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Hock, Simon

(1815–1887), historian, publicist, and businessman. Simon (Sinai) Hock was born into family that had been in Prague for several generations. He studied at the city’s yeshiva and the Jewish Normalschule. In 1835, he helped found Aurora, the Prague society for youth participating in morning prayers, a group committed to blending religious tradition and ideas of the Enlightenment. During the 1840s, Hock wrote about the impact of political conditions on Jewish life in Bohemia and on religious reform; his articles were printed anonymously in the newspapers Die Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums and Der Orient.

Hock later wrote historical articles and notices for the periodicals Das Abendland, Hebräische Bibliographie, Jüdisches Centralblatt, and Magazin für die jüdische Wissenschaft. Together with Koppelmann Lieben and Shelomoh Yehudah Rapoport, he edited Gal‘ed (Monument; 1856), a small collection of Hebrew inscriptions from the old Jewish cemetery in Prague. Hock also wrote critical observations in Hebrew on Aramaic grammar and on the treatises of the Babylonian Talmud for the journal Bet Talmud (1883–1889). He was also a founder of Afike Yehudah (1869), a Prague society that supported Jewish studies.

For several decades, Hock gathered material for a history of Prague’s Jews, basing his information mainly on the headstones at the old Jewish cemetery. This material was edited posthumously by David Kaufmann and published under the title Die Familien Prags (The Families of Prague; 1892). The work is an invaluable source of information on the history and genealogy of Prague Jewry from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. A critical edition of the first section of the text was published in Hebrew by Bernard Wachstein in 1935. A collection of Hock’s correspondence is preserved in the archives of the Jewish Museum in Prague.

Suggested Reading

Simon (Sinai) Hock, Mishpeḥot k.k. Prag (Brooklyn, N.Y., 1993/94); Hillel J. Kieval, Languages of Community: The Jewish Experience in the Czech Lands (Berkeley, 2000), pp. 65–94; Otto Muneles, “Die Briefsammlung in Simon Hocks Nachlass,” Judaica Bohemiae 1 (1965): 69–74.