Jewish History Soundbites

An Enlightened Song: The Story of Shir

June 27, 2022

Prague has had its fair share of characters throughout its storied history, yet Shlomo Yehuda Rapoport (1790-1867) or Shir as he was known was definitely one of the more interesting ones. Born into a rabbinic family in Lvov, Shir married the daughter of Rav Aryeh Leib Heller, the author of the Ketzos Hachoshen. Though he remained a scholarly, observant and rabbinic Jew for the remainder of his life, he also associated with the emerging Galician Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) of his era. 

His intellectual pursuits included the study of medieval Jewish philosophy, languages, general science, history and literature, while his social circles included the famous maskilim of Galicia. In an attempt to alleviate his financial struggles his friend Yosef Perl arranged for his appointment to the rabbinate of Tarnopol. Traditionalist opposition made the position unsustainable, and in 1840 he was appointed rabbi of Prague where he remained until his passing. 

 

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