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"The road to the love of Judaism, the road to faithfulness and devotion to the religion and the road to the nation leads through an intellectual exploration of the meaning of Judaism and through discovering our magnificent past and written treasures.”
Rabbi Prof. Dr Moses Schorr
Professor Moses Schorr (born in Poland in 1874, died in Uzbekistan in 1941)
Last rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Warsaw
As chief and the last rabbi of Warsaw’s Great Synagogue, one of the largest synagogues in the world at the time, professor Schorr focused on laying the foundations for far-reaching education. Before taking the prestigious post in Warsaw, he launched a trade union of Jewish studies teachers in Lvov, and later he became one of the founders of Warsaw’s Judaic Institute and the Main Judaic Library of the Great Synagogue. He wanted to “breathe fresh spirit into the centuries’ old traditions and institutions” of Warsaw’s famed progressive synagogue. The war put a tragic end to his mission.
One of the top historians in pre-war Poland, professor Schorr was the first to research in depth the history of Polish Jews. An expert on Babylonian and Assyrian law, and a professor of Semitic languages and ancient oriental history in Lvov, he lectured at the Warsaw University concurrently with his post in the Great Synagogue. In 1937, he was awarded an honoris cause from the Theological Seminary of America.
Schorr believed that the future of Jews depended on the Hebrew language and the fate of Palestine as the heart of culture and learning for the entire Diaspora. A staunch supporter of publishing in Hebrew and an advocate of setting up a Jewish base in Palestine , Schorr was also a member of the management of the Jewish Agency and ran the Polish branches of Keren Hayesod and Friends of Hebrew University Society. He was a guest of honour at the opening of the Hebrew University in 1925.
In 1935 he became a member of the Polish Senate. He headed the Committee to Save Polish Jews, actively participating in the fight against economic boycotts of Jews by anti-Semitic groups.
Schorr was arrested by Russians during their occupation of Polish territories. Under charges of contrrevolution, he was sent to a hard labour camp in Uzbekistan where died on July 8, 1941.
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