SPEYER, BENJAMIN (18th century), communal leader and shtadlan, merchant in Mogilev-Podolski, and purveyor to the Russian government. In 1768 Speyer acted with Baruch Yovon (Yavan) to foil Jacob *Frank's appeal to the Russian government for protection. In 1770 Speyer successfully obtained the suspension of a decree expelling Jews from Courland and Riga. When the Frankists sent the "red letters" to the Jews of Russia in 1800, Speyer translated them for Governor-General Gudovich of Kamenets-Podolski, signing himself with the title "court councillor." In 1804 he proposed to the government council in charge of legislation for Jews that they eliminate unfair taxation.
Yu. Hessen, in: YE, 16 (c. 1912), 82.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.