GASTER, MOSES

GASTER, MOSES (1856–1939), rabbi, scholar, and Zionist leader. Gaster was born in Bucharest and studied at the University of Breslau and the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau, where he was ordained in 1881. He taught Romanian language and literature in the University of Bucharest, 1881–85, published a popular history of Romanian literature, Literatura Popularǎ Românǎ (1883), and began his great chrestomathy of Romanian literature Chrestomatie Românǎ (2 vols., 1891). In 1885, because of his protests against the treatment of the Jews, he was expelled from Romania. He settled in England where he was appointed to teach Slavonic literature at Oxford University in 1886. In 1887 he was appointed haham of the English Sephardi community. Gaster's abilities as a scholar and an orator gave him an outstanding position both in the Anglo-Jewish community and in those areas of intellectual life in which he became a recognized authority, e.g., folklore and Samaritan literature. However, Gaster had a stubborn and combative personality, and this led to an unwillingness to retreat from a position once taken, which did not enhance his reputation. When he was principal of Judith Montefiore College, Ramsgate (1891–96), he endeavored to make it an institution for training rabbis, but the attempt failed. In 1918, after disagreements with his congregation, Gaster retired from the office of haham. Gaster was active in Hibbat Zion and later in the Zionist movement. He accompanied L. Oliphant on his visits to Romania, Constantinople, and Ereẓ Israel, and also played a considerable part in the establishment of Zikhron Ya'akov and Rosh Pinnah in Palestine, the first colonies settled by Romanian Jews. He became one of Herzl's early supporters but opposed him on the uganda scheme , and this also brought him into conflict with the leaders of the English Zionist Federation, of which he was president in 1907. Throughout these years Gaster was a prominent figure at Zionist Congresses, being elected a vice president at the first four. It was to Gaster that herbert samuel , then in the British Cabinet, turned when he wished to establish contact with the Zionists. The conference held at Gaster's home in February 1917 between the Zionist leaders and Sir Mark Sykes of the British Foreign Office was an important stage in the events leading to the balfour declaration . After World War I he returned to his dissociation from official Zionist policy; this was partly the result of his failure to satisfy his ambition of becoming the official leader of the organization. Gaster's writings covered many branches of learning, including Romanian literature, comparative and Jewish folklore, Samaritan history and literature, rabbinic scholarship, liturgy, Anglo-Jewish history, and biblical studies. A selection of Gaster's scattered essays appeared under the title Studies and Texts in Folklore, Magic, Medieval Romance, Hebrew Apocrypha … (3 vols., 1925–28). Other publications are listed in the bibliographies below. Gaster assembled a magnificent library, including many manuscripts, most of which he sold to the British Museum in 1925, but he continued his literary work, despite almost total blindness. His son, THEODOR HERZL GASTER (1906–1992), educator and scholar, was born in London, and taught comparative religion at Dropsie College, Philadelphia, and at several universities in the United States and elsewhere. His writings include Passover; its History and Traditions (1949), Purim and Hanukkah in Custom and Tradition (1950); Thespis; Ritual, Myth and Drama in the Ancient Near East (1950, 19612), Festivals of the Jewish Year (1953), Holy and the Profane (1955), and New Year; Its History, Customs and Superstitions (1955). He edited J.G. Frazer, The New Golden Bough (1959), edited and translated Oldest Stories in the World (1952), and translated the Dead Sea Scriptures into English. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Schindler (ed.), Occident and Orient… Gaster Anniversary Volume (1936), includes bibliography; idem, Gaster Centenary Publication (1958), contains revised bibliography; C. Roth, in: JHSET, 14 (1940), 247–52; DNB, supplements, 5 (1949), 309–10. (Cecil Roth)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Gaster, Moses — (1856–1939)    British chacham and scholar. After having been ordained as a rabbi in Breslau, Gaster was professor of Romanian literature at the University of Bucharest until he was expelled in 1885 for demanding Jewish rights. He settled in… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Gaster, Moses — (1856 1939)    British rabbi and scholar. He was born in Bucharest and taught Romanian language and literature in the university there. Later he settled in England. He taught Slavonic literature at Oxford University. In 1887 he was appointed H… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Moses Gaster — in 1904 Born September 17, 1856(1856 09 17) Bucharest Died March 5, 1939 …   Wikipedia

  • Moses Gaster — en 1904 Moses Gaster, né le 17 septembre 1856 à Bucarest et mort le 5 mars 1939, est un hébraïste britannique d origine roumaine. De culture séfarade, il était hakham de la congrégation londonienne des Juifs espagnols et portugais. Il est gendre… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Moses Gaster — (1904) Moses Gaster (* 16. September 1856 in Bukarest; † 5. März 1939 bei Abingdon, England) war sephardischer Oberrabbiner (Hacham) Englands 1887–1918, jüdischer Gelehrter und Volkskundler. Er gehörte zu den ersten Chowewe Zion in Rumänien und …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gaster — (zu gastrum, gr. γαστήρ gastron „Bauch“, „Magen“) medizinische Bezeichnung für den Magen einen Teil des Hinterleibs von Taillenwespen, siehe Gaster (Hautflügler) Gaster, geografische Namen: Gaster (Bezirk), ein ehemaliger Bezirk im Kanton St.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gaster (surname) — This article is about the surname Gaster. For the anatomical use of the word, see Gaster. Gaster is a surname which may refer to: * Gaster french huguenot 1695 poplar, London. * Moses Gaster (1856 1939), Romanian British Sephardi rabbi and… …   Wikipedia

  • MOSES, BLESSING OF — Deuteronomy 33 is presented as Moses blessing of the tribes of Israel shortly before his death, and it is traditionally considered a prophecy of future conditions. The critical view, however, is not that the poem is actually Mosaic, for it… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Gaster, Theodor Herzl — (1906 92)    American educator and scholar, son of Moses Gaster. He was born in London. He taught comparative religion at Dropsie College in Philadelphia and at other universities in the US. His writings include: Passover: Its History and… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • The Sword of Moses — is the title of a List of apocryphal Hebrew book of magic edited by Moses Gaster in 1896 from a 13th or 14th century manuscript. Gaster assumed that the text predates the 11th century, based on a letter by Haya Gaon (d. 1037) which mentions the… …   Wikipedia

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