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Trebitsch, Neḥemyah Naḥum

(1779–1842), rabbi and Talmudic scholar. Born in Prague, Neḥemyah Naḥum Trebitsch was the only child of Seligmann Trebitsch, the prayer leader at Prague’s Altneuschul. After his father’s death, Trebitsch was brought up in the house of Ya‘akov Günsburg, who headed a yeshiva in Prague and sat on the city’s rabbinical court. Trebitsch received rabbinical ordination from Günsburg in 1811 and from Moravia’s chief rabbi, Mordekhai Banet (1753–1829), in 1816.

Trebitsch was appointed rabbi of Prague’s Klaus Synagogue in 1813 and became a state-approved Talmud teacher in 1823. At the recommendation of Banet, he was invited to become rabbi of Prostějov (Prossnitz), Moravia, where he served from 1826 until 1831. After Banet’s death, Trebitsch was elected chief rabbi of Moravia, a post he held from 1832 until his death a decade later. In this role, Trebitsch was a strident opponent of religious reform and tried to use his authority to prevent the election of liberal rabbis in Moravia’s Jewish communities. His unsuccessful efforts to prevent the elections of Tsevi Hirsh Fassel in Prostějov, Abraham Neuda in Loštice (Loschitz), and Michael Stössel in Rousínov (Neu-Raussnitz) led to frictions with many of Moravia’s Jewish communities and resulted in both the diminishing of his own stature and a humiliating censure by the Austrian government. He died after taking a cure in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) and was buried in his native Prague.

Trebitsch wrote an extensive commentary on the Palestinian Talmud, one volume of which was published during his lifetime: Shalom Yerushalayim (1821). Additional volumes of this commentary (along with his commentary on MaimonidesMishneh Torah and some responsa) were published at the end of the twentieth century. Trebitsch was married to Kela Sack, daughter of a ritual slaughterer in Prague, with whom he had two daughters, Regina and Libusse. Regina married Jacob Brüll (1812–1889), rabbi of Kojetín (Kojetein), Moravia; Libusse married Shimshon Kulke (1809–1894), rabbi of Podívin (Kostel), Moravia, and father of Eduard Kulke (1831–1897), a writer of ghetto tales.

Suggested Reading

Michael Brocke, Julius Carlebach, and Carsten Wilke, eds., “Trebitsch, Nehemias,” in Biographisches Handbuch der Rabbiner, pt. 1, Die Rabbiner der Emanzipationszeit in den deutschen, böhmischen und grosspolnischen Ländern, 1781–1871, vol. 2, pp. 863–864 (Munich, 2004).