Abraham de Sola

Abraham de Sola, Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature. (photo n.d.). MUA PR000296.Abraham de Sola, Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature. (photo n.d.). MUA PR000296.Abraham de Sola (1825-1882) was a renowned rabbi, scholar, and lecturer whose popularity went far beyond the bounds of McGill or Montreal. Born in London to a prominent Sephardic Jewish family, he gained recognition at a very young age for his writings on Eastern languages and literature, as well as on Jewish history and scripture. In 1847, at only twenty-two years of age, he moved to Canada to become the Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Congregation of Montreal, a community he continued to serve for thirty years. In 1853, McGill invited de Sola to become Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature, and later also appointed him Lecturer in Spanish Literature. The great popularity of his lectures is perhaps best demonstrated by an extraordinary invitation in 1872: he traveled to Washington, D.C. to deliver the prayer which opened that year’s session of the United States Congress. He was the first non-Christian theologian to perform this ceremony, and his speech was very well received.

Portrait of Abraham de Sola from the Canadian Jewish Chronicle, July 10, 1914. MUA PR000301.Portrait of Abraham de Sola from the Canadian Jewish Chronicle, July 10, 1914. MUA PR000301.

Portrait of Abraham de Sola, Rabbi from Illustrated Newspaper, February, 3, 1872. MUA PR000300.Portrait of Abraham de Sola, Rabbi from Illustrated Newspaper, February, 3, 1872. MUA PR000300.

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