07 June 2007

Napoleon and the Grand Sanhedrin

GenAmi, a French Jewish genealogical society, offers an interesting article listing the participants in the Grand Sanhedrin, held in 1807. The page is in French and in English.

This Grand Sanhedrin was a Jewish high court convened by Napoleon I to answer questions submitted by the government. Its members included both rabbis and lay leaders.

For more information on the families of Sanhedrin members, researchers may wish to contact GenAmi, whose members have done considerable research about some of the individuals. The GenAmi page about the Sanhedrin includes detailed notes about the attendees (including geographical locations, wife's family, children and more.)

The Grand Sanhedrin was supposed to answer the issues raised by Napoleon and relate them to the future status of the Jews.

Among the conclusions listed in the group's report were:

-Polygamy is forbidden to Israelites;
-Divorce by Jewish law is valid only after previous decision of civil authorities;
-The religious act of marriage must be preceded by a civil contract;
-Marriages between Israelites and Christians are binding, although they can not be celebrated with religious forms;
-Every Israelite is religiously bound to consider non-Jewish fellow citizens as brothers, and to aid, protect, and love them as though they were co-religionists;
-The Israelite is required to consider the land of his birth or adoption as his fatherland, and shall love and defend it when called upon;
-Judaism does not forbid any kind of handicraft or occupation;
-It is commendable for Israelites to engage in agriculture, manual labor, and the arts, as their ancestors in Palestine were wont to do;
-Israelites are forbidden to exact usury from Jew or Christian.

The Grand Sanhedrin members listed by GenAmi were:

Joseph David SINZHEIM, Josue Sauveur, Benoit SEGRE, Abraham Vita de COLOGNA, Ventura FOA, Isaac Raphael FINZI, Elias SPIRE, Jacob MEYER, Moise SELIGMANN, Moise KANSTAD, Jacob OURY-LEVY, Wolf EGER, Isaac SAMUEL, Salomon DELVECCHIO, David Moise GUNZBURG(ER), Bonaventura MODENA, Seligmann LEVY, Jacob CRACOVIA, Michel SELIGMANN, Lazare Nephtali HIRSCH, Abraham ANDRADE, Moise ARON, Samuel Wolff LEVI, Judas BLOCH, Prosper Moise ARIANI, Aron WORMS, Baruch GOUGENHEIM, Jacquia TODROS, Jacob CALMANN, Nathan SALOMON, Lazare WOLF, Mardochee COHEN, Joseph/Jasse ROCCA MARTINO or ROQUEMARTINE, Samson LIEBERMANN, Moise MILLAUD, Mardochee ROCCA MARTINO, Bondi ZAMORANI, Abraham Isaac SAMUEL, Gracciadio NEPPI, Samuel LION, Emmanuel DEUTZ, Abraham MUSCAT, Elis Aro LULLIS, Jacob Israel CARMI, Jacob BRUNSCHWIG, Samuel Marx LEVI, Abraham MONTEL, Saul CREMIEUX, Aron LATIS, Benoit FANNO, Berr ISAAC-BERR, Abraham COHEN, Israel COHEN
Sabaton COSTANTINI, David LEVI, Aron SCHMOLL, Moise FORMIGGINI, A. FRIEDBERG, Lyon MARX, Marq FOY, Mayer NATHAN, Abraham FURTADO, Olry-Hayem WORMS, Seligmann WITTERSHEIM, Lipmann CERF-BERR, Baruch CERF-BERR, Jacob RODRIGUES, Theodore CERF-BERR, Cerf-Jacob GOUDCHAUX, Isaac RODGRIGUES, C.L. LORICH, Isaac Samuel AVIDGOR.

Substitute rabbis included Mendel PRAGUE, Moise Hertz MOSBACH, Betsallel MILHAU.

Lay substitutes were J. Emmanuel OTTOLENGHI, Samuel GHEDILIA, Emilio VITA, J. DREYFOSS, Jeremie HIRSCH, Felix LEVI.

Scribes were Michel BERR, BLOTZ, Jonas VALLABREGUE.

Late arrivals included Carel ASSER, J. LITTWAK, H de H. LEMON, Salomon TREVES, HILDESHEIMER, Jacob LAZARD.

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