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Moses Montefiore
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    (October 24, 1784-July 28, 1885)
    Born in Livorno, Italy
    Birth name was Moses Haim Montefiore
    Later known as Sir Moses Haim Montefiore, 1st Baronet, after being knighted by Queen Victoria in 1838.
    British financier, banker, activist, philanthropist, diplomat, and Sheriff of London
    Promoted industry, business, education and health among the Jewish community in Palestine
    Presided over the founding of Mishkenot Sha'ananim, the first settlement of the New Yishuv (1860)
    His nickname was 'Uncle Moses.'
    It is apparently good luck to rub the nose of his bust at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
    He carried his own 'shohet' around with him, so he could kill animals for religious sacrifice rituals even while traveling.
    He was married to his wife for fifty years, but they produced no heir, bequeathing his sizable estate and entire fortune to his nephew, instead.
    His nephew proceeded to order his dead uncle's massive archives, including his eighty-five diaries, to be burnt and destroyed (presumably by his uncle's request).
    It is rumored that he wished for his correspondences to be destroyed because it contained evidence that he had an illegitimate son who was the rightful heir to his fortune.
    Zionist advocacy groups and Jewish denominations still heatedly argue over who should have control over the site of his family Mausoleum, and the synagogue near the premises in Ramsgate.
    He was one of the best known humanitarians in the world during his lifetime, but he has since been virtually forgotten outside of Jewish circles, overshadowed by contemporary Jewish figures like Benjamin Disraeli and Theodore Herzl .
    He was arguably one of the first 'global celebrities.'
    His 99th and 100th Birthdays were nationally celebrated throughout the United Kingdom, and by Jewish communities around the world.
    He devoted himself to philanthropy after his retirement, mainly using his great personal wealth to alleviate the suffering of persecuted Jews all over the world.
    He was a skilled diplomat who personally traveled to liberate Jewish political prisoners from Turkey, Russia, Rome, Morocco, and Romania (making him a larger than life figure in many Jewish circles).
    He was a fervent abolitionist who funded anti-slavery initiatives in the United States for years.
    He was President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews for 39 years, making his presidential tenure the longest (1835–1874).
    He is recognized as a founding father of Israel who was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Pro-Zionist movement.
    He was both the first English Jew to be admitted to the Bar (1833) and the first English Jew to be appointed Sheriff of London (1835).
    He was granted baronetcy by Queen Victoria in recognition of his services to humanitarian causes on behalf of the Jewish people (1846).
    He built the first Jewish residential settlement and almshouse outside the old walled city of Jerusalem, Mishkenot Sha'ananim. This became the first settlement of New Yishuv, a residential haven for Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews in Palestine (1860).
    He combated British anti-Semitism with biting wit (as when a British nobleman told him he had just arrived from Japan where there are 'neither pigs nor Jews.' To which he responded 'in that case you and I should go there so they have a sample of each.')
    He is commemorated on the 1 Shekel banknote in Israel.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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