AZL flag holder TransparentIronically defined as the ‘Jewish Enlightenment’, Haskalah actually describes the relentless Jewish infiltration into European society during the 18th–19th centuries. It marked an outbreak of Jewish terrorist organisations that violently pushed for Jewish ‘emancipation’. Typically with the rabbi the most influential member of the Jewish community it was he that served to lead the Haskalah movement. An example is Moses Mendelssohn (1729–86), a Jewish philosopher destined for a rabbinical career who provided his German translation of the Torah. A good knowledge of the German language was necessary to enter the general society of Germany and for the Jew to secure entrance into cultured German circles. Mendelssohn’s German translation of the Torah became a bridge over which the Jew passed into European society. However, Haskalah did not stay restricted to Germany it spread quickly throughout Europe into Poland-Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Russia even working with the Russian government to influence European education.

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