ABRAHAMITES (also "Nový Bydžov-Israelites"), Bohemian judaizing sect, a product of the Counter-Reformation. They revered the Old Testament, rejected the Trinity, abstained from pork, and rested on Saturday; some members practiced circumcision. The existence of the sect became known to the authorities in 1747 in the region of Nový Bydžov\>\> . A commission of inquiry was then appointed and proceedings were instituted against 60 Abrahamites, which lasted until 1748, when the leader, Jan Pita, a tailor, and three others were executed. As Pita admitted to having had contact with Nový Bydžov Jews, one of them, R. Mendel, was burnt at the stake (1750) after separate proceedings; others of the accused Jews adopted Catholicism. The sect continued clandestinely until the patent of toleration of non-Catholics was issued in 1781, when the Abrahamites came into the open. However, since they refused to comply with an official injunction to declare themselves either Christian or Jewish, they were deported to garrisons on the Hungarian border and the men forced into military service. The sect subsequently disintegrated. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Prokěs, in JGGJČ, 8 (1936), 147–308; Dr. Blochs Wochenschrift (1903), 476–7, 509–11; J. Moštik, Sekta tak zvaných israelitů severovýchodních čechách (1938).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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