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BACH, JOSEPH:

Hungarian rabbi; born in 1784; died at Budapest Feb. 3, 1866. After I. N. Mannheimer, he was the first German preacher of a Jewish congregation in Austria-Hungary. At Alt-Ofen, his birthplace, he began to ground himself early in life in the study of the Talmud. Without the aid of a teacher he studied several foreign languages; after which he attended the University of Prague, remaining there twelve years. Then he returned to his native place, where he married the daughter of a wealthy family, and settled down as a merchant. It was not long, however, before he lost his entire fortune and was left penniless. Destitute of the means of subsistence, he was constrained to accept a situation as teacher. From the position of teacher of youth he rose to that of teacher of the people at large, becoming in 1827 the spiritual adviser of a large congregation. Bach, who had never studied homiletics, and had never heard or read a sermon, was appointed first preacher at the newly organized synagogue of Pest, where he officiated for over thirty years. Many of his sermons have been published. An autobiography, with a preface by Kayserling, was published by his son at Budapest (n. d.).

S. M. K.
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