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BACHRACH, JACOB BEN MOSES:

A noted apologist of rabbinical Judaism; born at Seiny, inthe government of Suwalki, Russia, May 9, 1824; died in Bielostok Dec. 29, 1896. He received his earliest instruction from his grandfather, Judah Bachrach. For years he was superintendent of a Hebrew printing-establishment in Königsberg, where he edited, among other works, the "Ṭurim" of Jacob ben Asher, and added valuable notes to the same. Later on he became manager of a distillery at Sebastopol, where he had the opportunity to develop into an assiduous student of Karaitic literature, and where he engaged in controversies with the representatives of the local Karaitic community. His works are chiefly devoted to a defense of rabbinical tradition against Karaism. In 1882 he went to Palestine in the interest of colonization. Of his printed works "Ha-yaḥas Liketab Ashuri" (History of the Assyrian Script), Warsaw, 1854, is a polemical treatise against Elias Levita's theory that vowelpoints and accents originated in post-Talmudic times. To the same purpose is devoted his "Ishtadalut 'im Shadal" (An Engagement with ShaDaL) (Samuel David Luzzatto), 2 vols., Warsaw, 1896—in which he again attempts to refute Luzzatto's view, based on that of Levita, that the vowelpoints are the invention of the Masorites. His "Maämare Jacob ha-Bakri" (Essays of Jacob Bachrach), Warsaw, 1893, 2 vols., is a work devoted to proving that the Jewish calendar is of ancient origin, and he opposes the arguments of the Karaites, of Slonimsky, and of others, who asserted that the ancient Israelites reckoned by the solar year. A very interesting and well-written booklet is his description of his journey to Palestine, "Ha-Massa' la-Areẓ ha-Ḳedoshah," 2d ed., Kief, 1884.

Bibliography:
  • Achiasaf Almanac, v. 326; and private sources.
L. G. D.
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