisch Kerkgenootschap," and as a court of the last resort in Jewish matters a "Hoofdcommissie tot de Zaken der Israelieten" was instituted. A further decree (1817) required the congregations to maintain Jewish free schools for the poor.Educational Work.
In literary matters likewise the congregation of Amsterdam developed great activity. Similar to the "Meassefim" of Germany, several persons associated themselves for the study of Jewish literature under the name of "Toelet." Many volumes of poems and essays in Hebrew were published by the society. The school "Sa'adat BaḦurim," established in 1708 by the chief rabbi, Aryeh Judah Kalisch, was in 1834 made a state school, under the name "Nederlandsch Israelietisch Seminarium," for the training of rabbis and teachers. Steps were also taken for the spread of culture among the Jewish population. The principal workers were Moses Lemans (born at Naarden 1785, died at Amsterdam 1832), Samuel Mulder (1792-1862), and the best known of them Gabriel Polak (1803-1869). They exercised great influence upon the development of the Jews of Amsterdam, and furnished them with Jewish school-books and translations of the Bible and the various prayer-books into the Dutch language. After the death of Jacob Moses Löwenstam (1815), his son-in-law, Samuel Berenstein, became chief rabbi of the German congregation. He, too, exerted himself in behalf of progress. When he died (1838) the chief rabbinate was not filled immediately, but a rabbinical college (bet din) was entrusted with the guidance of all religious affairs. The members were A. J. Susan (died 1861), J. M. Content (died 1898), B. S. Berenstein (later chief rabbi at The Hague), J. S. Hirsch (died 1870), J. D. Wynkoop (since January, 1871). The Portuguese congregation, upon the death of De Azevedo in 1822, likewise appointed no chief rabbi, but a bet din, consisting of Jacob de Elieser Ferares (died 1852), Solomon de Abraham Acoen Pereira (died 1828), Raphael Montezinos (died 1866), Isaac Mendes de Sola (died 1849), Aaron Mendes Chumaceiro (in 1860 chief rabbi of Curaçao), and David Lopez Cardozo (died 1890), Aaron Vas Diaz (died 1885), Jacob Lopez Cardozo (until 1873), Jacob Mendes Chumaceiro (died 1900), I. Van J. Palache (from 1885), and A. R. Pereira (from 1885). In the Portuguese community the reorganization of public affairs was by no means as thorough as in the German; moreover, with a few exceptions, they took less interest in Jewish literary matters.
In 1848 Holland received a partially new constitution; State and Church were almost completely separated. The minister of the time was instrumental in calling a convention at The Hague in 1850, which consisted of twenty-six delegates from the various Jewish congregations throughout Holland. Many sessions were held in the endeavor to arrive at a general state law for the Jewish congregations, but without any appreciable success. Ten years later a new convention was called; it framed a draft for such a law, which, however, was received with only faint approval by the two congregations in Amsterdam, which together composed more than half of the total Jewish population of the country. Finally, after twenty years' work, the "Nederlandsch IsraelietischKerkgenootschap" was organized (1870). The Portuguese separated and formed an independent "Kerk-genootschap." The former "Hoofdcommissie" was replaced by the "Centrale Commissie tot de Algemeene Zaken van het Nederlandsch-Israelietisch Kerkgenootschap," which held its first session in 1870. During this period there were several men in Amsterdam distinguished for their learning, their philanthropy, and their championship of Jewish interests; of these may be mentioned the three brothers Hirschel (1784-1853), Meir (1793-1861), Akiba Lehren (1795-1876), and Solomon Rubens (died 1857).Internal Development.
The internal development of the congregation progressed quietly, and a threatened division in 1860 was fortunately averted. New life came to the Judaism of Amsterdam as well as to that of the whole land, when, in 1862, Dr. Joseph Hirsch Dünner (born in Cracow, 1832) was elected rector of the rabbinical seminary. Under his guidance the institution was reorganized in such fashion that both secular and Jewish subjects were included in the curriculum from the lowest classes up. The result was the graduation of a number of rabbis and chief rabbis, who were not only learned in the Law, but whose general academic culture earned for them universal esteem. The continued absence of a strong hand in congregational matters was, however, frequently felt; accordingly endeavors were made for the appointment of a chief rabbi again. In October, 1874, Dr. Dünner was elected to that office, and associated with him was a bet din of three, consisting of T. Tal (until 1881), J. D. Wynkoop (since January, 1871), J. Content (died 1898), A. S. Onderwyzer (since 1888), E. Hamburg (since 1899), and J. D. Wynkoop. During his term of office Dr. Dünner has reorganized the system of instruction in the schools, banished the Judæo-German, and made the vernacular compulsory. The social elevation of the poorer Amsterdam Jews has also received his close attention. On his initiative in 1875 a loan-bank (Weldadigheidsfonds) was established, which annually grants 1,200 loans of sums varying from 10 to 300 florins, without interest. A Jewish workingman's association, "Bezalel," was founded, to which, however, until now, unfortunately, only diamond-workers belong. Since there are very few Jewish mechanics besides those employed in the diamond industry and in the manufacture of cigars, another association was founded ("Shemirat Shabbat") to foster the study of handicrafts without sacrificing the religious feeling of apprentices, and, at the same time, to abolish street-peddling, which was carried on extensively by the poorer Jews.
The field of literature also was not neglected. After the appearance, from May, 1867, of the "Joodsch-Letterkundige Bydragen," edited by the Jewish bibliographer Meyer Roest (died 1889), the same editor published (from 1875 to his death) thirteen volumes of the journal "Israelietische Letterbode," contributors to which were, besides Jewish scholars abroad, the following in Amsterdam: M. Roest, Dr. J. H. Dünner, Jacob Hoofien, L. Wagenaar, D. R. Montezinos, and others. Of Jewish weeklies, there appeared the "Centraal Blad" and the "Nieuw Israelietisch Week Blad," both still in existence. The monthly magazine of the Society of Jewish Teachers, entitled "AḦawah," is also published in Amsterdam. Though this city no longer holds that position of eminence in Hebrew typographic art that it formerlyenjoyed, it is still represented in the Hebrew book-world by three large printing-offices. Notable collections of books are the "Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana" (a portion of the University Library); the library of the Portuguese Rabbinical Seminary, with the division "Livraria de Montezinos," which is rich in rare works; the library of the Neder. Isr. Seminary, and of the "Bet ha-Midrash 'Eẓ Ḥayyim," and several private libraries. In public life, Jews are to be met with in all positions; at the university and in the courts of justice; with the army, and in the state and city governments.IV. Statistics:
The number of the Jews of Amsterdam in 1795 was 20,052, out of a total population of 217,024; on November 19, 1849, 25,173, of whom 2,747 were Portuguese and 22,426 were Ashkenazim, out of a total population of 224,949. In the census of December 31, 1889, the total population was 408,061; of them 49,946 were Ashkenazim and 4,533 Portuguese Jews; in all 54,479. Detailed statistics of the Portuguese congregation have not been printed. The report of the Ashkenazic congregation for 1899 furnishes the following: In that year there were 349 weddings, and in the two cemeteries (Muiderberg and Zeeburg) 688 interments. The congregational budget for 1898 was 221,021.12 florins ($88,000). Of this 45,354.13 florins were expended for Jewish education, and 29,077.50 for charities, which are financially and administratively extra-congregational. The German congregation had eight synagogues, seating 2,668 men and 537 women. There are in addition about 25 smaller synagogues. In the schools of the congregation were registered, in 1899, 837 children. The Jewish free schools had 1,958 pupils, and the Jewish congregational kindergarten 650 children. The Jewish Seminary, with a complete high-school curriculum, numbered 70 students. Of benevolent institutions there were in 1899: (a) Hospital (built in 1885); 1,095 patients, with 41,644 days of treatment; discharged, 870; died, 120. (b) Surgical polyclinic; 6,075 patients, with 15,115 consultations. (c) Eye clinic; 1,303 patients, with 15,825 consultations. (d) Dispensary; 56,638 prescriptions. (e) Insane asylum; 151 patients, with 45,262 days of treatment; discharged, 10 cured; 2 incurable; 11 died. (f) Home for aged men and women.
An idea of the former communal activity of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of Amsterdam may be gained from the list of their various societies, both for the cultivation of letters and the exercise of charity mentioned by Daniel Levi de Barrios in his "Triumpho del Govierno Popular." To the first or academic class belonged the following yeshibot: Keter Tora (); Tora Hor (); Yesiba de los Pintos; Meirat Henaim (), also called Yesiba Amstelodama; Tipheret Bajurim ( ) or Yesiba Quinta. Of charitable organizations, the following are mentioned: Abi Yetomim (); Gemilut Jassadim (); Temime Darex (); Jonen Dalim (); Masquil el Dal (); Sahare Zedek ( ); Keter Sem Tob (); Resit Joxma (); Bahale Tesuba (). A number of similar societies have from time to time been formed among the so-called German Jews. There may be mentioned the Nederlandsch Israelietisch Seminarium for the training of rabbis, with the Saädat Bagurim (society for the assistance of the scholars); a "Gebroederschap" ( ) for the study of Hebrew literature; the "Dr. Samuel Isräel Mulder-Stichting," founded in 1883 for the purpose of assisting worthy Jewish students of theology. There also exists a Reform synagogue which was founded about the middle of the nineteenth century.
Of benevolent societies still existing, the following may be mentioned: In the Portuguese congregation: a boys' orphan asylum, founded 1648, having 23 inmates in 1899; girls' orphan asylum, established 1734, remodeled 1839, 14 inmates; home for aged men, founded 1749, 6 inmates; home for aged women, founded 1834, consolidated with the Portuguese Jewish Hospital. In the Ashkenazic congregation: boys' orphan asylum, founded 1738, having 82 inmates in 1899; girls' orphan asylum, founded 1761, 66 inmates; Lying-in Society, established 1822.
- On section I.: Koenen, Geschiedenis der Joden in Nederland, Utrecht, 1843;
- Da Costa, Israel en de Volken, Utrecht, 1876;
- Grätz, Gesch. d. Juden, ix., x., xi.;
- Sluys en Hoofiën, Handboek voor de Geschiedenis der Joden, iii. Amsterdam, 1873;
- Monasch, Geschiedenis van het Volk Israel, iii., Amsterdam, 1894;
- Schudt, Jüdische Merckwürdigkeiten, 1715, i. 270;
- De Castro, De Synagoge der Portug. Isr. Gemeente, The Hague, 1875;
- Keur van Grafsteenen, Leyden, 1883;
- Kayserling, Sephardim, pp. 163 et seq.
- On section II. (in addition to the above): Amelander, Scheerit Israel, Dutch translation by Goudsmit, with notes by Polak, Amsterdam, 1855;
- Mülder, Jets over de Begraafplaatsen Amsterdam, 1851;
- Polak, ḳol bat Galim (Hebrew), Amsterdam, 1867;
- Dembitzer, Kelilat Yofi (Hebrew), Cracow, 1888 and 1893;
- Seeligmann, Losse Bydragen tot de Geschiedenis der Joden in Amsterdam, in the Centraal Blad voor Israeliten in Nederland, xv. Nos. 47 et seq.
- On section III.: Hartog, De Joden in het eerste Jaar der Bataafsche Vryheid, in the Gids, 1875;
- Italie, De Emancipatic der Joden in 1796, in the Amsterdamsche Jaarboekje voor 1897;
- De Societeit Felix Libertate en wat zij voor de Emancipatie der Joden heeft gedaan, in Oud Holland, 1898, xvi. 51 et seq., 79, 147;
- Die Juden in Amsterdam, in Cölnische Zeitung, June 6, 13, 20, 1886;
- Aus der Amsterdammer Gemeinde, 1792-1812, in Jeschurun, 1885, iii. Nos. 40-51, 1886, iv. No. 6.