A Selection of Works Painting - Sculpture
Portrait of Azriel Hildesheimer
Halberstadt, 1820- Berlin, 1899
Oil on canvas
55 x 46,5 cm
Photo Gilles Berizzi. Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris
Gift of Victor Klagsbald
Azriel Hildesheimer devoted his life to the reconciliation of Jewish tradition and modern culture, following in the footsteps of Moses Mendelssohn and the Jewish movement of the Enlightenment, the Haskalah.
Appointed a rabbi in 1851, at Eisenstadt, in Austria, he gave his Yeshivah a new dimension. The influence of his teaching, which integrated modernist thinking and philology into the orthodox perspective, placed him at the centre of the debate between Reform and ultra-orthodox Jews. Appointed a rabbi in Berlin in 1869, he became leader of the German Neo-orthodox movement alongside Samson Raphael Hirsch.
He also encouraged the Reform trend in his fight against the growing anti-Semitism in Germany. He became involved in the Jews' defence organisation, the Hilfsverein, particularly at the time of the pogroms in Russia in the 1880s, and gave his active support to the Lovers of Zion movement (Hovevei Zion) and the Jewish community in Palestine, the Yishuv.