Rabbi of the poor

Amsterdam, Youth

People were so poor that they had to break the law of the Sabbath.

Rabbi Meijer de Hond was very concerned about the social misery among the poor Jews, but he fought against socialism and Zionism. In 1905 he established the Touro Or organization, “Learning is Light.” The rabbi was controversial; he glorified and romanticized poverty and didn’t believe in social reforms. In this way he lost the support of the socialists and the Zionists. He was called “the people’s rabbi.”

In 1942, for Meijer de Hond’s 60th birthday, Chief Rabbi Sarlouis honored him with the title “rabbi honoris causa.” The following year he was deported to Sobibor via camp Westerbork.