JEREMIAH BEN JACOB BEN ISRAEL NAPHTALI:
German Talmudist and philanthropist; died in Halberstadt before 1664. Like his father, Jacob (Jockel Halberstadt), Jeremiah was parnas of the congregation. His wealth, which heused for the benefit of the community, his learning, and his broad culture gave him importance and secured for him the government's recognition, which enabled him to obtain many advantages for his co-religionists.
That, however, which procured influence for him in the higher circles of society availed him nothing against the rage of the populace. On the Ninth of Ab, 1621, the synagogue built by his father was destroyed by a mob. Jeremiah seized the very first opportunity of building a new synagogue at his own expense. This opportunity seemed to be afforded by the wording of a sentence in the rescript issued by the elector Frederick William on May 1, 1652: "The Jews, on account of the synagogue which they shall keep, shall give yearly a gulden in gold." Jeremiah interpreted this to refer to a synagogue proper, and he proceeded to build one. It was claimed, however, that the rescript permitted only a meeting-place for private devotions, and a protest against the new edifice was made to the elector. Before the latter's decision was rendered Jeremiah died, being thus spared the pain of seeing the second synagogue destroyed (March 18, 1669).
- Auerbach, Gesch. der Israelitischen Gemeinde Halberstadt, Halberstadt, 1866.