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The Montefiori family
The story of Ramsgate Jewish community is beyond doubt dominated by the life and memory of one man - a towering figure of Anglo-Jewry. This was Moses Montefiori.
Sir Moses Montefiori (1784-1885) was an important stock broker and was involved in helping found the Alliance Assurance Company with N.M.Rothschild and other figures. He did this as a reaction to insurance companies which discriminated against Jews.
This tireless fight against discrimination and anti-Semitism, and his willingness to use his money and influence, was to be the hall-mark of a long, productive and highly charitable life of 101 years.
Some of his more famous exploits involved overseas missions to help Jewish communities in danger from Jew-haters, in Russia Morocco, Romania and Italy. In 1840 he intervened with the Sultan of Damascus to lift the charge of Blood Libel from the community which had been charged against them by the French Consul.
These and other episodes made the man a legend in his own life time - a veritable Jewish icon. Moses Montefiori was, throughout his life, a champion for the cause of Jewish people everywhere. The aura and mystique around him has to some extent made it difficult for later historians to provide an objective estimation of his role in history. It may be noted that Sir Moses was implacably opposed towards members of the Reform movement of 1840.Next