||R. Josef Nobel, Talmudic scholar, and author, Rabbi of Halberstadt. This volume, Hermon, contains essays on Israel's ideals in the spirit of the Aggadah. He is also the author of Thabor: Aufsätze zu den Haftarot (Frankfurt a.M., 1899), and Levanon = Libanon: exegetisch-homiletischer Kommentar zu den Psalmen (Halberstadt, 1911), Niv sefatayim = Kasualreden (Leipzig, 1904), Die Orgelfrage(Mainz, 1897), and others.
The earliest document testifying to the presence of Jews in Halberstadt dates from 1261; in it the city promises its protection to the Jews "as in the past." It is probable that Jews were already settled in the city in 1189. A Jewish community (Judendorf) possessing a synagogue was first mentioned in 1364; it comprised 11 families in 1456, mainly occupied in moneylending. The Jews were expelled from Halberstadt in 1493; although some returned in the 16th century, they were expelled once more in 1595. Shortly afterward, several Jews again settled in the city and built a synagogue, which was destroyed during the Thirty Years War. In 1650 ten Jewish families were granted privileges allowing them to engage in business and moneylending, but forbidding them to build a synagogue. They were permitted to elect a rabbi in 1661. The authorities protected the Jews from the jealousy of Christian merchants and as a result the community had grown to 118 families (639 persons) by 1699. In 1689 Behrend Lehmann , the powerful Court Jew of Saxony and protector of the community, established a bet midrash, the renowned klaus (1707), and in 1712 permission was granted to build a new synagogue. Halberstadt then served as a center for the smaller communities in its environs (e.g., Halle and Magdeburg ) and was the largest Jewish community in Prussia. Occupations of Jews in this period ranged from simple handicraft to finance and industry.
The community was world renowned as a center for Torah study and philanthropy in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1795 a school for children of poor families, called Hazkarat Ẓevi, was opened. It existed until shortly before the destruction of German Jewry. In the 19th and early 20th century the Hirsch family was outstanding in the industrial sphere and for its philanthropic activities.
Halberstadt was the center of Orthodox Jewry in Germany and until 1930 the central organizations of German Orthodox congregations and other Orthodox bodies were situated there. Several famous rabbis served in Halberstadt, including Ẓevi Hirsch Bialeh , Hirschel *Levin , and members of the Auerbach family. In 1933 there were 706 Jews in Halberstadt (1.4% of the total population). With the rise of Nazism, and its consequent economic and social pressure, many Jews began to leave. The community reacted to persecution by developing a complex of cultural and educational institutions, and formal relationships were retained with the governmental authorities. In October 1938, some 100 Polish Jews were expelled. On Nov. 10, 1938 the synagogue was first set on fire. Ninety Torah scrolls were desecrated in the streets; the synagogue was subsequently demolished. Some 40 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Buchenwald. Stores were looted and homes were wrecked. The Jewish school was closed in 1941. Between 1939 and 1942, 186 persons were deported; none returned. The only Jews who remained were intermarried.