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Moses Haim Montefiore

From Academic Kids

Sir Moses Montefiore (October 24, 1784-July 28, 1885) was one of the most famous British Jews in the 19th century. Montefiore was a financier, stockbroker, philanthropist and also the Sheriff of London.

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Life

Born in Livorno, Italy, Montefiore grew to be 6 ft 3 at the age of 20. In London, in 1815, Moses Montefiore married Henriette Rothschild (1791-1866). Known as "Jette," she was the daughter of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, head of the powerful European Rothschild banking family. Her brother, Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836), headed up the family's banking business in Britain and was one of the wealthiest and most influential persons in the country.

Montefiore was elected as the Sheriff of London in 1837 and served until 1838. Montefiore was knighted that same year by Queen Victoria and received a baronetcy in 1846 in addition to his services to humanitarian causes on behalf of the Jewish people.

Leader

He was president of the British Board of Deputies from 1835-1874, a period of 29 years, the longest tenure ever. Montefiore's 100th birthday was celebrated as a national event in his native Britain and by the Jewish community in Palestine.

A major source of information about the Yishub, or Jewish community in Palestine, during the 19th century is a sequence of censuses commissioned by Montefiore, in 1839, 1849, 1855, 1866 and 1875. The censuses attempted to list every Jew individually, together with some biographical and social information (such as their family structure, place of origin, and degree of poverty).

For his philanthopy, the Jews of Palestine, and later Israel, refer to him as "ha-Sar Montefiore", or "Prince Montefiore". A popular song by that title was written in the 1960's by Yehoram Gaon.

Trivia

According to an apocryphal account, Montefiore is supposed to have been confronted by an anti-Semitic member of the House of Lords at a state function, who informed him that he had recently returned from Japan, "where they have neither pigs nor Jews." Montefiore is alleged to have responded "in that case, you and I should both go there, and then they shall have one of each," or words to that effect.

Prominent English Rothschild family members

See also


de:Moses Montefiore

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