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Moses Marcuse

MARCUSE, MOSES (late 18th century), physician and Yiddish writer who grew up in Germany. In his book Sefer Refu'ot ("Book of Medicines," 1790) he claims to have studied medicine at the University of Koenigsberg, but his name does not appear in the University's matriculation lists. In 1774 he went to Poland and practiced medicine in several communities. The declared aim of Sefer Refu'ot was to transmit elementary knowledge of hygiene in Yiddish to those to whom no doctor was available. The book appears to have gone into a second edition, but only three copies have survived, and it has become a bibliographical rarity. Large extracts from it were published by Noah Prylucki (Zamlbikher, 2 (1917), 1–55). Marcuse goes beyond purely medical information; as an early pioneer of enlightenment among Eastern European Jews, he calls for a change of occupations among Jews and for a different type of education. The book is important for Jewish cultural history since it records customs, living habits, and economic conditions among the Jewish masses, familiar to him as a practicing physician.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 2 (1927), 345–7; LNYL, 5 (1963), 519ff.; Z. Rejzen, Fun Mendelssohn biz Mendele (1923), 83–104; Zinberg, Sifrut, 5 (1959), 98–108.

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