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Gratz, Rebecca (04 March 1781–27 August 1869), pioneer Jewish charitable worker and religious educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Michael Gratz, of Silesia, a merchant shipper, and Miriam Simon, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Gratz grew up in Philadelphia’s wealthy society, and her brothers expanded the family financial interests to the West....

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Leeser, Isaac (12 December 1806–01 February 1868), Jewish religious leader and author, was born in Neuenkirchen, Westphalia, the son of Uri Lippman, a merchant, and Sarah Cohen. Leeser’s mother died in 1814, and his father invited his own mother, Gitla, to raise his children. In 1820 Leeser’s father and grandmother died. A benefactor took responsibility for the orphaned boy and arranged for him to attend a good school in Münster, where he received an excellent general education. In his Jewish studies, he was greatly influenced by Rabbi Abraham Sutro, a staunch religious traditionalist....