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Braude, Markus

(1869–1949), rabbi, educator, Zionist leader, and parliamentarian. Born in Brest-Litovsk (Brisk), Markus Braude (Mordekhai Ze’ev Broda) was raised in Lwów (Lemberg) where his maternal grandfather had been the city’s rabbi. In 1890, he enrolled at the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin and at the University of Berlin, ultimately earning his doctorate in 1898 at the University of Freiburg.

Active in proto-Zionist and Hebrew language societies as a teenager, Braude was a delegate to the First World Zionist Congress in 1897. He promoted Jewish nationalism as the spiritual leader of the progressive synagogue in Stanisławów from 1900 to 1909. As a young leader of the Zionist Organization in Galicia, he directed the Galician Zionists’ electoral campaign for seats in the Austrian Parliament in 1907.

After marrying Natalia Buber, sister of the philosopher Martin Buber, Braude became the spiritual leader of the progressive synagogue of Łódź in 1909. Convinced of the need to reach out to children of prosperous, acculturated Jewish families, in 1912 Braude created the first of a series of secondary schools promoting Jewish national consciousness, fluency in Hebrew, and excellence in all fields of study. An educational innovator, Braude developed new curricula and textbooks and hired highly qualified and inspiring teachers, while contending with official resistance to granting accreditation to schools whose goal was to produce students equally adept in Polish and Hebrew.

A leader of the Tarbut Hebrew Culture and Education Society, Braude was also a founder of the advanced Institute for Judaic Studies, which opened in Warsaw in 1928. Politically active, Braude was elected to be a senator of the Polish Republic in 1922 and served on the elected Łódź Jewish Community Council from 1924. Founder and leader of the Montefiore B’nai B’rith lodge in Łódź, he was also the founding president in 1937 of the Association of Rabbis with Higher Education, representing a Western model of rabbinic training that was unusual in Poland.

Braude was nearly 70 years old when he witnessed the arrival of German invaders in 1939. The buildings of his beloved schools were confiscated and his synagogue was burned down. Fearing arrest by the Gestapo, Braude fled and made his way to Trieste, Italy. In 1940, he and his wife reached Palestine, where he spent the remaining years of his life.

Suggested Reading

Ilustrirter Poylisher-Mantshester (February 1930): 41–42; Kovets le-zekher kehilat Lodz´ (Tel Aviv, 1965), pp. 30–35; Samuel K. Mirsky, ed., Ishim u-demuyot be-ḥokhmat Yisra’el (Tel Aviv, 1959), pp. 287–298; Sprawy narodowościowe 1–2 (1937): 124–125; Robert Moses Shapiro, “Jewish Self-Government in Poland: Lodz, 1914–1939” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1987).