Zalkind Hourwitz

Zalkind Hourwitz (1738–1812) was a Polish Jew active in the political discussions of the French Revolution. His essay, Vindication of the Jews, was one of three winning essays answering the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in the city of Metz's question: "Are there means for making the Jews happier and more useful in France?"

From the essay:

The means of making the Jews happy and useful? This is it: stop making them unhappy and useless. Give them, or rather return to them the right of citizens, which you've denied them against all divine and human laws and against your own interests, like a man who thoughtlessly cripples himself.

In Vindication of the Jews, Hourwitz demands the full privileges of citizenship, including land ownership, occupational freedom and education. However, as a follower of the Enlightenment ideals, he also criticises the power which Jewish leaders have in the community and demands "rabbis and leaders must be severely forbidden from claiming the least authority over their co-religionists outside the synagogue."

Read more about Zalkind HourwitzTimeline of Hourwitz in The Revolution

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Zalkind Hourwitz - Timeline of Hourwitz in The Revolution
... August 1788—Hourwitz, along with Claude Thiery and Abbe Gregoire, wins the Metz Royal Society contest March 1789—Publication of Vindication of the Jews ...