Montefiore, Sir Moses

(1784–1885)
   Anglo-Jewish leader. In the Victorian era, Europeans in distress would turn to powerful, democratic and liberal England. For persecuted Jews, there was a further reason for doing so, in the person of Sir Moses Montefiore, the Jewish knight who would ride out to their rescue. Everything about him seemed larger than life - his massive physique (6 ft. 3 in. and broad to match), formidable personality, wealth, piety and energy. His prestige grew with his age, and his hundredth birthday was an occasion for world-wide Jewish rejoicing. Montefiore was born in Leghorn, Italy, while his parents were visiting the town, his family’s place of origin. By marriage into the ROTHSCHILD family, and hard work on the Stock Exchange, he made enough money to retire in 1824 and devote the remaining sixty years of his life to public service. He was a man of passionate humanity and religious feeling, and made numerous journeys to Europe, the Near East and North Africa on Jewish causes. His most famous intervention was in connection with the Damascus Affair of 1840. A Capuchin monk and his Moslem servant disappeared in shady circumstances. At the instance of other Capuchin monks, a number of Jewish residents were seized, imprisoned and tortured (two of them to death) on a charge of having murdered the missing men in order to use their blood for ritual purposes at Passover. The affair became an international sensation, and was caught up in the power struggle between the ruler of Egypt and Syria, Mehemet
   Ali (backed by France) and the Turkish sultan (backed by England and Austria). A Jewish delegation headed by Sir Moses Montefiore, and including the French Jewish leader Adolphe CRéMIEUX, descended on Mehemet Ali in Cairo and put enough pressure on him to secure the release of the surviving Jews, though not their formal acquittal on the charge. The delegation then called on the sultan in Constantinople and demanded a decree banning any further blood libel charges in his realm.
   Montefiore also paid two visits to St Petersburg on behalf of Russian Jews, calling on the Czars NICHOLAS I and ALEXANDER III. Between 1827 and 1875, Sir Moses made seven journeys to Palestine, the last at the age of ninety- one. A special coach was built to take him between Jaffa and Jerusalem. He founded Jewish agricultural settlements in Galilee and near Jaffa, and in Jerusalem helped found the first Jewish quarter outside the Old City walls, called Yemin Moshe in his memory.
   Sir Moses was the leading Jewish figure of his age. He was the second Jew to be sheriff of London and one of the first to be knighted. He was president of the Board of Deputies of British Jewry for forty years. He was strictly Orthodox and a fierce opponent of Reform Judaism. He built his own synagogue at his Ramsgate estate, and travelled with his own ritual slaughterer. In 1973 he and his wife were reburied in Israel. Many of his descendants drifted away from the Jewish community, although some remained prominent in Anglo-Jewish life. In the late 20 century, one member of the family was Hugh Montefiore (b. 1920), bishop of Kingston.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • MONTEFIORE, SIR MOSES — (1784–1885), most famous Anglo Jew of the 19th century. Montefiore was born in Leghorn while his parents were on a visit from London, where he was brought up, being taught elementary Hebrew by his maternal uncle Moses mocatta . First apprenticed… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Montefiore, Sir Moses — (1784 1885)    Born in Italy and died in England, he was a major benefactor of early Zionist settlement of Palestine. A member of a wealthy Sephardic (see ORIENTAL JEWS) family, he was brought to England in infancy and rose to become one of… …   Historical Dictionary of Israel

  • MONTEFIORE, SIR MOSES —    a philanthropic Jewish banker, born in Leghorn; a friend to the emancipation not only of the oppressed among his own race, but of the slave in all lands; lived to a great age (1784 1885) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Montefiore, Sir Moses, Baronet — ▪ British philanthropist born Oct. 24, 1784, Livorno, Italy died July 28, 1885, near Ramsgate, Kent, Eng.       outstanding Jewish philanthropist.       Scion of an old Italian Jewish merchant family, Montefiore was taken to England as an infant …   Universalium

  • Sir Moses Montefiore Home — The Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home provides residential elderly care facilities in Hunters Hill and Woollahra with a further facility being constructed in Randwick. The home is named after Sir Moses Haim Montefiore.The home seeks to enhance the …   Wikipedia

  • MONTEFIORE, SEBAG-MONTEFIORE — MONTEFIORE, SEBAG MONTEFIORE, English family originating from Leghorn, Italy. (See Chart: Montefiore Family 1, 2, and 3). The first to come to England were the brothers MOSES VITA (1712–1789), who set up successfully as an importer of Italian… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Montefiore — Montefiōre, Sir Moses, Bankier in London, geb. 24. Okt. 1784 in Livorno, bekannt durch aufopfernde und erfolgreiche Vertretung seiner israel. Glaubensgenossen in Palästina, Rußland etc., 1846 Baronet, gest. 28. Juli 1885 in Ramsgate …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Moses Montefiore — For other uses, see Montefiore (disambiguation). Sir Moses H. Montefiore Sir Moses Haim Montefiore, 1st Baronet, Kt (24 October 1784 28 July 1885) was one of the most famous British Jews of the 19th century. Montefiore was a financier, banker,… …   Wikipedia

  • Moses Montefiore — Moïse Montefiore Pour les articles homonymes, voir Montefiore. Sir Moses Haïm Montefiore (Livourne, 24 octobre 1784 – Ramsgate, 28 juillet 1885), fut l un des plus célèbres juifs anglais du XIXe siècle, à l instar de Benjamin Disraeli.… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Moses Montefiore — an seinem 100. Geburtstag, 1884 Sir Moses Montefiore (auch: Montefiori) (* 24. Oktober 1784 in Livorno, Italien; † 28. Juli 1885 in Ramsgate, Kent) war ein britischer Unternehmer und sephardisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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