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Horovitz, Markus

Markus Horovitz was orthodox rabbi to the Jewish community in Frankfurt from 1878 to 1910.
Markus Horovitz was born in Hungary in 1844 and grew up in a strictly religious eastern European environment. He attended a famous yeshiva in Eisenstadt in the Austrian Burgenland, and studied philospohy and oriental languages at the universities of Vienna, Budapest and Berlin, he gained his doctorate in Tübingen in 1871. After practising as a rabbi in Lauenburg and Gnesen/Posnan, he was elected orthodox rabbi to the Jewish community in Frankfurt in 1878. At this time disagreements between the liberal and orthodox factions were at their peak, with the latter threatening to leave and form a separate community. The community leadership appointed Markus Horovitz to chair a commission on ritual, to prove that the interests of orthodox Jews within the community would be secured. The intention was to forestall the secession of orthodox Jews under Samson Raphael Hirsch and the founding of a separate community, the Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft ("Religious Society of Israelites"). Markus Horovitz only accepted the post on condition that he would have equal status with the liberal community rabbis and sole authority over the community's religious institutions. He also stipulated that a new, orthodox community synagogue be built, because the main synagogue was equipped for liberal rituals. On 10 September 1882 the new synagogue on the Börneplatz was dedicated.
Horovitz won great respect as community rabbi and reinvigorated the religious life of the community. Among other things, he extended the existing religious school. He proved that it was possible for different religious currents to coexist within a unified community while preserving strictly orthodox interests. He became the epitome of administrative unity within Judaism. He published many works, including in 1871 a compilation of Talmudic verdicts entitled "Matte Levi" ("Levi's Guide"), displaying outstanding knowledge of Talmudic law, and particularly marriage law. Among his historical works were "Frankfurt Rabbis" (1882 1885), Jewish Doctors in Frankfurt am Main" (1886), and "Inscriptions at the Old Cemetery of the Jewish community". This last work was published in 1901 and depicts the gravestones and inscriptions at the old Battonstraße cemetery. Since the partial destruction of the cemetery by the Nazis, this work has become a vital historical document. Horovitz died in 1919 and was buried in the cemetery in RatBeil Straße.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources