See Yiddish Literature.

See Lydda.

LOEW, JUDAH BEN BEZALEL (ca. 1525-1609).

Talmudic scholar and astronomer in Prague. He was greatly interested in science, an unusual pursuit for a rabbi of his time. Rabbi Judah’s advanced views were evident in his many books, in which he criticized the state of Jewish education and expressed ideas which centuries later became known as Zionism. Known in Jewish scholarship as the Maharal, he published about 20 books, the most famous of which is a commentary on Rashi. He was considered extraordinary, and many legends are woven around his personality. The most famous of these tells about the creation of the Golem, an automaton made of clay and brought to life by the Maharal’s use of the secret name of God. According to this legend, the Maharal used the Golem during times of stress to save the Jewish community from persecution and evil decrees. As soon as the Golem had fulfilled his mission, the Maharal would return him to his lifeless state. The legend of the Golem has been the theme of many poems, novels, and plays.

Jewish folklore is rich with anecdotes about the wisdom of the Maharal, and the miracles that he performed. His interest in alchemy was probably at the root of his fame as a miracle-maker. Rudolph II of Austria, who took an interest in astronomy and hoped to become wealthy by the use of alchemy, discussed the subject with the Maharal. A statue of the Maharal was erected in front of the city hall of Prague.


See Music.


Jews have resided in England‘s capital as early as the Norman Conquest in 1066, if not earlier. For religious and security reasons they lived as a compact community, whose site is remembered by the name of one of the city’s oldest streets, Old Jewry.

There was little peace for Jews in those early times. As moneylenders they were not likely to endear themselves to the barons who were in their debt or to peasants who, urged on by fanatical priests, blamed Jews for their woes. However, as the property of the king (and called the “king’s chattels”), Jews were under royal protection. But this privilege was withdrawn when, after a series of extortions, Jews were expelled by Edward I in 1290.

A new and happier chapter began with the readmission of Jews in 1656 under Oliver Cromwell. At first, the handful of Sephardim from the Mediterranean countries who lived in London met for worship in their small synagogue on Creechurch Lane. However, with the arrival of more Sephardim from Holland, a larger synagogue was erected in 1701 at Bevis Marks. It still stands today, cherished as the mother synagogue of English Jews.

In the wake of the Sephardim came the Ashkenazim from Central Europe, and they too set up their special house of worship at Duke’s Place, where they met for prayer as early as 1690.

London has always been the home of England’s Jewish communal institutions: the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the elected representative body of British Jewry (1760); the Jewish Board of Guardians (1859); the United Synagogue (1870); Jews’ College (1855); the Anglo-Jewish Association (1871), and a network of educational, social, and philanthropic institutions. London is also the seat of the Chief Rabbinate of the British Commonwealth, the Jewish Colonization Association (ICA), the Maccabi World Union, and the Sephardi World Federation. London’s first Jewish Lord Mayor was Sir David Salomons, elected in 1855. The Lord Mayor Sir Bernard Waley-Cohen elected in September 1960 was Jewish. The famous London school, the Jews’ Free School, and the old and beloved Ashkenazic Great Synagogue at Duke’s Place were demolished by enemy action in World War II.

Today, the Jewish population is roughly 210,000 out of a total London population of about 7.5 million. The mass of Jewish immigrants came from Russia and Poland beginning in 1882, fleeing Tsarist pogroms. They settled largely in the East End of the metropolis. These immigrants were largely responsible for developing the tailoring, cabinet making, fur trade, and similar industries. In recent years, Jews have moved into the outer suburbs of London. (See also England.)

LOPEZ, AARON (ca. 1731-1782).

Born in Portugal, Lopez came to the U.S. with his wife and child and settled in Newport, R.I. He became a successful merchant esteemed by the entire community. Denied naturalization by Rhode Island, he was the first Jew to be naturalized in Massachusetts. Lopez owned many ships that, along with his personal fortune, he placed at the disposal of the American Revolution.


With more than half a million Jews, Los Angeles is the second largest Jewish community in the U.S., after New York. Jewish life began in the mid-19th century but did not boom until the end of World War I when large numbers of Jews moved there from eastern U.S. In 1911, the Jewish Federation was founded, followed in 1934 by the Jewish Community Council, representing most Jewish organizations.

Los Angeles has more than 50 synagogues, including some of the largest in the country. It has a large Jewish education system, including day schools, and branches of both the Hebrew Union College (Reform) and the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative). It has Jewish museums, including a Holocaust museum, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Jewish weekly newspapers include the B’nai B’rith Messenger, the California Jewish Voice, the Los Angeles Reporter, and Heritage.

Jews in the 20th century have played a prominent part in the motion picture industry in the city, as producers, actors, script writers, and technical support (See Stage and Screen).


Ten tribes that composed the Kingdom of Israel. When Sargon, King of the Assyrian Empire, completed the conquest of the Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.E., he led most of the population into exile. Ever since then, the ultimate fate of these exiles has been the subject of innumerable theories and legends. The Talmud presents contradictory opinions. One maintains that the ten tribes were assimilated with the populations among which they lived. Another opinion holds that they survived and joined the exiles from Judea in 6th century B.C.E. who returned to their homeland in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Medieval Jewish writing is full of references to one or another of the Lost Tribes. Some of the travelers of the Middle Ages, notably Eldad the Danite, claimed to have visited among them. Eldad claimed to have found these tribes in North Africa. Some of them, he said, were called the “sons of Moses” and lived guarded by the Sambatyon, a river made impassable six days in the week by its turbulent, stone-throwing waters. To this day, Yemenite Jews and the Bene Israel of Afghanistan claim to be descended from the ancient Israelites. Various theories have identified the Tatars, the holy Shindai class of Japan, and the American Indians, in turn, as the Lost Tribes. The most popular of these theories, claiming more than a million followers in England and the U.S., identifies the people of the British Isles as the Lost Tribes.


The Jewish community of Louisiana is one of the oldest in the U.S. Under Roman Catholic rule in the 18th century, the state allowed no religion except Catholicism, yet Jewish life started as early as 1719. In 1828, the first synagogue, Shaaray Chesed, was built in the capital, New Orleans, home to several historical synagogues. During the Civil War, Jews from the state served in the Confederate Army. Three Louisiana Jews served in the U.S. Senate in the 19th century: Judah Benjamin, Michael Hahn (also governor), and Benjamin Jonas. Today, of Louisiana’s 16,000 Jews, 13,000 live in New Orleans, 1,500 in Baton Rouge, and fewer than 1,000 in Shreveport.

In 2006, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Jewish community of New Orleans, joined by Jewish volunteers from Baltimore, Montomery County, Maryland and others, launched an extensive Mitzvah Project to help hurricane victims.


See Shneerson.


See Warsaw.


See Sports.

LUDOMIR, MAID OF (1805-1892).

First and perhaps only female Hasidic leader. Hannah Rachel, daughter of Monesh Werbermacher, was known for her piety as a child. After recovering from a long illness, she started to follow Hasidic practice, put on tefillin daily, and built her own synagogue. Thousands of Hasidim came to hear her speak. In her old age she traveled to Palestine where she died.

LUDWIG, EMIL (1881-1948).

German Jewish biographer, novelist, and playwright. He achieved fame with a series of biographies which include lives of Jesus, Bismarck, and Lincoln. In 1932, on the eve of the Nazis’ seizure of the German government, Ludwig became a citizen of Switzerland. Several years later, the Nazis burned his books. During World War II Ludwig lived in the U.S. The genre of the critical biography, stressing character and psychology, rather than history, is considered Ludwig’s outstanding creative achievement.


See Sukkot.


See Kabbalah.

LUZZATO, MOSES HAIM (1707-1746).

Scholar, mystic, poet, and dramatist. Born in Padua, Italy, Luzzato acquired great knowledge of the Talmud, as well as of classical and modern languages and literature. As a young man, he immersed himself in the study of Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah. This preoccupation led him to believe that the secrets of the Torah had been revealed to him by an angel. The rabbis in Italy saw in his fantastic visions the dangerous possibility of a new Messianic movement. Still reeling from the Sabbatai Zevi tragedy, they prohibited Luzzato, under threat of excommunication, to study Kabbalah. Consequently, Luzzato moved to Amsterdam where he worked as a diamond polisher. In his spare time, he wrote poetry, as well as works of scholarship, mystic philosophy, and ethics. An innovator in Hebrew literature, Luzzato was particularly effective in his allegorical dramas. His classic style, use of symbolism, and ethical thinking exerted considerable influence.

In 1743, Luzzato settled in Safed, Palestine, the city of the mystics. A few years later he fell victim to a plague in Acre.


Hebrew scholar, thinker, and poet. Born in Trieste, Italy, he devoted his entire life to the study of philology, literature, philosophy, and history. Great Jewish scholars, such as Zunz, Geiger, and Graetz, drew on his vast knowledge.

Luzzato was also a religious thinker and a notable poet. Living at a time when assimilation threatened traditional Jewish life, Luzzato stressed the superiority of Judaism. In a number of articles and poems he expressed his hope for the restoration of Zion and his love for the Hebrew language. As a teacher of Bible, history, and religious philosophy at the Rabbinical College at Padua, Italy, he carried on a voluminous correspondence with Jewish scholars around the world. Published after his death, his letters fill nine volumes and served as a great reservoir of knowledge in all fields of Jewish literature from biblical to modern times.

LYDDA (Lod).

Ancient town southeast of Tel Aviv, on the road to the Judean hills. Lydda had a considerable population after the Jewish return from Babylonian captivity in 537 B.C.E., serving as an important commercial center between Damascus and Egypt. The Romans called it Diospolis, “the City of God,” and burned it down during the Bar Kokhba revolt. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Lod was known for its Talmudical academy. It was conquered by the Israel Army during the War of Independence in 1948. Israel’s largest airport is now located near the town.