Rumanian author and physician; born at Brody, Galicia, 1815; died at Bucharest, Rumania, March 31, 1863. His early education included Talmudic disciplines; but having been married against his own desire at the age of sixteen, and having lost his fortune in disastrous speculations, he emigrated to Germany to study medicine, and in 1841 graduated at Berlin University as M.D. He practised for a short time in Amsterdam, and then returned to Brody, presently proceeding to Jassy, the capital of Moldavia, with the intention of establishing himself there; but he found he could obtain no patients among the Galician Jews, who were numerous there, and who had no confidence in a physician whom they had known as a child. He therefore went to Bucharest (November, 1841); but, finding difficulty there also in acquiring recognition, he accepted in 1843 the post of quarantine physician at Calarash, and remained there until 1847, when he was appointed chief state physician for the district of Dolj, which post he retained until July, 1851.

Early Literary Activity.

While yet a student he published (under the pseudonym "Julius Marcussohn B.") in the "Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums," 1839, "Der Chasidismus in Polen," an essay upon Ḥasidism in Poland, exposing the practises of this peculiar sect of Judaism. Before leaving Berlin he commenced in the "Literaturblatt des Orients" (under the pseudonym "Julius Friedson") the publication of "Gedanken über Religionsphilosophie des Judenthums," a series of reflections on Jewish religious philosophy. At Bucharest, in 1842, he published in the "Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums" a review of Isaac Erter's "Haẓofe Lebet Yisrael," in which the latter satirized the Jews of Galicia. In the same periodical, he published (under the pseudonym "Raphael Sincerus") from time to time an account of his travels in Galicia, Bukowina, Moldavia, and Wallachia. It is about the only description extant of the inner and social life of the Jews of the Rumanian principality. He meditated at the same time the publication of a vast Jewish encyclopedia to embrace literature, science, history, etc., and in 1844 issued an appeal for assistance. Only one volume appeared, in 1856. He next devoted himself to the regeneration of his Rumanian fellow-citizens. Science did not exist in those sections of Europe; the Rumanian language had no terms for scientific expressions; Barasch created a terminology and transplanted science thither.

As Pioneer of Science.

He published in 1850 his first work in this field of popular science, on the miracles of nature, which very soon made his name familiar throughout the country. He resigned his official post in 1851, traveled through Germany, France, and England, and on his return, in 1852, was appointed professor of natural science at the college at St. Sava in Bucharest. Appointments as professor at the school of medicine, at the military school, and at the college of forestry followed quickly; and he was also elected city physician.

Passionately devoted to science, Barasch made himself its favorite interpreter to his fellow-citizens, teaching both with the pen and with the living word. One after the other he put forth works upon hygiene, botany, zoology, and forestry, "Isis," a scientific journal (the first in Rumania, and on which he remained for five years the chief collaborator), and inaugurated a series of popular "free talks" upon hygiene, every Sunday, which were numerously attended. In 1858 Barasch founded at his own expense the first hospital for children in Bucharest, and served gratuitously as its chief physician.

As Communal Worker.

In order to remedy some of the evils existing in the Jewish community of Bucharest—divided and subdivided as it was into small cliques of Austrian, Prussian, Russian, and Hungarian Jews—he succeeded, in 1852, in opening a school upon modern lines specially for the children of Jews of Austrian and Prussian descent, an event which stimulated the native Jews to open one also. In 1854 he published in Isidor Busch's "Jahrbuch" an essay upon the Jews of Rumania, and also a pamphlet against Israel Pick, a rabbi of Bucharest, who had been dismissed from his post and had embraced Christianity. In his reply to Pick, Barasch evidences the warmest attachment to his ancestral faith. When, in 1857, the question of the union of the Rumanian principalities was agitated, Barasch, with two friends, founded "Israelitul-Roman," the first Jewish newspaper in Wallachia, published in French and Rumanian, and in which he pleaded with earnestness for the Jews. He took an active part in the foundation of the Jewish temple at Bucharest and in the remodeling of its worship, and founded the first Jewish literary society, Societatea de Cultura Israelita, of which he was president (1862). In 1861 he issued a work upon the emancipation of the Jews in Rumania, which was the first work devoted to the interests of the Rumanian Jews. Barasch's death, two years later, was considered a national calamity.

In addition to those works already enumerated, Barasch published many books on popular science.

In 1886 (July 4) a society was founded in Bucharest for the investigation of the history of the Jews in Rumania, which received, in honor of Julius Barasch, the name "Societatea Istorica Juliu Barasch."

  • M. Schwarzfeld, Dr. Juliu Barasch, Schitza Biografica, Bucharest, 1888;
  • Spre Memoria Doctorului Juliu Barasch, Bucharest, 1861;
  • Ben Chananja, 1863, pp. 337, 338, 748, 749.
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