Raphall, Morris Jacob

Raphall, Morris Jacob

(1798–1868) rabbi; born in Stockholm, Sweden. He completed his doctorate in Germany, then moved to England. In 1841 he became rabbi of the Birmingham Hebrew Congregation, where he fought for equal rights for Jews. In 1849 he came to New York City as rabbi of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun; serving there until 1865, he promoted conservative Judaism in the face of the reform movement. He published many scholarly works and was active in Jewish charitable work, but he was best known as an orator and was the first Jewish rabbi to open a session of the U.S. House of Representatives with a prayer.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.