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Moses Kann

(d. 1761)

Moses Kann was head of the yeshivah in Frankfurt on the Main. Born of a wealthy and influential family which had resided in Frankfurt from 1530, Moses was a leading authority in his day. His first wife was a daughter of the famous Court Jew Samson *Wertheimer, who collaborated with Moses in enabling J.L. Frankfurter, the rabbi of Frankfurt, to publish a new edition of the Talmud (Amsterdam-Frankfurt, 1714–22). When the Talmud was confiscated following the denunciations of the apostate Paul Christian, Moses appealed to the elector of Mainz; the confiscation order was finally rescinded in 1753. Moses' second wife was a daughter of the Court Jew Behrend *Lehmann. The talmudic scholar Jacob Joshua *Falk owed his appointment to the rabbinate of Frankfurt largely to Moses' influence.

Moses and his brother BEER LOEB ISAAC doubled the sum of 10,000 thalers, which their father had bequeathed for the support of scholars, and presented it to the community in 1736. In 1749 David Meyer Kulp initiated a revolt against Beer Loeb Isaac's long and unpopular oligarchic rule over the community. The bone of contention was the control of the communal treasury. Frankfurt Jewry divided into opposing factions, disturbances broke out, and troops had to be called in. Beer Loeb Isaac was supported by the city council, while Kulp appealed to the emperor. An investigation absolved Beer Loeb Isaac of charges of embezzlement. Both contenders were impoverished by the continued litigation; the power of the Kann family was broken and constitutional reforms were introduced in the community. Beer Loeb Isaac died in 1754; his son, LAZARUS BEER ISAAC, settled in The Hague about a year later. Lazarus' son, HIRSCHEL (1772–1819), founded the firm of Lissa & Kann, which his son, ELEAZAR (1810–90), made into a leading banking house. Eleazar's grandson, Jacobus Henricus *Kann, also a banker, was a well-known philanthropist and Zionist.


I. Kracauer, Geschichte der Juden in Frankfurt…, 2 vols. (1925–27), index S.V. Kann, Baer; M. Horovitz, Frankfurter Rabbinen…, 4 vols. (1882–85), passim; Th. Stevens, in: Studia Rosenthaliana, 4 (1970), 43–95; A. Dietz, Stammbuch der Frankfurter Juden (1907); H. Schnee, Die Hoffinanz und der moderne Staat, 6 (1967), 244–9.

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