SPEYER, BENJAMIN (18th century), communal leader and shtadlan, merchant in Mogilev-Podolski, and purveyor to the Russian government. In 1768 Speyer acted with Baruch Yovon (Yavan) to foil Jacob Frank's\>\> appeal to the Russian government for protection. In 1770 Speyer successfully obtained the suspension of a decree expelling Jews from Courland and Riga. When the Frankists sent the "red letters" to the Jews of Russia in 1800, Speyer translated them for Governor-General Gudovich of Kamenets-Podolski, signing himself with the title "court councillor." In 1804 he proposed to the government council in charge of legislation for Jews that they eliminate unfair taxation. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Yu. Hessen, in: YE, 16 (c. 1912), 82. (Yehuda Slutsky)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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