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Biographical/Historical Information

Bernays was born in Mainz on September 29, 1792. After having finished his studies at the University of Würzburg, he went to Munich as private tutor in the house of Herr von Hirsch, and afterward lived at Mainz as a private scholar. In 1821 he was elected chief rabbi of the German-Jewish community in Hamburg. In 1822 he began the reform of the Talmud Torah school, adding lessons in German, science, geography, and history. By 1827 what had formerly been merely a religious class had been changed to a good school that had all classes that any other institution of learning would have. He was the first Orthodox German rabbi who introduced the German sermon into the service, and who tried to interpret the old Jewish feeling in modern form and to preserve the ancestral creed even in cultured circles. He was related to Heine and was grandfather of Martha Bernays who married Sigmund Freud. In 1849 he died suddenly of apoplexy, and was buried in the Grindel cemetery.

Siegfried Bendixen was born November 25, 1786 in Kiel. He studied in Munich and in Paris. He worked as a painter, draughtsman and lithographer in Hamburg, where he painted Biedermeier genre scenes and portraits of prominent people. He also had a private painting school. He eventually settled down in London in 1832. He died there in 1864.

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Bendixen, Siegfried: Portrait of Isaac Bernays (1792-1849), Leo Baeck Institute, 78.1610.