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Mr Moses Montefiore

Who was Moses Montefiore?

Moses Montefiore (1784–1885) was a prominent British philanthropist, financier, and communal leader, best known for his tireless efforts in championing humanitarian causes and his significant contributions to the Jewish community. Born on October 24, 1784, in Livorno, Italy, Montefiore's family moved to England when he was a child, and he went on to become one of the most influential and respected figures of his time.

Life and Work

Montefiore's financial acumen propelled him to success in the stock exchange and international trade, establishing himself as a prosperous banker. Despite his financial success, he devoted much of his life to philanthropy and community service. His commitment to social justice and religious tolerance was deeply rooted in his Jewish faith.

One of Montefiore's notable achievements was his role in advocating for the emancipation of Jews in England. His efforts, alongside those of other Jewish leaders, contributed to the passage of the Jewish Disabilities Bill in 1846, allowing Jews to hold public office.

Montefiore's philanthropic work extended beyond the Jewish community. He became renowned for his international relief efforts, particularly in support of Jewish communities facing persecution. One of the most significant episodes in his humanitarian career was his journey to the Ottoman Empire in 1840, where he successfully intervened to secure the release of Jewish prisoners in Damascus who had been falsely accused of ritual murder.

His philanthropic endeavors also included funding and supporting various educational and healthcare initiatives. In 1855, he and his wife, Judith, established the Montefiore Home in Ramsgate, England, providing housing for the aged. He played a pivotal role in founding hospitals, schools, and orphanages, demonstrating his dedication to social welfare.

Montefiore's impact extended globally, and his legacy lived on through the numerous institutions and projects he supported. His commitment to philanthropy earned him international recognition and accolades, including being knighted by Queen Victoria in 1837 and later becoming the first British Jew to be granted a peerage.


  1. Abrahams, Israel. "Montefiore, Sir Moses." Jewish Encyclopedia. 1906.
  2. Endelman, Todd M. "The Jews of Britain, 1656 to 2000." University of California Press, 2002.
  3. Scharfstein, Sol. "Jewish History and You." KTAV Publishing House, 2004.
  4. Sebag-Montefiore, Anne. "The Man Who Fell From the Sky: The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore." Yale University Press, 2006.
  5. Roth, Cecil. "Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero." Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983.

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