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Raphael Joel

JOEL, RAPHAEL (1762–1827), the first Jewish advocate in the Hapsburg Empire. Born in Volyne, western Bohemia, Joel availed himself of the rights granted by the patents of toleration of the emperor *Joseph II and studied law at Prague University. When in 1790 he was about to be awarded a doctorate, Prague advocates petitioned the emperor Leopold II, claiming that there was no precedent at any university for such an award to a Jew. They contended that a rescript of 1731 prevented Jews from representing Christians, and that notwithstanding the patents of toleration Jews were still considered doubtful witnesses at law and should certainly not deal with canon law. The archbishop, as chancellor of the university, supported the advocates' opposition, but the academic authorities were adamant, and the emperor Leopold II decided that Jews could become doctors of civil though not of canon law, and could represent both Jews and Christians. Joel was awarded his doctorate. In 1798, however, he was baptized in Vienna, adopted the name Carl after divorcing his wife, a daughter of the physician Abraham *Kisch, who refused to follow him. In 1817 he was ennobled as "von Joelson." His offspring became high-ranking army officers.


P.J. Diamant, in: Zeitschrift fuer die Geschichte der Juden in der Tschechoslowakei, 4 (1934), 10–17; G. Kisch in: JGGJČ, 6 (1934), 55–60; L. Singer, ibid., 229–32; A.F. Pribram, (ed.), in: Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Wien 2 (1918), 3–9.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.