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Nehemiah Anton Nobel

NOBEL, NEHEMIAH ANTON (1871–1922), German Orthodox rabbi and religious leader. Born in Nagymed (Hungary), he was the son of JOSEPH NOBEL (1840–1917), author of a number of exegetical and homiletical works (Ḥermon, 19193; Levanon, 1911; Tavor, 1899; and others). After being brought up in Halberstadt, where his father was Klausrabbinner, Nehemiah Nobel studied at the Berlin *Rabbinerseminar. He served in the rabbinate of Cologne from 1896 to 1899,and then for several months in Koenigsberg. From there he went to the University of Marburg to study under Hermann *Cohen, who had a great influence upon him, although they did not agree about Zionism. Nobel's activity in the Zionist Movement began in Cologne. He was on close terms with Theodor *Herzl and David *Wolffsohn and was one of the original founders of the Zionist Federation in Germany. He also took part in the founding convention of the *Mizrachi movement in Pressburg (1904). Nobel's Zionist activity, motivated by his conviction that religion and nationhood are organically connected in Judaism, stood out in contrast to the united anti-Zionist front of Orthodox and liberal rabbis in Germany at the time. From 1901 he served in the rabbinate of Leipzig, from 1906 in the rabbinate of Hamburg, andfinally, from 1910, in the rabbinate of Frankfurt, where he succeeded Marcus *Horovitz. There he prompted closer contactswith Judaism and Zionism in circles that had been drifting away from Judaism. His sermons and preachings, in which he was extraordinarily impressive, tackled topical problems. He influenced such Jewish thinkers as Ernst *Simon, Oscar Wolfsberg (Y. *Aviad), F. *Rosenzweig, and M. *Buber. The last two helped to publish the jubilee book for his 50th birthday (1921). In 1919 he was elected chairman of the Union of German Rabbis and was head of the Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums. He died a short time after having been appointed professor of religion and ethics at the University of Frankfurt. A number of his sermons as well as scholarly and halakhic articles, which first appeared in Festschriften, have been published in Hebrew as Hagut ve-Halakhah (1969). Nobel's younger brother, ISRAEL (1878–1962), rabbi in Schneidemuehl and Berlin, published Offenbarung und Tradition (1908) and a Passover Haggadah with German translation and notes (1927).


E.E. Mayer, in: L. Jung (ed.), Guardians of our Heritage (1958), 563–79; Nachrufe auf Rabbiner N.A. Nobel (1923); O. Wolfberg, Nehemiah Anton Nobel 18711922 (Ger., 1929); idem, Ha-Rav Neḥemyah Ẓevi Nobel (Heb., 1944); N.A. Nobel, Hagut ve-Halakhah (1969), with biography by Y. Aviad.

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