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ABRAHAM OF HAMBURG (called also Rab Aberle):

Warden and leading spirit of the Ashkenazic community of London; born at Hamburg after 1650; died at London after 1721. By inducing the shamas (sexton) of the only Ashkenazic synagogue at that time surreptitiously to mutilate the ṭallit, or prayer-scarf, of the rabbi Judah Loeb ben Ephraim Anschel—in which condition he unwittingly used it—he forced Anschel to go, and installed Uri Phœbus in his place (1705). Abraham interfered not only in the affairs of the Ashkenazic, but also in those of the Sephardic community; for it was he who drew Ẓebi Ashkenazi's attention to an expression in a sermon of David Nieto's on Providence (1705) which savored of heresy. In this case Abraham failed to carry his point; and he was equally unsuccessful in trying to induce Ashkenazi to confirm a decree of excommunication against Mordecai Hamburger, who thereupon seceded and founded the Hambro' Synagogue. Later in life Abraham became involved in difficulties, owing to a lawsuit with his brother-in-law at Hamburg and to the conduct of his son, who dissipated at Paris the fortune Abraham had made at his trade as jeweler.

Bibliography:
  • D. Kaufmann, in Transactions of the Jewish Historical Soc. iii. 104-119;
  • Schudt, Jüd. Merkwürdigkeiten, iv. 1-35;
  • references in Uri Phœbus, Urim we-Tu-mim, 1707, and Johanan Holleschau's answer, Ma'aseh Rab, 1707;
  • also in Jacob Emden, Megillat Sefer, ed. D. Kohn. pp. 77 et seq., Warsaw, 1897.
J.
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