Isaac Bernays (
1792- May 1 1849) was chief rabbiin Hamburg.
Bernays was born in
Mainz. After having finished his studies at the University of Würzburg, in which city he had been also a disciple of the wellknown Talmudist Rabbi Abraham Bing, he went to Munichas private tutor in the house of Herr von Hirsch, and afterward lived at Mainz as a private scholar. In 1821 he was elected chief rabbi of the German-Jewish community in Hamburg, to fill a position where a man of strictly Orthodox views but of modern education was wanted as head of the congregation. After personal negotiations with Lazarus Riesser, who went to see him in Mainz, Bernays accepted the office on characteristic terms; namely, that all the religious and educational institutions of the community were to be placed under his personal direction; he wanted to be responsible to the government only. Besides this he required a fixed salary, independent of incidental revenues, and wished to be called "clerical functionary" or "Chakam," as the usual titles, "moreh Tzedek" or "rabbi" did not seem to him highly esteemed at that time.
In 1822 he began the reform of the Talmud Torah school, where the poorer children of the community had until then been taught Hebrew and arithmetic. He added lessons in German, natural science, geography, and history as important parts of the curriculum, and by 1827 what had formerly been merely a religious class had been changed to a good elementary public school. The council of the community wanted to take a greater part in the supervision of the course of instruction, and in consequence of differences with the Chakam resulting from these claims, they withdrew the subvention of the school in 1830; but through the intervention of the senate of Hamburg this was again granted in 1832, though Bernays was denied the presidential seat he had till then occupied in the council of the school and was made instead "ephorus" of the school. In 1849 he died suddenly of
apoplexy, and was buried in the Grindel cemetery.
Bernays possessed wide philosophical views, a rare knowledge of the Bible, "
Midrash", and " Talmud", and an admirable flow of language: he was indeed a born orator. He was the first Orthodox German rabbi who introduced the German sermon into the service, and who tried to interpret the old Jewish feeling in modern form and to preserve the ancestral creed even in cultured circles. His antagonists were therefore to be found in the ranks of the ascetic fanatics of the "klaus" as well as among the adherents of the "Temple," a reform synagogue founded in 1819, against whose prayer-book Bernays had pronounced an anathema. By lectures on the Psalms, on Judah ha-Levi's "Cuzari," etc., he tried to strengthen and to deepen the religious life of the community, the institutions of which he supervised very carefully. His influence was felt in the Hamburg community, where Jewish traditions and the study of Jewish literature are often found united with modern education.
Bernays left no literary works. A small anonymous essay, "Der Bibelsche Orient"—of great linguistic learning and original and wide historical views on Judaism—was supposed to have been written by him in early years; but he denied the authorship, and never in later life showed any conformity with the views of the little book. Of his sons the celebrated philologist
Jacob Bernays, professor and chief librarian at the University of Bonn, kept faithful to the religious views of his father, while the well-known literary historian Michael Bernays, who was only fourteen years old on his father's death, was converted to Christianity. Bernays' son Berman (1826-1879), who was also faithful to the religious views of his father, raised his daughter Martha Bernays(1861-1951) in the Jewish faith, but she later joined her husband Sigmund Freudin his religious antipathy. In her late years she returned to the Jewish tradition. Bernays' best known pupil was Samson Raphael Hirsch, the well-known leader of modern Orthodoxy. Edward Bernays, one of the founders of modern public relations, was his grandson.
*Haarbleicher, Zwei Epochen aus der Geschichte der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde zu Hamburg, Hamburg, 1867;
*T. Goldschmidt, The Talmud Torah School Under the Chacham, Bernays (inedited)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
BERNAYS — BERNAYS, family originating in Germany with branches elsewhere in Central Europe and the U.S. ISAAC BEN JACOB BERNAYS (1792–1849), rabbi of Hamburg, Germany, was born in Mainz, studied at Wuerzburg University and at the yeshivah of Abraham Bing… … Encyclopedia of Judaism
Bernays — is a surname and may refer to:* Isaac Bernays (1792 1840), a German rabbi, and father of: ** Jakob Bernays (1824 1881), a German classical linguist ** Michael Bernays (1834 1897), a German literature historian * Edward Bernays (1891 1995), the… … Wikipedia
Isaac Leeser — (December 12, 1806, Neuenkirchen, in the province of Westphalia, Prussia February 1, 1868, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was an American rabbi, author, translator, editor, and publisher; pioneer of the Jewish pulpit in the United States, and… … Wikipedia
Bernays, Isaac — (1792 1849) German rabbi. He was born in Mainz and served as rabbi in Hamburg from 1821. In his struggle against Reform Judaism, he denounced the Reform prayerbook. His modern approach to Orthodoxy influenced his disciple Samson Raphael Hirsch … Dictionary of Jewish Biography
Isaak Bernays — „Chacham“ Isaak Bernays (* 29. September 1792 in Weisenau, heute Stadtteil von Mainz; † 1. Mai 1849 in Hamburg), auch Isaac Ben Jacob Bernays, Sohn des Jaques Beer aus Mainz, seit 1808 Bernays, war ein deutscher Rabbiner und gilt mit Jakob… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Edward Bernays — Infobox Celebrity name = Edward Louis Bernays caption = in the early 1920s birth date = birth date|1891|11|22 birth place = Vienna, Austria death date = death date|1995|3|9 (age 103) death place = Cambridge (MA), United States nationality =… … Wikipedia
Paul Bernays — Born 17 October 1888(1888 10 17) London Died 18 September 1977(1977 09 18) (aged 88) … Wikipedia
Martha Bernays — (26 July, 1861, in Hamburg – 2 November, 1951, in London) was the wife of Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Bernays was the second daughter of Emmeline and Berman Bernays. Her paternal grandfather Isaac Bernays was a Chief Rabbi of Hamburg.… … Wikipedia
Martha Bernays — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bernays. Martha Freud, née Martha Bernays (26 juillet 1861, Hambourg – 2 novembre 1951, Londres) était la femme du psychanalyste Sigmund Freud. Bernays était la deuxième fille d Emmeline et Berman Bernays, une… … Wikipédia en Français
Jakob Bernays — (September 11, 1824 May 26, 1881) was a German philologist and philosophical writer.LifeBernays was born in Hamburg to Jewish parents. His father, Isaac Bernays (1792 1849) was a man of wide culture and the first orthodox German rabbi to preach… … Wikipedia