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BAMBERGER, ISAAC:

German rabbi; born at Angenrod, in the grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt, Nov. 5, 1834; died at Königsberg Oct. 26, 1896. He received elementary instruction in Hebrew from his father, Mayer Bamberger, who was for fifty years a teacher in Angenrod, attended the Realschule in Alsfeld, and Dr. Miller's institute in Fulda. He finished his preparatory education at the gymnasium in Giessen. Afterward he entered the University of Giessen, where he studied philosophy and philology; receiving at the same time instruction in rabbinical branches from Dr. Levi, the local rabbi. After having graduated as Ph.D. at the University of Giessen in 1861, he went to the Breslau Jewish Theological Seminary, where he devoted himself to the study of Jewish theology. He was graduated as rabbi in 1861, and in 1865 he was called to Königsberg as rabbi of the Reform congregation to succeed the late Rabbi Saalschütz. He held this position until his death, devoting himself entirely to philanthropical, educational, and communal work.

Bamberger distinguished himself especially by his untiring efforts for the amelioration of the condition of the Russian Jews, who flocked to Königsberg in large numbers after 1882, when the persecutions assumed a serious extent; but the needs of his own community also found in Bamberger an equally ardent worker. He organized the following societies and institutions: A society to assist indigent Jewish students; the union of the Jewish congregations of East Prussia; a society for the prevention of pauperism; an orphan asylum, known as "Dr. Koch's Waisen-Erziehungs-Anstalt"; a society for providing the poor with fuel; a union of Jewish Sabbath-school teachers in East Prussia; and a society for providing poor school-children with winter clothes. He was also a zealous member of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, which he represented for more than twenty years in eastern Prussia. He was one of the founders of the "Deutsch-Israelitischer Gemeindebund" (Union of German Congregations); and of the Deutscher Rabbiner-Verein (Union of German Rabbis); the latter elected him several times as presiding officer at its meetings.

Bamberger was a man of thorough training, and a forcible speaker, justly esteemed for his tact in public addresses. His death occurred before the dedication of the beautiful new synagogue at Königsberg, for the erection of which he had worked so zealously.

Bibliography:
  • Allg. Zeit. des Jud. 1896, pp. 532, 533;
  • Reform Advocate, Nov. 21, 1896; and private sources.
S. D.
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