Page:Jewish Encyclopedia Volume 1.pdf/48

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.




commerce; but the opposition of the Christian population prevented the decision from being generally generally carried out.

In 1860 the government of Aargau seriously considered a bill granting full enfranchisement to the Jews, the intention being to given them suffrage in all communal and cantonal rightsEnfran-
, and to constitute the communities of Endingen and Lengnau autonomous villages. This bill was strenuously opposed by the Christian population, and led to serious disorders which threatened Jewish property. Notwithstanding the violent opposition of the Ultramontane party through its press, the government bill was carried May 15, 1862, by a vote of 113 to 2. This law should have become operative on July 1 of that year; but the dissatisfaction having become general throughout the canton, the law was repealed by a referendum. Jewish emancipation now became a federal affair, and was submitted for decision to the federal council. The federal authorities in July, 1863, granted the Swiss Jews the fullest rights of citizens, a result due largely to the efforts of the Swiss Jewish "Kulturverein" (Culture Society), founded in I862 and dissolved after an existence of twenty years. Full civil equality was obtained only when they received the formal rights of citizenship, which had long been withheld from in their own communities of Endingen and Lengnau. A resolution of the "Grosse Rath" of Aargau, May 15, 1877, granted citizens' rights to the members of the Jewish communities of those places, giving them charters under the names of New Endingen and New Lengnau. The prohibition against the Jewish mode of slaughtering, which by a plebiscitum became the law of the canton (see Switzerland), bore especially hard on the Jewish communities of Aargau.

The civil, intellectual, and religious life of the Jews in Aargau differed little from that in other countries. For a long time the Swiss Jews were not allowed to bury their dead in Swiss soil. Their burial-place was an island in the Rhine near Coblenz (Switzerland)Religious
, which is still called Judenäule, or Jews' Isle, bought for that purpose from the community of Waldshut, in Baden. It was only about the middle of the eighteenth century that they received permission to acquire a joint cemetery situated between Endingen and Lengnau, which has been in use ever since. The first synagogue was erected at Lengnau in 1755, it being the first on Swiss soil after the general expulsion; and nine years later the congregation of Endingen had the satisfaction of assembling in their own house of worship. After a lapse of ninety years beautiful synagogues were erected in both communities. In 1810 considerable funds were collected for the maintenance of communal schools, which were put on an equal footing with those of the Christians in 1835 and subsidized by the government.

Originally one rabbi served both communities. The first one mentioned Loeb Pinschow. is buried with his wife on Jews' Isle. He was succeeded by Jacob ben Isserle Schvaich. Toward the end of the eighteenth century Raphael Ris, surnamed Raphael Hagenthal.Dissen-
was appointed rabbi of the two communities. He died in 1818, and was succeeded by Isaac Luntschütz, surnamed Isaac of Westhofen, who held the office but one year. His successor was Raphael Ris' son, Abraham Ris, previously rabbi at Mühringen. After a lapse of three years a conflict arose between the two communities, which was settled by the government's appointing Abraham Ris rabbi for Endingen only and Volf Dreifus for Lengnau. The subsequent appointment of Leopold Wyler as rabbi of Endingen gave rise to grave dissensions in the community, which culminated in his retirement from office. The government issued a decree in 1852, regulating the appointment and the duties of the rabbis, and in 1854 Julius Fürst was elected rabbi of Endingen. hut resigned three years later. After the death of Dreifus the two communities reunited; and at the close of 1801 the government appointed M. Kayserling to the rabbinical office, which he held until 1870.

Besides that of Endingen and Lengnau, there exists in the canton Aargau a Jewish community at Baden with about 2,000 persons, who have a rabbi and a school. A few families live at Aarau and Bremgarten. In 1875 there were 1,368 Jews at Aargau (Engelbert). Since the right of free movement has been accorded to them, Jews have settled in several cantons of the Swiss Confederation.

Bibliography: J. C. Ulrich, Sammlung Jüd. Gesch. in der Schweiz, pp. 266 et seq.; the same, Eidgenössische Abschiede, viii. 477 et seq.; the same, Argovia, ii. 153 et seq.; ibid. iv. 133 et seq.; F. A. Stöcker, Die Verhältnisse der Juden im Aargau, Aarau, 1861.; the same, Die Judenfrage vor dem Grossen Rathe des Kantons Aargau, Aarau, 1862; Kayserling, Die Emancipation im Aargau, in Monatsschrift, xii. 412 et seq; ibid. 441-454; the same, Die Judeninsel und der Schiffbruch bei Koblenz, Ein Gedenkblatt, Baden, 1872; Rauricia Illustrirte Blätter für das Volk, 1861, Nos. 48 et seq.; Grätz, Gesch. d. Juden, vii. 365 et seq.

AARON.— Biblical Data: One of two brothers who play a unique part in the history of the Hebrew people. He was the elder son of Amran and Jochebed of the tribe of Levi; Moses, the other son, being three years younger, and Miriam, their sister, several years older (Ex. ii. 4). Aaron was the great-grandson of Levi (Ex. vi. 16-20) and represented the priestly functions of his tribe. While Moses was receiving his education at the Egyptian court and during his exile among the Midianites, Aaron and his sister remained with their kinsmen in the eastern border-land of Egypt. Here he gained a name for eloquent and persuasive speech; so that when the time came for the demand upon Pharaoh to release Israel from captivity, Aaron became his brother’s nabi, or spokesman, to his own people (Ex. iv. 16) and, after their unwillingness to hear, to Pharaoh himself (Ex. vii. 9)

Aaron’s function included the duties of speaker and implied personal dealings with the court on His
behalf of Moses, who was always the central moving figure. The part played by Aaron in the events that preceded the Exodus was, therefore, ministerial, and not directive. He shared the miraculous powers of Moses, and performed "signs" before his people which impressed them with a belief in the reality of the divine mission of the brothers (Ex. iv. 15, 16). At the command of Moses he stretched out his rod in order to bring on the first three plagues (Ex. vii. 19, Ex. viii. 1, 12). In the infliction of the remaining plagues he appears to have acted merely as the attendant of Moses, whose outstretched rod drew the divine wrath upon Pharaoh and his subjects (Ex. ix. 23, Ex. x. 13, 22). The potency of Aaron’s rod had already been demonstrated by its victory over the rods of the Egyptian magicians, which it swallowed after all the rods alike had been turned into serpents (Ex. vii. 9 et seq.). During the journey in the wilderness Aaron is not always prominent or active; and he sometimes appears guilty of rebellious or treasonable conduct.