Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Raphall, Morris Jacob

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RAPHALL, Morris Jacob, clergyman, b. in Stockholm, Sweden, in September, 1798; d. in New York city, 23 June, 1868. He was educated for the Jewish ministry in the college of his faith in Copenhagen, in England, where he went in 1812, and afterward in the University of Giessen, where he studied in 1821-'4. He returned to England in 1825, married there, and made that country his home. In 1832 he began to lecture on biblical Hebrew poetry, attaining a high reputation, and in 1834 he established the “Hebrew Review,” the first Jewish periodical in England. He went to Syria in 1840 to aid in investigating persecutions of the Jews there, and became rabbi of the Birmingham synagogue in 1841. He was an active advocate of the removal of the civil disabilities of the Jews, aided in the foundation of the Hebrew national school, and was an earnest defender of his religion with voice and pen. In 1849 he accepted a call from the first Anglo-German Jewish synagogue in New York city, in Greene street, and several years later he became pastor of the congregation B'nai Jeshurun, with which he remained till his death. On leaving Birmingham for this country he was presented with a purse of 100 sovereigns by the mayor and citizens, and an address thanking him for his labors in the cause of education. Dr. Raphall was a voluminous writer, and also translated many works into English from Hebrew, German, and French. The University of Giessen gave him the degree of Ph. D. after the publication of his translation of the “Mishna,” which he issued jointly with Rev. D. A. de Sola, of London (1840). His principal work was a “Post-Biblical History of the Jews,” a collection of his lectures on that subject (2 vols., New York, 1855; new ed., 1866). His other books include “Festivals of the Lord,” essays (London, 1839); “Devotional Exercises for the Daughters of Israel” (New York, 1852); “The Path to Immortality” (1859); and “Bible View of Slavery,” a discourse (1861). He also undertook, with other scholars, an annotated translation of the Scriptures, of which the volume on “Genesis” was issued in 1844.