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Judith Montefiore

1784 - 1862.


Judith Montefiore (born Cohen) was a British linguist, musician, travel writer, philanthropist, and wife of Moshe Montefiore.


Lady Judith Montefiore. Source: Wikipedia

Born to an Ashkenazi family, she married Moses Montefiore, a Sephardic Jew of Italian origin. At that time, mixed marriages were uncommon. She was also Nathan Mayer Rothschild's sister-in-law.


She strongly supported her husband's philanthropic and Zionist activities, often accompanying him on his travels to the Middle East. This included trips to the Land of Israel, where they worked to improve the lives of the local Jewish community.


She was also involved in various charitable organizations and was known for her philanthropy and commitment to social justice. On her initiative, the first hospital was established in Jerusalem during one of her five trips to the Land of Israel.


In her diary, she wrote about her impressions of visiting places such as Rachel's tomb and riding horseback around Jerusalem's walls. She “was deeply impressed with a feeling of awe and respect, standing as I did, in the sepulcher of a mother in Israel.”*

She was fluent in Hebrew, French, German, Italian, and Arabic, and had a background in literature, music, and art. She used her language skills to assist Moshe on his trips.

Scholars believe she also wrote the first Jewish cookbook in English, "The Jewish Manual, or, Practical Information in Jewish & Modern Cookery."

Judith spent her final years in England due to health problems. After her death, her husband founded Judith Lady Montefiore College in Ramsgate in her memory. He never stopped acknowledging her contribution to his public work. The couple had no known children.


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