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The first concrete evidence of a viable Jewish community (including a synagogue) in the Crimea on the northern black sea.

70 (9 Av 3830) JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Fell to Titus after 4 years of fighting. The Temple was destroyed. According to Josephus, some 1,100,000 Jews perished during the revolt and another 97,000 were taken captive.

70 FISCUS JUDAICUS (Jewish Tax) (Eretz Israel)

As a result of the war, Vespasian ordered the donations of a half-shekel, given by most Jews to the Temple, now be paid to Rome. This marked the first time that a disability was imposed on religious grounds. Anyone who tried to deny their Jewish origin was subjected to a humiliating examination especially under the reign of Domitian, brother of Titus.


Convinced the poorer Jews of Cyrene to revolt by promising them as a "prophet" that he would walk them through the desert. The Roman Governor, L. Valerius Catullus, had them executed. At the same time the Governor also murdered a few thousand wealthy Jews and appropriated their property.

73 April, MASADA (Eretz Israel)

Roman General Flavius Silva succeeded in breeching the Judean desert stronghold held by Elazar ben Yair. Of the 960 people who took refuge on Masada, only two women and five children survived. The rest chose suicide rather than slavery.


The first concrete evidence of a viable Jewish community (including a synagogue) in the Crimea on the northern black sea.

81 ARCH OF TITUS (Rome, Italy)

Which commemorates Titus' conquest of Eretz Israel, was erected by his brother Emperor Domitian. There is a Jewish custom not to walk under the arch which depicts the taking of Jews into captivity as well as the vessels from the Temple.


(The son of Vespasian). He played an active part in the capture of the Galilee during the Jewish revolt. Upon Vespasian's appointment as ruler of Rome, he was given command of the Roman forces in Eretz-Israel. Titus' name is forever linked to the devastation of the Temple and the brutality of the destruction of Jerusalem. This is based on the writings of Tacitus, a Roman historian. Josephus tried to whitewash Titus and claim that he was against the burning of the Temple. According to talmudic legend Titus challenged God to punish him, where upon God sent in a gnat which ate at his brain causing him terrible headaches until he died. Upon his death he ordered his body to be burned and his ashes scattered so as to prevent the "God of the Jews" from punishing him.


Was led by Rabbi Gamliel II, along with Rabbis Akiva, Joshua and Eleazar to request that Emperor Domitian rescind one of his anti- Jewish proclamations.


" This is the resting place of Claudia ( probably named for her owner/husband Tiberius Claudius Proculus) Aster ( Esther ) …..prisoner from Jerusalem……. she lived 25 years ".


Abolished the Fiscus Judaicus tax ( see 70 CE.) and commended it in a coin.

C. 100 - C. 165 JUSTIN MARTYR

Early Christian philosopher, and author of Dialogue with Tryphon, as well as his Apologies. Justin considered Judaism an enemy of Christianity. He professed that the Jews bear the responsibility for the death of Jesus, since they "insulted, shamed and murdered him on the cross." This he believed was part of by a conspiracy by the Jews and Herod , who in turn was guided in his actions by "Satan himself". He also proposed that Jews persecute and kill Christians as soon as they have the power to do so.


Written in Greek, its goal was to deter new Christians from being influenced by Judaism , stressing that Jews no longer share in God's covenant. It is one of the earliest examples of Adversos-Judaeum , theology, which concludes that Jews have been abandoned by God, and thus by the church and all Christians. It was read in churches in the first three centuries, though it was not included as part of the canon.

115 - 117 THE SECOND ROMAN REBELLION (Roman Empire)

While Trajan (98-117) was busy fighting against the Armenians and Parthians, a revolt which was mainly led by Jews, broke out in Cyprus, Egypt, and Cyrene on the north coast of Africa. In Cyrene, it was led by a Jewish "king" called Lukuas, and in Cyprus by Artemion. Some violence also flared in the Jerusalem area and the Galilee. These wars were known as Polemos Shel Kitos (War of Quietus) named after the Moorish General Lucius Quietus who put down the rebellion. After almost a year of fighting, Trajan's General, Marcius Turbo, succeeded in putting down the rebellion. In all of the cities, there was widespread destruction including the capital of Cyprus, Salamis, much of Alexandria, and most of the Island of Cyrene. In Alexandria, the great synagogue and library were destroyed as well. As a result, Jews were forbidden to live in Cyprus. The rebellion forced Trajan to abandon his campaign to conquer Babylon which continued to provide a refuge for the Jews.


Was appointed Roman Governor of Judea after putting down the revolt in Babylonia. The wars against Rome which included those in Cyprus/ North Africa and those in Babylon were known after his name as "The War of Kitos" although he was only active in the eastern campaign. His harsh rule of Judea only lasted a year when he was murdered, probably on orders of Hadrian(the new Emperor), who feared his popularity and disagreed with his policies of annexation.rn

120 (18 Sivan 3880) RABBI GAMLIEL II

This day marks the Yartzeit of Rabbi Gamliel II. Rabbi Gamliel was the successor to Rabbi Johanan Ben Zakai who had set up the talmudic academy in Yavneh after the war against Rome. Gamliel helped establish a new spiritual leadership and designing the foundation for survival in the Diaspora. He played a key role in keeping the peace between the Jewish community and Rome.


The Jewish population numbered between 100,000 and 200,000, which was between 10-12% of the entire population. The Jews were semi-autonomous and had full freedom of religion.

132 - 135 BAR KOCHBA REVOLT (Eretz Israel)

According to the Talmud the revolt was a reaction to the decree of the Roman governor of Judea, Tinneius Rufus, banning circumcision. Others believe it was provoked by the establishment of a temple to Jupiter on the site of the Temple.

134 September 10, (5 Tishrei) RABBI AKIVA WAS IMPRISONED

For teaching Judaism. According to tradition, he was killed on Yom Kippur in the Caesarea stadium . He is one of what came to be known as the ten martyrs Asarah Haruge Malkut. Although they did not all live at the same time, they are traditionally believed to have been killed for ignoring the Roman edicts regarding Jewish practices.

135 (9 Av 3895) BETAR (Eretz Israel)

The last major stronghold in Judea fell against overwhelming Roman forces. Simon bar Kochba (bar Kosiba) the leader of the revolt was killed. An estimated half a million Jews perished in this revolt which left over 985 villages and 50 fortresses in ruins. So great were the Roman losses that the emperor in his annual report to the Senate left out the customary: "I and my army are well."


Rabbi Hanania (nephew of Rabbi Joshua) had arrived in Babylon a few years earlier prior to the Bar Kochba revolt. In the wake of the persecutions and the weakening of the Sanhedrin, he decided to institute a calendar to be used in the Diaspora. His move was vigorously opposed by the Rabbis of Eretz Israel (Judah b. Bathyra), fearing that it would lead to a decline in the importance and centrality of the scholars in Israel

136 JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Hadrian built a pagan temple on the site of the destroyed Temple. He renamed the city Aelia Capatolina and forbade Jews to enter into the city.

138 - 161 ANTONINUS PIUS (Roman Empire)

Roman emperor and successor to Hadrian. Antoninus (86-161) repealed most of Hadrian's harsher decrees, including the ban on circumcision at the onset of his reign.

138 - C. 220 (15 Kislev 3980) JUDAH THE PRINCE (Judah HaNasi) (Eretz Israel)

Known simply as Rabbi. He was the first acknowledged Patriarch (Nasi) responsible for both the Sanhedrin and for acting as the political head of the community. For the most part, Patriarchs like Judah the Prince were chosen from descendents of Hillel. The last Hillelite Patriarch was Gamliel VI (b.370- d.425). Judah HaNasi's greatest contribution was collecting and codifying the Mishna.

140 USHA (Eretz Israel)

After the disaster of the Bar Kochba revolt, the Lower Galilee replaced Yabneh as the center of talmudic learning and the Rabbinical Court (Sanhedrin) in Eretz Israel. Among the Tannaim studying there were Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Simeon b. Gamaliel, Rabbi Judah HaNasi and Rabbi Judah b. Ilai. One of their important contributions was Takanot Usha (Ordinances of Usha), which included the following laws:
1. A father must support his daughter until marriage and his son at least until the age of 12.
2. Limiting the amount of charity one can order given away upon his death to a fifth.


An early anti Jewish polemic written in Greek, supposedly by Ariston Of Pella.

C. 150 SEFER OLAM RABBAH (Eretz Israel)

Was written by Jose b. Halafta. R' Jose, who was one of Rabbi Akiva's gifted students, lived in Sepphoris where he became the head of the Beit Din. His Sefer Olam Rabbah (The Great book of the World) was written in three parts: Part one - from creation to Moses; Part two - from Joshua to Zechariah; and Part three - from the murder of Zechariah until the Bar Kochba revolt. Although there are historical discrepancies (especially in the Persian period), it was of vast importance as a chronological framework of biblical history


Known as Braita de Malekhet Hamishkan, was probably compiled by Rabbi Nehemiah, although some say it was Rabbi Nathan. It is also known as Mishnat haMidot. Some believe that it is a later work and date it as mid 8th century (see 750). A later version was translated into Arabic around 820.

155 - C. 235 Cassius Dio (Dio cassius)

Roman historian. He is the primary non-Jewish source regrading Jewish history of the time. Although much of his information is reliable, he tended to imaginative exaggerations when it served his Roman patrons. Regarding the Cyrene revolt (see 115), he reported that Jews killed a half a million romans and Greeks, would eat the flesh of their victims, and anoint themselves with their blood.rn rn rn rn

170 BETH SHEARIM (Eretz Israel)

Became the new center of learning under Judah HaNasi.


Published a sermon "On the Passion" in which he blamed the Jews for the persecution and death of Jesus and absolved Pontius Pilate and the Romans from any guilt. Although there was much evidence to the contrary his stand served to rid the Romans of any responsibility or shame and thus encourage them to convert. This is one of the first times the Jews were officially accused of deicide.


An important early Christian theologian. He wrote Expository Treatise Against The Jews , which linked the condition of the Jews to their rejection of Jesus. He also identified the anti-Christ as being from the tribe of Dan.


Wrote two books against the Jews . " Saint" Apollinaris defended Christian beliefs and strongly castigated the Jews for their "blindness".


Jewish communities could be found on the Danube river near present day Nikopol.

C. 180 - C. 279 JOHANAN BAR NAPPAHA (Eretz Israel)

A student of Judah Hanasi "the Prince" ( see 138). He is considered to be one of the main contributors and compilers, of the Jerusalem Talmud.

193 - 211 LUCIUS SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS (Roman Empire)

Numbered as one of the emperors friendly to the Jews. Part of his attitude was in response to the support he received from the Jewish communities in his war against Pescennius Niger, who had once told a Jewish delegation that he was sorry he couldn't tax the air they breathed. In spite of this, Severus forbade Jews from converting anyone to Judaism. Under his reign Jews could be appointed to public offices, but were exempt from those formalities which were contrary to Judaism.


Wrote his "Adversus Iudaeos" (Against the Jews), supposedly portraying an argument between a Jew and Christian. In it (the first of its kind in Latin), the Christian "proves" that they have displaced Judaism, taking over as the "People of God". Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240) wrote another book in 221 ("Against Marcion"), which included much of his anti-Judaic ideas. Chrysostom (see 386) and Pseudo-Gregory of Nyssa (see 390) wrote a number of other texts with similar names (Adversus Iudaeos).

200 - 275 SIMEON BEN LAKISH (Resh Lakish) (Eretz Israel)

Studied under Judah HaNasi and was known for his mental and physical prowess. According to the Talmud, he had once been a gladiator and was brought back to Judaism by Johanan bar Nappaha. He was outspoken and very independent. He viewed the story of Job as a moral creation or parable, and the names of the angels as being of Persian rather than Jewish origin.

C. 200 EARLY SYNAGOGUE IS BUILT (Stobi, Macedonia)

By Tiberius Polycharmus, who converted the bottom floor of his house into a prayer hall. Letters sent by Agrippa to Caligula proved that Jews settled in the region during Roman times.

203 SEPPHORIS (TZIPORI) (Eretz Israel)

Judah HaNasi moved the seat of learning from Beth Shearim to Seppohris, mainly for health reasons.


Wrote Contra Judaeous, which blamed the harsh conditions of the Jews on their rejection of Jesus.


(Also called apocryphal Mishnayot) were compiled. They are included in the overall term Talmud (Gemara), which embraces both the Jerusalem Talmud and the more famous Babylonian Talmud.

212 EMPEROR CRACALLA (Roman Empire)

Allowed all free men including Jews within the empire to become full Roman citizens. Cracalla (188-217) the son of Septimius Severus, was evidently friendly to the Jews. Also named Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, he is considered by some to be the "Antoninus" mentioned in the Talmud as a friend and benefactor of the patriarch Judah I.

212 - 297 RAV HUNA (Babylon)

Succeeded Rav as Resh Metivta (director of the academy) at Sura and served for 40 years. He was instrumental in declaring intellectual independence from Eretz Israel. Successful yet modest, he was a philanthropist in all spheres of Jewish life. In addition to serving as the Resh Metivta, who was the spiritual and intellectual ruler, he was also the Exilarch (Greek for "Prince of Captivity" - Resh Galuta, who usually could trace his liniage from King David through Zerubavel). He was received by the Court and was responsible as Chief Justice for criminal and civil matters, including the appointment of judges, police and civil administrators.

219 ABBA ARIKA (RAV) (175-247) (Babylon)

The word "Rav" means master. He was a student of Judah HaNasi and after his death, he opened the Torah academy at Sura, which became one of the pillars of Babylonian Jewry. At its peak, over 1,200 students studied there. The beginning of the third century saw a rise in Jewish activities and a decline in the supremacy of Israel. The decline was due to the constant despoiling of Israel by the weakened Roman army and the rise of another ruler in Palmyra (ancient city of central Syria), who heavily taxed the inhabitants of Israel, reducing them to poverty. This directly affected support for schools of learning, which soon migrated to quieter, more tolerant, and more affluent shores. Rav was noted for improving moral and intellectual positions through his responsa (ordinances), including a ban on marriage without courtship and forbidding fathers to betroth a daughter without her consent. These responsa came in the form of questions. They became a popular way of maintaining contact with dispersed communities and, in various contexts, they still continue today.


Was marked by the death of Judah HaNasi. Known as the age of the Tannaim, this age commenced with Hillel the Elder around the beginning of the Common Era. The actual compilation of the Talmud began in 135 in the aftermath of the Bar Kochba revolt, and in response to the fear that the Oral Law may be forgotten. The Mishna itself is a compilation of Oral Law which serves as a second teaching of the Bible. According to rabbinic sources, this Oral Law was given to Moshe at Mt. Sinai and passed down from generation to generation. It is divided into six "orders": Zeraim (Seeds), Mo'ed (Festivals), Nashim (Women), Nezikim (Damages), Kedushim (Holy Matters) and Taharot (Purity). There are a total of 63 tractates. It was compiled in concise Hebrew and was intended to be memorized. The Mishna and the later Talmud (Gemara) served and still serves as a code for regulation of all Jewish life.

220 - 470 AGE OF AMORAIM

Expounders of the Mishna (also called the Talmud or the Gemara). The Talmud is comprised of both the Mishna and the commentary of the Amoraim. This commentary includes both Halacha (law) and Agadah or Hagaddah (legends). The latter was designed for spiritual and moral education and consists of parables, fables, folklore and historical anecdotes. Academies were established and served as the focal point of Jewish life, while preparing for religious survival in the Diaspora. The commentary of the Amoraim was written in Aramaic, the common language of the area.

222 - 235 ALEXANDER SEVERUS (Roman Empire)

Reigned as emperor. His respect for Judaism enabled Judah II (President of the Sanhedrin - the Jewish Supreme Court located in Eretz Israel), to obtain a revival of Jewish rights, including permission to visit Jerusalem.


Founded by Ardusher I (Artaxerxes)(r.224-241). Despite occasional outbursts of Zoroaster fanaticism and persecution, Jews were welcomed by Ardusher and Jewish schools of learning were encouraged. This open atmosphere helped create the great centers of Torah study.


An Aramaic inscription from this date makes it one of the oldest known synagogues in existence. The Dura synagogue is famous for his well preserved wall paintings. Of the 58 panels which have survived, most depict specific biblical scenes. It was abandoned after the Sassanid siege in 256.rnrn

247 SAMUEL (Babylon)

Samuel became the acknowledged leader of the Jewish community in Babylon. A friend and colleague of Rav, he lived and taught in Nahardea where he was head of the academy. He was also an astronomer who composed a fixed calendar. He did not publish it, however, out of respect for the Patriarchate in Eretz Israel. In monetary and civil matters his rulings were accepted as binding. He also instructed Jews to adopt the laws of whichever land they dwelt in (Dina d'malchuta Dina), thus preparing them for survival in foreign environments. He served for only seven years.


Inaugurated the academy at Pumbedita where he focused study on practical daily laws. Two years prior to his death in 299, he headed both Babylonian academies (Sura and Pumbedita).


Became a Bishop. He then wrote a series of biblical proofs entitled Testimoniorum adversus Judaeos, (Testimony Against the Jews). This was basically a compendium of the church's teachings on Judaism. He was greatly influenced by Tertullian (see 198), insisting that the Jews have been forsaken by God because of their rejection of Jesus.


Although some scholars have dated Jewish arrival to the end of the second temple, the first actual proof can be found on an inscription on a tombstone in Adra written as follows: " here lies ... nia daughter of Solomon one year four months and a day, a Jewess". Some use Paul's Letter to the Romans (58 ce), which mentions the need to visit the Jews of Spain, as proof of an earlier date.

259 NEHARDEA (Babylon)

The Jewish community and academy were destroyed by Odenathus of Palmyra while fighting for Rome against the Persians. The academy then moved to Pumbedita. These two foundations ruled Jewish life for approximately 800 years.

279 RAV AMI AND RAV ASSI (Eretz Israel)

Headed the academy of Tiberias at a time when the center of Torah authority was being transferred from Eretz Israel to Babylon. The Judean Amoraim subordinated themselves to their Babylonian colleagues.


The Roman emperor (284-305) visited Eretz Israel as part of his campaign against the Persians. His reign is viewed favorably in the Talmud.


Made sacrifices to the emperor obligatory, though he exempted the Jews from the order. Galerius (r.293-305) also upgraded the respect given to the patriarchal office.


A well known and still respected Syriac Christian poet and theologian .Over 400 of his hymns are still in existence. He wrote a quite a few of anti-Jewish hymns ( e.g. Hymns of the Unleavened Bread, Carmina Nisibena) which were incorporated into the Syriac and Orthodox church. Recognized as a " Doctor of the Church", he called on his fellow Christians to;" Avoid the Jew… Your death and blood is nothing much to him!... he tramps around the ocean and the land to find companions for the road to Hell." The Prayer of Saint Ephrem, is still recited at every service during Lent and other fasting periods in Eastern Christianity. He is also honored with a feast day by the Episcopal Church (USA) on June 10.There was also a pseudo-Ephram fifty years later who continued fulminations against the Jews including ; " He who eats with a Jew, shall not inherit life in the afterworld."


One of the earliest Christian councils, and origin of some of the first pre Constantine canons against Jews. It included a ban on intermarriage and social intercourse or hospitality. In addition, crops were forbidden to be blessed by Jews.

307 - 337 CONSTANTINE (Roman Empire)

United the Roman Empire. Part of his policy was to protect Jews who converted to Christianity. Constantine also founded a new capital city in the East at Constantinople (modern Istanbul). This reflected the increasing weakness of the Western part of the Roman Empire and the strengthening of the Eastern part.

313 EDICT OF TOLERATION (Roman Empire)

The Emperor Constantine and his co-emperor Licinius officially recognized Christianity. This edict authorized the toleration of different religions in the Roman Empire yet gave supremacy to Christianity.

315 CODE OF CONSTANTINE (Roman Empire)

Constantine's first anti-Jewish decree. It limited the rights of non-Christians.


Wrote his Historia Ecclesiastica, , a chronological account Early Christianity. Eusebius (c. 260–c. 339), tried to prove that immediately after rejecting Jesus, the Jews were punished by heaven with many disasters. In his fear that some Christians still sympathize with Judaism, he wrote a Jew is "a liar, even as also is his father the devil" He urged Christians to have nothing to do with Jews ,"For where there is Christianity there cannot be Judaism".


Eusebius of Caesarea (260-339) published his Onomasticon. A geographic guide to 4th century Eretz Israel. In his description South Hebron he denotes 68 Jewish towns in the south of Hebron area making up 70% of the population. They included Eshtemoa " .. a large Jewish town of priests", and Yatta " a very large village of Jews". The number decreased following the Crusades and up to the Mamluk times there were about 26 settlements. All eventually disappeared with many inhabitants converting to Islam.

321 December 11, THE RHINE (Germany)

The first evidence of Jews along the Rhine was found in a letter from Emperor Constantine to the prefect of Cologne regarding special taxes. The synagogue originally thought to be dated to the 11th century is now believed by archeologist to have been built 200 years earlier.

325 COUNCIL OF NICEA (present Iznik Turkey)

Officially changed the date of Easter from that of Passover. It also forbade Jews to own Christian slaves or convert pagans to Judaism. (It should be stressed that neither this nor the consequent bans on Jews owning slaves had anything to do with the Church's attitude to slavery. It was solely a matter of not allowing the slaves to be owned by non-Christians.) This began a total separation between early Christianty (most of whose adherents were Jews) and Judaism.


Rabba was forced to flee to a forest after being accused by Shapur IIs ministers that his biannual gatherings (Kalah) were only created to avoid a poll tax. He was later found in the undergrowth, dead. Although extremely poor, Rabba had been appointed to head the academy of Pumbedita after Judah Bar Ezekiels (the founder of the academy) death. A position he held for twenty-one years. He endeavored to reconcile contradictions in the Mishna and was known for beginning his lectures with a quip.

331 - 396 ST. GREGORY OF NYSSA (Asia Minor/Central Turkey)

Is considered together with John Chrysostom, to be one the formulators of the anti-Jewish doctrine in the Byzantine Church. He called Jews "…murderers of the Lord, assassins of the prophets, rebels and detesters of God,... companions of the devil". He also claimed, "The Jews are a brood of vipers, (and) haters of goodness." Gregory is recognized as a saint by all catholic and many protestant churches.


Abbaye (278-338) was the nephew of Rabba Bar Nachmani who adopted him when his parents died. Abbaye was admired for his integrity by both Jews and gentiles. His Talmudic debates with Rava (who opened an academy at Mahoza on the Tigris River) became famous and are known as Havayot (Reflections) deAbbaya veRava. They both encouraged elementary education for children. He wrote many popular sayings underlying his belief in the importance that one be beloved above and well liked below.


He served as the Pope (314-335) the time of Nicea. Though little is known about him, he did forbid priests to "be friendly or sociable with Jews", on pain of excommunication. Today in many parts of Europe and Asia New year's day is also known as "Sylvester".

337 - 361 CONSTANTIUS (Constantine II) (Roman Empire)

Son of Constantine the Great. Weaker than his father, he relied on his Church advisors and began a series of anti-Jewish decrees banning Jewish pilgrimages to Jerusalem and the circumcising of Christian or Pagan slaves, and protecting Jewish converts to Christianity.

338 ABBAYA DIED (Babylon)

Upon his death, Rava (R. Abba bar Joseph) became the acknowledged head of both Sura and Pumbedita academies but stayed at Mahoza. Rava's deep analysis of the Mishna became very popular and is considered by some to be the perfect example of talmudic dissertation and elucidation.

338 December, CALLINCUM (modern Al Rakka, Iraq)

A synagogue was raided and burned, by the local bishop. Theodosius initially directed the bishop to make restitution, and to return the stolen goods. After St. Ambrose vehemently protested, he back down. This served as a precedent allowing the wanton destruction of synagogues with impunity.

339 CONSTANTIUS II`(Roman Empire)

Son of Constantine the Great, declared intermarriage with Jews and the circumcision of heathen or Christian slaves punishable by death. Considering that slaves fueled the economy, this put any Jewish owned businesses into a position where they could not compete – which was one of its goals. He also called synagogues "concliabula" (brothels). This is the first time this term is used.

342 - 420 JEROME

Early church father of Christian parentage. His major work was a Latin translation of the Bible known as the Vulgate. Jerome believed that Mosaic law was a trick by G-d to destroy the Jews.


Referred to in Catholic literature as "the man with the golden tongue". A virulent hater of Judaism, he disseminated his views through violent writings and preachings. He considered it meritorious to kill Jews.

C. 345 . SYNAGOGUE DESTROYED (Dertona/Tortona, Northern Italy)

By Bishop Innocentis, who then confiscated the property. Local Jews were then offered a choice between baptism or expulsion.


The first definite evidence of Jewish presence in Bukhara is related in the Babylonian Talmud (Av. Zar. 31b) regarding an amora (Samuel bar Bisna) who lived in the town of Margwan, i.e., Margiana, the medieval Merv (now the region of Mari, the Soviet Turkmen republic). There are some archeological remains which suggest a Jewish presence as early as the first century. The Jews from the area of Tajikistan were later referred to as Bukharim, named for the Emir of Bukhara.

351 June, A SERIES OF PERSECUTIONS (Eretz Israel)

And local violence erupted under the corrupt rule of Gallus, brother-in-law of Constantius II. Beginning in Sepphoris under Patricius, it spread to Tiberias, and Lod. Many towns including the above were destroyed, and with them the talmudic academies. This blow resulted in the further weakening of the centers of Jewish learning in Eretz Israel.

352 - 427 RAV ASHI (Babylon)

First to compile the Babylonian Talmud. He did this orally since it was still considered unlawful to write it down. He renovated the academy at Sura, whose prestige had declined since the death of Rava in 352. Rav Ashi re-established its authority, and served as its head for nearly fifty-two years.


Issued a decree confiscating the property of anyone who converts from Christianity to Judaism.

354 - 430 ST. AUGUSTINE

Bishop of Hippo (North Africa), called Jewry a corruption and proclaimed eternal Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus.

359 HILLEL II (Eretz Israel)

Issued the Jewish calendar based on the lunar year. Previously, only the Sanhedrin could announce the new month and oncoming festivals. Due to the dispersion, every individual had to be able to determine the exact days for himself.

361 - 363 JULIAN THE APOSTATE (Roman Empire)

The only non-Christian emperor since Constantine, he preferred Judaism to Christianity, considering Judaism closer to his conception of the Greco-Roman viewpoint. He planned to rebuild the Temple and even began construction, but he was killed on the battlefield. His plans died with him.In his war with Mesopotamia he encouraged the Jews to support him. The vast majority despite his promises of rebuilding a third temple continued to support Persia and were allowed to bear arms in self defense.

363 EARTHQUAKE (Eretz Israel)

A major earthquake over much of the country heavily damaged the cities of Sepphoris (Zippori) in the Galilee, and Afek (Antipatris) near the Yarkon River in the Sharon plains Sepphoris was rebuilt and continued to flourish until the Arab conquest. Afek never attained its former status.


Shapur II (309-379) forcibly transferred approximately 7000 Jews from outlying territories to the interior of Persia.


Although he had a violent temper, he was considered, a good commander and apt administrator. Nominally a Christian, he permitted religious freedom for all his subjects and fought against the growing wealth of the clergy.


Referred to the Jews as “a perverse people whom God has cursed forever”. Hilary (300-368) was recognized as one of the 36 "Doctors" or teachers of the church.

370 - 425 GAMLIEL VI (Eretz Israel)

The last patriarch and descendant of the House of Hillel, which was founded by the Tanna, Hillel I (d. 10 C.E.). A descendant of King David, Hillel founded a school, Beit Hillel (House of Hillel), which preached tolerance and patience. He was one of the first scholars to devise rules of interpretation for the Torah. When Gamliel died without a male heir, the Emperor, Theodosious II, abolished the position of patriarch, thus ending the last semblance of Jewish national organization in Israel. All Jewish leadership now passed to the Diaspora.


Often confused with St Gregory, wrote Testimonies against the Jews,. In it he emphasizes gods rejection of the Jews, and the obsolescence of Jewish law.

379 - 395 REIGN OF THEODOSIUS I (Roman emperor)

A general of Spanish origin, and the son of another general, was chosen to replace Valens who had been killed fighting the Visigoths. He refused to condemn Judaism believing that it was a legitimate religion. Theodosius prohibited the destruction of synagogues by zealot Christians.


During this time attacks on synagogues increased originally at the instigations of the church but eventually found sanction within legislations as well. The legislation of Honorius and Valentinian III were relatively mild compared to that of Arcadius and Theodosius II. During this time restriction on Jewish life became more widespread and not just limited to marriage , owning slaves, etc. Furthermore, rights once lost were almost never recovered.


Forbade Christians to rest on the Jewish Sabbath.


Was a series of eight sermons by John Chrysostom denouncing and slandering Judaism. They were published as part of the battle to totally sever Christianity from Judaism, and to prevent Christians from participating in Jewish festivals. Although there was little new in his sermons they are unique in their intensity and vitriol. "Although such beasts [Jews] are unfit for work, they are fit for killing . . . fit for slaughter. (I.II.5) Shall I tell you of their plundering, their covetousness, their abandonment of the poor, their thefts, their cheating in trade? (I.VII.1)"

388 August 1, CALLINICUM (Mesopotamia)

The synagogue located on the Euphrates was looted and burned by Church officials. St. Ambrose, one of the four Latin doctors of the Catholic church (others were St. Gregory, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome), defended the action. He reprimanded Theodosius the Great for ordering the local Bishop to pay restitution, even though expropriation was illegal under Roman law. St. Ambrose offered to burn the synagogue in Milan on his own.

390 AMMENMAR (Babylon)

Re-opened the academy at Nehardea 131 years after its destruction by Odenathus.

C. 390 KINGDOM OF HIMYAR (Southwestern Arabian Peninsula)

Led by Tub'a Abu Kariba As'ad (Abu Kariba) the tribal leadership converted to a form of Judaism. Abu Kariba had become ill while besieging Yathrib ( Medina), and was cured by two Jewish doctors who persuaded him to lift the siege. He became interested in Judaism and converted along with much of his population. He ruled between 378-430. Himyar flourished expanding northwards into central Arabia, until around 500 when it was conquered by Christians from the kingdom of Axum (Aksum), in present day Ethiopia. ( see. 517)


Was canonized.

395 January, ARCADIUS (Eastern Roman Empire)

Succeeded Theodosius the Great at the age of 17. Arcadius (377-408) was a weak ruler, influenced by advisors, church officials, and his wife Aelia Flaccilla, who Ambrose considered a " pillar of the church". His first few years of reign were more or less favorable, continuing the status quo regarding the Jews. This changed as the local population spurred on by the preaching of Chrysostom in Antioch and Cyril in Jerusalem rioted, and urged him to promote new legislation against the Jews.

398 Apulia (Puglia) Southern Italy

The existence of numerous Jewish communities was confirmed in a document from Emperor Honorius Flavius, the Western Roman Emperor, and son of Theodosius . Many of the communities in that area, date back to the destruction of the second temple.


Canon 89 prohibited the celebration of " Jewish superstitions and festivals", on pain of excommunication. In another canon, all those deemed "infamaia to wit, actors, persons of evil habits heretics, pagans, and Jews", were not permitted to give evidence in court.

398 February 3, ARCADUIS (Eastern Roman Empire)

Reduced Jewish judicial autonomy except on religious matters.

399 HONORIUS FLAVIUS (364-423 C.E.)

Confiscated gold and silver which had been collected by the synagogues to be sent to Jerusalem. He defined Judaism as an unworthy superstition (superstitio indigna). He was greatly influenced by St. Ambrose, and his legislation is considered to be a repercussion of the reign of Julian the Apostate.

400 - 600 ROMAN EMPIRE

Was broken up by German tribes - the Huns, Vandals and Goths. The Papacy was established.


During a siege on Yathrib (Medina) Abu Karib Asad Kamil (c. 385-420), a Himyarite (Southern Arabian) king became ill. Reportedly he was saved by two Jews in the besieged city and in return agreed to lift the siege and converted to Sadduceean Judaism. He succeeded in conquering much of the Arabian peninsula together with Jewish tribes and pagan allies.

404 April 22, HONORIUS (Co-Emperor)

Decreed that Jews and Samaritans are to be deprived of all military rank nor allowed to bear arms A number of years later believing this didn't go far enough he added also excluded Jews from all civil service ( see 418).

409 April 1, CAELICOLAE

An African Christian sect (aka heaven worshipers) was accused of Judaizing including the use of Jewish names and condemned as heresy. In a joint communication, Honorius and Theodosius II wrote " It would be… crueler then murder… if any Christian be polluted by Jewish disbelief" Within a year they ceased to exist.

410 ROME

Was sacked by Alaric, king of the Visigoths. The treasures of the Second Temple fell into his hands. What remained was taken to Carthage by the Vandals (455).

412 HONORIUS (Co-Emperor)

After a number of synagogues were desecrated issued a demand that they be respected, which was in general ignored.


Incited the Greeks to kill or expel the Jews. Cyril (376-44) who was appointed patriarch of Alexandria in 412 forced his way into the synagogue at the head of a mob, expelled the Jews and gave their property to the crowd. The Prefect Orestes, who refused to condone this behavior, was set upon and almost stoned to death. Only one Jew, Adamanlius, agreed to be baptized. Within a few years Jews were allowed to return, but a majority of them returned only after the Mohammedans conquered Egypt.

415 October 20, GAMLIEL VI ( Eretz Israel)

Was deposed of his office as Nasi of the Sanhedrin ( Patriarch). Gamliel (c. 370425) lost his position after authorizing the building of a synagogue, in contradiction to the edit of the Western Emperor Honorius (384 423) prohibiting the building of new synagogues. Gamliel who was also a physician, had also held the Roman rank of prefect . The office of Patriarch was abolished by the Eastern Emperor Theodosius II (408-450).


Jews were allegedly accused that during their revelry of the Purim holiday they " mistreated ( a Christian boy) until he died". The incident was only reported by one church historian Socrates Scholasticus and totally ignored by all others for hundreds of years. It is only in 1150 that it was revived and embellished by Thomas of Monmouth who claimed that it was not drunkenness, but actually part of a Jewish ritual in his book, The life, and miracles of St William of Norwich (see 1150).

418 MAGONA ( Minorca- Balearic Islands off Spain's eastern coast)

Severus, the bishop of Minorca, claimed to have forced 540 Jews tornaccept Christianity upon conquering the Island. This is the first we know ofrnJews on this Island as well as the first case of Jews being forced tornconvert or face expulsion. Although in general forced conversions (as later laidrndown by Pope Gregory I) were officially frowned upon, they were consideredrnvalid - and backsliding was usually considered heresy. Harsher "no choice"rnforced conversions began in the 9th century. rnrn


As part of what would be known as the Codex Theodosianus (CTh 16.8.24), Jews were banned from joining the imperial service, "They are however allowed to continue to serve as advocates before judges (see 439).


A local bishop (411-435) and supporter of Cyril of Alexandria, converted one of the two local synagogues into the Church of St Stephen. He claimed to have converted " thousands "of Jews sometimes through violent means.

420 February 15, 420 February 15 THEODOSIUS II (ILLYRICUM -East coast of the Adriatic Sea and its inland mountains.)

After local attacks on the Jews, he prohibited the burning of synagogues. At the same time, he warned Jews not to "provoke" Christians.

423 April 8, VALENTINIAN III (Western Roman Emperor)

Jews were forbidden to disinherit their children who became Christians.

423 June 8, EMPEROR THEODOSIUS II ( Eastern Empire)

Ordered, that "Jews may not construct new synagogues or improve existing ones, but old ones will not be torn down, and if so they will be compensated." No penalty was attached to those who ignored his order. This was his last effort to offer some protection to the Jewish community in the Roman Empire. From here on he made no attempt to stop anti- Jewish persecution by the clergy and himself began to denounce Judaism in no uncertain terms.


Branded Judaism a corruption and called for the enslavement and severe persecution of Jews until they agreed to convert.

425 February 1, THEODOSIUS II ( Eastern Empire)

Ordered Jews to observe Christian holidays.

425 July 9, FRANCE

In one of the earliest official mentions of Jews in France, a declaration was sent to Amatius the prefect of Gaul by emperor Theodosius II (401-450). In it he prohibited Jews and pagans from practicing law or holding public offices in order to prevent them from being subjected to or influenced by them.

425 July 9, VALENTINIAN III (Western Roman Emperor)

Reemphasizes the law " deny(ing) Jews and pagans (the right) to try cases of law or serve in the army".

429 THEODOSIUS II (Emperor of the Eastern (Byzantine) Roman Empire)

Ordered that all funds raised by Jews to support schools be turned over to his treasury. (They are still known as the patriarchal funds.)

430 VANDALS (a Germanic tribe)

Established a kingdom in North Africa. The Jews there lived peacefully and flourished until the Almohad conquest of the 11th century.


R. Judah HaNasi predicted that the Messiah would come in this year (365 years after the destruction of the Temple). R. Hanina, his student, predicted that the Messiah would come in the year 470 (400 years after the destruction). This, coupled with persecution and natural disasters, resulted in the appearance of false messiahs. This phenomenon became so widespread that most rabbis forbade predictions of the coming of the Messiah, since often people bereft of hope would convert after grave disappointment.


The Churchs preoccupation with clashes over the divinity of Jesus throughout the Byzantine empire, brought about a temporary halt to anti Jewish persecution in Eretz Israel. This relatively peaceful era in addition to the general economic prosperity in the region, led to the restoration of many synagogues in both the north and south.

438 THEODOSIUS II ( Eastern Empire)

In his Novella III he once again absolutely prohibited Jews from holding any public office and " you have lost the right to the title of clarissimus (most renowned)."


Wife of Theodosius II visited Jerusalem, and arranged for Jews to visit and pray at the ruins of the temple for the feast of tabernacle later that year ( see October 438). This encouraged a movement of Jews to Jerusalem. Eudocia returned to Jerusalem after being banished by Theodosius II around 443 and remained there until her death in 460. rn


After Eudocia had arranged for Jews to pray at the ruins of the temple for the feast of Tabernacles, the monk Barsauma of Nisibis, and forty of his followers, attacked them, killing many. At their trial, he claimed that he was innocent, and that by a miracle the stones fell from heaven. Although the case was originally brought before the empress, it was later transferred to the governor of Caesarea, who acquitted them. Over the next three years, Barsauma roamed the holy land, attacking and destroying synagogues. In 460 he became the Metropolitan Bishop of Nisibis (present Turkey). He was a favorite of King Firuz/Peroz or Persia.

439 January 1, CODE OF THEODOSIUS II (Byzantine Empire)

The first imperial compilation of anti-Jewish laws since Constantine (c.312) went into effect. Jews were prohibited from holding important positions involving money, including judicial and executive offices. The ban against building new synagogues was reinstated. Theodosius was the Roman emperor of the East (408-450). The Code was also readily accepted by Western Roman Emperor, Valentinian III (425-455).

455 ROME

The Vandals plundered Rome for two weeks. Many of the Temple vessels were taken to Carthage.


King Jezdegerd II (Yazdegerd II) (r. 438-457), under the influence of the Zoroastrian priests decided to ban Sabbath observance. After strong protests the proclamation was rescinded.


Prohibited the clergy from participating in Jewish feasts. This was designed to place Jews further beyond the pale of Christian civilization.rnrn


The Mazdaks named after its founder), also known as the Zandiks, were avowed communists, who banned marriage and property ownership. The Sassanids looked somewhat in favor of the Mazdaks since it weakened the nobles. The Zoroastrians, who were fire worshippers, defeated Kavad I, a mazdak , but he soon regained power in his own province. Many Jews were killed by both sides.


King Firuz (Pheroces/Peroz) (r. 457-484) added to the edicts of Jezdegerd II (see 455), by closing synagogues and study houses. He ordered the Exilarch Mar Huna (Mar Zutra's son) executed after he insisted that Jews had a right to defend themselves and their religion. A number of other Jewish scholars were also put to death. . His daughter and a number of his close entourage escaped to Arabia.

472 ANTI- JEWISH RIOTS (Isfahan, Persia)

Although for the most part Jews had lived in peace under Zoroastrian influences, anti-Jewish riots spread through the city after rumors began that the Jews killed two Zoroastrian priests. An estimated half of the Jewish population was killed and their children abducted to be raised in the Zoroastrian religionrnrn

473 YOTABE (Gulf of Aquba)

After its conquest by Persia, Jewish merchants set up a semi-autonomous colony. Emperor Anastassus recognized it as such in 498, but in 535 Justinian revoked its autonomy.


Factions of the "Orthodox" upper class (Blues) fought the Monophysites lower class (Greens). The Jews in general supported the ruling class blues, which resulted in many attacks by the Greens. In one incident, the synagogue in Daphne near Antioch was razed, a number of Jews killed , and bones were removed from the Jewish cemetery and burned. Emperor Zeno (474-491) commented, that the greens deserved punishment for not throwing live Jews into the flames.


Arrived with a group of Babylonian Jews to the Malabar coast of India. Rabbah was granted a mini-state in Granganor and freedom of religion. Eventually some Jews settled in Mattachary near Cochin, which became known as "Jews Town".

499 (13 Kislev 4260) DEATH OF RAVINA II (Bar Huna)

Marks the closing of the Amoraic era and the beginning of the Saboraic era. During the Amoraic era, it was decided to commit the Oral Law (Talmud) into writing, despite protests that only the Bible should be written down, for fear that persecution would cause it to be forgotten. The compilation of the Talmud, begun by Rav Ashi 100 years before, was completed by Ravina II. There are some who believe it was Ravina I (his uncle) who worked with Rav Ashi.

500 THEODORIC (Italy)

King of the Ostrogoths (an Aryan tribe). After conquering Italy (489) he issued an edict confirming protection for the Jews and safeguarding their privileges/charters, which included the right to determine civil disputes and freedom of worship. He also protected their synagogues and persons against incitement by the Church.


Linked the Amoraic and Geonic periods. Sabara means opinion, hence the opinion makers. The exact dates of this period are in dispute. It probably started with Mar Jose and ended with Mar Isaac. During this time the Talmud was edited and Midrashic literature and liturgical poetry developed. Although the text itself wasn't changed, topics were edited and some, such as sacrifices which were currently not relevant, were de-emphasized. The Saboraim were skillful stylists who produced smoothly flowing presentations.

501 July 23, ERETZ ISRAEL

A massive earthquake hit the coast. Acre was partially destroyed. Cities as far inwards as Jerusalem suffered damage.

507 July 9, DAPHNE (NEAR ANTIOCH) (Syria)

A sporting event was held in the form of a chariot race between two parties, the greens and the whites. For no apparent reason the supporters of the greens attacked the local synagogue, killing the Jews inside. Callipoe a circus charioteer, and supporter of the Green Monophysite party (see 486),came to Antioch to fight the Blue ( Christian orthodox) party. The Jews once again became the scapegoat , with the local synagogue being destroyed and the Jews inside murdered.

508 ARLES (Gaul)

Was attacked by the Franks and Burgundians. Jews played a significant role in its defense.


Was dedicated in the port of Maiuma ( later known as Gaza), by the brothers Menachem and Yeshua , both wood traders The mosaic contained of a picture of king David with a harp. When discovered in excellent condition in 1965, the Egyptians declared it was a church with a picture of Orpheus despite the fact that there was Hebrew lettering. By the time Israeli forces captured Gaza in 1967,the face of David, one on his hands and other parts of the mosaic had been destroyed.


King Ohu Nuwas adopted Judaism, perhaps as a bulwark against encroaching Christianity. He was eventually defeated by King Eleboas of Abyssinia, with the help of Justin I.


Reinforced the decisions of the Council Of Vannes (465) in prohibiting Christians from participating in Jewish feasts.


Born around 455 Yūsuf Asʾar Yathʾar ( aka Dhu Nuwas) was known for having curls or side locks (peiyot). Dhu Nuwas had rebelled against the local ruler enthroned by the negus or king of Axum (Aksum), and killed the garrison in its capital, Zafar ( present day Yemen). In 523, he besieged Najran, which had refused to provide him with troops, and massacred part of its Christian population. Using this incident as a rallying point, he was eventually defeated by the armies of greater Axum ( Ethiopia) with the help of the Byzantine Empire.

519 RAVENNA (Italy)

After the local synagogues were burned down by the local populace, Theodoric the Ostrogoth ordered the town to rebuild them at its own expense.


Mar Zutra had revolted against the fanatic Kavad I (488-531), establishing a Jewish state in Babylon with Mahoza as its capital which lasted seven years. Eventually his army was overcome and he and his grandfather, Mar Hananiah, were beheaded and crucified on the bridge of Mahoza. Many Jewish leaders were forced to flee and their institutions were closed.

531 EMPEROR JUSTINIAN (527-565) (Byzantine Empire)

Ruled that Jews cannot testify against Christians. He also censored part of the synagogue liturgy for being anti-trinitarian. Justinian is famous for his Codex Justinianeus (Corpus Juris Civilis), which he began in 527, as well as his new regulations known as Novels (Novellae Constitutiones Post Codicem). In his Codex and Novellae, he revised many of the older ordinances and added some of his own. These included new anti- Jewish imperial directives and restrictions. In general, his code united church and state making anyone who was not connected to the Christian church a non- citizen. These regulations determined the status of Jews throughout the Empire for hundreds of years.

534 BELISARIUS (Byzantine Empire)

Justinian's general. He captured Carthage. The menorah and other Temple vessels were taken to Constantinople. Believing that they would bring him bad luck, Justinian sent them on to Jerusalem. It is not known whether they ever arrived.


Banned Jewish judges and prohibited Jews from holding administrative positions.

535 BORION (North Africa)

By order of Emperor Justinian, the synagogue was closed and all Jewish practices were prohibited.


Prohibited Jews from appearing in the streets during Easter because "their appearance is an insult to Christianity". Childbert (a Merovinian king) approved the measure so as not to offend Christians. Until the reign of Charlemagne (800), France (Gaul) consisted of small principalities ruled by petty kings. The decree of a king was not valid beyond the borders of his kingdom, so if Jews were banished from one kingdom it did not affect the Jews in another kingdom.

540 KHOSROW I (Syria)

Destroyed Antioch but took care to protect the rights of Christian and Jewish minorities.

543 EMPEROR JUSTINIAN (Byzantine Empire)

Tried to force Jews to postpone Passover until after Easter.

547 CAESAREA (Eretz Israel)

Massacre of Jews and Samaritans by local Christians.


A fictional history about the life of Julian "The Apostate" was written. It placed all the blame for his activities on the Jews, and reflected the anti Jewish climate in those times.


Conquered by Justinian's generals.


Between Justinian and Khosrow I, was concluded. This brought to an end the Jewish hope that the Byzantine Empire would fall. Justinian II broke the treaty within the decade, and the Persians were eventually defeated.

C. 570 - C. 640 EL'AZAR HAKALIR (Tiberias, Eretz Israel)

Poet and mystic. He wrote more than 200 hymns ( Piyutim) . Many of them are still recited today. These include those read for the 9th of (the month of) Av, the book of slichot (recited leading up to the high holy days), and those recited for rain in the fall and dew in the spring. There is some controversy as to his exact identity and time he lived.

576 Easter CLERMONT-FERREND (Gaul)

During a procession, a recent convert to Christianity was doused with rancid oil by a former co-religionist. Though Biship Avitus succeeded in temporarily calming the crowd . Four days later local Christians burned down the synagogue and began attacking Jews. The Bishop offered the Jews a choice baptism or exile, he reported that 500 Jews accepted conversion.The rest fled, mostly to Marseilles. Many of those who ostensibly converted managed to eventually return to practicing Judaism.

581 HORMISDAS IV (Persia)

Tyrannized the Jews, forcing many to flee, including the leaders of the academies.

581 PRISCUS (Gaul)

The royal jeweler to Chilper I (Gaul) was forced into a debate with Gregory of Tours, a respected Christian theologian. Despite the fact that the king also put pressure on Priscus, he held his own and even Gregory conceded that the debate ended without a winner. The king tried forcing Priscus to convert together with other Jews. When that failed, Priscus was imprisoned and then murdered by Phatir, a recent convert. Phatir was granted a royal pardon, but was killed within a few days by Priscus' relatives.


Expanded the edicts of the Council of Clermont and included a demand for Jews to respect the Christian clergy. Furthermore, Jews were forced to sell slaves at a lower price than market value if the slave declared his desire to convert.


Adopted Catholicism. Jews were banned from slave ownership, intermarriage and positions of authority. Recared also decreed that children of mixed marriages must be raised as Christians.

589 NARBONNE (Gaul)

The Council forbade Jews from chanting Psalms while burying their dead. Anyone violating this law was fined 6 ounces of gold. In addition all Jews married to Christian woman had to baptize their children.


Formulated the official Papal policy regarding Jews; they were to be tolerated according to the regulations passed by the previous council. Gregory objected to forced baptism, but valued converts. This policy which was officially set in canon 60 of the council of Toledo(633), became the basis for the rejection of forced baptism by many Popes. Even anti- Jewish popes like Innocent III rejected forced baptism.


The local synagogue was forcibly moved at the orders of Pope Gregory I, on the basis that the prayers there were disturbing Christians.


Punished the entire Jewish community of Antioch after a Jew violated one of his laws.

594 October, POPE GREGORY I

Recommended the use of financial persuasion to convert Jews in Sicily. He did not approve of forced conversion per se, as it could lead to "back sliding".


Confiscated the Synagogues of the city together with their guest houses. Since there was no provocation for his action, Pope Gregory forced Bishop Victor to make reparations. The building were not returned to the Jewish community since they had already be consecrated as church property. Gregory's policy regarding synagogues was on one hand not to allow new synagogues to be built, on the other, to leave the old ones undisturbed.


Jews had formed many warlike tribes. They were renowned, especially in Yathuolb (Medina), Khaiba and Taima, for their advanced knowledge of irrigation. They introduced the date palm, grape vines and the honey bee.

602 - 628 PERSIAN CAMPAIGN - PERSIAN CAMPAIGN – KHOSROW (Khosroe) II (King of Persia)

Attacked Heraclius, the Eastern Roman Emperor, and succeeded for a time in reconquering all of Western Asia and some of Egypt. Heraclius, supported by Caucasian tribes and the Khazars, defeated him at Ctesiphon. These loses led to his murder in 628 by Persian assassins. The Jews took an active part in many of his campaigns believing that this was the beginning of the Age of Redemption.


Despite a Roman ban, Jews had settled in Jerusalem. The local Byzantine governor ordered all of them to be baptized, partly as a result of the tension between the Persian and the Byzantine kingdom.


Anti-Jewish pogroms broke out from Syria to Asia Minor.

608 September, ANTIOCH (Syria)

Upon receiving word of the imminent approach of the Persians, the Jews rioted, killing the Christian Patriarch in revenge for the severe repression they had suffered. This facilitated the entrance of Persian troops under Khosrow II . In Trye, the Jews supposedly began a rebellion and called for their co-religionist help, which resulted in the gates being closed to Jews, and those there were held as hostages.

610 - 620 REIGN OF SESBUT (Visigothic Spain)

Liberator of much of Byzantine Spain. He prohibited Judaism after many of his anti-Jewish edicts were ignored. Those not baptized fled, but returned under his successor, Swintilla. This was the first incidence where a prohibition of Judaism affected an entire Christian country.

613 TIBERIAS (Eretz Israel)

Led by the wealthy Benjamin of Tiberias, and Nehemiah ben Hushiel the Jews gave their assistance to the conquering Persian forces. This included financial help and a force of about 20,000 people. According to many sources, Ben Hushiel was later appointed governor of Jerusalem by the Persians.


Largest ever meeting of Merovingian Bishops. They decided that all Jews holding military or civil positions must accept baptism, together with their families.

614 JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

After a 20-day siege, the city fell to the Persians under the General Scharbaraz (aka Romizanes). Some 37,000 Christians were allegedly deported. Nehemiah ben Hushiel was appointed its governor and began to plan to rebuild the temple Jews. At that time there were approximately 150,000 Jews living in 31 rural and 12 urban settlements, throughout Eretz Israel. A few month later local Christians revolted murdering him and his council and succeeded in retaking the city for 19 days.


The earliest referral (in the Justinian codes) to the Jewish Oath also known as Juramentum Judaeorum. It was originally established by Emperor Justinian 75 years earlier. The idea was based on the concept that no heretic could be believed in court against a Christian. Various methods were used to ensure that the Jew would tell the truth. These included swearing on an opened Torah scroll while standing on a pigskin or while wearing a belt of thorns, or even standing on a stool wearing a "Jews hat." In 1555 the oath became standardized throughout Europe and only was totally abolished in 1914 (Romania).


Jews were excluded from civil and military positions. It was ratified by Clotaire II (584–629) the Merovingian king of the Franks.

617 JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

After only three years the Persians reneged on their promises and forbade Jews to settle within a three mile radius of the city.

622 MOHAMMED (Arabia)

Fled Mecca. (This journey is known to Moslems as the Hejira.)


The combination of the reneging of Persian promises, local massacres against Jews, and the prohibition of Jews to live within three miles from the Jerusalem, led to a general disappointment by those who had believed that the redemption was at hand. Benjamin of Tiberius (see 613) was offered amnesty by Heraclius on condition that he convert – which he did. In Tomai Egypt, 375 Jews converted to Christianity possibly voluntarily.


Were attacked by Mohammed. There were some twenty Jewish tribes had living in the Hijaz (Western Arabia), for centuries. Legend has it that they were sent by Joshua to fight the Amalakites. Others claim that many of them settled at Yatrib (Yathrib) later known as Medina, after the destruction of the first temple . The majority immigrated to Arabia after the Roman persecutions in Eretz Israel. Some of the tribes worked in agriculture others in crafts like goldsmithing. Two of the tribes (Qurayza and Nadir) considered themselves al kahinan (kohanim) One by one they were either expelled or destroyed for refusing to convert to Mohammedanism. Three of the strongest tribes were known as Banu Nadir (Nadhir), Banu Qaynuqa (Kainuka) and Banu Qurayza (Eruzia).

624 March, BANU QAYNUQA (Yathrib)

Surrendered to Mohammed after 14 day siege. The Banu Qaynuqa (Kainuka) were traders and goldsmiths. Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy one of the chiefs of the Khazraj tribe which was aligned (for the most part) with Mohammed convinced him to expel them rather then kill them. They were forced to leave their belongings and property behind. Eventually they settled in Dera in present day Syria joining the local Jewish community there. Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy is known to Islamists as a Munafiq (hypocrite).

625 THEODOSIUS (Eretz Israel)

Commander of the returning Byzantinian army. He promised amnesty to Jews who joined the Persians. He too was greeted by Benjamin of Tiberias.


Mohammed demanded that the Jewish tribe contribute blood money for two people that were killed by his own (Muslim) troops, the Banu Nadir refused. Consequently Mohammed accused them of plotting against him and besieged them. After 14 days when no promised help arrived, they surrendered to the Moslem army. The Banu Nadir were known for owning some of the most fertile land in the area. They were only allowed to take what they could on their camels. Everything else was confiscated with a significant portion going directly to Mohammed.


Decreed that Jews accepting public office had to convert.


An aggadic midrash (written between the 4th and 6th century) appeared predicting that the Messiah would soon appear to free the Jews from their misery.It is extant in two versions a Hebrew one and a Christian (Coptic) one. It also known and the "Apocalypse of Elijah".

627 April, MASSACRE OF THE BANU QURAYZA ( Yathrib/Medina)

After Mohammed's conquest of the Banu-Nadir Jewish tribe, he attacked the Banu- Qurayza (Eruzia). During what was known as the Battle of the Trench at Yathrib, the Jewish tribe had refused to take up sides. Mohammed enraged, ordered Sa'd bin Muadh a devoted follower and one of the chiefs of the Banu Aus (a former alley of the Qurayza), to decided on their fate. Bin Muadh had been mortally wounded in the battle and advised Mohammed to order their conversion or death. The next morning all males 6-800) who had attained puberty were taken out and beheaded . Only 3 or 4 agreed to convert. The women and children were sold into slavery or taken as concubines, many of which were redeemed by the Banu Nadir. One woman, Rayhana bint Zayd was taken personally by Mohammed. According to most sources she refused to convert and as such remained his slave. Years later (c. 1830) Husayn-`Ali Nuri, later known as Baha'u'llah cites the story of the massacre as one of his reasons for leaving Islam and founding the Bahai religion.rnrn

629 DAGOBERT I(Gaul)

Encouraged by Emperor Heraclius, he expelled all non-converted Jews from Frankish dominions. For the next 150 years, little was heard from any Jewish community there.


A Jewish warrior from a family of renowned warriors and opponent of Mohammed. According to Arab historians, he died in a duel during an attack on Khaybar.

629 March 21, BYZANTINE EMPEROR HERACLIUS (Eretz Israel)

Marched into Jerusalem at the head of his army with the support of Jewish inhabitants. The Jews who had previously fought with the Persians against Byzantine rule decided to support him in return for a promise of amnesty. Upon his entry into Jerusalem the local priests convinced him that killing Jews was a positive commandment and that his promise was therefore invalid. Hundreds of Jews were massacred and thousands of others fled to Egypt. Thus, much of the rich Jewish life in the Galilee and Judea came to an end.


Despite the surrender of its Arab allies, the Jewish Khaibar (Khaybar) tribes defended themselves. After a bitter battle, a deal was negotiated whereby half their produce would go to Muhammad and they would be "left in peace". Other Jewish tribes, for example, Fadattr, Tedma, and Magna, concluded similar deals. Safiyya bint Huyayy, daughter of Ḥuyayy ibn Akhṭab, the chief of the Banu Nadir tribe, was captured by Muhammad after her father, brother, and young husband along with most of the tribe were slaughtered. She converted and became one of his wives. The treaty lasted barely 15 years before Omar found a pretense to break it expelling many, but not those related to Safiyya or those who had special treaties. Many of those who left settled in Jericho and the Jordan valley. The Khaibar community itself continued at least to the 10th century.


Rival Muslim sects were formed after his death

632 - 634 EMPEROR HERACLIUS (Byzantine Empire)

Forced baptism on North African Jewish communities. This was probably the first case of officially sanctioned forced baptism. Until this time Jews were protected by Theodosian Law which protected them from forced conversions, though it imposed limitations on Jewish freedom. Once breached there was no longer any hesitation on the part of Christian leaders to use forced conversions as a political tool whenever they wished.


Under the presidency of Saint Isidore, Bishop of Seville, King Sisenand renewed Sesbut's (612-620) decrees. Forced conversions were denounce but Converts (even if forcibly baptized) were forced to adhere strictly to Christianity and were forbidden to socialize with unbaptized Jews. Children of unbaptized Jews were baptized to be taken from their homes, and raised as Christians. This cannon was to be used numerous times over the next 1200 years by the church to justify the removal of children from non Christian parents (See 1858).

634 - 644 OMAR IBN AL-KHATTAB (Arabia)

Second caliph. Omar is credited with laying the groundwork for the Islamic legal system and calendar. Omar, as part of his belief in spreading Islamic rule, conquered Egypt, Eretz Israel, Syria, and Mesopotamia. Despite this, and his later "pact", he was known for his tolerance and is viewed benevolently by Jewish tradition.

636 GAZA (Eretz Israel)

The principal Jewish community in Byzantine Judea, was conquered by Omar.

637 CAESAREA (Eretz Israel)

After a 7-month siege, a Jew named Joseph led the Moslem attackers through a tunnel to capture the city. There were an estimated 100,000 Jews in Caesarea. After the fall of the city, the anti-Jewish tenets of the Pact of Omar was enforced against them.


The pact is often ascribed to Omar I (Umar ibn al-Khattab), the second successor to Mohammed, although most historians believe it was only attributed to him by Omar II (Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz) an Umayyad caliph (r.717-720) known for his extremism. The pact determined the place of Jews in Moslem society. Jews were not allowed to build new synagogues, had to pray quietly and were forbidden from preventing other Jews from converting. They were also forbidden to ride horses or hold judicial or civil posts. In order to be easily distinguished from Moslems, they were eventually forced to wear a yellow patch (850), a practice the Christians later adopted. They were also banished from "Holy Arabia". In many Moslem countries (Saudi Arabia) some of the aspects of the pact are still in effect today.

638 JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Omar accepted the Christian surrender and agreed to the Christian Patriarch Sophronnas' demand not to permit Jews to return to Jerusalem. Despite his agreement he soon allowed 70 Tiberian families to settle in Jerusalem.

638 January 9, SIXTH COUNCIL OF TOLEDO (Spain)

King Chintilla decreed that only Catholics were permitted to live in Visigothic Spain. Despite this ban, many Jews continued to live there. In addition, it was enacted that each King had to swear to continue a policy of not permitting the Jews of infringing this holy faith. Only two of the rulers, Chindaswinth (r. 642-653) and Witiza (c.687-710) were more lenient toward their Jewish subjects. rnrn


Jews who had previously lived there gradually returned.


Despite the constant suppression of Judaism, many Jews had remained in Constantinople and they became the target of anti-Jewish riots.

641 SOLIN (near Split, present day Croatia)

After an attack by the Mongolian Avars, the Jewish community which had existed for 300 years was destroyed.


With the Arab conquest of Egypt the Jews were specificity allowed to continue to live in the city. Amr ibn al-As(i) the Arab commander estimated that there were approximately 40,000 Jews in the city including many who had fled Byzantine persecutions.


The first Exilarch to be recognized by Arab rulers. His birth and much of his life is surrounded by legend. As a token of appreciation, Caliph Ali gave him the daughter of the Persian king Yazdegerd III for a slave. Eventually Bustanai married her.

652 KAAB AL-AHBĀR ( Yemen -Syria)

Died. He is the most famous of the Jewish converts to Islam and legend has it that he showed Omar where on the temple mount he should build his mosque. He is said to have told Omar that everything is written in the Torah, and predicted the date of Omar's death. In Moslem literature he is praised by some, and condemned by other as a false convert.

653 December 16, EIGHTH COUNCIL OF TOLEDO (Spain)

Renewed the decrees of 633 and proposed that any convert who continued to observe Jewish traditions should be executed by other Jewish converts.

654 February 18, TOLEDO (Spain)

Receswinth, King of the Visigoths, forced Judaizing Christians (converted Jews who still kept Jewish traditions) to swear loyalty to the Church or die. They were forced to spend Jewish and Christian holy days with the clergy, but were not forced to eat pork.


Ordered all converted Jews to spend all Jewish and Christian holidays in the presence of a bishop in order to prove their sincerity as a Christian.

656 - 661 MOSLEM CIVIL WAR (Medina)

Broke out between the followers of Uthman, the third Caliph (ruler) and the followers of Ali, the fourth Caliph, who was the son-in-law of Mohammed. The war began when Ali murdered Uthman and proclaimed himself leader of the Moslems.

658 - 1000 GEONIC AGE (Babylon)

The task of the Geonim, was to broaden the study of Talmud and emphasize its practical application. The two great academies, Sura and Pumbedita, once again became the center of Jewish intellectual life. They established their influence by inviting questions (shealot) on Jewish law from far flung communities and sending answers (teshuvot). The exact date for the beginning of this period was probably the Arab conquest of Babylonia in 657, with the first Gaon being Mar Isaac, head of the Sura academy. Others believe that it began around 589 C.E. with Ravai of Pumbedita. The last Goan of prominence was, Hai Gaon, who died in 1038. The title Gaon eventually became used to describe someone who had a great knowledge of Torah.

661 - 750 UMAYYAD (Omayyad) DYNASTY (Syria)

Reigned from Damascus, Syria. This repressive rule failed to unite the Arabs and embittered non-Moslems by their harsh persecutions. They Were the first Muslim dynasty, and reigned from Damascus, Syria where they transformed Islam into a major empire. Their repressive rule failed to unite the Arabs partly due to the fact that they were not descended from Mohammed, and partly due to their passing their power dynastically. The Umayyads were the first to rule after the first four Caliphs which were directly linked to Mohammed. Muawiya I was its first Umayyad Caliph.How Jews fared, depended on the Caliph. The Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasid family, who claimed the right of supreme power.


The massacre of local non-Moslem populations by the first Caliphs gave way to a practical accommodation, including Omar's encouragement of the Jews to return to Babylon (Persia).

661 KING LANGOBARD (Northern Italy)

Perctarit - son of Arupert the First. Catholic ruler of the Teutonic Langobard. He forced the Jews to adopt Christianity or be killed. Many Jews survived by outwardly accepting Christianity.


Muawiya I was acclaimed as caliph of the Umayyad dynasty. Muawiya ( 602-680) is credited with building the first mosque on the temple mount. He had a strong attachment to Jerusalem and even considered moving his capital there. Muawiya established good relationships with non Moslems and even encouraged Jews to move to Jerusalem.


The earliest reference to Jews appeared in Liber Poeintentialis by Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury. These were rulings against social interaction between Christians and Jews. There is a question as to whether these rulings were of a general nature and thus not a proof that Jews lived in early England. The first documentation of early Jews were mostly traders from northern France was in 691.

672 HILDERUC (Spain)

Governor of Nimes in Spain, he revolted against King Wamba. Many Jews joined him. Duke Paul was sent to put down the rebellion, but converted to Judaism instead. Nevertheless, the rebellion failed and the Jews of Narbonne were expelled, only to return within twenty years.


King Erwig began his reign by enacting 28 anti-Jewish laws. He decreed that all converts must be registered by a parish priest, through whom all travel permits must be obtained. He also ruled that all holidays, Christian and Jewish, must be spent in the presence of a priest to ensure piety and to prevent "backsliding".

C. 680 - C. 752 Aha of Shabha (Babylon- Eretz Israel)

Author of Shi'iltot which was the first book written after the Talmud and attributed to its author. Rav Aha was also known as the Ahai Gaon, though he never served in an official position. His Shiiltot are a series of lectures on Jewish law, ethics and the bible. It is also unique in that it was written with the laymen in mind.After his pupil Natronai ben Nehemia son-in-law of the Exilarch Ḥasdai I, was appointed Gaon of Pumbedita in his stead, he left Babylon and moved to Eretz Israel (c.750). A number of his colleagues followed him. rnrn

C. 680 - C. 1060 EPHRAIM BEN SHEMARYA ( Gaza- Fostat)

Head of the Eretz Israel community in Fostat, Egypt. He is mostly remembered through his many correspondences, especial those with the Gaon Solomon ben Judah, which found their way into the Cairo Geniza .

681 January 9, TWELFTH COUNCIL (SYNOD), TOLEDO (Spain)

The Talmud and other Jewish books were burned in Spain. The synod was a local church council whose decrees were not enforced by the entire church.

682 February 1, KING ERWIG (Visigoth Spain)

Pressed for the "utter extirpation of the pest of the Jews", and made it illegal to practice any Jewish rites. This put further pressure on the Jews to convert or emigrate.

C. 683 MASARJAWAIH (Basra Persia)

One of the earliest Jewish physicians in Persia, translated the medical treatise' of Aaron of Alexandria from Syriac into Arabic. Making it one of the very first scientific books to be translated in Arabic. He also added some of his own chapters. He is often identified as Rav Mesharshia a student of Rava (see 333).


(Although reports indicate there was no permanent settlement prior to the eleventh century.) These early Jews were mostly traders from northern France. Some may have come to England with the Romans.


Also known as the Quinisext council since it combined the fifth and sixth councils. In addition to ratifying over 100 previous decisions, it intensified the Eastern Church's segregation of the Jews. Clergymen were forbidden, on pain of excommunication, to bathe in public baths with Jews, employ a Jewish doctor or socialize with Jews.

693 DAHRA (Dahiya) AL- KAHINA (Carthage)

Defeated Hassan ibn Noman whose huge army was sent by Caliph Abd al-Malik to conquer the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It took Hassan ibn Noman five years to regroup and carry on his conquest.


King Erwig's successor Egica ,(r.687- 703) forced Jews to return to his treasury all land, slaves and buildings bought from Christians.rnrn


King Egica believed rumors that the Jews in North Africa had conspired to ally themselves with the Moslem invaders. He therefore declared that all Jewish children over the age of seven should be taken from their homes and raised as Christians. In towns where Jews were deemed indispensable to the economy, this law was not applied.

700 JOSE BAR JOSE (HaYatom)

First known payytan or liturgical poet, he was known for his New Year and Day of Atonement pieces. Some of the prayers date back to talmudic times or even earlier. This "poet" added to and completed many of the daily and special prayers. Most of his compositions are devoid of rhyme and without meter. At first, not all talmudic scholars welcomed these additions, but eventually many of his writings were included in the siddur (prayer book), although some were only adopted by specific communities.


Began to preach a national Messianic movement, much to the anger of Caliph Abd al Malik.

702 DAHRA (Dahiya) AL KAHINA (Southeast Algeria)

Jewish "priestess". She led an alliance of Berber tribes which was defeated by Moslem forces. She was said to have lived 127 years and ruled with her 3 sons over the tribe of Jerava for 65 years.

711 July 19, TARIK IBN ZIYAD (Spain)

A Moslem general. He defeated King Roderick, the last of the Visigoth kings, at the Battle of Rio Barbate (Guadalete) near Xeres de la Frontera. The Jews backed him in his battles. After each city was conquered (Cordova, Granada, Malaga), Jews were often given positions of safeguarding Moslem interests. One of his generals, Kaula al Yahudi, had many Jews under his command.

712 March, TOLEDO (Spain)

The Jewish inhabitants opened the gates for the Moslem invaders under Tarik ibn Zayid marking the end of Visigothic rule in Spain and the beginning of 150 years of peace. Thus began what was known as the Golden Age of Spain. The Iberian caliphate was independent of Baghdad and encouraged the flowering of Spanish-Jewish culture at the same time that it was being suppressed by the Baghdad caliphate.

716 RAMLE (Eretz Israel)

Was founded by Caliph Suleiman to be the administrative capital of the country. Many Babylonian and Persian Jews settled there. Ramle was the only town established by Arabs in Eretz Israel.

717 - 720 CALIPH OMAR II (Syria-Eretz Israel)

Did his best to force Jews and Christians to convert to Islam. This was after a period of respite during the Umayyad dynasty. This religious revival was partly due to the Arab failure to capture Constantinople and the feeling that the end of the world was imminent.

717 - 741 LEO III (The Isaurian) (Byzantine Empire)

Reigned in Constantinople. After narrowly defeating the Arab army at his gates and preventing the fall of his empire, he decided that the weakness of his empire lay in its heterogeneous population and therefore, in 722, he forcibly converted Jews as well as those known as the "New Christians". Most of them converted outwardly while secretly remaining faithful.

720 SERENE (aka Serenus) (Babylon)

A recent convert was discovered to having seduced a local Jewish girl. Offended by the reaction, he decided to take revenge by pretending to be the messiah. He requested that people give him their wealth so that he could prepare a march to the holy land. He also urged that the Talmud be abolished. Caliph Yezid, Omar's successor, arrested this "Messiah" and handed him over to the Jews in Pumbedita for punishment. Natronai ben Nehemia (Gaon) urged the Jewish community to readmit their brethren into the fold. They eventually did so, though they were initially reluctant.


Caliph Omar II, banned Jewish worship on the Temple Mount. Jews were forced to pray outside the walls of the mount or in a covered staircase called "ha-Meara" the Cave, which was near an ancient gate, known today as Warrens gate. The prohibition regarding Jewish worship on the Mount remains in effect today.

726 LEO III (the Isaurian) ( Byzantine Empire)

Published his new codes of law called the Ecloga (Selection). Although Judaism was to be restricted, it was not banned.

732 BATTLE OF TOURS (France)

Marked the greatest infiltration of Moslem rule into Christian Europe and the beginning of its retreat. The Moslems were defeated by Charles Martel of France, grandfather of Charlemagne. This was the beginning of the Carolingian renaissance. Now on the offensive, the Christian forces added Septimania and Catalonia (near the Mediterranean Sea) to their possessions.


Who had been passed over to be the next Exilarch decided leave Sura and eventually settled in Spain. There Natronai ( c.699-c733) began to introduce the Talmud to the local Jews , writing it down from memory. This became the basis for the development of Jewish scholarship in Spain which freed them from having to wait up to two years for an answer to come from Babylon regarding a point of Jewish law. . By the mid 9th century a request was made to the Gaon Paltoi bar Abaye for a corrected and exact version of the Talmud to which he complied. The Spanish edition of the Talmud became known as the most reliable version.


Lasted until the Treaty of Verdun. The Carolingians were the second dynasty of Frankish rulers after the Merovingians. During the height of its rule it encompassed Gaul, and much of Germany and Italy. The Jews were generally well treated, especially under Charlemagne and his grandson, Charles the Bald. Part of this was due to the fact that Christian merchants had difficulties trading due to Arab control of the seas. The Jewish traders known as the Radhanites (see 870) provided an alternative to moving goods between the two antagonistic empires . This lasted only until the closure of the China and Caucasus trade routes and the rise of the Italian city state (Venice, Pisa, Genoa and, Amalfi) traders in the 10th century.


The King Bulan converted his people to a vague form of Judaism ("religion of Abraham") after ordering a disputation between the three major monotheistic faiths. Ibn Shaprut, the foreign minister for Abd ar-Rahman of Cordova, corresponded with King Joseph (960). Most of our knowledge of the Khazars is based on these letters. The Khazars were eventually overcome by the Mongols under Genghis Khan. With the spread of Christianity by the Russians, many Khazars were forcibly baptized. The rest fled. Some went into northern Hungary where villages still have names such as Kozar and Kozardie. Tshagataish, the language of the Khazar Jews, is spoken by the few remaining Jewish Krimtchaki of the Crimea. The Khazars' campaign against the Muslims (730-740) succeeded in checking the Muslim advance on the eastern flank of Europe. The Khazars succeeded in defending themselves for 500 years against Muslims, Byzantines and Russians.


Aka Isaac ibn Jacob al-Isfahani. Although he did not claim to be the Messiah, (rather the (Dai) precursor to the Messiah), he began to preach a national Messianic movement, much to the anger of Caliph Marwan II (744 - 750) and Al-Mansur (d. 775). It is likely that the upheaval in the Moslem world prompted his belief that the great war of Gog and Magog was upon them, signifying the end of days. His sect the first in Judaism since destruction of the temple, was known as the Isawiyya (Isawites) and had slight deviations from traditional Judaism. He banned divorce, and instituted additional prayers, but kept the traditional calendar. Although he was killed in his uprising against the Caliph Al -Mansur, his sect continued for about 200 years.


Archbishop of York ordered all “good Christians" not to eat together with a Jew.

C. 740 - C. 815 MASHALLAH IBN ATHARI (Persia)

Astrologer, astronomer, and mathematician. He served as a court astrologer for the Abbasid caliphate. His treatise on math, De Mercibus (On Prices) is one of the oldest known scientific works extant in Arabic. His essay on the astrolabe is also one of the first of its kind. The Caliph al- Mansur appointed him along with the Persian astronomer Naubakht Ahvazi determine the most fortuitous time to begin to build his new capital the cityת Baghdad (see 763). A crater on the moon, Messala, is named after him.

746 January 18, - 749 SERIES OF MAJOR EARTHQUAKES (Eretz Israel)

Were reported over these three years .The focus was the in Judean desert, the rift valley, Jordan valley and Jerusalem. Another major earthquake hit the region two years later (see 749).

749 January 18, MAJOR EARTHQUAKE ( Eretz Israel)

Estimated reaching 7.6 on the Richter scale one hit Bet She'an, Tiberius, Hippos (Sussita), and Beit Alpha causing almost total destruction in some areas. It is known as Ra'ash Shevi'it, lit. "Seventh noise" since it happened during the sabbatical year.


The oldest Hebrew treatise on mathematics, it deals with geometric equations. Some attributed it to the 2nd century Rav Nehemiah, but most scholars believe it originated in the middle of the 8th century, although the author is unknown.

750 - 1258 ABBASID DYNASTY (from Abu Abbas) (Persia)

Expanded intellectual horizons and world trade. The Abbasids gained control from the Umayyads after the assassination of Marwan II in Egypt and moved the control to Baghdad. Eighty members of Marwan II's family were also killed at Antipatris near present day Rosh Haayin. Abd Al(ur)-Rahman, one of the surviving members of the Umayyads, reached Cordova and set up his own Caliphate (see 756). The Abbasids gave more power to the Persians and Turkish tribes, with Caliphs taking upon themselves absolute authority .Although, as with the Umayyad Dynasty, the Jewish position depended on the current ruler, in general, Jews began to play an important role in world trade and banking.

756 - 788 ABD AL-RAHMAN I (Abd Ur-Rahman I) (Spain)

An Umayyad caliph, he made Spain independent of Baghdad. His court was open to poets, scientists, and philosophers. At the same time that the influence of Babylon was waning, Spain was becoming the center of Jewish thought. The Umayyad rule in Spain was to last 250 years and provide peace and stability for its inhabitants.

757 - 761 RAV JUDAH (Yehudai) GAON OF SURA (Babylon)

Also known as Judah the blind. He was one of the leading presenters of the liturgy, or Shliach Tzibbur, and favored the new practice of professional cantorship (hazzanut). He recommended that an ABA (ternary) musical format be used , so that beginning and end of each piece be similar, with some variance in the middle. He also introduced the chanting of Kol Nidre into the synagogue. Yehudai wrote Halachot Ketuot and probably Halachot Pesukot which was the first work on traditional law since the completion of the Talmud.There is a controversy as to whether he also the author or partial author of Sefer Halachot Gedolot, but most believe it was written by Simeon Kayyara, (see 825). He was a vociferous proponent of the acceptance of the Babylonian Talmud rather than the Jerusalem Talmud as the basis for all Halachah.

759 NARBONNE (Carolingian Empire)

Moorish occupation ended after just 39 years. During this brief time the Jewish population greatly increased. They played a pivotal role in the formal occupation of the city by Charlemagne, who granted them 1/3 of the town under their own ruler (Nasi).


Probably began in Tiberius, and moved to Jerusalem around 920. Beset by famine , attacks and internal struggles, they tried to press for the prominence of Jerusalem over Babylon. Unlike Babylon where there were two separate offices; the Exilarch ( Reysh Galuta) for political / administrative affairs and the Gaon who headed the yeshivot, they combined both functions. With the Seljuk conquest, it was forced to move, first to Tyre in 1071 and then to Fostat, where it continued in some form until the crusader invasion.

763 - 766 BAGHDAD (Persia)

Baghdad was built as the capital of the Abbasid by the Caliph Al Mansur (754-775), successor to Al Abbari. The Jewish mathematician and astronomer Masha'allah/Mashallah Ibn Athari(see 640), together with a Persian astronomer Ab-Naubakht/Naubakht Ahvazi, were responsible for planning the city, which by the 13th century had a perimeter of 20 miles, 10,000 streets and a population of almost 2,000,000.

767 ANAN BEN DAVID (Babylon)

Founded the Karaite (Bnai Mikra) sect. He was originally supposed to become the Exilarch, but his younger brother, Hanina, was chosen instead by the incumbent Geonim, Judah the blind and Dudai. Anan left for Eretz Israel where he established a synagogue in Jerusalem. The Karaite sect believed only in literal Biblical translations and not in the Oral law. The Karaites considered themselves mourners of Zion, abstaining from wine and meat, spending much of their time in fasting and prayer, and signing all letters "mourner" (avilai tzion). The Karaite sect divided Judaism into two bitterly opposed camps. Some, including Sa'adia Gaon and Abraham ibn David, wrote treatises refuting and condemning the sect. The Karaites slowly diminished in numbers and influence, with the few remaining mostly living in Lithuania and Volhynia. For the most part they disappeared during the Holocaust. Their greatest opponent - who succeeded in stemming the spread of Karaitism - was Sa'adia ben Joseph (882-942). The power of the Exilarch was weakened as a result of the Anan conflict. From then on the Geonim had the final say on all religious matters.

768 - 772 POPE STEPHAN III (Carolingian Empire)

Complained to the Bishops of Narbonne and Septimania about the Frankish Kings allowing Jews to own land.

768 - 814 CHARLEMAGNE (Carolingian Empire)

A Carolingian king who created the first broad-based European state. A devout Christian, he protected Jewish commerce in his kingdom. In general, Jews were permitted to freely practice their religion and most trade.. As the Muslims controlled much of the Mediterranean, the Jews began to take on the role of commercial mediators. Charlemagne saw the Jews as an economic asset and prevented excessive demands being made on them by the Church. Yet he also passed a law erasing debts that existed between Jews and Catholics and threatened to cut off the right hand of any Jew who loaned money and collected debt from the Church or Catholics. The Emperor and his successor considered Jewish property as their own to be bartered but not sold outright.

786 - 809 HARUN EL RASHID (Persia)

An Abbasid Caliph. His rule marked the zenith of Abbasid power. Jews and Christians did not fare well under his rule.

786 PUENTE CASTRO (near Leon, Spain)

One of the oldest tombstones in Spain attests to the existence of a significant Jewish community in northern Spain. "The tomb of Mar (anrnimportant title) Jacob bar Rabbi Isaac who was murdered... in his 45thrnyear" was written on it. A number of other tombstones were found in the samernarea.rn

C. 786 - C. 845 SAHL IBN BISHR AL-ISRAILI (Rabban al-Tabari), ( Tabaristan, Northern Iran)

Early Jewish astrologer, astronomer and mathematician Sahl is believed to be the first to translate Ptolemy's Almagest , on motions of the stars and planetary paths, into Arabic.

787 EMPRESS IRENA (Byzantine Empire)

Decried the practice of forced conversion. With clerical support, she called for conversion only of those who voluntarily confessed and rejected Judaism and its "customs and pursuits".

787 CHARLEMAGNE (Carolingian Empire)

Brought Kalonymos, a Jewish scholar, his family and his nephew from Luica to Mayence. Kalonymos strove to improve Jewish and general culture in France and Germany.

788 IDRISS I ( North Africa)

Convinced Benjamin ben Joshaphat ben Abiezer. a Tunisian Jewish tribal chief, to join his conquest. Idriss (745-791), intent on stamping out all loyalty to Baghdad, commanded them to attack other Jewish communities. When they refused, he led the attacks on their communities. He then forced them to pay a high per capita tax, and to provide virgins for his harem. According to a tradition, the Jewish tribe Ubaid Allah chose to move eastward and settled on the Island of Djerba (Gerba) in present day Tunisia.


Was declared a day of rest as well as a holy day, thus further separating Christianity from any contact with Judaism.

797 ISAAC (of Rachen) (Carolingian Empire-Persia)

An interpreter for Charlemagne, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Harun al Rashid. The other members of the mission died, but he succeeded in carrying out the mission, thus renewing relations between the rulers of the East and West. He is also credited with establishing contact between the rabbis of France and the Geonim.


Obadiah, the leader or Khaqan of the Khazars, adopted rabbinic Judaism two generations after their conversion.

807 HARUN AL RASHID (Persia)

Forced Jews to wear a yellow badge and Christians to wear a blue badge (see 796).

808 FEZ (Morocco)

Re- established the city of Fez which had been founded by his father Idris I twenty years earlier. The city was first built on one river bank ( Madinat Fas) in 788. Idris II (791-828) built an additional, and competing city (Al-'Aliya) on the other side which became his capitol. Idris II encouraged Jews to live freely in their own quarter, in return for an annual tax. The city soon became a commercial center, and schools of Jewish learning were established. One of its earliest scholars was Judah ibn Quraysh, a Semitic linguist and grammarian who was fluent in Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic.

809 - 813 GREAT ABBASID CIVIL WAR (Persia)

Also knows as the Forth Fitna, broke out between the sons of Al Rashid - Mohammed Alemin and Abdulla Almamun. The war entailed severe persecution for non-Moslems. With Alemin's defeat, Almamun became the caliph. His reign (813-833) was marked by tolerance and the development of a philosophical form and scientific study.founded an academy called the House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Ḥikmah).

814 - 840 LOUIS THE PIOUS (Carolingian Empire)

Charlemagne's son. He succeeded his father as king. He continued and expanded his father's tolerant policies toward the Jews. Market day was changed from the Sabbath to Sunday and a Jew, Ebeard, was appointed Magister Judeacrum whose function was to protect Jewish rights.

820 - 829 MICHAEL II (Byzantine Empire)

Emperor Michael II came from Phrygia (west central part of Anatolia) . He adopted a liberal and sympathetic policy toward the Jews including lowering taxes. Michael wasaccused of being half Jewish but was probably influenced by a Judeo-Christian sect (the Athinganoi) which was very active in his area. They practiced many Christian traditions yet kept the Sabbath and other Jewish laws, though not circumcision.

820 ARCHBISHOP AGOBARD (779-840) (Lyon, Carolingian Empire)

"Proved" in essays that Jews were born slaves and accursed. Agobard forcibly converted Jewish children, offering them or their parents no choice in the matter. This is the first time in France that such an act was recorded. (Until this time Jews were offered the choice of either converting or being expelled or killed - but there was a "choice"). He also urged the sons (especially Lothair) of Charlemagne's successor, Louis the Pious, to revolt. After the revolt (833) he was disposed, but was later reinstated by Louis. Six of his anti-Semitic essays have survived; which are systematically aimed at humiliating and eradicating the Jewish community.

825 KARAITES (Babylon)

Developed into sects, each choosing its own interpretation of the Bible. They included the Ukbarites, Tiflisites and Malik al Ramli. These sects split the Karaite movement even further.


Between Daniel, a sympathizer with Karaism, and David ben Judah. The entire Jewish population of Babylon became embroiled. The outcome was that David ben Judah eventually held office as Exilarch until 840.

C. 825 SIMEON KAYYARA (Babylon)

One of the great scholars of the 9th century, wrote Sefer Halachot Gedolot. He is often referred to as the Bahag, an abbreviation of Ba'al Halakhot Gedolot" ("author of the Halachot Gedolot". The work systematically sums up the all codes of law in the Talmud and is the first Rabbinic work to have an introduction. It is known in two editions, one which was popular in Germany and France, and a Spanish edition known as Halachot Gedolot Shel Aspamia.

826 ARCHBISHOP AGOBARD (Lyon, Gaul - Carolingian Empire)

Angered by the high positions and security of the Jews, Agobard issued a series of pamphlets to convince King Louis to attack what he called "Jewish insolence" and to invoke the old anti-Jewish decrees of 465, 535 and 538.


Was considered the real successor to Anan ben David, the founder of the Karaite sect, although he lacked the charisma of his predecessor. He formulated free biblical study and interpretation, and tried to base Karaite law on the Bible. He also sought a less belligerent attitude towards rabbinical authorities and is credited in being the first to use the name Karaites or Bnai Mikra.

834 ALEPPO (Syria)

The Great Synagogue was built. Parts of it, including the original inscriptions, still exist.

838 AMORIUM (Central Byzantine Empire)

Just before its capture by the Arabs, fighting broke out between Jews and Christians. Included in the fights was a Judaizing sect which kept Biblical Law (except circumcision) and had both men and women serving as spiritual leaders. Rumors were spread that the Emperor Michael II (820-829) came from this sect.

839 BODO (Alemah, Carolingian Empire)

A nobleman converted to Judaism, married a Jewess and moved to Sarargossa, Spain. There he tried to influence his family to convert as well. This strengthened the arguments of Archbishop Agobard and others who were trying to convince King Louis the Pious to return to former medieval anti-Jewish policies.

840 - 877 REIGN OF CHARLES THE BALD (Carolingian Empire) (823-877)

He and his Carolingian successors refused (until 987) to agree with the anti-Jewish decrees of Amulo, successor to Agobard, the Archbishop of Lyon. Charles was the son of Louis I the Pious and Judith of Bavaria - and the grandson of Charlemagne. He was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 875.

841 AMULO (Lyon, Carolingian Empire)

Successor to Agobard, he wrote to Emperor Charles the Bald demanding that he ratify anti-Jewish measures in the Diet of Epernay. Although he did not succeed directly, his letter and reasons for actively persecuting the Jews were widely circulated and accepted by the Church as part of its doctrine.

842 - 858 PALTOI BEN ABAYA (Babylon)

Is considered the first Gaon of Pumbedita and is credited with increasing its stature. At the request of the Spanish Jewish community, he sent them a copy of the Talmud with explanations. He is also noted for imposing excommunications (cherum), whereby those deemed to have harmed the Jewish people were no longer considered part of the community. (An excommunicated Jew, for example, is not counted for a minyan (quorum) for prayers, nor is he called to the Torah in the synagogue.) Excommunication was considered the most severe form of "civil-religious" punishment and was rarely used.

843 TREATY OF VERDUN (Carolinigian Empire)

Separated Germany from the Frankish (French) empire. Until this time the Frankish Empire also included Germany. As such, when the Carolingians were tolerant to their Jewish subjects it effected all the Jews in the kingdom. With the breakup of Carolingian empire the Kingdom became decentralized, and feudal lords and church leaders gained more power. This adversely affected the position of the Jews.


Sallam, a Spanish Jewish merchant, reached China. Jews often served as a mercantile bridge between the Latin and Arab speaking worlds. Hebrew remained the language used between Jews worldwide. There was also legal conformity between the far-flung Jewish communities, which further stimulated stability in trade. Sallam was said to speak 30 languages.

845 OVIEDO (Christian Northern Spain)

King Ramiro I had witches, sorcerers and "not a few Jews" put to death.


Under the direction of Amolo, the Council tried to reinstate the canonical restriction that Constantine and Theodosius II placed on Jews after Deacon Bodo converted to Judaism. Amolo feared that social intercourse with Jews would lead Christians to convert to Judaism.

846 DEATH OF NATAN BEN EFRAN (Venosa, Italy)

The head of the talmudic college. There is evidence of Jewish life in Italy as far back as the destruction of the Temple.

848 BORDEAUX (France)

Jews were accused to opening the town to Viking pirates. Although the allegation was totally fabricated they were attacked by the local populace. Jews were often accused of betrayal " and helping "the enemy" whomever it was.

850 FUSTAT (Old Cairo, Egypt)

Became the largest Jewish community in the East.


Was considered the main language of trade between Paris (Aix la Chapelle) and Baghdad or Cairo.


Polish legend has it that when various tribes decided to unite, they asked a Jew, Abraham Prochownik, to be their king. He declined in favor of a peasant named Piast, the founder of the Piast dynasty.


Ibn Laid al-Hassan, a Moslem traveler, wrote of riots in Kanfu, China in which Jews were counted among the dead.

C. 850 - C. 936 ISAAC BEN SOLOMON ISRAELI (Isaac Judeaus) (North Africa)

Court physician to the Fatimite princes and philosopher. Born in Egypt, Israeli emigrated at about the age of 50 to Kairouan. He composed numerous books on medicine including, Sefer HaKadachot (The Book of Fever), Tevei HaMezonot V'Kochotom (The Nature Of Strengths Of Dietetics) and Musar HaRofe'im (The Ethics of Physicians). Those on ophthalmology remained in use for seven hundred years. His books on dietetics and fever were translated into Latin and published in Europe. As a philosopher he was referred to as "the first Jewish Neoplatonist". Among his philosophical writings, his his Sefer HaGedarim, (Book of Definitions) is the best known.rn

853 AL-MUTAVALLIL (Persia)

An Abbasid caliph, he issued a yellow badge edict. He also forbade non-Moslems to ride on horses and converted synagogues and churches into mosques.

853 LUCENA, ANDALUSIA (Southern Spain)

According to Natronai Gaon, "Alisana (Arabic for Lucena) was a Jewish place with no gentiles at all." Lucena ostensibly was founded by Jews hundreds of years earlier. It served as the cultural center of Andalusian Jewry and was known during the era of Moslem rule as an all-Jewish city.


Declared that no Jews could remain within his kingdom. The general position from the 7th (see Perctarit 661) to the 13th century was only to permit sparse Jewish population. Most cities had less than 30 Jewish families. This was due to a fairly constant position of exclusion by the Church.

859 - 869 NATRONAI II (Babylon)

Served as Gaon of Sura. He extrapolated the theory of a divine Torah (Bible) given at Mount Sinai without vowel signs, which were later developed as a reading aid. He also began the custom of saying one hundred brachot (blessings) daily, and he completed the order of the daily prayers.

860 FEZ (Morocco)

The local ruler,Yahya Ibn Muhammad, seeing a beautiful Jewish girl, followed her and forced his way into the woman's bath house, causing a local Jewish riot. It is not known what were the repercussions, if any.

869 AMRAM BEN SHESHNA GAON (d. 875) (Babylon)

Gaon of Sura, Completed, at the request of the Spanish community, the first real Siddur (prayer book), which is the basis for the one in use today. The book concentrated more on service regulations than on liturgical text. Until then, although prayers had been recited since early Mishnaic times, there was no official prayer book that contained all the various liturgical texts.

870 CAIRO (Egypt)

Jewish and Christian cemeteries were flattened by Ibn Tulun in order to build the new Katai quarter. According to the Moslem cleric Mutaakkil (847), the tombs of infidels were distinguished from those of Moslems.

872 - 890 MAR ZEMACH I BEN PALTOI (Babylon)

Served as head of the academy at Pumbedita. He arranged the first talmudic dictionary of difficult words, entitled the Aruch.


Began to lose its power. A descendent of Ali, backed by the pro-Shiite Saffraids sect, set up an emirate in Tabaristan on the Caspian Sea.


Complimented the Jews of Barcelona on their loyalty to him. The Jewish community was considered one of the most influential in Spain. Despite the fact that in general the Spanish kings tolerated the Jews, attacks occurred every now and then that were instigated by the Church and local burghers.

877 EMPEROR BASIL I (Byzantine Empire)

Called on Sheftaiya ben Amitai to cure his daughter of insanity. After she recovered, ben Amitai requested that the law prohibiting Jewish worship be repealed. Although the Emperor refused, he did agree to revoke the ban in Shefatiya's city of Orua.

879 - 929 CHARLES THE SIMPLE (France)

Confiscated Jewish owned vineyards, salt mines, and houses in Narbonne and donated them to the Church. This signaled the end of the period when the Carolingian kings dealt favorably with the Jews. It also marked the slow dissolution of the Carolingian dynasty, making way for the Capetian dynasty (987).

880 ELDAD HADANI (the Danite)

Claimed to belong to the ten lost tribes who lived near Ethiopia and the river Sambatyon. According to legend, the river threw up stones all week long and rested on the Sabbath. The lost tribes were therefore doomed to remain forever on the other side of the river, since on the day when the river was still they observed the Sabbath and therefore could not cross. Eldan maintained that the lost tribes observed certain ritual differences and had an Oral Law of their own, given by Moses and Joshua. Although he was not generally believed, he helped rekindle hope that salvation was near. His tales were printed in 1480.


One of the leading scholars of his day. He traveled to Sura (Babylon) to deepen his studies, bringing his students a greater understanding of the Latin references in the Talmud.

882 - 942 (26 Iyar 4702) SA'ADIA (Sa'adia Gaon) BEN JOSEPH (Babylon)

Born in Egypt, he moved to Babylon in 928 to head the academy at Sura. He revived the waning influence of the academy and wrote on many subjects, including grammar, halacha and philosophy. As one of the foremost opponents of Karaism, he wrote the exposition Emunot Vedeot, which became very popular. A grave conflict arose between Sa'adia and the Exilarch David ben Zaccai when he refused to endorse a judgment of the Exilarch's court in which Ben Zaccai was an interested party. The issue was not settled for many years and demonstrated Sa'adia's unyielding defense of his principles. He was subsequently expelled and moved to Baghdad. On Purim 937, the opponents were reconciled, and a few years later Sa'adia adopted Ben Zaccai's orphan grandchildren.


Also known as the Epanagoge ("Introduction [to the law"), it was based on Justinian's code (see 531), and was comprised of 40 volumes. Although mostly written by Basil I, it was completed after his death, by his son and successor, Leo VI"the Wise" (866-912). Within he reinforced the laws prohibiting Jews from holding any civil or military office..

888 METZ (France)

A church council forbade Christians and Jews to eat together. Although Jews may have been there since the fourth century, this was the first documented evidence of a Jewish presence in the city.

888 February 29, FRANCE

Count Eudes, the defender of Paris, crowned himself King of France, officially marking the end of the Carolingian Empire. The feudal society in which local lords were the virtually independent rulers of their estates became the rule. In general, as a result of this decentralization the situation of the Jews differed between each local Lord.

C. 890 - C. 960 DUNASH IBN TAMIM (aka Adonim/ Abu Sahl) (Kairouan, North Africa)

Scholar, physician, and philosopher, he also wrote works in Arabic on astronomy. A student of Isaac Israeli, he is most remembered for his commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation), the earliest known book on Jewish esotericism. Ibn Tamin also undertook a methodical comparison between Hebrew and Arabic.


By Umar ibn Hafsun (c.850-917) who led the anti-Umayyad revolt in Spain . He succeeded in conquering most of the cities in Andalusia except Lucena which was almost exclusively Jewish . Its original name was Eliossana, from the Hebrew Eli Hoshanna " God Save us". Lucena succeed in withstanding the attacks and eventually the rebels gave up. The city was known for its scholars was soon to include Isaac Alfasi who founded a major yeshiva there as well as Isaac ibn Ghiyyat, Isaac (ben Baruch) ibn Albalia, and Joseph ibn Migash.

892 Al-Mu'tadid (Baghdad, Abbasid Empire)

Was appointed Caliph in Baghdad. Netira, a successful Jewish banker, discovered a plot to defraud the Caliph (c.854-902), and became the most influential person in the Babylonian Jewish community. Though his offices he succeeded in preventing anti-Jewish riots organized by Ibn abi al-Bagl. In the controversy between Sa'adia Gaon and David ben Zaccai he supported the former (see 882). His children also continued having great influence, interceding for the Jewish community whenever possible.rnrn


Meaning "Royal Laws was composed by the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise (886-912) son of Basil I. It was a continuation of Basil's Esponagogie(see 884), and Justinian's code (see 531). It was similar to the Theodosian code regarding Jews, although its economic discriminatory laws were expanded. As in other codes, Jews were not allowed to hold any public or military office, and there were sever fines on the erection of new synagogues - 50 gold pounds (well over $900,000 in today's prices!). At the same time, Jews were tolerated as a protected, though inferior, minority.


The earliest copy of the entire (Ta'Na'Ch) Bible. Some date it to c.920, when parts were recopied by Shlomo Ben Buya'a in the city of Tiberias in northern Israel. Maimonides who used the text saw it in Egypt, and considered it the best example of Biblical text. The codex was also known as Crown of the Torah. Eventually (14th c.) it was taken for safekeeping by the Aleppo community kept in the Joab Ben Zeruiah Synagogue for about 500 years. The synagogue was damaged in a fire in 1947, and it was secretly brought to Israel in 1958. Of the 487 pages only 295 are extant. There is controversy as to what happed to the other pages including most of the Pentateuch


According to legend a certain Prince Leshek(Leszek) IV gave German Jews written permission to enter Poland. What is known is that German Jews did arrive in the late 9th century prior to the Piast Dynasty (960) and preceding its becoming a Christian country in 966.

906 MAYENCE (Germany)

First record of a Jewish settlement in the city.

906 - 1006 SHERIRA GAON (Pumbedita, Babylon)

Served as Gaon from 968-1004 when he appointed his son Hai Gaon to serve in his stead. Sherira wrote a Biblical commentary as well as one on several tractates of the Talmud. He is famed for his "letters" Igeret Rav Sherira, a history from talmudic times until his own time in which he explains the development of the Talmud.

C. 910 - C. 970 MENAHEM BEN JACOB SARUQ(Saruk) (Spain)

Lexicographer, philologist and poet. His lexicon of the bible (Machberet) became the first Hebrew-language dictionary. His work was vociferously criticized by Dunash ben Labrat. Saruq was so vilified that he lost the patronage of Hasdai ibn Shaprut, for whom he had written the letter to the Khazars. He was defended by his students including Judah ibn David Hayyug, who later correctly defined the Hebrew triliteral (three letter) root system. The biblical commentator Rashi refers to him as a philological authority and often quotes him.rnrn

912 - 970 HASDAI IBN SHAPRUT (Spain)

Physician to Abd Al(ar)-Rahman III and Al Hakam II, Umayyad rulers in Cordova. Hasdai spoke numerous language including Latin, Arabic and the Spanish of the time and also served Abd al Rahman as a diplomat and interpreter. He co -translated Dioscorides' work on botany, from the Greek. In 957 he cured the King of Len, Sancho el Craso (Sancho the Fat), of obesity which won him the further appreciation of the Caliph. He used his position to help and protect his fellow Jews, including those in Byzantium. Hasdai made contact with Joseph, King of the Khazars. Together with Moses ben Hanoch, he founded the Talmudic school in Cordova. As the role and importance of Sura academy grew weaker, Hasdai purchased part of the library and had it transferred to Crdoba. The Cordova school's influence was felt in Spain for 350 years.

913 - 982 SHABBETAI (Abraham) DONNOLO (Italy)

Earliest Jewish author on medicine. His manuscript, Sepher Hamirkachot (or Sefer Hayakar) (Book of Remedies), is based on vegetarian preparations in the Greek tradition. Despite his reputation, his friend St. Nilus refused to use his medicine lest it be said that a Jew cured him. Donnolo was also a noted astrologer and composed a commentary on the mystical Sepher Yetzirah (Book of Creation) called Tachkemoni in which he discussed the mystical significance of the Hebrew letters as well his reasons against discussing the "image of God".

C. 920 - 989 AARON BEN MOSES BEN ASHER (Tiberias, Eretz Israel)

The last and most renowned of the Massorets and a contemporary of Sa'adia Gaon. The Massorets were a group of sages who reviewed the Bible and added punctuation and vowels in order to make it more readable so that no mistakes or questions could arise in the future. He is credited with completing the Masorah, the printing of the Bible with vowels, as well as the ta'amei mikra, the usage of biblical accents and cadence still used today.

921 AARON BEN MEIR (Eretz Israel)

Leader and sage. He devised a change in the calendar, and as part of his efforts to reinstate Palestinian control over the calendar, he reinstated the tradition of proclaiming the new moon from the Mount of Olives. This caused confusion regarding the date of Passover. Sa'adia Gaon, aware of what a split would do to Jewish unity in the face of the Karaite division, nevertheless wrote a refutation called the "Book of Seasons". The underlying issue was one of supremacy in Halachic rulings - Babylon or Eretz Israel. Sa'adia won and received the Geonate of Sura in recognition.

925 July 4, ORIA (Italy)

Was raided by Moslems as part of their attacks on Italy. Ten rabbinical leaders were killed and many others were taken into captivity, including 12 year old Shabbetai Donnolo, later to achieve fame as a physician (see 913).

929 ABD AL RAHMAN III ( Spain)

Who was actually descended from a Christian princess, became the 15th Umayyad caliph and would rule until 961. Abd Al Rahman's rule was known for its tolerance to local Jews and Christians. He appointed Hasdai Ibn Shaprut as one of his court physician and adviser but didn't give him an official title as to not upset the Moslem chieftains and religious leaders.

C. 930 - 1006 JACOB BEN NISSIM IBN SHAHIN (Kairouan, Tunisia)

Scholar. He was considered on of the leaders of the North African or Maghreb community

930 - 991 YAQUB IBN YUSUF IBN KILLIS ( Baghdad - Egypt)

Financial advisor first under the Ikhshidid dynasty and then under the Fatimids. Born into a Jewish family his father took him to Egypt where he proved to have great abilities in the economic sphere. Pressured by Abu al-Misk Kafur (905968) he converted to Islam, and had a successful career under various rulers. He was often accused of showing favor to Jews.

931 VERONA (Italy)

Ratherius, the Bishop of Verona, upset about the good relations between the city and its Jewish inhabitants, badgered the town elders until they agree to temporarily expel the Jews. Jews had lived in the town since Roman times.

931 931 ROMANOS I LEKAPENOS (Byzantine Empire)

After a series of eco-disasters, including a plague, the emperor (c. 870-948) called for the forced conversion of Jews or to exclude them from all of Christendom Many Jew fled to Khazaria or went into hiding until the ruling was overturned by his sons in 944.


Emperor Romanus Lecapenus (Lekapenos)(920-944), co-ruler with Constantine VII, commanded that the Jews in the realm be forcibly baptized. Though it resulted in a mass emigration, his decree was never fully realized. This may have been due to the influence of Hasdai ibn Saprut, who used his position to persuade Constantine. Or, as others relate, it may be due to pressure from the king of Khazaria, who threatened to attack if the decree was not called off.


The famous robe of silk and gold was created for Roger II by Jewish craftsmen from Palermo. This robe was used in the coronation ceremonies of the Hapsburg Emperors.

939 - 1038 HAI BEN SHERIRA GAON (Babylon)

Descendant of King David and last of the influential Geonim. Over one-third of the existing responsa (almost one thousand) in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic are from Hai Gaon. He ruled that in the case of conflict, the Babylonian Talmud took precedence over the Jerusalem Talmud.

940 KAIROVAN (Tunisia)

Hananel ben Hushiel and Nissim ben Jacob, native Talmudists, sought to bridge the gap between talmudic teachings and daily life. They accomplished this by using both the Jerusalem and Babylonian versions of the Talmud.

940 - 1006 JOSEPH ALBARADANI (Persia)

The first famous cantor, known as the great hazzan of Bagdhad. Albaradani also composed several introductional poems known as reshuyyot. His sons and his grandson were famous as well. They also served in the great synagogue of Baghdad.


Abu Dulaf, a Moslem traveler, reported visiting a city built of cane with a "large" Jewish population.


Was abolished after seven centuries. The precipitating factor in its demise was dissention with the Moslems. David ben Zaccai is considered the last Exilarch of importance (c. 940), although he is mainly remembered for his struggle with Sa'adia Gaon.

943 ROMANUS I (Greece)

Forced Jews to convert. Many emigrated to Kahzaria.

944 - 959 CONSTANTINE VII (Byzantine Empire)

Married to Helena, daughter of Emperor Ramano. Science rather than religion became the focal point of his reign and Jews were again allowed a measure of freedom. They were also assisted by Hasdai ibn Shaprut and his diplomatic efforts to ensure tolerance for the Jewish population.

945 VENICE (Italy)

The local senate forbade captains sailing in the east (Syria-Egypt) to allow any Jewish merchants on board. This decree was probably due more to finance then anti-Semitism.

945 FOUR SCHOLARS (Egypt, North Africa, Spain)

Were captured by pirates while on a financial mission for the Sura Academy. They were ransomed at various ports, where they remained and continued teaching. Shemariah ben Elhanan was ransomed in Cairo, Hushiel in Kairuan (North Africa), Nathan ben Isaac Kohen in Narbonne and Moses ben Hanoch in Cordova. Moses ben Hanoch and Hushiel both established renowned institutes of talmudic learning in the cities where they settled.

945 - 1000 JUDAH HAYYUG/HAYYUJ (ibn Daub) (Spain)

Born in Fez, he was one of Menachem ben Saruk's disciples. He spent most of his life in Cordova. Although most of his writings were in Arabic, they all dealt with Hebrew grammar. He defined the Hebrew triliteral (three letter) root system, providing the foundation of the scientific study of Hebrew grammar.


Was written by Menahem Ben Saruq. He was attacked by Dunash b. Labrat who maintained that some of his definitions were mistaken and his idea that that there were both uniliteral and biliteral roots in Hebrew would lead to wrong interpretations of the biblical text. Since it was composed in Hebrew, his dictionary remained a major reference for European Jews.


Community leader, rabbi and paytan (liturgical composer). Simeon was a colleague of Rabbenu Gershom and an expert on customs and prayers. Of his many compositions, his Hashem Melech (The Lord is King) is still recited in the morning prayers of Rosh Hashanah. Some of his prayers contain the name Elhanan (his son), who according to tradition was forcibly baptized, became a priest and eventually (according to one version) the Pope. Years later, upon meeting his father who had come to plead against a harsh decree, he returned to Judaism.


Held a debate similar to that held by the Khazars to determine the religion of his kingdom. His decision to convert to Christianity may have been partly to the fact that the Jews lacked political clout. Although Jews had lived in Kiev from probably its actual founding in the 8th century they were not of a significant number. Hilaria, the first native Metropolitan (bishop) feared Jewish influence and wrote a special treatise "Mosaic Law and Truth of Jesus".

C. 950 JUDAH IBN KURAISH (Tiaret, Algeria)

One of the earliest Jewish lexicographers, sent a letter known as the Risalah (Ar. Message) to the Fez community . In it he urged them not to forgo the study of the Aramaic Targum (translation) of the Bible. He also discussed the similarities between various Semitic languages making him one of the very first to do so. Ibn Kuraish was also a liturgical poet, and is said to have written a Biblical Hebrew dictionary, but there are no copies extant.

953 MU'IZZ (Sicily)

The Fatimite conqueror of Sicily, appointed Paltiel as his Vizier and physician. Paltiel was in charge of provisioning the army during Mu'izz's conquest of Egypt. Paltiel was a generous man and shared his wealth with many Jewish communities. His son Samuel brought his body to Jerusalem for burial.

953 JOSIPPON (Josiphon) JOSIPPON (Josiphon) JOSIPPON (Josiphon)

A quasi-historical account that was loosely based on Josephus's Antiquities. The book, composed in Hebrew and of unknown authorship became very popular in the Middle Ages. It mostly deals with the Second Temple period from the Hasmoneans until the destruction of the Temple. Although the author(s) sometimes mix up various historical figures, its importance lies in it being one of the earliest Hebrew literary compositions after the Bible and served to arouse historic interest in the period preceding and following the destruction of the Temple.

960 - 1028 GERSHOM BEN JUDAH (Germany)

Also known as Meor HaGolah (Light of Exile). He founded a talmudic school in Mayence (the first in Germany) which became the center for European Jewry. His famous ordinances, known as Takanot D'Rabbenu Gershom, included a ban against polygamy and protection against invasion of privacy. He also ruled that forced converts returning to Judaism must be accepted and not harassed in any way.


Physician, and adviser to Abd al-Rahman III, wrote his famous letter to Joseph, king of the Khazars, Hasdai described the Umayyad kingdom in Spain and asked questions about the kingdom of the Khazars. Joseph's replied detailing Khazar history, and its current status.

961 AL HAKIM II ( Spain)

Succeeded his father Abd-al-Rahman III and is not to be confused with Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (985 - 1021) the "Mad caliph". Al Hakim (915-976) made Cordova a center of scientific learning and continued to use the services of Hasdai ibn Shaprut . His death marked the beginning of end of the Umayyad rule and the flourishing Jewish community.

962 OTTO THE GREAT (936-973) (Germany)

Emperor of Germany. As in France under the Carolingian kings, German Jews were generally under the Emperor's protection. The burghers or feudal barons were hostile to them, but in Germany the Emperor, for the most part, controlled the situation. Although favorably treated, Jews were regarded as possessions of the Emperor. Since they were prohibited from owning land, commerce was the only occupation open to them.

964 - 973 SVYATSLAV I (Russia)

Russian prince of Kiev who conquered Itil (Atel), the capital city of the Khazars in 965.


Svyatoslav I, ruler of the Kievian Russians, defeated the Khazars and temporarily occupied their capital. Some historians believe that the Khazars then converted to Islam in order to obtain an alliance with their Moslems neighbors, although there is evidence of a continued Khazar kingdom for another 50 years.

965 July 9, OTTO (Germany)

Gave the Bishop of Magdeburg jurisdiction over all merchants and Jews for taxation purposes. In general, under Otto (912-973) the Jews were not expelled or forcibly converted. They were considered the personal property of the King. In the individual towns, the Jews were offered privileges or charters, usually through a contract whereby they would be protected by the crown, in return for financial fealty. The word privilege (privilegium) is found in many documents related to the position of the Jews under various rulers. The term denotes a "private law", or rule and refers to an individual, group or institution.

966 IBRAHIM IBN YA'QUB (Tortosa, Spain)

Met with Otto I and received permission to travel all through central Europe. Ibn Ya'qub, a geographer and historian, had been sent by the Cordovan caliph Al-Hakam II (96176) to report on western and central Europe. . Ibn Ya'qub traveled through France, Germany , Bohemia and Poland . He is noted for his detailed account of the lives of the people in the places he visited, including their diets and physical conditions and economic situation. His writings constitute a major contribution to our knowledge of life in those times.

967 - 1169 FATIMID KINGDOM (Egypt)

Except for the mad caliph, al-Hakim (996-1020), the Jews were generally well treated.

969 RAMLE (Eretz Israel)

The Fatimid Caliph al-Aziz defeated the Turkish princes, signaling the beginning of Fatimid rule over Eretz Israel (until 1099). The Fatimids (part of the minority Shi'ite sect) traced their ancestry to Fatima, Mohammed's daughter. They believed that the Caliphs should be direct decedents of Mohammed. In general they were tolerant of other religions and appointed Jews and Christians to positions of importance.

970 PRAGUE (Bohemia)

On a visit to the city, the Spanish Jewish traveler Ibrahim Ibn Ya'kub found Jewish merchants actively involved in trade.

972 BAGHDAD (Persia)

A fire raged throughout the city killing 17,000 people, many of them Jews. This disaster contributed to the decline in Baghdad's Jewish population and its importance in the Jewish world.

977 Hebrew

Date of the oldest dated Hebrew manuscript. It is claimed that there are some in existence which date back to the 8th Century.

980 CHOCHIN (India)

The Hindu ruler of Malabar, Bhaskara Ravi Varma, granted Rabban Joseph the right for Jews to live in Cochin. Most Jewish life centered around the commercial city of Cranganore until the arrival of the Portuguese in 1523.


An important trading center on the Danube River, it already had an important Jewish community located next to the Abby of Saint Emmeran. The settlement probably began there a century before.

985 AL MAGDES (Eretz Israel)

A Jerusalem-born Moslem traveler reported that Christians and Jews outnumber Moslems in Jerusalem.


In Eretz Israel, Syria and Persia, the Jews are reported to be engaged as dyers, tanners, cobblers, butchers and bankers while the Christians were the scribes and physicians.

985 SPARTA (Greece)

Upon being approached to try to stop a plague of pestilence, St. Nicon Metanoites refused until the Jews were expelled so he "would not be contaminated by their customs...or religion."

985 July 1, BARCELONA (Spain)

A number of Jewish residents were killed by the Moslem leader Al-Mansur. Many of them were land owners who left no heirs. According to the law, all their lands were given over to the Count of Barcelona. In Spain at this time it was not uncommon for Jews to own vineyards and other lands.

986 R' NISSIM OF KAIRUAN (Tunisia)

Inquired of R' Sherira Gaon (906-1006) as to the history of the Talmud and how it was composed. R' Sherira's reply to R' Nissim, known as Iggeret Rav Sherira Ga'on, is the foremost source of our knowledge of the history of talmudic times and the growth and compilation of the Mishna-Talmud.

987 HUGH CAPET (France)

Became King of France. The Capetian dynasty lasted for more then 300 years. Capetian rule was weak, especially during the first hundred years. Thus each duchy decided for itself how to treat its Jews. The Church gained enormous influence over local affairs and promoted the idea that the Jews were in league with the Devil - declaring them the "antichrist".

C. 988 - C. 1050 JONAH IBN JANAH (Spain)

Physician and Hebrew philologist. He wrote a number of books including one on remedies Kitab al-Talkhis. Ibn Janah is considered the greatest Hebrew philologist of his time. His major work on grammar written in about 1040 was Kitab al-Tanqihor- Sefer ha-Dikduk (Book of Minute Research). It was the first complete clarification of Hebrew vocabulary and grammar, listing most of the roots and their definitions.


Adopted Christianity. Legend has it that he called upon representatives of the three religions to explain their religions - and chose Christianity.

990 - 1053 HANANEL BEN HUSHIEL (Tunisia)

One of the last Geonim. He was actually born in Kairouan and remained there most of his life. He wrote the first complete commentary on the Talmud which is today embedded in the actual Talmud page. Hananel was also one of the first to rationalize the miracles of Agadah (Biblical legends). This is the part of the Oral Law which deals with stories, chronicles and sayings rather than laws. His writings and responsa served as a bridge between the Babylonian academies and North African Jewry.


Jewish leader and court appointee. He introduced brocaded silk into Spain and in gratitude was chosen as leader of the Jewish community and minister in charge of taxes by the chief chancellor (to the Umayyad Caliph Hisham II) al-Mansur ibn Abi Amir (aka Almanzor). During the war between the Umayyads of Cordova and the Idrissis of Maghreb, the Jews were caught in the middle, being heavily taxed and accused of treason by both sides. He later refused to extort money from his fellow Jews whose resources had diminished. As a result he was demoted and imprisoned for a year.

990 - 1055 SAMUEL IBN NAGHRELA (Granada, Spain)

Known as Samuel ( HaLevi) Hanagid, he was a great diplomat, military adviser, scholar and poet as well as vizier to King Habus al-Muzaffar of Granada ( r.1019-1038). Ibn Naghrelas poetic works include "Ben Tehillim" (Son of Psalms), "Ben Kohelet" (Son of Ecclesiastes), and "Ben Mishlei" (Son of Proverbs), He is also the author of a Biblical Hebrew dictionary written in Arabic. Samuel Hanagid did everything in his power to encourage Jewish learning including establishing a Yeshiva ( where Maimonides father would study) , and making copies of the Talmud available to students who couldnt afford them.His son, Joseph, succeeded him for eleven years, until he was deposed during an attack on the Jews (see 1066).

990 - 1064 JACOB BEN YAKAR (Germany)

Rabbi and co-founder of the great Yeshiva Academy of Worms, and the principal teacher of Rashi. Many of the Rabbinical leaders who came out of the academies in Mayence and Worms met their death in the First Crusade and little of their works have survived.

C. 990 - 1062 NISSIM BEN JACOB IBN SHAHIN (Kairouan, Tunisia)

Poet, and Halachic scholar aka Rabbenu Nissim. He was also very knowledgeable of philosophy and even Islamic religious literature. He served with Hanannel ben Hushiel and after his death, was appointed the head of the rabbinical academies. His Talmudic commentary Sefer Mafteach Manulei Hatalmud (The book of the Key to the Talmud) on some of the tractates is included on the main pages of many editions. In it he brings down sources for Mishnaic quotes and follows it methodology. and Megillat Setarim (Scroll of Secrets) which deals with questions regarding law, legends , Bible, Talmud, and religious customs. After his father in law lost his son, he composed (originally in Arabic) Hibur Yafe MehaYeshua (An Elegant Composition about Deliverance) comprised of stories from Talmudic, Gaonic, and foreign sources regarding bereavement.

992 TREVES (France)

The Bishop ordered the mass conversion of the Jewish population. Before the edict took effect, the Jews spent the day fasting and an effigy of the Bishop was burned. He died the same day and the decree was averted. The Christians attributed it to magic - the Jews to divine intervention.

992 LIMOGES (France)

A Jewish apostate named Sechog ben Ester planted a wax figure in the ark of the local synagogue and then accused the local Jews of using it to curse the local Lord by devil magic. Although they succeeded in deflecting the accusation, the idea that Jews were devil worshippers was gaining more acceptance in the Christian world. A brief account of the incident was published as Sefer Yeshuat Elohim (The Book of God's Salvation) which is one of the earliest Jewish historiographical (if not totally accurate) works.


His physician, a Jew, was falsely accused of killing him. This report of his murder was used as proof that Jews should not be appointed to important positions.

1002 - 1070 ISAAC BEN ELIEZER HALEVI (Worms, Germany)

Rabbi, teacher, liturgist - a student of Eliezer ben Isaac. After the death of Jacob ben Yakar, Rashi joined his school.


Al hakim (985-1021) the Fatimid ruler ordered that Jews and Christians follow ghiyār "the law of differentiation" with Jews wearing both a belt and a turban in black as well as a wooden calf necklace. The women were to wear two different colored shoes, one red and one black. These remained in place until 1014. He was considered eccentric and radically inconsistent, and is known in western literature as the Mad Caliph. He is said to have burned down part of the Jewish quarter for what he considered a slight to his personage. In the later part of his reign he became more tolerant and allowed forced converts to return to their religion.

1005 - 1036 ALI AZ-ZAHIR ( Egypt)

The seventh Fatimid caliph. During his short reign, Jews and Christians were formally allowed to return to their religion. Unfortunately, the caliphate itself had been greatly weakened by revolts, famine, and plague. This led the way to the Seljuk conquest (see 1071). Az-Zahair died of a plague at the age of 31.

1007 ROME (Italy)

The talmudic academy was founded under Jacob Gaon and the three leaders of the community: Moses Ha Nasi, Abraham, and Shabbtai. Jacob Gaon was succeeded by Rabbi Jechiel and then by his son R' Nathan (see 1035) author of the Aruch. R' Nathan traced his family back to the scholars who were brought to Rome by Titus in 73 CE.

1008 CALIPH HAKIM (Egypt)

The sixth Fatimid caliph began his rule. He pressured all non-Moslems, especially Christians, to convert. He is said to have forced Jews to wear a small "golden calf" around their necks. Al-Hakim proclaimed himself God's incarnation, disappeared, and was probably killed during a revolt. His confessor Darazi fled to the Syrian mountains where he proclaimed a new religion - the Druse (Druze). According to the Druze religion there have been ten incarnations of God with Al-Hakim being the last - and they await his second coming.

1009 October 18, JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the Fatimid Caliph of Egypt destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The French monk and "historian" Raoul ( Rodulfus) Glaber (who had previously recorded that the Jews were the "Habitual ally of the Devil") claimed that the Jews were responsible. As a result, Jews were expelled from Limoges and other French towns. Although it was rebuilt by Constantine IX in 1048 it served as one of the “ excuses” for the first crusade.

1010 LIMOGES (France)

Although the Capetian dynasty had been in power in France for twenty-three years, they provided no security for Jews. In Limoges, Bishop Alduin gave them the option of baptism or exile. The Jews sent Jacob bar Yukutiel to petition the Pope. One of his sons was forced to remain behind as a hostage to the bishop, while the rest went with him to Rome. He persuaded the Pope to send an envoy to the area with a papal order "not to kill, injure or rob Jews, nor to deprive them of their religion."

1010 JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Caliph al-Hakim of Egypt destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The French Christian "Historian" Raoul Glaber (who had previously recorded that the Jews were the "Habitual ally of the Devil") claimed that the Jews were responsible for this. As a result, Jews were expelled from Limoges and other French towns.

1011 December 31, FUSTAT (Egypt)

A mob attacked Jews returning from a funeral. Twenty-three Jewish leaders were taken prisoner. They were going to be executed, but their release was ordered by the sixth Fatimid caliph, al-Hakim (996-1020), even though he definitely was not a friend of the Jews.

1011 December 31, NEAR RIOTS IN EGYPT

A local mob attacked a Jewish funeral procession, arresting 23 people and threatening them with death. The incident was brought to the attention to the Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah The Mad Caliph who had previous persecuted the Jews. He ordered them release and their possessions returned. The Jews in gratitude instituted a holiday on the fifth of the month of Shevat to honor the Caliph.


Forbade Jews to marry Christians, own slaves, or work on Sunday. Despite the Council, no overtly anti-Jewish measures were imposed.

1012 MAGDEBURG (Germany)

Jews participated in the funeral of Archbishop Walthad, who was seen as a friend of the Jews.

1012 COLOGNE (Koeln, Germany)

A synagogue was built. The Jewish presence in Cologne probably dates back to its becoming a Roman city in the first century. The synagogue, after being destroyed three times, was eventually turned into a church (1424). Allied bombing in World War II exposed the foundations and a genizah cellar where prayer books, sacred writings and even documents were placed.

1012 MAYENCE (Germany)

Emperor Henry II expelled the Jews, probably in reaction to an anti-Christian pamphlet which was produced by a new convert to Judaism, Wecelin (a former Cleric and Deacon). The Jews were allowed to return the following year.


Broke out between Arabs and Berbers. This resulted in the first Jewish massacre in Cordova in April 1014, and the subsequent decline of the population and importance of the community. An aristocratic family ruled Cordova, who did not consider Jews indispensable. Consequently, the Jews in Cordova began to suffer harassment. Samuel Hanagid was forced to flee to Malaga.

1013 (10 Iyar 4863) - 1103 ISAAC ALFASI (Fez, Morocco)

Also known as the "RIF", compiled the first codification of Jewish law, entitled Sefer Halachot. It still appears today in every volume of the Talmud. Joseph Caro later used it as a basis for his work. Sefer Halachot was the most important codex until Maimonides' Mishna Torah. Alfasi was 25 years old when Hai Gaon died. He was called Gaon by many authorities and his death marked the very end of the Geonic Period (since 589), although there are others who say that the Geonic Period ended with the death of Hai Gaon (1038). His students included Judah Halevi and Josef ibn Migash.


Was destroyed by Matislav/Mstislav I of (Kiev)Russia. Some of the Khazars converted, and other communities gradually absorbed the rest.

1017 LEON (Christian Kingdom in Spain)

Alfonso V set a code of laws known as the Fuero of Leon. This charter encouraged the settlement of Jews and others in his lands, granting them all equality.

1018 KIEV (Russia)

During the occupation by the Polish king, Boleslav the Bold, the Jews were attacked and robbed by soldiers. This marks one of the earliest reports of a permanent Jewish presence in Kiev.

1018 EASTER, TOULOUSE (France)

According to a Christian tradition called "Colaphisation," a Jew had to present himself to the local priest to receive a blow to his face. Hugues, the local Chaplain, hit the unfortunate victim so hard that "his brains and eyes...spilled to the earth". Only in the 12th century did the Jews succeed in paying a fine in remuneration instead of going through the ceremony.

1020 REGENSBURG (Ratisbon) (Bavaria, Germany)

The oldest Jewish quarter in Germany was established.


Riots ensued after Jews were accused of causing the earthquake by their alleged denigration of the cross. Pope Benedict VIII ordered the beheading (others say burning) of 20 Jews for causing the disaster, and the resulting plague.

1021 - 1069 SOLOMON IBN GABIROL (Avicebron) (Malaga)

Messianic poet and philosopher whose "Naale" and other works are included in the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) liturgy. His book of philosophy, Fountain of Life (Arabic), conceived of the universe as the embodiment of divine will. The famous medieval theological philosophers John Duns Scotus (1265-1308) and Albertus Magnus (1206-1280), not knowing he was Jewish, used his texts. Most Jewish scholars rejected his theories of neo-Platonism and some, including Maimonides, considered them almost Pantheic. His personal life was harsh: orphaned at an early age, he suffered bitter poverty and deprivation.

1024 - 1029 BEDOUIN REVOLT (Eretz Israel)

Was led by Hassan ibn Mufarrij of the al-Jarrah clan, against Anushtakin al-Dizbari the Fatamid governor. Many Jews especial in the Ramla and Jerusalem area were killed or forced to pay exorbitant ransoms, leading to the decline of the Jewish population(see 1033).

1027 BARCELONA (Spain)

A Jew accused of committing adultery with a Christian woman had his property confiscated. He agreed to convert, and the charge against him was dropped.

1028 RABBI ELIEZER BEN ISAAC (the Great) (Mayence, Germany)

Took over the Academy of Mayence after the death of Rabbenu Gershom. Hundreds of students flocked to his school, many of whom became the leaders of the next generation. Two of them, Isaac ben Judah of Mayence and Isaac ben Eliezer Halevi of Worms, were Rashi's teachers. R' Eliezer and his colleague Jacob ben Yakar headed the Yeshiva. He is also the author of Orchot Chayim.


Hisham III (10271031) was overthrown . Beset by factionalism, the caliphate crumbled into a number of independent taifas or small principalities. The Umayyads had ruled with stability for 250 years. However, they never recovered from the Berber invasion and the sacking of Cordova twenty years earlier.Due to the general instability, many Jews emigrated to the Castile region especially to Toledo, or to Saragossa in Aragon. Others went to Leon or south to Almeria, and still others left for Egypt. As Jews moved away from established communities it led in many cases in a loosing of ties with the Jewish community, resulting in a rise in assimilation.

1033 May, FEZ (Morocco)

The Jewish community was decimated when the rebel Abul Kamal Tumin conquered the city. Six thousand Jews were killed.

1033 December 12, EARTHQUAKES (Eretz Israel)

A series of earthquakes caused major damage to Ramla, Jerico, and Nablus. Jewish farmers, especially in the Sharon Valley, suffered great losses due to an earthquake. When extra taxes were issued to non-Moslem landowners, almost all of the remaining Jews were forced to leave agriculture.

1034 WORMS (Germany)

A Byzantine-style synagogue was built by Jacob ben David and his wife Rachel. It is one of the oldest synagogues still standing today.

1034 DEATH OF SAMUEL BEN CHOFNI (Hofni) (Babylon)

Probably the Last Gaon of Sura.A prodigious writer of 65 titles, his works (all in judeo-arabic) included an introduction to the Talmud with 145 chapters a well as a book of Laws. Thus ended the long line founded by Rav almost 800 years previously. Some historians believe that the Sura geonate moved to Egypt and continued there for another few decades.

1035 - 1094 ISAAC BEN BARUCH IBN ALBALIA (Cordova, Spain)

Talmudist and Jewish leader, he also served as the astronomer to Al Mutamed, King of Seville.

1035 - 1106 NATHAN BEN YECHIEL (Rome, Italy)

Author of the Aruch (order), a lexicon of Hebrew. He explained the translations, various interpretations and difficulties surrounding words taken from the entire Bible, Talmud, Midrash and Targums in Hebrew and Aramaic. He was frequently quoted by Rashi (see 1040).

1035 CASTROJERIZ (Castile, Spain)

King Sancho the Great was killed during a revolt. Four officials and sixty Jews were put to death during that revolt, because the locals considered Jews to be "property" of the crown.

1035 - 1094 ISAAC (BEN BARUCH) IBN ALBALIA (Spain)

Mathematician, astronomer, and Talmudist. Ibn Albalia began to write his commentary, Kupat Harochelim "The Peddler's Basket" on intricate passages in the Talmud, but unfortunately didnt live to see it completed. He was present in Granada in 1066 during the riots, and barely escaped with his life. The ruler of Seville, Mohammed ibn Abbad al-Mu'tamid (1040-1095), appointed him court astronomer and later Nasi or chief Rabbi. Although he had strong disagreements with Isaac Alfasi, before he died he asked his son Baruch to go to Lucena and study with him. Alfasi adopted Baruch who eventually became a well known scholar.


Jewish leader, diplomat and scholar. He had studied in Kairouan under Rabbi Nissim Gaon and eventually married his daughter. Joseph ibn Naghrela was also a gifted poet composing both religious and secular verse. He was appointed to succeed his father Samuel Hanagid by the Berber king Badis al-Muzaffar (r.1038-1073) of Granada. He was in contact with Jews in many countries and did what he could to help them. Unfortunately , despite his recognized talents he was also arrogant. This played into the hand of his Moslem enemies who were jealous of his position, and eventually led to his downfall

1037 SPAIN

Ferdinand I of Castile seized the province of Leon. This marked the beginning of the reconquest of Spain.

1038 (20 Nissan 4795) DEATH OF HAI GAON (Pumbedita, Babylon)

Marked the end of the Geonic period. It also ended because the spread of rabbinical authority throughout Europe and North Africa meant that there was no longer just one center for Jewish thought. Hai Gaon wrote over 100 responsa as well as a civil law codification of the Talmud. Heskiah succeeded him at the Pumbedita academy, but its prestige and importance were on the wane.


Rabbi poet philosopher, and biblical commentator. He is said to have written more than four hundred poems, as well as hundreds of Piyutim (liturgical poems). His commentary on the Talmud, Sefer ha-Ner (Book of the Lamp), covered at least nine Talmudic tractates, although most are not extant. Among his many pupils were his son Judah, and Moses ibn Ezra. Some believe that Isaac Alfasi was also one of his pupils.

1040 BACHYA IBN PAKUDA (Saragossa, Spain)

Published the first book on Jewish morals and ethics, entitled Chovot Halevavot (Duties of the Heart). In the 19th century his work, among others, became an integral part of the talmudic academy (yeshiva) curriculum. It was considered a tool for introspection and self-evaluation.

1040 - 1105 (29 Tamuz 4865) SOLOMON BEN ISAAC (Troyes, France)

Better known as Rashi. He had studied under the students of Rabbenu Gershom and at the age of 25 became the rabbi in Troyes. Rashi is renowned for his illuminating and succinct commentaries on the Bible and the Talmud, which are still considered indispensable by both Jewish and Christian scholars. Rashi did not hesitate to comment "I don't understand" on Biblical passages which he found perplexing and often paraphrased the words in his native French. His sons-in-law (known as the Tosafists - see 1100) continued with his commentaries, further helping to explain difficult portions of the Talmud. During the First Crusade in 1095-1099, many of Rashi's relatives and friends perished, and some of his manuscripts were destroyed or lost.

1040 - 1560 RISHONIM ( the earlier ones)

A term given to those rabbis and 'resolvers' of Jewish law after the period of the Geonim ( 658-1038) and before the Acharonim ( which some say continue to this day). Although this is no specific date, it is more or less agreed that it began with Samuel Ha-nagid (990) and ended with Joseph Caro and his publishing of the Shulchan Aruch in 1563. Prominent Rishonim include Gershom ben Judah 960 Maimonides( 1135) , Rashi (1040) , the Tosafists (1100), Don Isaac Abravanel 1437) etc.


Christians were officially forbidden, throughout Western Europe to live in Jewish homes. As with many Church council declarations, its implementation depended on external factors and location.

1050 - C. 1120 MESHULLAM BEN KALONYMUS (Lucca, Italy - Mainz)

Scholar and poet. He is also known as Meshulan the Great". He wrote a commentary on Ethics of the Fathers, and numerous responsa some of which were dedicated to disproving Karaite teachings. One of these gave permission to keep a fire going on over the Sabbath . Some of his peyutim, including those for the day of atonement are still used today.

1054 FINAL BREAK (Italy, Byzantine Empire)

Between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople. This was facilitated by the Norman conquest of Southern Italy with the backing of the Pope. (Southern Italy had been under the influence of the Eastern Empire.) This also marked the end of Byzantine rule in Italy, which had focused on the Empire rather than on the Pope. Clergy there were also allowed to marry, which gave them closer ties with society.

1054 AHIMAAZ BEN PALTIEL (Capua, Italy)

Completed a 200 year chronicle of his family in southern Italy. This work called Migilat Yuchasin (The Scroll of Genealogy) is better known as Migilat Achimaz (The Chronicle of Ahimaaz). The entire chronicle was written in rhymed Hebrew prose with an extensive vocabulary. This work presents a remarkable window into Jewish life at that time. The Chronicle was found by accident in a Spanish library and published in 1895.

1055 - 1130 ISAAC BEN ASHER HALEVI (The Rivah) (Germany)

Called the "Father of the German Tosafists". He studied briefly under Rashi, and was the only outstanding German teacher to survive the First Crusade. Upon his death there was no one of standing to take his place and the schools of Worms and the Rhineland were surpassed by those further south. It was said of him that he went over his lessons four times before he would teach them.

1056 - 1147 ALMORAVIDE DYNASTY (Spain)

A Berber Moslem tribe, they were called to Spain by Abbad III of Seville to help fight against the Christians. They soon turned against the Spanish Moors and annexed Moslem Spain, with the exception of Toledo and Saragossa. The Almoravides were unstable at best. Their rule was generally puritanical, and they showed disdain for the Moslem courts in Spain. Many Jews fled to Christian Spain.

1060 - 1135 MEIR BEN SAMUEL (Ramerupt, France)

Rabbi and scholar. Meir was a son-in-law of Rashi and was one of the first Tosafists. Of his sons three are famous: Samuel b. Meir (Rashbam), Isaac b. Meir, and Jacob b. Meir Tam. In addition to his commentary on the Talmud, he edited the Kol Nidrei text into the prayer we recite today.


In reaction to some of the disorders in Christian Spain, he issued a warning against attacking local Jewish communities - despite the fact that at the same time he was trying to organize a "crusade" against Moslem Spain.

1064 MAYENCE (Germany)

The archbishop organized a pilgrimage of 7,000 to Jerusalem.

1064 PRAGUE (Bohemia)

Western Jews arriving here were not allowed residence and so moved east to Russia.

1065 FRENCH CHRISTIANS (France-Spain)

Attacked the Saracens in Spain to drive out the infidels (non-believers). On their way to Spain they stopped in a number of towns and killed any Jews they found. This type of "outbreak" became more common during the Crusades, the idea being "why travel to kill the infidel when we have so many near to home? Get them first!"

C. 1065 - 1136 C.1065-1136 ABRAHAM BAR HIYYA aka Savasorda (Spain)

Philosopher, astronomer, astrologer, and mathematician. He wrote numerous original works in Hebrew. These include Yesod ha-Tevunah u-Migdal ha-Emunah (The Foundation of Understanding and the Tower of Faith) an encyclopedia of math astronomy, optics, and music. His definite work on astronomy Khochmat ha-Chiza'yon consisted of two parts Tzurat ha-Aretz ve-Tavnit Kaddurei ha-Raki'a ("Form of the Earth and Figure of the Celestial Spheres ") and Kheshbon Mahalekhot ha-Kokhavim ("Calculation of the Courses of the Stars parts of which were translated into Latin. His Chibbur ha-Meshichah ve-ha-Tishboret (Treatise on Measurement and Calculation) (1116) was translated into Latin in 1145 by Plato of Tivoli as Liber Embadorum. It gave the area of a circle and helped introduce trigonometry to the west. He also translated many Arabic mathematical and scientific texts into Hebrew.

1065 - 1173 BENJAMIN OF TULDE/TUDELA (Tudela, Spain)

Jewish traveler and historian. Much of our knowledge of this period is derived from his journal, Sefer Ha-massa'ot (Book of Travels), including the story of rn David Alroy, the false Messiah (see 1160).

1066 POPE ALEXANDER II (France-Spain)

Warned French knights fighting to reconquer Spain to stop "excesses" against the Jews. His advice wasn't heeded.


Jews arrived in increasing numbers from Normandy to settle in London, and then spread in ever widening circles to York, Norwich, Oxford, Bristol, and Lincoln. The documented history of Jewish settlement in England dates from the Norman Conquest, although Jews were said to have arrived there soon after the conquest. They tended to settle in large towns and commercial centers, close to the royal castle for protection against the sheriff.


A high ranking church official (probably archbishop) converted to Judaism. After threats on his life he escaped to Constantinople, but was attacked there as well, forcing him to finally settle in Egypt.

1066 December 30, GRANADA (Spain)

Joseph ibn Nagrela, son of Samuel ibn Nagrela, was murdered. He had served as vizier to Badis, ruler of the Berbers. There had been constant tension between the Berbers and the Arab population which led to a civil war. Joseph attempted to ease the conflict between the two camps and prevent excesses against the local Arabs. His enemies included Abu Ishak, Berber advisor to the prince, who accused him of trying to cede the city to a neighboring prince. Badis ordered Joseph killed and crucified. In the ensuing massacre of the Jewish population 1,500 families were killed, including Joseph's wife and son. A few years later Jews were readmitted to Granada and resumed high offices.

1070 - 1139 MOSES IBN EZRA (Granada, Spain)

Poet and philosopher known for his profound spirituality and rich expressiveness. Ibn Ezra also wrote a history of Spanish Jewry where he claimed a Jewish presence in the Iberian Peninsula from the time of the second Temple.


Benjamin of Tudela (1154) (see also1065) described a group of Jews in Jerusalem who called themselves the Aveli Tzion - Mourners of Zion. The group, wore only black, refused to eat meat or drink wine, and lived mostly in caves. Evidently they began sometime in the 7th century. By the time of the crusades few were left. Other groups also existed in Yemen , Germany and Italy. Some scholars contend that those in Jerusalem were a Karaite sect.


The Seljuk's (a Turkish tribe) made a pact with the Abbasid rulers, whereby they would maintain much of the control of the East. The Seljuk's were strictly orthodox Moslems who believed in strengthening Islamic rule and law, while at the same time humiliating non-Moslems. They often destroyed churches and synagogues. The Crusades were partly a result of their harassment of pilgrims. Soon after the occupation of Jerusalem the talmudic Academy moved to Tyre.

1072 SILK MANUFACTURING (Calabria, southern Italy)

Was introduced by Jews in the town of Catanzaro, which became the silk producing capital of Italy. The Jews first arrived in the Calabria region in the first century and were expelled in 1510 after Spain took over the province.

1073 - 1134 DON ALONSO SANCHEZ el Batallador (the Valiant) (Navarra, Spain)

During his 30 year reign he granted the Jews full civil rights.

1074 WORMS (Germany)

In reward for their support in his fight with the Pope, Henry IV granted the Jewish merchants of that city reductions on tolls.

1075 COLOGNE (Germany)

Archbishop Anno's death was mourned by the Jewish community, which held a memorial service for him even though it was the Shabbat. Just prior to his death he ordered that all his debts be paid, including those to his Jewsh creditors.


One of the most brilliant Talmudic scholars of his generation. Ibn Migsash studied under Alfasi (the Rif), who chose him to take over his position, despite the fact that Alfasi own son was also a scholar. He served as head of his Yeshiva for 38 years. Among his pupils were Maimon the father of Maimonides. Unfortunately, although he wrote extensively on the Talmud and is widely quoted by his contemporaries, very few of his works are in existence, or known to us today.

1078 POPE GREGORY VII (Hildebrand)

Prohibited Jews from holding offices in Christendom.

1078 SYNOD OF GERONA (Spain)

Jews were forced to pay the same taxes as Christians to support the Church.

1080 - C. 1164 ABU'L BARAKAT AL-BAGHDĀDĪ (Baghdad)

Philosopher and physician His Hebrew name was Baruch ben Malka. He works include Kitab al-Mu'tabar ("The Book of What Has Been Established by Personal Reflection") and a commentary on Ecclesiastes. He converted to Islam shortly before his death. Some say for honor, others to save his life after a royal patient died under his care. One of his students was Isaac, the son of the Abraham Ibn Ezra and the son-in-law of Judah Halevi who also converted to Islam but then regretted it and fled to a Christian country where he returned to Judaism.

1084 September 13, SPEYER (Germany)

In an effort to convince Jews to settle in his town the local Bishop Rudiger offered them a legal status superior to what would be offered them elsewhere in Germany. It read, in part: "Desiring to make a city out of our village of Speyer, I have admitted the Jews.....I have thought to multiply one thousand times the honor of our city by gathering the Jews within its walls." He provided them with their own protected area and their own cemetery. In return they paid 3 1/2 pounds silver to the Church and agreed to defend the city. Local rulers were entitled to offer legal "privileges" although for the most part it was in the hands of the emperor. Twelve years later Speyer became one of the first cities ravaged by the Crusades.

1085 - 1174 SAMUEL BEN MEIR (The Rashbam) (France)

Grandson of Rashi. He wrote a commentary of the Bible and Talmud, adhering more closely to the literal translation than did Rashi. In certain sections of the Talmud where Rashi's commentary is unavailable, the Rashbam's is substituted.

1085 TOLEDO (Spain)

Surrendered to Alfonso VI of Castile( 1040-1109) , becoming part of Christian Spain. This was the first important conquest of Moslem Spain known as the Reconquista. His chief counselor was Joseph ben Ferrusel, also known as Cidellus (Little Cid). As his physician and advisor, Joseph was instrumental in helping protect those refugees fleeing Almoravide persecutions. The Jews were invited to Toledo and offered full equality . Many Jews (estimates are as high as 40,000) joined his army wearing yellow and black turbans.

1086 BATTLE OF ZULA (Zallaka) (Spain)

It is reported that 40,000 Jews fought together with King Alfonso VI against the Almoravides. The Moslem armies also had a large amount of Jews serving in them - so much so that the battle was arranged not to fall on the Sabbath. Although the numbers may be exaggerated, they reflect the fact that Jews actually took part in most of the Spanish wars and fought valiantly.

1086 - 1145 JUDAH HALEVI (Spain)

Zionist, poet and physician. The author of the Kuzari, a philosophical dialogue between the King of the Khazars and members of the three great monotheistic religions. Among his 800 poems are eighty love poems, three hundred and fifty Diaspora poems and thirty-five songs of Zion. He also practiced medicine in Christian Toledo and used his influence to benefit Jewish refugees.

1088 - 1100 WILLIAM RUFUS (England)

Son of William the Conqueror. He continued his father's friendly policy toward the Jews and allowed converted Jews to return to Judaism, thus incurring the wrath of the Church. He once staged a disputation between Jews and Christians and jokingly remarked: "If the Jews win I will convert." The Christians won, but the Jews were not penalized.

1089 - 1164 (1 Adar 4924) ABRAHAM IBN EZRA (Cordova, Spain)

Poet, mathematician and prolific Biblical commentator. He signaled the end of the classical period in Jewish secular poetry. His commentary on the Pentateuch is based on grammar and philosophical interpretations which strive to give a simple explanation rather then exegesis or homiletic interpretation and is considered the first scientific interpreter of the Bible. An unsuccessful businessman, he wrote of himself: "If I were to take up shroud making, men would stop dying - if I sold candles, the sun would never set."

1090 WORMS (Germany)

The Emperor confirmed the right of Jews to live anywhere in the city, although many preferred to live in their own quarter.

C. 1090 TOBIAH BEN ELIEZER (Kastoria, Greece)

Author of a midrashic commentary Lekach Tov on the Pentateuch and the 5 Megilot. He is the only scholar of note during that period in Byzantium that we are aware of.

1090 - 1170 ELIEZER BEN NATHAN OF MAINZ (RaBaN) (Germany)

Rabbi, commentator and historian. Rabbi Eliezer was known as one of the "elders of Mainz". His major work Even ha-Ezer (Stone of Help) is famous not only for its responsa but for the light it sheds on religious practice in Germany and France. As a historian his Kuntres Gezerot Tatnav (Booklet on the Massacres) of 1096 is one of our best sources for its accounts of the Rhineland massacres at the time of the First Crusade.

1090 February 19, SPEYER (Germany)

Emperor Henry IV renewed to Rabbi Judah b. Kalonymus, the poet, David b. Meshullam, and Rabbi Moses b. Yekuthiel the pledges granted six years earlier by Bishop Ruediger. In addition, the Emperor guaranteed the Jews freedom of trade in his empire as well as his protection. John, bishop of Speyer, also encouraged Jews to move to the city. In return the community paid 3 1/2 pounds silver to the Church and agreed to defend the city in case of attack. Within six years Speyer became one of the first communities on the Rhine to be attacked. After the attacks, R' Moses took upon himself the care and protection of the orphans.

1090 December, GRANADA (Spain)

Was captured by Yusuf ibn Tashfin (1019-1106), leader of the Almoravides. The Jewish community, believed to have sided with the Christians, was destroyed. Many fled, penniless, for Christian Toledo.


Although the Jewish community was quite small, this did not prevent St. Lasislas (1077-1095) from enacting measures to separate Jews as much as possible from Christians. Jews were prohibited from working on Sunday, owning slaves or marrying Christians. Despite this, no overt anti-Semitic measures were imposed.

1093 PRAGUE (Bohemia)

Comas, the early Bohemian historian, mentions Jews living in what he called the Mezi gradi Vysehrad (between the castles) on the right bank of the river "who had amassed large amounts of gold and silver." This settlement was destroyed in 1096 and not rebuilt.


Called on Pope Urban II and western countries to help him against the Sejuk Turks, who were threatening his kingdom and who controlled Syria-Eretz Israel.

1095 MOSHE IBN EZRA (Spain)

Was forced by Almohad intolerance to leave Granada. The great poet wandered for 4 decades, mourning the great past of Granada.

1095 February 6, HENRY IV (reigned 1056-1106) (Germany)

Issued a charter to the Jews and a decree against forced baptism. He desired to protect the Jews even during the Crusades and granted favorable conditions wherever possible. He also permitted forcibly baptized Jews to return to Judaism - partly because he viewed the Jews as valuable property. The Church criticized his actions.

1095 November 27, COUNCIL OF CLAREMONT

Pope Urban II summoned Christians to retake the Holy Land from the Moslems, alleging that Moslems destroyed Christian holy places. A combination of religious, economic and social motives resulted in the overwhelming response that became known as the First Crusade, which officially began in August the following year. The Pope formed an army headed by special knights (i.e. Raymond, Godfrey, etc.). A "people's" army also joined, encouraged by Peter the Hermit and other local clerics. There would eventually be a total of eight Crusades, but only the first four were of any real significance.

1096 ROUEN (Normandy, France)

Massacre of Jews under the rule of one of William the Conqueror's sons. As a consequence, more Jews decided to move to England.

1096 VISHEHRAD (near Prague) (Bohemia)

500 Jews, together with 1000 soldiers of the Duke, defeated the attacking Crusaders, thus escaping the fate of other Jewish communities.

1096 Spring, CRUSADERS (France-Germany)

Over one quarter of the Jewish population of Germany and northern France were killed during the First Crusade (1095-1099), mostly during the months of April-June. It was estimated that in Germany, prior to the First Crusade, there were approximately 20,000 Jews. The period of time between Pessach and Shavuot (Passover and Pentecost) is also known as Sefirat Haomer which commemorates the death of Rabbi Akiva's pupils (2nd Century) and was considered a period of mourning. Since most of the massacres took place between these dates, new regulations of national mourning were added. This was also the period of time when the Unetaneh Tokef prayer for Yom Kippur was written by Amnon of Mainz.When warned by messengers about the upcoming riots from France, the Jewish leaders in Mainz replied, "As for ourselves there is no cause for fear. we have not heard a word that our lives are threatened.


According to some Jewish commentaries, the Messiah was supposed to arrive in the Hebrew year 4856 - 1095-6. This was derived from Jeremiah 31:6, "Ronu...(sing)...at the head of the nation". "Ronu" in gematria equals 256, i.e. 256 lunar cycles (19 years each). Thus hopes were raised and then cruelly dashed with little done to prevent the oncoming disaster.

1096 April 10, TRIER (Germany)

After being attacked by a mob and threatened with death, Bishop Egelbert offered to save all Jews who were willing to be baptized. Most Jews chose to drown themselves instead.

1096 May 3, EMICHO (Emico), COUNT OF LEININGEN (Germany)

On his way to join the Crusade led by Peter the Hermit, he attacked the synagogue at Speyer. The Jews defended themselves but were systematically slain. Until this time atrocities in Europe were sporadic. From here on in they became organized and frequent, and Jewish martyrdom began in earnest. (It should be remembered that the atrocities committed by the rampaging crusaders were not always supported by the local burghers and bishops. Furthermore, in many countries - especially the Slavic states - the local Christian community suffered from pillages as well. John, bishop of Speyer even called out his army after 11 Jews were killed in a riot, but he was an exception rather than the rule. Approximately 5,000 Jews were murdered in Germany in 1096.)

1096 May 18, WORMS MASSACRE (Germany)

The survivors hid in the Bishop's palace for one week, after which they were either murdered or forcibly baptized.

1096 May 25, WORMS (Germany)

Simcha bar Isaac Hakohen pretended to submit to baptism. As he entered the church he attacked the priest. He was "torn to bits" by the crowd.

1096 May 27, MAYENCE (Germany)

Count Emicho entered Mayence. Approximately 1200 Jews took refuge in the Episcopal Palace and, seeing no other escape from forced conversion, chose suicide using ritual slaughter knives. Each family head killed his wife and children, with the leaders killing themselves last. The idea of suicide, normally abhorrent, was considered acceptable or even preferable under these circumstances. One Jew by the name of Isaac, his two daughters and a friend called Uriah allowed themselves to be baptized. Within a few weeks Isaac, who was remorseful of his act, killed his daughters and burned his own house. He and Uriah went to the local synagogue, locked themselves in and burned it down. A large part of the city was destroyed.

1096 May 30, COLOGNE (Germany)

In one instance of individual courage, the local bishop and some of the local burghers offered the Jews protection in their own houses. The Bishop later escorted them to towns under his protection.

1096 June 27, XANTEN AND ELLER (Germany)

Massacre of the Jewish population. This was the second massacre at Xanten in a month. Fifty Jews died. At Eller, five Jewish community leaders were assigned the task (by the community) of killing all the members and then themselves rather than suffer at the hands of the Crusaders. Out of a community of three hundred, only four remained.

1097 EMPEROR HENRY IV (Germany) and WILLIAM II (England-Normandy)

Denying any complicity in forced conversions, they offered the Jews of their realm who had been forcibly baptized the possibility of returning to Judaism. Rashi (the leading Sage and commentator) pleaded for them to be re-admitted by the community.

1098 KING COLEMAN (Hungary)

Tried to protect the Jews against the crusaders passing through part of his country.


After the Crusader attacks on Prague and its environs, Bohemian Jews escape into Poland which had not been ravaged by the crusaders. Duke Bretislav II of Bohemia used the opportunity to steal whatever he could from those fleeing. Bohemian Jews were soon joined by Jews from the Rhine.


Established merchant colonies and trade routes to the Near East with the help of the Latin rulers in Jerusalem. They were under the protection of their mother countries and excluded Jewish traders, who up to that time were very active.


Following the murder of some local Jews, he tried to bring the culprits to justice.

1099 July 15, GODFREY DE BOUILLON (Eretz Israel)

Entered Jerusalem, drove all the Jews into the synagogue and set them afire while he marched around the synagogue singing, "Christ, we adore thee". This marked the end of Jerusalem as a Jewish center for centuries, although Jews did return in limited numbers after the Moslem reconquest in 1187. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 Jews were massacred or captured and sold as slaves in Italy.

1100 - 1328 AGE OF THE TOSAFISTS (France)

The name given to the descendants of Rashi. They added to, and reconciled his works with seeming contradictions in the Talmud, using many cross references to similar topics in other sections of the Talmud. Various schools studied and compiled these works. Each work was named after the school in which it was compiled, e.g. Tosafot Averu for the school of Moses of Evereux, etc.

1100 - 1135 REIGN OF HENRY I (England)

Henry I granted a charter to Jews which allowed freer settlement, seeing it as a way to increase revenues.

1100 - 1171 (4 Tamuz 4931) JACOB BEN MEIR (France)

Rabbenu Tam (Rameru, France). Youngest and most famous of the three grandsons of Rashi, and the most renowned of the Tosafists. He also studied Hebrew verse, wrote liturgical prayers and exchanged poems with Ibn Ezra. He convened a council of sages in which 150 Rabbis participated. The council was held in the shadow of the Second Crusade. He lived through and described the Second Crusade and the burning of Jews at Blois, France. His nephew and student, Rabbi Isaac (the Ri), took his place when he died.

1100 MAHZOR VITRY (France)

Was composed by Simha ben Samuel of Vitry(d.1105), one of Rashi's students. His son Samuel married Rashi's granddaughter and he was the grandfather of the famous Tosafists, Isaac of Dampierre (the RI).The mahzor not only includes the prayers, rituals and customs for both daily and holiday prayers, but also laws of the Sabbath, marriage, etc. It became an important reference work.

1100 July 25, HAIFA (Eretz Israel)

Jewish residents joined with the Fatimids of Egypt in defending the city. Tancred, who unsuccessfully attacked Haifa, was reprimanded for his lack of success and told that he made "a mockery of the God of the Christians." Once the city fell, the remaining Jews were massacred by the crusading forces.

1102 OBADIAH (Italy-Byzantine Empire-Persia-Egypt)

(Originally Johannes son of Dreux), a Norman Priest from Oppido Lucano Italy, decided to convert to Judaism. Believing that his life would not be safe if he stayed in Italy, he fled to Constantinople, then to Baghdad, and eventually to Fostat. He compiled a mahzor prayer book with musical notations similar to that used in Gregorian chant. He wrote his autobiography known as the Obadiah Scroll.

1103 January, HENRY IV (Germany)

Concluded a treaty in which the local Lords and Bishops promise for the next four years to protect "...laymen, merchants, women (lest they be raped) and Jews." Although on the surface it seemed to be a positive move, in reality it made the Jews more dependent on the will of the Crown and led them to a position of semi-serfdom.

1106 MARRAKESH (Morocco)

Ali, the son of Yusuf ibn Tashifin, Almoravide leader and founder of the city, decreed the death penalty for any Jews living in the city. At the same time, one of his military leaders and two of his physicians were Jewish.


Yoseph ibn Tashifin, the Almoravide ruler, ordered all Jews to convert or leave Morocco. He based this on limiting Mohammed's "tolerance" of the Jews to 500 years after the Hejira.


Followed the battle of Ucles between Alfonso VI, and the forces of the Muslim Almoravids under Tamim ibn-Yusuf, where the Christians were defeated . Many Jews were killed with houses and synagogues burned. One of those murdered was Solomon ibn Farissol (Ferrizuel), a leader of the Castile community. The incident greatly affected Judah Halevi who wrote a lamentation for him, and changed the focus of his poetry from love and friendship to Jewish honor and Zionism. The king promised to bring the perpetrators to justice, but died before he could do so.

1109 TIBERIAS (Eretz Israel)

Fell to the Crusaders. As a rule, once the military conquest ended the Jewish inhabitants were left alone. The notable exceptions were Haifa and Jerusalem (see 1099).

1110 - 1180 ABRAHAM BEN DAVID 'IBN DAUD' (Rabad I) (Spain)

Noted philosopher, physician and historian. He believed in defending Judaism, especially against Karaite thinking, by using reason and rationality and not just faith. Ibn Daud's most well known book is the Sefer HaKabbalah (Book of Tradition), in which he puts forth a historical and philosophical defense of Judaism. He traces the passing of Judaic law and the Torah though the Talmud, beginning with the foundation of Judaism and delving into Spanish Jewish history in great detail. Much of our knowledge of this period is due to his work. He is the source of the medieval story of the "Four Rabbis" (see 945) (R. Moses b. Hanokh, R. Shemariah, R. Hushi'el and one whose name isn't known) who were captured by a Moslem captain and sold into slavery in Spain, Cairo, and Kairouan. When ransomed, they created new centers for the study of Torah in Alexandria, Tunisia and Cordova.


During the reign of grand duke(Prince) Svyatopolk II (1093- 1113) the Jews resided in relative peace. This despite the anti- Jewish ranting of Theodosius, abbot at the famous monastery in Pechera. Upon the death of the duke wide spread rioting took place with Jewish homes plundered . Russian historians claim that the new Prince Vladimir Monomakh expelled all the Jews from Russia, but there is no evidence that this actually happened.

1114 MAYENCE (Germany)

A new synagogue was dedicated after the old one had been destroyed in the first crusade. King Henry IV, investigating stolen Jewish property, found that much of it was in the hands of the Archbishop Ruthard and his family. The King confiscated the property but kept it for himself (the Crown).

C. 1115 - C. 1184 ISAAC BEN SAMUEL THE ELDER aka Ri ha-Zaken (France)

One of the most prominent Tosafists and the great-grandson of Rashi. He also wrote a biblical commentary as well as a commentary on the Rif (Isaac Alfasi see 1013).

1120 - 1190 JUDAH B. SAUL IBN TIBBON (Spain)

Of the family of translators. He translated many Jewish Arabic works into Hebrew, including the Kuzari.

1120 POPE CALIXTUS II (1065-1124)

Prompted by the massacres of first crusade, he issued the protective bull, Constitutio pro Judaeis known as Sicut Judaeis (Latin: "As the Jews") or Sicut Judaeis non debet esse licentia , condemning the persecution of Jews. The term "bull" referred to an official document issued by various Popes and is taken from the Latin bullum, "seal". This specific bull was not "pro Jewish" per se, but rather reflected the Church's official position, as stated by Pope Gregory I (598), which objected to forced conversions or the wanton destruction of synagogues and cemeteries . In addition it states "Too, no Christian ought to presume... to injure their persons, or with violence to take their property. Some newly elected Popes would issue a similar pro Judaeis bull, on occasion after receiving a gift from the Jewish community.rnAlthough the bull was reaffirmed by 20 popes over the next 40 years, it was in reality ineffective and ignored.


Talmudist and philosopher and mystic. he is also known as Ha-Kadosh ( the Holy one). He is considered the forerunner of the German "Hasidic pietist movement", later expanded and led by his son Judah ( see 1150).

1120 - 1190 ISAAC BEN ABBA MARI ( Provence)

Known as " Ba'al ha-Ittur," .His Sefer ha-Ittur is a compilation of the main practical halachic laws including financial, Kashrut, marriage and divorce. It was regarded as the authoritative code until the appearance of Jacob ben Asher's Tur ( see 1270).

1121 Ibn Tūmart (Morocco)

Declared himself the Mahdi ( the guided one) and founded the Almohad movement . They conquered Morocco and Spain from the Almoravides who had been relatively tolerant. Ibn Tumrats (1080 - 1130), uncompromising form of fundamentalism extended to his approach to Judaism and Christianity. He is quoted by Abraham ibn daud (1110-1180) in his Sefer Seder ha - Kabbalah as saying , Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation: that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance." The Almohads ruled between 11211269. He offered Christians and Jews the choice of conversion or expulsion. Many Jews converted but continued to practice Judaism in secret.

1124 TYRE (Lebanon)

Finally surrendered to the Crusaders. The Jewish population was not harmed.


Leading French talmudist and director of one of the most influential talmudic schools of his day. Known as the Ravad (there was at least one person known as the Ravad before him), he earned the name Baal Hasagot (the Master of Critiques). He composed commentaries on talmudic texts which had been mostly ignored up to his day, as well as the Mishna, Sefrei and Mekhilta. He wrote extensive and definitive halachic commentaries and criticism on Alfasi and Maimonides, the latter of which is used as an accompanied textual commentary in all additions.

1129 ABRAHAM BAR HIYYA (d.1136) (Spain)

Philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. Published Meggilat HaMegaleh (Scroll of the Revealer) in which he predicted the fall of Christianity and the coming redemption in 1358. He held a senior position in the court in Barcelona, probably as the chief of police.

1130 - 1195 ISAAC BEN ASHER HALEVI THE YOUNGER (Ha-Bahur) (Speyer, Germany)

Was born on the day his grandfather (of the same name) died. He served as a judge (dayan) in the community and died a martyr after he attacked a mob which was abusing the body of his dead daughter.

1130 MOSES AL DARI ('False Messiah') (Fez, Morocco)

Traveled from Morocco to the Academy of Yosef Ibn Megas at Lucenna, announcing the arrival of the Messiah and other prophecies. He predicted that the first day of Pesach would be the day of the Messiah's arrival, and many Jews sold their possessions in anticipation. When the Messiah failed to arrive, Al Dari fled to Eretz Israel, where he died.

1130 AUSTRIA (St. Stephan)

The earliest recorded date on a Jewish tombstone in Austria.

1130 - 1269 ALMOHAD (ara. al-Muwahhidun) DYNASTIES (Spain)

A Berber Muslim dynasty which destroyed most of what was left of the Almoravide dynasty by 1147. By 1150 the conquering armies were already in Spain, Algeria and Tunis. Their intolerance led to many Jews fleeing the areas under their control - including the family of Maimonides.

C. 1131 - 1209 SHESHET BEN ISAAC BENVENISTE, aka "Perfect de Pratis " (France -Spain)

Physician, adviser and poet; grandson of Sheshet ha-Nasi of Barcelona. He served the kings of Aragon Alfonso II as well as the count of Barcelona Pedro II as physician, translator into Arabic, political adviser, and diplomatic envoy. He also wrote texts on medical subjects.

1132 - 1198 EPHRAIM BEN JACOB OF BONN (Germany)

Rabbi, talmudic commentator, and liturgical poet. His Sefer Zekhirah (Book of Remembrance) consists of both the historical events and liturgical poems relating to the massacres of the second and third crusades. He was also the author of the well-known legend describing the martyrdom of Amnon of Mainz, the composer of U-Netanneh Tokef (Let us tell the mighty) prayer for the High Holy Days which was actually written by Kalonymus Ben Meshullam (the Great)Of Mainz, (c. 1000).

1135 - 1204 (20 Tevet 4965) MOSES BEN MAIMON (Maimonides) (Cordova, Spain)

Fled from Spain at the age of thirteen after the capture of Cordova by the Al Mohadan fanatics. He became court physician to Saladin of Egypt. He is famed for his "radical" philosophical work on the unity of reason and faith, Guide for the Perplexed, which was heavily criticized in the Jewish world (especially by Franco-German rabbis). Most of the debate, led by Meir ben Todros Abulafia, concerned rational philosophy and its place within faith and belief in God. The anti-Maimonides school, led by Solomon Montpellier and Jonah Gerunda, insisted that all miracles and aggadic interpretations must be taken literally and that any explanation was heresy. They were also concerned that it would be easier to persuade people to give up beliefs based on rational arguments. Maimonides' greatest work was his Mishna Torah, a guide to Jewish traditions and practices ( see 1180), and is referred to simply as the Rambam (his acronym). He was a prodigious correspondent, answering questions from all over the world. His letter to Yemen, Igeret Teiman, written in Arabic, comforted the community during difficult times. In the letter he discussed the relations with Christianity and Islam and encouraged the Jews, from a historical perspective, to be strong.

1135 - 1154 REIGN OF STEPHEN (England)

During his reign there was intermittent civil war between Matilda (Maud), daughter of Henry I, and her cousin Stephen, grandson of the William the Conqueror. In the end, Matilda's son succeeded in becoming King Henry II. The Jews suffered more than the Christians during the war. Stephen indulged in one of the common practices of kings: freeing Christians from the debts owed to Jews in return for the payment of part of the debt to the king. However, he also protected them from the Second Crusade.


He was known as the Jewish pope because of a Jewish great-grandfather. The legend of Andreas, the baptized boy who remained true to the Jewish religion stemmed from stories about this pope. There was a priest by the name of Anderas who did convert to Judaism (see 1094).


Jews of Oxford were forced to pay ransom to both sides or else their houses were burned.

1141 ALFONSO VII (Castile, Spain)

In order to encourage a Christian merchant class, he allowed Christians to retain hereditary ownership of their shops. Jews and Moslems were only allowed to be tenants.

1143 HAM (France)

150 Jews were murdered. In Carenton the Jews defended themselves, but in the end were wiped out too.


Published his Even Bohan (The Touchstone) a Hebrew dictionary, which was intended to prepare his three sons for biblical study. It was supposed to be part of a comprehensive manual of Hebrew and Biblical exegesis but only fragments remain. Ben Solomon also (1139) wrote Midrash Sekhel Tov a midrashic /halachic anthology on the Pentateuch.

1144 LOUIS VII (France)

Condemned converted Jews who "relapsed" to death. All professing Jews were not affected. The general "liberal" position towards Judaism in France still continued.

1144 DON GARCIA RAMIREZ The Monk (Estella, Spain)

Gave the synagogue of Estella to the Church, (now called Jus del Castillo). Ramirez (1112 1150), also transferred the Jewish part of town to his local nobles.

1144 March 22, FIRST RITUAL MURDER LIBEL (Norwich, England)

The first medieval ritual murder libel - which set the pattern for subsequent accusations in England and France - arose against the background of the Civil War. A 12 year old boy, William, was found dead on Easter Eve and the Jews were accused of killing him in a mock crucifixion. They were not, however, accused of using his blood for the making of matzos (matzot), although this would become a standard feature of later libels.(The idea behind the blood libel was to accuse Jews of killing Christians in order to obtain their blood. In almost all cases it was linked to the baking of matzos for Passover - Christians alleged that blood was an essential ingredient in matzos. It was later presumed by scholars that the boy either died during a cataleptic fit or was killed by a sexual pervert. After Easter a synod convened and summoned the Jews to the Church court. The Jews refused on the grounds that only the king had jurisdiction over them and they feared that they would be subjected to "trial by ordeal". William was regarded as a martyred saint and a shrine was erected in his memory. In spite of this episode there was no immediate violence against the Jews. The origins of the ritual murder accusation go as far back as to Democritus of Thrace (c.460-370 BCE) and Apion (first century C.E.) an anti-Jewish Greek propagandist who accused the Jews of preparing a human sacrifice in the Temple, who was saved by King Antiochus Epiphanes. Over the years ritual murder libels continued, (even it in popular literature such as Geoffrey Chaucer's "Prioress' Tale") despite denunciations by various popes. Possession of a saint's shrine bestowed great economic benefits on a town because sacred relics drew pilgrims, who spent money on offerings, board and lodging. For bones to be considered sacred relics they had to be killed by a heretic (i.e. a Jew). Such charges were used as an excuse to murder Jews as late as 1900 (Konitz).

1145 IMAD AD DIN ZANGI (Syria)

The Moslem son of a slave, he conquered Aleppo. He fired the Moslems with the idea of a Jihad (holy war) and defeated Falk of Anjou and John Comnenus of Byzantium. The following year, Zangi marched on Edessa, northeast of Antioch, and conquered it. He then brought in 300 Jewish families instead of the Armenians, who were suspected of having supported the Christians. The fall of Antioch was the signal for the start of the Second Crusade.

1145 FORCED CONVERSION TO ISLAM (Sijilmasa Morroco)

An oasis town on a major trading route had been captured by the Almohad leader Abd al Mumin (1094-1163). He tried to convert them for 7 months, and when that failed the Jews were given a choice to convert of be killed. The first to convert was the leader of the community Josef ben 'Amram who later returned to Judaism. One hundred and fifty people refused to convert and were killed. Sijilmasa was also noted as a town where many of the Jews had been forced since the 9th century, to work as masons (which were looked down upon), gutter cleaning and sewer maintenance. . After its fall most of the Jews relocated to the Touat(Tuat) oasis and Tlemcen kingdom (present day northwest Algeria), whose Ibadi rulers were more tolerant.

1145 December 1, POPE EUGENIUS ( EUGENE) III

Published a call for a second crusade after the fall of the crusader state Edessa (in present day Turkey). He offered absolution for any debts owed to Jews to anyone who would join.


The Abbot of Cluny who urged Louis VII that the Jews should be "execrated and hated but not killed...rather punished in a way more fitting to their perversity."

1146 SECOND CRUSADE (Germany)

Started led by Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. Rudolph the Monk incited massacres along the Rhine, including demolishing the town of Wurzberg. (Rationale - it didn't make sense to go all the way to the Holy Land to kill the infidel while leaving them safe and snug at home. This also insured that they had the virtue of fighting an "infidel" without having to face the expense and danger of a long journey, or an armed enemy who could fight back.) An additional factor was the new group of Christian merchants eager to rid themselves of Jewish competition. Since they were forbidden to own land, Jews were forced into money lending - formerly a Church business. The effects of this were felt for centuries and became part of anti-Semitic tradition.


Although he was one of the clergymen whose preaching inspired the Second Crusade, he consistently tried to protect the Jews from harm. His efforts were unfortunately, often disregarded by local clergy.


Abd al-Mumim (10941163) the leader of the Almohads after the death of Ibn Tumrat killed any Jews who refused to accept Islam. Thousands were said to have died in the Maghreb (Northwest Africa) and Spain.

1147 JUDAH IBN EZRA (Spain)

Was appointed commander of Calatrava, a garrison near the Moslem border by Alfonso VII, in recognition for his help in conquering the fortress.

1147 February 24, WURZBURG (Germany)

Unlike other communities which fled to local castles for protection, the Jews decided to remain where they were. Twenty-two men, women and children including the rabbi, Isaac ben Elyakim, were murdered after a rumor began that a Christian corpse was found in the river which could perform miracles. Of course the Jews were accused of killing the person. After the riot, the survivors fled to the local castle.

1147 May 8, RAMERUPT (Rameru, France)

Encouraged by Peter the Hermit, a mob attacked the Jews on the second day of Shavuot (Pentecost). Rabbenu Tam was one of the mob's victims. After being stabbed five times (to match the five wounds of Jesus) he was saved by a passing knight. His house was ransacked, however, and a Torah scroll destroyed.

1148 AL MOHADIN (Almohadin) (Spain-Morocco)

Almohadin fanatics succeeded the Almoravides as rulers of Moslem Spain and Morocco. They offered Christians and Jews the choice of conversion or expulsion. Many Jews converted but continued to practice Judaism in secret.

1148 LUCENA (Spain)

The Almohads under Abd al-Mumim (see 1146), reached the mostly Jewish town of Lucena. They forced the local Jews to choose between Islam or death. This spelled the end of the Jewish community. The Talmudic school was closed and most of the Jews fled north to Christian controlled areas. The synagogue was converted into a mosque and later into the church of San Mateo.


Count of Barcelona Gave the " lordship over a Jew Santo, to the count of Urgell". This was not unusual since Jews were considered the property of the local ruler. The following year Berebguer(1113-1162)granted a charter Carta de Poblacion for Jews to live in the city of Tortosa and to build 60 houses.

1150 - 1217 (13 Adar 4978) JUDAH BEN SAMUEL, THE PIOUS (Ha-Chassid)

A Tosafist, known for his books on mysticism and ethics, including Sefer Hassidim (Book of the Pious). He was considered one of the most important scholars of his time. Ben Samuel was a descendent of the Kalonymos family of Italy. He linked talmudic lore from Babylon and Italy to Germany. Among his students was Eleazar b. Judah of Worms (1165). Though a prolific writer in theology and ethics, few of his works survived.

1150 April 12, THOMAS OF MONMOUTH (England)

A local monk, published "The life and miracles of St William of Norwich", in which he accused the Jews of ritual murder. His account based on his visions and " testimonies" was partially inspired by a report on the incident in Inmester (see 416) as well earlier accusations by Apion (first century) Chrysostom ( 198) and Tertullian (198) . This is the earliest "modern" and practical accusation against the Jews. Written almost as if he was a witness to the events, he embellished it even more in subsequent editions until his final version in 1172. Although his book was initially derided, it eventual gained traction and led to the ritual murder trials, and expulsion of the Jews from England.


Holy Roman Emperor. The papacy and the emperor vied for power during his reign. Barbarossa viewed the Jews of his realm as both a duty to protect and a financial resource. The protection he afforded them brought new knowledge and skills from the Middle East into Europe.

1153 INDIA

A letter to the Fustat Nagid Halfon from the captain of his ship described the Jews living in India (approximately 1000) and the strong trade between Jewish merchants in the west and their brethren in India.


Jewish traveler and historian. His book Sefer Hamasot (Book of Travel) recounted his travels throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, India, Ceylon and China. He gave details about each Jewish community: its size, scholars, and economic conditions. Almost everything we know about the Jewish communities of his day came from his book.

1154 - 1184 HENRY II (England)

Henry was first of the Angevin (one of two medieval dynasties originating in France) kings. He both exploited and protected the Jews. During his reign Jews lent large sums of money to various church institutions and financed the building of cathedrals. This did not, however, increase their popularity in church circles.

1157 FREDERICK I (Worms, Germany)

In confirmation of the 1080 "privileges" or charter, introduced the idea that Jews were ad cameram attineant belonging to our chamber. It was enacted partly to exclude any competing legal claims by the church or nobles to Jewish property and revenues, and partly to strengthen the relationship of the Jews to the king. This was soon to develop into servi camerae nostre or servi camerae regis which made the Jews the actual property of the king (see 1236).

1158 ABRAHAM IBN EZRA (1089-1164) (England)

Scholar and writer, Ibn Ezra visited England for a series of lectures. During his visit he also wrote his Letter of Shabbat and Yesod Mora, which he dedicated to Joseph ben Jacob of London.

1160 RABBENU TAM (France)

In the shadow of the Second Crusade, Rabbenu Tam called the first Rabbinical Council in Troyes to affirm religious laws. Some of the Council's decisions were: No Jew could summon another to a civil court without his consent, and no person could apply to civil authorities for help to receive an appointed position in the Jewish community.

1160 - 1235 ISAAC THE BLIND (Sagi Nahor) (France)

One of the early Kabbalists (see 1200). Although little is known about him, he was considered by many Kabbalists to be one of its great teachers. He lived in Posquieres and wrote a commentary on Sefer Yezira (the Book of Creation), an ancient text and one of the cornerstones of the Kabbalah. His students, Asher ben David and Azriel ben Menachem, moved to Gerona, which became a center of Kabbalistic study.


Promised to lead the Jews and take Jerusalem from the Crusaders. One evening he told the Jews of Baghdad that they were all going to fly to Jerusalem that night and asked them to give him their property. That night much of the Jewish population stood on their roofs waiting to fly. Alroy was killed, according to Benjamin of Tudela, after one "successful" battle, by his father-in-law, who was allegedly bribed and threatened by the governor of Amaida. Alroy's followers called themselves Menahemites and continued to live in the Azerbaijan area. They eventually faded out of existence. Disraeli's novel Alroy (1833) became a well-known, if fictionalized, version of his life.

1160 SOLOMON IBN PARHON ( Spain- Italy)

Published Machberet He'Arukh a lexicon to the Bible. He included numerous explanations, often reflecting scientific ideas as well as customs and regulations, in relation to rabbinical law. Ibn Parhon was the first to transmit the ideas of Ibn Janah and Ibn Hayyuj to the communities outside Spain.

1160 - 1226 Joseph ben Judah Aknin ( Barcelona -Fez)

A leading Educator and student of Maimonides, He wrote a number of works on the Talmud, theology, and poetry. In his book Healing of the Ailing Soul (Tibb al-Nufūs), he set out strict standards for teachers. Aside from putting strong emphasis on the moral and behavioral conduct of the teacher , he determined that school curriculum should include reading writing and grammar as well as poetry and music and. Talmud was to be taught at age 15 followed by secular sciences.

1160 May 2, BEZIERS (France)

Bishop William, appalled by the custom of beating Jews during Palm Sunday, issued an order excommunicating priests who did so. Beziers, home to many Albigensinians, was one of the more liberal and open cities in France.

1162 GRANADA (Spain)

Jews and Christians joined to overthrow the Almohad regime. The Almohads only permitted converts to Islam to live in the city. Unfortunately the rebellion was not successful.

1163 BAGHDAD (Persia)

Benjamin of Tudela found 40,000 Jews living in Baghdad, with 28 synagogues and 10 Torah academies.

1163 KAIFENG (China)

A synagogue was built. There are records of Jews there in 960 when it was capital of the Song dynasty and known as known as Bianliang.


London Jews loaned Thomas Beckett 10 marks for his flight to France. The King, furious at the loan, confiscated the revenue.

1164 (1 Adar 4924) DEATH OF ABRAHAM IBN EZRA

(see 1089-1164 ABRAHAM IBN EZRA)

1165 FEZ (Morocco)

The new Almohad ruler declared that all Jews must convert to Islam. Judah ha-Kohen ibn Shushan was burned alive for refusing to convert. Maimonides fled the country, moving to Egypt.

C. 1165 - C. 1230 ELEAZAR BEN JUDAH OF WORMS (Germany)

Halachic scholar. He also wrote liturgical poetry (piyutim) which were influenced by the deaths of his wife, son, and daughters during the Second Crusade, an event in which he was also injured. His major works include Sefer ha-Chochmah (Book of Wisdom) and Sodei Razaya (Secrets of Secrets) on theology. Many of his other works including commentaries were lost. Eleazar belonged to a group of German Jewish scholars, known as the Hasedei Ashkenaz, which had a lasting influence on the direction, customs and philosophy of German Jewry.

1165 - 1225 JUDAH BEN SOLOMON Al- ḤARIZI, (Spain)

Rabbi Poet and translator He is remembered for his work Sefer Taḥkemoni (“The book of the Wise One”) which combined biblical text with poetic verses and subtle humor. His most famous translation into Hebrew is the maqamat ( a form of prose and poetry ) of the Arabic poet Al-Ḥariri of Bozra which he called Maḥbarot Iti’el (“Notebooks of Ithiel”), Alharizi's translated some of Maimonidies' Commentary on the Mishnah and his Guide for the Perplexed ( although the version of ibn Tibbon is the one most used today).


Frederick Barbarossa complained to King Henry II about a number of Jews who had left his domain and were now residing in England. Henry forced the richer Jews to return to Germany and the rest to pay him a fine of 5000 marks in order to be able to remain in England.


Completed Meor, a commentary on the Mishna. It contained the seeds of Maimonides later philosophical works.

1170 YEMEN

After the fall of the Fatimids, the Shiites tried to force the Jews toconvert. During these persecutions a false messiah arose. The Jewish leadership wrote to Maimonides, asking for his advise. His reply was his famous Igeret Teiman (Epistle to Yemen) which warned about false messiahs.


Joyce (Yoseph) of Gloucester was fined by Henry II 100 shillings for lending money to Richard Care for his expedition to Ireland. Although Joyce did not break any law, the king was nervous about the use of Jewish loans to finance any independent actions or policies.

C. 1170 - 1244 MEIR ABULAFIA (Spain)

Talmudic commentator, Rabbinical leader and poet. He played an important role in organizing the communities in Spain, especially that of Toledo. Abulafia wrote a commentary on half the Talmud originally known as Sefer Preatei Peratim ( "The book of minute details" ) some of which are known today as Yad Ramah. His Masoret Seyag laTorah deals with the traditional texts of the Torah. Abulafia is also known for his letters to Rabbi Jonathan ( of Lunel) where he took issue with Maimonides over the principle of resurrection.

C. 1170 KALISZ (Poland)

Probably the oldest Jewish community in Poland. Jews were invited there by Mieszko III the Oldster, prince of Great Poland (1127-1202) and worked as minters (see 1264).

1170 - 1196 DULCIE (Dulcea) OF WORMS

Business woman, and educator. She was the wife of Rabbi Eleazar ben Judah of Worms ( see 1165) and well educated. In addition to running an extended household and her investment business, she evidently was also involved in education. She also served as a Firzogerin (first reader), a woman who would lead prayers for other women. Dulcie, her daughters Bellette and Hannah, and one son Jacob died in an attack on their home.


Local Jews were moved to the citadel. The Jews promised to defend it against the kings enemies and in return were permitted to us it also against anti- Jewish mobs. Furthermore anyone who attacked the Jews; if killed or injured had acted at their own peril. The settlement of Jews in forts was not unusual in 10th - 12th century Spain.


Jews were expelled. This was one of the few times during this period that Italian Jews were persecuted.


Conquered Egypt and began the Ayyubid dynasty which lasted until 1250. Although once again non-Moslems were discriminated against, Jewish intellectual life flourished with more than 7000 Jewish families, among them Maimonides.

1171 May 26, BLOIS, (France)

First ritual murder accusation in Continental Europe. Charges were made even though there was no body nor anyone missing. Thirty-one Jews were burned, 17 of them women. One of those killed was Pulcinella (Puncelina), a close favorite of Count Theobald, and whose position attracted a lot of jealously. Bribes were offered but to no avail As they were burning, they chanted the hymn Aleinu (composed in Talmudic times). Rabbenu Tam declared a day of fasting and prayer in England, France and the Rhineland. The Count decided to expel all the Jews left in his county but "allowed" himself to be persuaded to change his mind by a payment of 2000 pounds.


After a number of church inspired riots, he ordered that those attacking the Jews be fined, including Christian scholars, and students of the ecclesiastic and monastic colleges. During that time Jews in Poland were farmers even landowners. They also administered the mint. Some of the coins have the names of the ruling princes in Hebrew characters.

1177 October, THE FUERO (Charter) OF TERUEL (Aragon, Spain)

King Alfonso II developed a charter which defined the civic status of Jews. It included a fine for murdering a Jew which was half of what would be charged for a Christian, and which was to paid to the king (since Jews were considered his property). Legal and commercial procedures and even which day you could use the public baths were also defined . This charter was the basis for many other charters in Spain.


Viciously attacked the practice of usury (banking or money lending at any interest) and also suspected the Jews of complicity with heretics.

1179 BOPPARD (Germany)

A body of a Christian girl was found near the shore by some passengers on a boat. They immediately accused Jewish passengers on another boat of her murder. Their boat was followed to Boppard where they were attacked and thrown into the river to drown. The Jewish community was further fined by both Frederick I and a local Bishop. The perpetrators were never brought to trial nor prosecuted.

1180 - 1223 REIGN OF PHILIP AUGUSTUS (France)

Nurtured on anti-Semitism and blood libels, he became the king at age 25. Encouraged by the Hermit of Vincennes, he decided to use the Jews for his own purposes. Badly in need of money both for his own use and to acquire new estates so he could gain greater control over his barons, he first impoverished the few wealthy Jews and then cancelled all Christian debts to Jews for a percentage. This way of generating quick revenue was known as "totbrief". It was widely used.

1180 - 1240 ISAAC BEN MOSHE OF VIENNA (Italy)

A great halachist who linked the various schools of learning with his ritual-legal code called Or Zarua (Light is Sown). Living during the forced conversions and massacres in Germany (1230-50), he decided that baptism, even if forced, prohibited a woman from marrying a Jew.


Completed his Mishna Torah. a guide in fourteen sections to Jewish traditions and practices, which was based on the entire Talmud (both the Babylonian and Jerusalem versions). It is written in the purest Hebrew and is referred to simply as the Rambam (his acronym). There was much criticism at the time; some for his lack of citing sources, which he believed would have made his work too heavy, and others who thought that it may supplant the study of the Talmud. Abraham Ben David Of Posquiures (see 1125) , while a major critic, also praised him and his work. In his chapter Sefer Mada (Hilchot Daiot) he appears to be the first Jewish source to mention chicken soup for its medical properties.

1180 January 9, PHILIP AUGUSTUS (France)

(The new king of France) arrested large numbers of Jews while his father, Louis VII, who tried to protect the Jews (though not always successfully) was still alive. All the Jews found in synagogues on the Sabbath were arrested. Philip agreed to free them for 15,000 silver marks.


From "France", after which Philip confiscated their land and cancelled the debts owed them. Since Philip did not control the whole of France, many Jews moved to other areas. In 1192, after expanding his kingdom to areas which still had Jews, he decided to allow them to return to his whole kingdom - for a fee and under strict conditions.


King Henry II enacted the "Assize of Arms", ordering that all weapons in possession of Jews be confiscated on the grounds that Jews, who were supposedly protected by the King, would not have any reason for owning arms. The weapons were turned over to the King's forces. A direct result of this was that there was little they could do to protect themselves when riots broke out less then ten years later.

1181 ABBEY OF ST. EDMUNDS (England)

A dispute broke out between William the Sacristan (Sexton) of the Abbey and his associate Samson. The Jews and the local townspeople sided with William. Unfortunately, it was Samson who came to power the next year as Abbot. In 1190, after the Coronation riots, Samson demanded that the Jews should be placed under his authority rather than the Kings. When they refused, they were expelled under guard.


Reissued the "privileges"/charter for the Jews of Ratushon. For the first time he stated his intention of providing for the "well being" of the Jews. In return for "Imperial protection," the Jews of Germany would make contributions to the court.

1182 June 24, PHILIP II (France)

The 17 year old King decreed the total expulsion of Jews from all royal possessions within two months. This was due in part to debts owed to Jewish moneylenders. The debtors were exempted from all payment to the Jews but had to pay a tax of 20% of their debt to the Treasury. This only served to force those Jews who were considered an asset into other French provinces not directly under the King's control. The Synagogue in Paris was converted into the Church of St. Madeleine, while the one in Orleans was changed into the Chapel of St. Sauveur. This expulsion - with the confiscation of land and property - was a strong factor in Jews leaving agriculture as a profession in favor of moveable property and trade.

1183 MAGDEBURG (Germany)

The guild of clothing merchants was granted the privilege of cutting and selling cloth. This was the start of the stranglehold the guilds held over most of the crafts. Jews were, of course, excluded from the guilds. The guilds were exclusive organizations which were created mostly to preserve the rights and privileges of their members.

1184 RUMERAU (France)

Elchanan, the son of the Ri and a noted (if young) Tosafist, was murdered for refusing to convert. The school in Rumerau had been the center of Tosafist learning since the days of Rabbenu Jacob Tam. Many scholars fled after Elchanan's death.

1185 RABBI ISAAC BEN SAMUEL (The Elder, aka the Ri) (France)

Dampierre, France. A nephew of both Rabbenu Tam and the Rashbam and a great-grandson of Rashi. He was appointed head of the school at Rumerau after the death of Rabbenu Tam, where 60 of the most renowned scholars studied. The Ri became one of the greatest Tosafists, renowned for his commentary on the Rif. He ruled that since the penalty for emigration was confiscation of property, no Jew had the right to buy confiscated goods. If such goods were purchased, they had to be returned to their owner.

1186 AARON OF LINCOLN (born c.1123) (England)

The richest man in England died. King Henry II immediately seized his estate when he died worth over 15,000 pounds. Aaron had such vast sums owed to him that the royal officials set up a special branch of the exchequer called the "exchequer of Aaron" (Scaccarium Aaronis) to deal with it. After 16 years they only succeeded in recovering about half of the debts owed him. Some of his debtors included the King of Scotland, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Count of Brittany and many other nobles. It was the forerunner of the system of debt registries for Jewish loans (the archae), in selected cities established by Richard's administration in 1194; these registries enabled the king's men to keep their finger on the pulse of Jewish lending (and allowed easier raising of money from the Jews).

1186 SALADIN TAX (England)

A tithe for the Third Crusade. Jews were taxed 10,000 marks or 25% of their income and personal property worth, while Christian (non-Crusaders) were taxed 10% of their property alone.


Rabbinical leader, scholar and physician (aka Avraham Maimuni). He defended his father Maimonides, with his work Milhamot ha-Shem "The Book of the Wars for God") . Maimuni wrote a commentary of the Torah and parts of the Talmud as well as a Responsa Sefer Birkat Avraham.

1187 July 3, GUY DE LUSIGNAN (King of Jerusalem) (Eretz Israel)

Against the advice of Raymond III of Tripoli and others, he force-marched his troops through the dry, hot Galilee. He was defeated by the Moslems near the Sea of Galilee (the Kinneret) at a site known as the Horns of Hittim.

1187 October 2, SALADIN (Eretz Israel)

Recaptured Jerusalem after 88 years and granted Jews permission to re-enter it.

1188 March 29, FREDERICK BARBAROSSA (Germany)

Was convinced diplomatically and financially by Moses bar Joseph Hakohen of Mayence, to issue a decree declaring "that anyone who wounds a Jew shall have his arm cut off, he who slays a Jew shall die." This decree succeeded in preventing most of the excesses of the previous crusades in the Third Crusade that was soon to follow.

1189 September 3, RICHARD THE LIONHEARTED (England)

Was crowned at Westminster. During Richard's coronation (from which Jews and women, seen as possible sorcerers, were banned), Baldwin, the archbishop of Canterbury, convinced Richard not to accept presents from Jewish dignitaries but to turn them out of the palace. The crowds took this to mean that the king favored persecution of the Jews; a pogrom against the Jews in London took place the same day and the following day. Richard was reluctant to begin his reign by overtly protecting the Jews and therefore did not punish the rioters too severely - which encouraged more riots. The rioting soon spread to such commercial centers as Norwich, (Kings) Lynn, Stamford, Lincoln, Bury St Edmunds, and York, as well as to smaller communities throughout the land. In London, 30 Jews were killed including Rabbi Jacob of Orleans, a pupil of Rabbenu Tam.

1189 September 3, THIRD CRUSADE (England)

Began in England under the patronage of King Richard. England, which had taken no real part in the first two Crusades, decided to sponsor a crusade that was joined by France and Germany. Its goal was to recapture Jerusalem (taken in 1187). However, Frederick Barbarossa was accidentally drowned, Philip II of France gave up, and Richard succeeded only in capturing Acre and Jaffa. The Jews of England were the Crusade's chief victims.


Were prohibited from holding any "high" office in France.


A minnesinger to the German court. Six of his poems are preserved. In about 1215, he grew tired of entertaining and returned to live with his brethren.

1190 ENGLAND (Jewish Population)

The Jewish population in England numbered approximately 2,500 Jews. Until this time they enjoyed relative freedom of movement, education, and the right to own real estate as compared to the Jews on the continent.

1190 Palm Sunday, BURY ST. EDMUNDS (England)

Fifty-seven Jews were killed in a massacre. Shortly after, the local abbot, Samson, whose abbey was coincidentally in debt to Jewish money lenders, obtained permission to expel all the Jewish residents of the town (see 1181).

1190 March 16, YORK (England)

On the Sabbath eve before Passover (Shabbat Hagadol), a group made up of clergymen, barons indebted to the Jews, and Crusaders waiting to follow Richard set Jewish houses on fire and stole all their valuables. The Jews under Josce, a prominent Jew of York, and their rabbi, Yom Tov of Joigny (a contemporary of Rabbenu Tam and author of the Yom Kippur Hymn Omnam Ken), fled to the castle. Richard Malebys (a noble who owed large sums to Jewish moneylenders) and other indebted nobles commanded the attackers. For 6 days the Jews held out. A stone thrown from the tower killed a monk, who came each morning to celebrate mass, and inflamed the crowd. Facing the choice of baptism or death, most chose death, committing suicide after destroying their belongings. According to tradition, Josce killed his wife and two children, and was in turn killed by the rabbi who was the last to die. The few who remained alive opened the gate and requested baptism, only to be massacred anyway. Over 150 Jews died, the sheriff of York dismissed, and the bonds of debts to Jews which were kept for safekeeping in York Minster were burned on the floor of the church.

1190 March 22, ENGLAND

King Richard (the Lionhearted), angered by the riots and the loss of crown property (since the Jews were seen as serfs to the crown), renewed a general charter in favor of the Jews that was first issued by Henry II. His chancellor, Longchamp, instituted heavy fines against the Pudsey and Percy families, who had been involved in the 1190 pogrom at York. This enriched the treasury and hurt his political opponents at the same time. Three people who were also accused of destroying Christian property were executed.


King Phillip decided to retake Jerusalem from Saladin in the Third Crusade. Debts to the Jews were cancelled for all those taking up the cross. Many Jews - who were now of dubious financial worth - were driven out of France and their property was confiscated.

1191 March 18, MASSACRE AT BRAY (France)

Eighty Jews were burned for trying to execute a vassal who had killed a Jew. (They had marched him in a procession and tried to hang him - three weeks before Easter).

1194 - 1270 (4 Cheshvan 5031) MOSES BEN NACHMAN (Nachmanides) (Spain-Eretz Israel)

Scholar and Jewish leader, known as the Ramban. He is famed for his commentaries on the Bible and his prowess in debating against Pablo Christiani, a heretic Jew, in Aragon 1263. Although Nachmanides was rewarded by King James I for his presentation, the Dominicans were determined that the outcome should be a victory for Christianity. Two years later they succeed in bringing charges against him for defaming Christianity. Under pressure from Pope Clement IV, he was banished from Spain. Nachmanides later settled in Eretz Israel where he established a synagogue and school for talmudic studies.


King Richard, upon his return to England from the Third Crusade, decreed that "all debts of slain Jews are to be taken into the kings hands." In order to prevent the destruction of writs of debt by mobs (and the financial loss to the crown), he introduced a system of public registration of all deeds in a series of locked chests (the archae) in the main centers of Jewish residence throughout England.

1194 - 1256 JACOB ANATOLI ( France - Naples)

Physician, Educator, and Translator. In 1224 Anatoli was invited by Emperor Frederick II to help establish a university in Naples and help translate Arabic scientific material. Many believe that there he befriended Michael Scott (1175 c.1232) the medieval mathematician and scholar. His sermons were organized in a book called Malmad ha-Talmidim (The Students' Instruction). He lamented the emphasis on Talmudic at the expense of biblical studies, and supported the inclusion of both foreign languages and natural sciences. Anatoli fought against all aspects of fanaticism regardless of religion.

1195 February 13, SPEYER RITUAL MURDER LIBEL (Germany)

Although there was no proof of any wrongdoing, the rabbi's daughter was dismembered and her body was hung in the market place for a few days. The rabbi and many others were killed and their houses burned.

1196 July 25, CASTILE ATTACKED (Spain)

Al Mohades despoiled the Jewish community and took the Codes Hilleli, a 600 year old biblical manuscript considered to be the oldest Hebrew copy of the Bible in Spain.

1197 BISHOP ODO OF SULLY (Paris, France)

In an effort to further isolate the Jews economically and socially, it was forbidden to buy meat from a Jew or hold a discussion with a Jew under pain of excommunication.

1197 February 3, SAMUEL BEN NATRONAI (Nuess, Germany)

Rabbi, scholar and the son-in-law of R. Eliezer b. Natan (RABaN) was tortured and killed along with six other Jews after a Christian girl was killed. Five days later the mother of the man, who was known to be unstable, and her brother were also seized. The mother was buried alive, and her brother tortured to death. A large amount of silver was paid to Archbishop Adolf of Altenau and others to allow the dead to be buried.


(Aka Phillip II),agreed to take in Jewish refugees from northern France, for three different reasons: his anger at Pope Innocent III's refusal to sanction his second marriage or the divorce of his first wife, his arguments with Richard of England, and realizing that the expulsion of the Jews caused more of an economic loss than a gain.

1199 CTESIPHON (Persia)

After trying in vain to convince a local mosque adjacent to the synagogue to lower the volume of its call for prayers, the local Jewish leaders succeeded in getting the government of Baghdad to back their demands. This resulted in an anti-Jewish riot in which many Jewish stores were destroyed and eventually, under pressure, the Caliph agreed to turn the local synagogue into a mosque.

1199 September 15, CONSTITUTIO PRO JUDEIS.: An Edict in Favor of the Jews

Pope Innocent III (1160-1216) one of the more anti - Jewish popes, nevertheless declared n a papal letter, " We decree that no Christian shall use violence to compel the Jews to accept baptism." This was based on the proclamation and policies of Gregory the Great (see 590). In this letter he continued "'Do not wipe out the Jews completely, lest perhaps Christians might be able to forget Thy Law..." Despite this, in his Papal Bull Maiores Ecclesiae (1201) he declared that once one received the sacrament, "Even as he who comes falsely to baptism, receives indeed the stamp of Christianity and can be obliged to observe the Christian faith."

C. 1200 RISE OF KABBALAH (Jewish Philosophical Mysticism)

As persecutions increased in the wake of the crusades, people began searching for a deeper meaning of existence to help them understand the harshness of life around them. One of the basic beliefs of Kabbalah is that in addition to leading a righteous life, one may also contemplate mystic traditions which can bring one closer to God. There are two kinds of Kabbalah: theoretical, which is more speculative and epistemological; and practical, which is more mystical and magical, using amulets and the various names of God.

1200 - 1260 MOSES OF COUCY (the Semag) (France)

Author of Sefer Mitzvot Gadol (The Large Book of Precepts). It is arranged according to the six hundred and thirteen precepts of the Bible (mitzvot), affirmative and prohibitive, and includes sources (unlike Maimonides). He was one of the later Tosafists and is frequently quoted by later halachic leaders.

C. 1200 - 1263 (28 Cheshvan 5024) JONAH BEN ABRAHAM GERONDI (Spain)

Rabbi, Talmudist, and moralist. Gerondi, though an exceptional scholar, is famed as a "father of the virtues". He took to task all who were guilty of immorality, ignoring the poor, slander, and social injustice. In addition to his commentaries and novellae he is famed for his ethical works Iggeret Teshuvah (Letter of Repentance), Sefer ha-Yirah (The Book of Fear), and especially Sha'arei Teshuvah (Gates of Repentance) which has been translated into English and is widely printed today.


Ethical and mystical movement, thrived in Germany centering mainly around the Kalonymus family; Rabbi Samuel ben Kalonymus he-Hasid (the Pious), his son Rabbi Judah he-Hasid, and the latter's student, Rabbi Eleazar ben Judah of Worms. The movement was influenced by the difficult times which led to mystical hints in its theology and its focus on the importance of martyrdom - dying Al Kiddush Hashem. The movement placed a great emphasis on strict attention to the details of both major and minor religious regulations.

1201 February 11, WORMS (Germany)

Jews took up arms to fight alongside the city's non-Jewish residents against an attack. At that time Jews were still permitted to bear arms in various cities in Germany, although this privilege would soon be abolished.

1203 August 19, CONSTANTINOPLE (Byzantine Empire)

A fire started by Flemish crusaders burned down the Jewish quarter, including the synagogue.

1204 VIENNA (Austria)

First record of a synagogue being built there. Vienna's Jews enjoyed more freedom than those in other areas of Austria. Often local princes used their own judgment to give extra privileges to Jews without changing the general character of their status within the nation.

1204 FOURTH CRUSADE (Byzantine Empire)

Constantinople was taken and the Rome-Constantinople conflict came to a head. Italians massacred Greeks and Turks. The failure of different factions of crusaders because of infighting and incompetence weakened the entire effort - and the Byzantine Empire in particular.

1205 1205 PAPAL BULL ETSI NON DISPLACEAT (Though I Should Not)

Pope Innocent III, (1161-1215) in a letter to the king of France accused Jews of arrogance, money lending for profit, blasphemy and the signing up of Christian slave among other things. He also claimed Jews were punished with perpetual servitude for killing Jesus. The king was advised to put an end to such evil.

1209 - 1229 ALBIGENSIAN CRUSADE (France)

Called by Pope Innocent III. The Albigensians, who were named for the city Albi in southern France, were one of a number of heretical Christian sects. Although they rejected Judaism on theological grounds, many also rejected the notion of Jesus as a god and accused the Church of social and economical corruption. Jews fared well in areas under their control, even attaining positions of prominence. The Church - furious that Jews still held public office and angry at the Albigensian's heresy - called for a crusade against the Albigensians. King Philip refused to lead it, but did not prevent Cardinal Bertrand and Simon de Montfort from attacking the South. Prince Raymond VI surrendered at Toulouse on September 22, 1229.

1209 July 22, BEZIERS (France)

(Capital of the Albigensians) 20,000 Christians and 200 Jews were massacred by de Montfort's troops. Jews were removed from office and their children were forcibly baptized.

1209 July 22, BEZIERS (France)

The Capital of the Albigensians, was attacked by Simon de Montfort, as part of Pope Innocent III's Albigensian Crusade. It was defended by Raymond Roger Trencavel (1185-1209) the viscount of Beziers, who was both sympathetic to them and the Jews. By the end of the siege, 20,000 Christians and 200 Jews had been massacred by troops. Those Jews remaining were removed from office and their children were forcibly baptized. Trencaval died suddenly while imprisoned, either from an acute stomach ailment or poison.

C. 1210 - 1280 (28 Iyar 5040) ISAAC BEN JOSEPH OF CORBEIL (the Semak) (France)

Rabbi, codifier. His Sefer Mitzvot Katan (Se-Ma-K) "Small" Book of Commandments, was divided into 7 pillars and included contemporary Halacha along with Aggadic stories and Ethics. He based his concept on the Sefer Mitzvot Gadol of Moses of Coucy, but did not delve into the argument behind the decisions.

1210 November 1, KING JOHN (England)

The brother of Richard the Lionhearted. He imprisoned much of the Jewish population until they paid the enormous sum of 66,000 marks as a tax called a "tallage". This tax could be imposed by any lord on his serfs without special permission, or the king on his Jews as well as the serfs on crown lands. Abraham of Bristol, who refused to pay his "share" (10,000 silver marks) had a tooth pulled every day until he agreed to pay. He lost seven teeth before he was able to raise the funds.

1211 THREE HUNDRED RABBIS (Eretz Israel)

Set sail to Eretz Israel from England and France, many of them compelled by persecutions in both countries. Included among them were Jonathan Cohen of Lunel and Samson ben Abraham of Sens, both leaders of their communities. They succeeded in bringing the Tosafists' method of learning to the Holy Land.


Crusaders crushed the Moslems. Although pockets of Moslems still existed in Spain, for all practical purposes Spain had become completely Christian and the situation of the Jews in Spain began to deteriorate.

1215 KING JOHN SIGNED THE MAGNA CARTA (Runnymede, England)

It included provisions (chapters 10-11) preventing debts owed to Jews by minor heirs from earning interest while the heir was a minor, also declaring that a widow dowry should not be used to pay for her husband's debt. In later reissues, these chapters were dropped.

1215 - 1293 (19 Iyar 5053) RABBI MEIR BEN BARUCH OF ROTHENBURG (Maharam) (Germany)

The last of the Tosafists, he was the leading rabbi in Germany. Convinced that there was no future in Germany, he agreed to lead a large contingent of families to Eretz Israel. While waiting for the other families, he was seized by the Bishop of Basel. The emperor ordered him held in prison as a lesson to any of "his Jews" who might want to leave Germany (thereby causing him a financial loss). He refused to be ransomed, saying that to do so would serve as an impetus for further extortions. He died in a prison near Colmar, and his body was held there until it was ransomed some years later (see 1307).

1215 November 11, FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL (Pope Innocent III, 1161-1216)

His papacy marked the zenith of papal power. Old anti-Jewish decrees were expanded and Jews were compelled to wear the Yellow Patch - the "Badge of Shame" - to distinguish them from Christians. These decrees were enforced in France, England, Germany and later in Hungary. Jews were also prohibited from holding public office and were prohibited from appearing in public on Easter Sunday and the last three days of Holy Week. The Pope also originated the Doctrine of Transubstantion, in which the wafer (Host) and wine in the Eucharist were believed to become the blood and flesh of Jesus. This led to the infamous Host Desecration libels of the next few centuries.


Representatives of the Jewish communities in Marseilles and Narbonne convened the synod in order to prevent the implementation of some of the decisions of the Fourth Lateran Council. The synod did not have a major impact except on some local levels. Its importance was rather in the fact that different communities united in an effort to defend their position vis a vis the Church.


Was raised by the papal legate and influenced by the Church. While still a minor (until 1232) his affairs were handled by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, whose policy was favorable to the Jews. Henry III squeezed English Jews financially, leaving them practically penniless. Henry considered Jews his private property to do with as he pleased. Earlier English kings borrowed from Jews and sometimes even repaid those loans. Henry III, however, began the policy of imposing tallage (arbitrary taxation in the Jews) and gradually impoverished them. When the Jews requested permission to leave England, Henry refused so as not to endanger his financial reserves.

1217 July 7, ALICE ( ALIX) DE MONTMORENCY (France)

The wife of Simon de Montfort, the 5th Earl of Leicester, had imprisoned the Jews of Toulouse Jewry who refused to convert. Under pressure she finally released them but had all children (under the age of six) taken from them and adopted by Christians. The Church under cardinal Bertrand, later decreed that the children were to stay in their "Christian" homes.

1217 November 7, HONORIUS III

Reissued the bull Sicut judaeis… ( As the Jews..) regarding the churches official position against forced baptism, violence or confiscation of property (see 1120).

1218 JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Thirty-one years after Saladin's conquest of Jerusalem there were still few Jews there. Jerusalem did have three synagogues though. One was for Jews from Ashkelon which included the refugees from Jerusalem, one for Jews from North Africa and one for Jews from France. Most of the Jews remained on the coast, especially in Acco (Acre).

1218 March 30, HENRY III (England)

The men administering England for the minor king, enforced the anti-Jewish canons of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) including that Jews wear a distinctive dress to prevent Jews from socializing with Christians - in this case a white linen cloth in the shape of the Tablets of the Law which had to be worn above the heart by all Jews. Many paid for the privilege of not wearing it.

1219 THE ALJAMA (Toledo)

The governing board of the local Jewish communities was first mentioned. Since the population was taxed per community, the Aljama was set up to organized individual taxes as well as those on goods and services within the Jewish community. Eventually they were given wide ranging authority which included; the election of judges and court Rabbis, the establishment of schools, and management of communal property. There was even a committee for Berurei Aveirot which was empowered to enforce moral behavior. The Aljama also served as the intermediary between the community and the crown. Often they were headed by a just few families, which led to tension, resentment, and strife within the community, especially in the later years.


The Mongols attacked Persia (beginning under Genghis Khan, who died in 1227), and captured Baghdad in 1258. The Jews and other religious minorities were tolerated.

C. 1220 - 1291 TANHUM BEN JOSEPH (Ha -)YERUSHALMI (Eretz Israel - Egypt)

Philologist, poet, and biblical exegete. He or his family originated from Jerusalem, although he died in Egypt. Tanhum had an wide-ranging knowledge of philosophy, and medicine as well as a number of languages, including Arabic and Greek. He had an extensive knowledge of previous biblical exegetes and grammarians. His works include Al-Murshid al-Kafi (on Maimonides) Mekomot (Places), and Arugot ha-Besamim (The Herb patch)which he wrote at the age of 15. The latter not to be confused with arugot habosem written by Samuel Archivolti ( see 1515).


Rabbi, kabbalist and courtier under Alfonzo X, Though coming from a wealthy and well connected family he was known for his modesty. In his sermons (which were printed as Zikaron LeYehudah) he condemned the lack of morality in the community. His other works included Shaar haRazim on Kabbalah and Otsar HaKovod on Talmudic legends.


rnIn his bull Ad nostram Noveritis audientiam (To the hearing, know that), Honorius reconfirmed his previous bull (1218) and demanded the enforcement of the 4th Lateran Council ban on Jews holding public office. Jews were required to wear a distinctive badge in public and were made to pay a tithe to local churches.rn

1221 June 26, ERFURT (Germany)

Although the Archbishop of Canterbury forbade anti-Jewish riots by English crusaders, they continued unabated. A group of religious "pilgrims" on their way to the Holy Land attacked the Jewish quarter, burning two synagogues. Some 26 Jews were killed. Among the martyrs was the paytan and cantor Samuel b. Kalonymus. Others threw themselves into the fire rather then be forcibly converted.

1222 OXFORD SYNOD (England)

Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, held a provincial church council at Oxford. It forbade Jews to build new synagogues, own slaves, or mix with Christians. He had been one of the prime movers of the Fourth Lateran Council and was motivated by its anti-Jewish spirit. In reality, the Oxford's synods canons were not widely enforced or even enforceable in practice.

1222 GOLDEN BULL (Hungary)

As a reaction to the growing influence (especially economically) of Jews, nobles helped enact a Bull which prevented Jews from becoming "nobles" as well as holding certain offices.

1222 April 17, DEACON ROBERT OF READING (England)

Was burned for converting to Judaism. The deacon had converted for the love of a Jewess. He was dismissed from his position in the church and delivered to lay authorities who promptly burned him. In general, heretics were not burned in England until the late 14th century.

1224 JACOB ANATOLI (Naples, Italy)

Was invited by Emperor Frederick II to help establish a university. (see 1194)

1225 - 1274 THOMAS AQUINAS (Italy)

Catholic priest and theologian. He was recognized as Doctor of the Church for his contributions to Catholic theology ( Summa Theologica). While some of Aquinas philosophies are similar to that of Maimonides, his attitude reflected that of the Fourth Lateran council accusing Jews of deicide (see 1271).


Sanctioned laws against Jews and encouraged disputations between Jewish and Christian theologians (Nicholas Donin,1240) in order to convert more Jews. At the same time that he oppressed the Jews (i.e. canceling all debts owed to them by Christians), he gave gifts and favors to any who converted. He recommended that the best way of winning an argument with a Jew was to drive a sword as far as it would go into his stomach.


Met to implement the anti-Jewish decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council.

1228 BAGHDAD (Persia)

According to a Moslem custom each (non-Moslem) communal leader had his face publicly slapped upon paying the poll tax for his community. The elderly leader of the Jewish community, Ibn Ash-Shuwaikh, asked to be allowed to make the payment at night so as to avoid the shame. His request was refused.


Under strong pressure from the clergy he issued a number of restrictions against the Jews including holding public office. James (1208-1276)himself ignored his own laws and appointed many Jews as bailiffs, translators, diplomats, and to other administrative positions.This being said there was a strong increase in anti Jewish legislation both by the clergy and by the Cortes Generale the local (courts) legislative bodies. James himself used the anti Jewish pressure to enrich his own coffers as an act" of salvation" (see 1254).rnrnrn

1229 TREATY OF JAFFA (Eretz Israel)

Between Emperor Frederick II and the Sultan of Egypt. Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem were returned to the crusaders. Jews were once again forbidden to live in Jerusalem.

1229 HENRY III (England)

Jews were forced to pay various additional tallages during the 1220's and 30's. In 1229 an additional 8,000 mark tallage was imposed and in 1232 an additional 10,000 marks.


Were granted revenues by James I for their help as translators and interpreters in his conquest of Mallorca. The brothers were very ambitious and rose to prominence in the court. Especially in later generations, the Alconstantinis, and others in the Jewish aristocracy were strongly resented within the community. They were believed to be more concerned with their social status, than the plight of their less wealthy brethren which unfortunately, was often the case.

1230 JOHN ASEN II (Czar of the Bulgars) (Eastern Europe)

Defeated Theodore Ducas Angelus of Epirus (N.W. Greece). Theodore, who had initiated many anti-Jewish laws and stolen Jewish property, was given over to two Jews to "put out his eyes". When they, having pity on him, refused to do so, they were thrown off a cliff.


Instituted the papal inquisition. The inquisitional court was set up to look into the large scale heresies (i.e. Cathari and Waldenses) which arose during the 11th and 12th centuries. Until that time, most treatment of heretics was dealt with locally, usually by burning. The name "Inquisition" is derived from the Latin verb "inquiro" (inquire into), and at lest at the beginning, inquisitors traveled from town to town looking into individual cases and pronouncing judgment. According to Gregory's decree any heretic who confessed and repented only received imprisonment with penance. The heretic who persisted received capital punishment. The inquisitors - or judges - of this medieval Inquisition were recruited almost exclusively from the Franciscan and Dominican orders. There were three inquisitions. The first started in 1231. The second, which was against Conversos, started in 1478. It was known as the Spanish Inquisition (also see 1461). The third, which started in 1542, was for the most part was against the protestants, and was known as the Roman inquisition.


Decided to combine the manufacturing of silk and the dying trades and to give them over to a number of Jewish families. Both these trades were for many years almost the exclusive activities of Jews in Sicily, Naples, and other parts of Italy.

1233 HOUSE OF CONVERTS (England)

Was established in England as a refuge for baptized Jews. A special tax was imposed on the Jewish community to pay for its establishment and maintenance.

1233 MAIMONIDES (France)

Works were burned in Paris. Maimonides' opponents, led by Jonah ben Abraham Gerondi and Solomon ben Abraham of Montpellier, joined with the Dominicans. This alliance was soon regretted when the Dominicans turned on them and demanded the burning of all Jewish books, especially the Talmud.


In his Decretals, ( official letters of response) The pope condemned the Jews to perpetual servitude based on the doctrine of perpetua servitus iudaeorum. This would result in official second class status for Jews.


After appointing a commission to investigate the truth of "blood accusations", he adopted the Jews' unanimous denial of any such crime.

1235 DEATH OF DAVID KIMHI (The Radak)(France-Spain)

The most famous member of the Kimhi family of translators. He played an important role in the controversy over Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed publicly defending him and his philosophy. Kimhi was himself the author an important grammatical work Mikhlol and of a biblical commentary known as the Radak.

1235 - 1311 SOLOMON BEN ABRAHAM ADERET (The Rashba) (Barcelona, Spain)

Rabbinical scholar and community leader. Ibn Aderet knew Latin as well as both Roman and Spanish law. While opposed to Maimonides' rationalist philosophy, he defended him and his publications. He wrote a refutation to the anti Jewish polemics of Ibn Hazm (994-1064) which were often quoted by Christian theologians and another to Raymond Martini(1270) . His most famous work was Hiddushei HaRashba on the Talmud , which is still in wide use today .He also replied to over three thousands of question (mostly of a practical nature) put to him by communities in Germany, Eretz Israel, Sicily, Morocco, Portugal and Spain itself. His students included Yomtov ben Abraham (1250), Rabbeinu Bahya (1255) and ShemTov ibn Gaon ( 1283).

1235 January 2, LAUDA - TAUBERBISCHOFSHEIM (Germany)

A Christian body was found between these two cities. For three days, the Jewish communities in both towns were attacked by mobs. Eight Jewish leaders from both towns were put on trial, tortured, convicted and executed.

1235 December 28, RITUAL MURDER CHARGE (Fulda, Germany)

Resulted in a massacre of 32 Jews. The following year, Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen established an investigation at Hagenau to confirm or disprove the charges. After hearing various experts, including Jewish converts to Christianity, he declared that since Jews are prohibited from eating animal blood, they would surely be banned from using human blood. He forbade anyone to accuse Jews of ritual murder", Privilegium e sententia in favorem iudaeorum . Pope Innocent IV also condemned the accusations as unfounded.

1236 EMPEROR FREDERICK II OF HOHENSTAUFEN (1194-1250) (Holy Roman Empire)

Declared Jews of Germany servi camerae nostre (servants of our treasury) or Kammerknechtschaft. The simple legal meaning of this was that Jews and all their possessions belonged to the King and was partly instituted by Frederick I in 1157. This also supposedly assured them protection. Jewish rights and their assets were now the actual property of the king, to be bought, sold, or traded. This concept, mostly economic but also theological, spread to France England and Spain.

C. 1236 - C. 1304 JACOB BEN MACHIR IBN TIBBON, (France)

Astronomer and physician. Also known as Don Profiat Tibbon, and Profatius Judaeus, his works were quoted by among others, Copernicus. Ben Machir translated many classic texts of Greek mathematical and astronomical works from Arabic to Hebrew. He wrote two original works; the first Roba' Yisrael described an astronomical instrument called the quadrant (quadrans novus) including how to build one. The second Luchot was a book on planetary motions and astronomical tables. His first book was translated several times into Latin.

1236 February 29, NARBONNE (France)

An attack on the Jewish quarter occurred after a Jew accidentally killed a Gentile in an argument. The governor of the city, Don Amyeric, forcibly re-established order. The house and library of Rabbi Meir ben Isaac were pillaged, but no one was killed.

1236 July 10, ANJOU AND POITOU (France)

Over a period of 6 days Crusading monks and knights trampled three thousand Jews to death, burned torah scrolls and destroyed the community.

1237 - 1241 Winter MONGOL (Tartar) INVASION (Germany)

Across Russia, Eastern Europe and parts of Germany Batu (son of Genghis) Khan led what was known as the Golden Horde. In their wake, many communities (Jewish and Christian) were destroyed. This coincided with the beginning of the 6th millennium according to the Jewish calendar which lead to speculation of the arriving of the messiah. In some German communities (Frankfort) the Mongols were thought to be remnants of the Ten Lost Tribes and accused the Jews of helping the invaders.

1239 March 6, EDICT OF VALENCIA (Spain)

King James I validated the "privileges"/charter of the Jews of Aragon. The Jewish courts (Bet Din) were authorized to try all cases except capital offenses. He furthermore forbade all harassment except for financial debts, and only if these could be proven.

1239 June 20, POPE GREGORY IX

Published his bull Si vera sunt, If it is true which was addressed to the kings and prelates of France and Spain. In it Gregory (1145-1241) ordered the confiscation, inspection, and burning of the Talmud, or any other Jewish book which might be construed as blasphemy. Over the next three centuries this Bull would serve to encourage the repeated burnings of the Talmud, and other Jewish books.


Tried to defend the Talmud during a debate, but was overruled by the Church tribunal.


Believed to be the age of the Messiah. For this reason, many Jews did not prepare a proper defense against the Crusaders and were helpless against their onslaught.

1240 - 1292 ABRAHAM ABULAFIA (Spain- Comino,Malta)

Kabbalist and pseudo Messiah. As a young man he traveled, searching for the legendary Sambati'on River. He wrote numerous books some of them ( Sefer ha-Geulah, Sefer Chayei ha-Nefesh(,) were on Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed . Others, including Or ha-Sekhel( ("Light of the Intellect"), and Chayei ha-Olam ha-Ba( ("Life of the World to Come") concern meditation as a tool to achieve prophetic understanding. He founded what became known as "Prophetic Kabbalah" which was rejected by all mainstream kabbalists. Abulafia analyzed the Hebrew alphabet and the letters in God's name, calling it Chochmat ha zeruf (Science of letter analyzation). He was strongly opposed by Solomon Aderet who believed he was posing as a messianic pretender.

1240 - 1305 MOSES BEN SHEM TOV LEON (Lyon, France)

Publisher and possibly the author of the Zohar, which he attributed to the second century Tanna, Shimon bar Yochai. Written in Aramaic, it flowed with complex symbolism and mythology. It became the major component of the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), expounding four steps of biblical interpretation: literal, aggadic, philosophical and Raza de Mehmanuta - secret mystery of faith.

1240 - 1306 ABBA MARI BEN MOSES YARHI ( Provence France)

Talmudist and philosopher. Abba Mari (aka Don Astruc) is known as one of the leaders of the anti Maimonides group, which feared the effect of Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed and and specifically Aristotelian rationalism. He requested from Solomon Ben Aderet (The Rashba) to ban the study of philosophy and science until at least the age of 25. Abba Mari published his correspondence with Aderet in his work Minchat Kenaot, "Jealous (zealous) offering". Aderet's positive response set off a major schism in Spanish and Southern French Jewry (see 1305).

1240 - 1296 ABRAHAM BEDERSI (France)

Hebrew poet and linguist .Known for his Ḥerev ha-Mitapeket (A Revolving Sword), and Hotam Tokhnit (Who seals the Plan,) the first Biblical dictionary of Biblical Hebrew synonyms in the Bible.

1240 June 25, NICHOLAS DONIN (France)

A renegade Jew under the patronage of Louis IX. He convinced Pope Gregory IX to confiscate the Talmud on the grounds that it was anti-Christian. A debate ensued with Rabbi Yehiel of Paris and three other Rabbis speaking in defense of the Talmud. Rabbi Yehiel wasn't allowed to counterattack or take the offensive in his argument.

1241 LONDON (England)

Approximately 2000 Jews lived in London. Many of the wealthier Jews had synagogues in their homes to get around the difficulty of obtaining a permit to build a synagogue.

1241 May 24, FRANKFURT(-ON-MAIN) (Germany)

A Jewish boy preparing for baptism was persuaded by his parents to repent. As a result, local Christians attacked the Jews who fought back and a number of townspeople were killed. As the attack intensified and seeing no other option, the Jews set fire to their houses. The fire spread to the rest of the community, destroying nearly half the city. One hundred and eighty Jews died, and twenty-four agreed to be baptized. Conrad IV, the emperor's son, granted amnesty to the Christian residents.

1242 June 6, BURNING OF THE TALMUD (Paris, France)

All copies of the Talmud had been confiscated by decree of Pope Gregory IX and King Louis. Declaring that the reason for the stubbornness of the Jews was their study of the Talmud, the Pope called for an investigation of the Talmud that resulted in its condemnation and burning. Twenty-four cartloads of Hebrew manuscripts (ten-twelve thousand volumes) were publicly burned in the Palace de Greve).

1243 BERLITZ (Berlin, Germany)

First accusation of desecration of the Host. The sanctity of the Host (the wafer and wine distributed as part of the ceremony of the Eucharist during Mass) is based on the doctrine of transubstantiation. In this doctrine (officially recognized in 1215), the wafer and wine is viewed by the Church as a substitute for Christ's body and blood. Therefore, an attack on the Host was considered a direct attack on the body of Jesus. This was the first of many times that the Jews were accused of "killing" Christ or torturing him by sticking pins into or burning the Host. In this case, the response to this accusation wiped out the entire Jewish population of Berlitz. Incidents of Host desecration accusations were as recent as 1836 (Romania).

1243 August 6, KITZINGEN, BAVERIA (Germany)

Ritual murder accusation. Fifteen Jews were tortured to death. Their corpses lay in the street for a fortnight before they were allowed to be buried.

1243 December 14, LONDON (England)

King Henry III turned a confiscated synagogue into the chapel of St. Mary. Many other synagogues were also confiscated and turned into churches, including one which became St. Thomas' Hospital.


A medical student must swear never to consult with a Jew or with illiterate women. The implication being that you were allowed to consult with an educated woman but not with a Jew.


b.1244 ISAAC BEN SOLOMON SAHULA (Castile) Poet, scholar and physician. He is the author of Meshal ha-Kadmoni (Proverb of the Ancients), a large collections of stories and fables taken from mostly Jewish resources. He wrote this as an alternative to those who were reading translations of books such as the voyages of Sinbad. It was originally printed in 1491 and richly illustrated with miniatures and woodcuts.


Pope Innocent IV in a letter to the King Louis IX of France ordered the Talmud to be burned. "Our dear Son, the Chancellor of Paris, and the Doctors, before the clergy and people, publicly burned by fire the aforesaid books (The Talmud) with all their appendices. Two months later( May 9) he also issued papal bull Impia judeorum perfidia (The Disrespectful, Deceitful Jews). In it he called the Jews a "perfidious" race reaffirming the restrictions on Jews implemented by Pope Gregory IX. The Talmud was banned and Jews were prohibited from hiring Catholics to for manual labor including employing Christian nurses or servants because their faith might become confused.

1244 June 1, AUSTRIAN DUKE FREDERICK II (The Quarrelsome)

The last Babenburg duke. He issued a charter to the Jews granting them freedom from interference in their synagogues and cemeteries, and protection from the kidnapping of their children. Many later charters were based on it, including those in Poland, Hungary, Bohemia and Moravia. It assured freedom of movement within the ducal territories, and the obligation to pay the same tolls as their Christian neighbors.


Conquer Jerusalem. Originating in Persia, they raised the city leaving less than 2,000 people alive. It would remain a small town for the next 300 years


Prohibited Jewish physicians from practicing on Christian patients. Ironically not long afterwards the brother of King Louis IX, Alphonse count of Poitiers (1220-1271), requested that a certain Abraham famed as an eye doctor, treat him. Abraham at first refused stating that even the kings brother had to follow the rules of the church. He was persuaded otherwise.


King James I (1208-1276) offered the Jews protection and privileges in many areas of his country, mostly in those re-conquered. This led to a flowering of culture and participation within his realm. One of those who held high office was Judah ben Lavi de la Caballeria, who from 1257 to 1276, was in charge of the administration of the property of the king and judicial matters. A little over 210 years later one of his decedents Alfonso de la Caballeria , a new Christian, served as vice-chancellor of Aragon and a strong supporter of Columbus.

1247 - 1318 RASHID AL-DIN FADHALLAH ( Persia)

Physician, statesman, and historian. Most known for his Jami al-Tawarikh ("Compendium of Chronicles") which began as a history of the Mongols, but expanded to a history of the world. Sometime during his life he converted to Islam. He was accused by rivals twice of trying to poison the Khan. The first time he succeed in proving it a lie. The second time he admitted a mistake in admonishing a purgative to the old king, which resulted in a deterioration of his condition. He was mutilated, beheaded, and all of his property confiscated.


Hebrew poet diplomat and financier . He served both Alfonso X (1221-1284) and his son Sancho IV of Castile (1258-1295). He was arrested by Alfonso (see 1281) but eventually regained his position under his son Sancho. He was a prolific writer of poetry with over 1000 poems in his Gan HaMeshalim veHaHidot (The Garden of Parables and Riddles).


After the body of a two year old girl found in Velress (Vaucluse), France, was used as an excuse for plundering the surrounding area (March 27), Pope Innocent IV (who was semi-retired by Emperor Frederick II) issued the Papal Bull Lacrimabilem Judaeorum against blood libels and sent it throughout Germany and France.


Showed his appreciation for Jewish soldiers' part in the conquering of Seville. Although he was just the crown prince, he granted them land for a "village of the Jews". The Jewish quarter was enlarged and three mosques were given to them for use as synagogues. A large number of Jews served him in the treasury (Meir de Maleq), in astronomy (Judah ben Moses Cohen), and medicine (Abraham and Samuel Levi). A famous Astronomical Table (Alphonsine Tables) was named for him by Isaac ibn Sid, the cantor in Toledo. In spite of this, Alfonso also compiled the "seven sets", a legal work reviewing all the anti-Jewish canons against the Jews. A hundred years later this was used as the basis for anti-Jewish legislation.

1248 - 1325 PORTUGAL

In spite of the problems that hampered the awakening in Spain, the Jews in Portugal under Alfonso III and Diniz enjoyed a fair amount of freedom. They were not required to wear a badge or pay forced taxes to the Church. They also held high offices (i.e. Chief Rabbi Judah who also served as the Treasurer). At the end of this period the Church began to resent the position of the Jews and started to complain and pressure subsequent rulers.

1248 May 15, ODO OF CHATEAUBROUX (France)

"Investigated" the Talmud and had it condemned. This was the second time the Talmud was condemned, despite the appeals of the Jewish community of France.


The brother of Louis IX, he ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Poitou, France. Though his decree remained mostly on paper, it does mark the first local expulsion of Jews. Both brothers did their best to force money from their Jewish subjects.


A noted Provencial Talmudist. His most famous work was entitled Bais Habehria, a commentary on three of the sections of the Talmud; Moed, Nashim and Nezikin as well as a few other tractates. An original thinker, he used the Jerusalem Talmud to clarify parts of the Babylonian Talmud, as well as using all available commentaries. He also wrote a commentary on Proverbs and Psalms, and a work on the laws of writing a Sefer Torah called Kiryat Sefer.


Published his Sefer Hamitzvot Hagadol (The Large Book of Precepts), which classified the law according to the six hundred and thirteen commandments, dividing them into two hundred and sixty-five prohibitions and two hundred and forty-eight precepts. The Semaq was admittedly influenced by Maimonides, whom he quotes quite often. His son-in-law, Isaac ben Joseph of Borbeil, continued his work.

C. 1250 - 1330 YOM TOV BEN ABRAHAM ISBILI (Ritva)

Talmudist and leader of the Spanish community. His Novellae on the Talmud, Chidushei Ha-Ritva, are still being reprinted and used by Talmud students today.


The earliest use of what became know as Old Yiddish in South East Germany. Yiddish is based on German but also Hebrew and even Slavic words (depending on the region). The script is written in Hebrew with German prefixes and suffixes. Yiddish was used for almost 1000 years as the main Jewish language of communication, especially within Eastern Europe. Prior to the Holocaust an estimated 11 million people spoke Yiddish.

1250 - 1329 (9 Cheshvan 5090) ASHER BEN JEHIEL "The ROSH" (Toledo, Spain)

Rabbinical leader and Talmudic scholar and student to Meir of Rothenberg. He was forced to flee Germany and settled in Toledo Spain in 1305 where he was attained prominence. Rabbenu Asher fought against secular education and the over-philosophizing of his day. His school attracted students from Europe and Russia. Rabbenu Asher was considered strict in his interpretation of Jewish law. His works included Piskei Ha Rosh (Decisions of the Rosh") , a commentary of the Mishna Zerayim and Tehorot, and his ethical Orchot Chayyim (" Way of Life"). He encouraged his pupil, Isaac ben Joseph, to write Yesod Olam (Foundation of the World), a scientific work on astronomy and the calendar.


Ruled Egypt, Syria and parts of North Africa. The Mamluks were former slaves who had been bought by the sultans to serve in their armies. After their revolt, they set up a military feudal aristocracy, bringing a fanatical Moslem rule to areas under their control - and antipathy to Christians and Jews.

C. 1250 - 1298 MORDECAI BEN HILLEL ( Germany)

Rabbi, Scholar and halachic authority. He is chiefly know for his Sefer Mordechai usually known as The Mordechai ,which analyzes and quotes from 350 different sources many of them only found in his work. This legal commentary is one of few quoted sources of the Code of Joseph Caro. He and his family were murdered in Nuremberg during the Rindfleish massacres.

1250 April 15, POPE INNOCENT IV

Issued a papal bull denying Jews in Cordova permission to build a synagogue. It also forbade them from living in the same house as Christians, from eating or drinking with Christians, or generally associating with Christians in any way.


Like most countries at the time, it protected the Jews as belonging to the king but allowed them to be singled out for harassment. This led to the initiative of the Church Council of Buda (1279) which required Jews to wear a badge and prohibited them from leasing land. King Bela IV was against the order and for the most part ignored it.

1252 ALFONSO X ( Castile Spain)

Began his rule which lasted until 1284. In general he was tolerant of both Islam and Judaism. In his famous Siete Partida ( Seven Divisions) he laid down the code of laws which would govern his rule. He used Moslem and Jewish scholars to translate books into Latin and Castilian. Alfonso established the post of El Rab or chief Rabbi, which was a political position. Often those who held it were known as what Solomon ben (Ibn) Aderet (1235) called "Illiterate crown Rabbis" especially in Castile. In these cases two learned men were ordered by the king to advise them whenever called.(Also see Alphonsine Tables 1272)rn

1253 January 31, HENRY III (England)

Ordered Jewish worship in Synagogues be held quietly so that Christians should not have to hear it when passing by. In addition, he forbade Jews from employing Christian nurses or maids, and prevented other Jews from converting to Christianity.


Louis IX expelled the Jews from France. This signaled the end of the Tosafists period. Most left for Germany and then further east.

1254 October 6, JAMES I OF ARAGON

In the aftermath of both the burning of the Talmud, and their expulsion from France that year, James confiscated all outstanding Jewish debts " for the salvation of our soul".

1255 HENRY III (England)

Seeing himself as the "master of the Jews", Henry transferred his rights to the Jews for one year to his brother, Richard, in exchange for five thousand marks.

C. 1255 - 1340 BAHYA BEN ASHER (aka RABBEINU BEHAYE) ( Spain)

Rabbi , scholar and biblical commentator. Famed for his Be'ur al ha-Torah, He was the first to build his commentary on the four methods of interpretation ( PaRDeS), " Peshat, plain text Remez, hints deeper allegoric meaning Drash, Haggadic and Midrashic meanings, and Sod, mystical Kabbalistic interpretation of the text.He also wrote Kad ha-Kemah "Flour Jar ". It consists of sixty chapters in religion and morality.

1255 August 29, LITTLE SAINT HUGH OF LINCOLN (England)

An infamous ritual murder libel. It was alleged that Jews enticed the boy and while starving him, invited Jews to Lincoln to murder him ritually. (Jews did come to Lincoln at that time to attend a wedding.) His body was cast into a well and a month later "miracles" followed the discovery of his corpse. On the basis of the alleged "confession" by Jopin (Jacob), the secular authorities (for the first time) and the Church sent 91 Jews to the Tower of London. 18 were executed before Richard and the friars stopped the killings. This incident later provided Chaucer with the idea for his Prioress Tale (1387) and the hero of the popular ballad, "Little Sir Hugh". His birthday (August 27) was celebrated until the Reformation.

1257 BADGE OF SHAME (Italy)

Although first proscribed in the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, the badge of shame was imposed locally and infrequently in Italy until the Bull of Pope Alexander IV enforced it on all papal states. Over the years different variations were initiated both in color and in the actual apparel.


Was appointed bailiff of Saragossa by James I. His job included collecting taxes and managing state officials. Judah helped the king raise funds for his war against the Moslems, and was eventually appointed bailiff of the province of Valencia. Less than 200 years later partly as a result of the Tortosa disputation (1414) many members of the family were baptized but retained their name. This created a great conflict within the family. By the time of the expulsion there were almost no members who remained Jewish.

1258 Thomas de Cantimpre' (France)

In his popular book Bonum universal de Apibus, he explained that Jewish men are inflicted with a secret malady…. They believe that relief can only be obtained through Christian blood. Therefore, they instituted a custom of annually shedding Christian blood….

1258 February 10, - 1335 Il-khan (Mongol) Dynasty PERSIA

With the fall of Baghdad to the grandson of Genghis Khan, the Mongol dynasty replaced the Abbasids in Persia. The Mongols were for the most part tolerant of Judaism. An Arab writer reported that there were 36,000 Jews and 16 Synagogues in the city on the eve of the Mongolian invasion. Most of the city was destroyed during the siege. It is during this period that Judeo-Persian literature flourished, specifically the poetry of Shahin whose most famous work was Sefer Sharh Shain al Hatorah.


Wrote a major Arabic treatise on pharmacology, Practice of the Shop and List of the Important or Management of the Drug Store, which is still used as a reference text in some countries today.

1260 MAMLUKS (Syria)

Defeated the Mongols at the battle of Ain Jalut and brought Syria under Mamluk rule. Old anti-Jewish regulations were again enforced, including those forcing women to wear one red shoe and one black one. The positions of both Jews and Christians began to suffer, eventually leading to the severe weakening of the Jewish community.

1260 SULTAN AL-MALIK AL-THAHIR (AKA Baibars), (Egypt)

One of the Mameluke commanders became sultan of Egypt. He banned Jews and Christians from ascending above the 7th step on the cave of the patriarchs in Hebron - a ban which lasted 700 years. Baibars (1223- 1277), doubled the tribute paid by all non Muslims. He evidently decided to burn all the Jews of Egypt in a ditch but accepted a heavy payment in its stead.

C. 1260 - 1347 ABNER OF BURGOS (Spain)

Aka Alfonso de Valladolid, he converted to Christianity in about 1320 a process which began after the false messiah claims of 1295. He is considered the "Ideologue of Apostasy". Abner's anti-Jewish polemics, written mostly in Hebrew, were to exert great influence over many generations. Among his books and pamphlets, the most famous was Moreh Tsedek; "Mostrador de justicia" (Teacher of righteousness') which was used extensively by Alonso de Spina and Pablo de Santa Maria ( 1391). He consistently attacked the Jewish religion and its people (1336) and urged the king to cancel all previous charters and agreements with the Jews.

1261 DUKE HENRY II (Netherlands)

Ordered in his will that all Jews be expelled from the province of Brabant. His widow requested and received an affirmation from Thomas Aquinas stating that it was permitted to benefit from the Jews, and the edict was cancelled.

C. 1261 - 1330 IMMANUEL (ben Solomon) OF ROME

Poet. His main work Machbarot was influenced by both Arabic and Italian poetry. In addition he also wrote a commentary on the bible. One of Immanuel's poems, Yigdal, is used today in daily prayers. It is based on Maimonides thirteen principals of faith.

1261 MAGDEBURG (Germany)

Archbishop Robert seized all Jewish property in Magdeburg, and held influential Jews for ransom by foreign relatives. (This was an inspiration for Eichmann, who offered Jews for trucks.)

1261 VALENCIA ( Spain)

James I permitted Jews to purchase real estate from anyone, including the nobility and clergy. In general Jews were encouraged to settle in newly conquered areas and were often given tax benefits for a year or two.

1263 CIVIL WAR (England)

Between Henry III and Simon de Montfort, leader of the Baronial Party. London Jewry was pillaged. So were the Jews of other towns.

1263 LONDON (England)

A synagogue which was reputed to be one of the most beautiful buildings in London was damaged by anti-Jewish riots and then given to the Brothers of St. Anthony of Vienna. It became St. Anthony's hospital.


Instigated by Raymond of Penaforte. Christiani, a converted Jew, compelled King James of Aragon to force a debate between him and Moses ben Nachman (Nachmanides). The Jews, afraid that no matter the outcome they would lose, pleaded with Nachmanides to withdraw, but the King ordered him to continue. Although Pope Clement IV insisted on the outcome, the King was so impressed that he rewarded Nachmanides with a present of 300 maravedis. Pablo was given permission to continue these debates throughout Aragon with the Jews having to pay his expenses.

1263 August 29, ANTI JEWISH DECREES (Spain)

Jews were ordered to erase any anti Christian texts from all books within three months. Jews were also required to meet in their synagogues and hear conversion sermons from Dominican friars. Yet just five days earlier, King James had granted permission for the founding of a new synagogue in the home of a local noble.


Granted a model charter protecting the Jews. Coming soon after the expulsion of the Jews from France and their persecution in Germany, it encouraged immigration to Poland.

1264 September 8, "STATUE OF KALISZ" (Statut kaliski) (Poland)

Was issued by Prince Boleslav V The Pious (1221-1279). Boleslav had extended his rule over all of Poland in 1257. The statue served as the basis for the legal position of Jews in Poland and subsequent charters established their position as belonging to the prince's treasury and under his protection. The statue being issued soon after the expulsion of Jews from France and persecution in Germany, encouraged immigration to Poland.

1264 December 2, SINSIG (Germany)

A convert to Judaism was arrested for preaching Judaism. Although tortured, he refused to recant his belief in Judaism and was burned at the stake.

1265 NACHMANIDES (Spain)

Was convicted for publishing his side of the debate with Pablo Christiani. Although Nachmanides was not severely punished by the King, he decided to leave Spain for good and settled in Eretz Israel.

1265 CHARLES OF ANJOU (southern Italy)

Brother of Louis IX was given the rule over southern Italy by Pope Clement IV as a reward for expelling Manfred son of Frederick II from Sicily. Thus in debt to the pope, Charles began wholesale persecution of the Jews through forced conversions, economic restraints, and physical attacks. At the same time, he hired Jews to serve as translators for scientific texts from Arabic to Latin including Moses of Palermo and Faraj (Moses) Da Agrigento (Girgenti) who was also his personal physician.


The Polish Church adopted the previous anti-Semitic regulations of the Church, including a prohibition against Christians and Jews living in the same house, or even sharing a meal together.

1266 - 1267 SYNOD OF VIENNA (Austria)

Christians were prohibited from attending Jewish ceremonies.


A Spanish priest and member of the inquisition accused a non Jewish financial broker from Gerona of practicing Judaism. Although the charges were dismissed it marked the first time the inquisition prosecuted a so-called " Judaizing Christian".


Jews were forbidden from becoming tax or toll farmers. According to customary practice, anyone could have bought these rights in a specific area for an agreed upon sum to be paid to the king. Despite this ruling, Jews often found this to be one of the few economic possibilities opened to them. This in turn caused resentment from both the local population and Christian tax farmers who saw them as competition. In general, its goal was to cut off contact as much as possible between Christians and Jews both socially and physically (ghetto).

1267 - 1327 JAMES II OF ARAGON

Did more to convince Jews to convert than any other previous Spanish king. This being said, he had excellent personal relationships with many Jews. He also forbade forced conversions, protected them from anti Jewish disturbances, and the jurisdiction of the inquisition. His policies regarding the Jews more or less remained in place until 1348 and the onset of the black plague and the riots.

1267 May 12, VIENNA (Austria)

At a special session of the city council it was decided to force all Jews to wear a cone shaped headdress in addition to a badge. This was called the Pileum Cornutum and it became a distinctive attire which is prevalent in many medieval woodcuts illustrating Jews.

1267 June 26, Pope Clement IV

Issued the papal bull Turbato corde., which equated conversion or relapsing (of Jewish converts) to Judaism with heresy. According to Clement, Dominican and Franciscan Inquisitors should include in their investigations, baptized Jews, and those who help them return to Judaism, as well as Christians who express interest in Judaism, and Jews who encourage such conversions.

1267 July 14, POPE CLEMENT IV

Ordered the archbishop of Tarragona Benito de Rocabert to gather all Jewish books for examination by the Dominicans and Franciscans. He strongly urged that they take Pablo Christiani (see 1194) to coordinate their efforts.

1267 July 15, (20 Tamuz 5027) RITUAL MURDER ACCUSATION (Pforzheim, Baden, Germany)

A seven-year-old girl was found dead in the river. A local woman admitted to selling the child for ritual purposes to the Jews. During the riots R. Samuel ben Yakar ha-Levi, R. Isaac ben Eliezer, and R. Abraham ben Gershom committed suicide to escape the throng. The Jews did not return for over 200 years.

1267 August 15, (9 Elul 5027) NACHMANIDES ARRIVED IN JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Upon his arrival, seven years after the Tatar invasion, Nachmanides found "only two brothers, dyers who bought their dye from the governor and were joined by up to ten Jews in their home on Sabbaths for prayers." He reorganized the Jewish community and founded a yeshiva and synagogue.

1269 - 1465 MERINDES DYNASTY (Morocco)

Began when Abu Yusuf the Merinid conquered southern Morocco. The Merindes were a Berber dynasty which replaced the Almohads. In general, the Jews were well treated and enjoyed freedom and affluence during their rule.

1269 June 19, LOUIS IX (Saint Louis) (France)

Needing no urging from the Church, he ordered all Jews found in public without a badge (yellow or red) to be fined ten livres of silver. The badge in France was usually a circle of red or yellow material and was known as a rouelle. The original badge was actually Moslem in origin; it was Caliph Omar II (717-20) who decreed that both Jews and Christians must wear a distinguishing mark. The "badge" took on different shapes, colors and even dress (i.e. a hat or color of a dress) depending on the country.

1270 PRAGUE (Bohemia)

The Altneuschul (the "Old-New Synagogue"), the oldest existing synagogue in Europe, was built in the new Jewish quarter.

1270 - 1320 IMMANUEL OF ROME (Manuel da Gubbio)

Jewish Italian poet who was a contemporary of Dante and his "Young Italy" circle. He introduced Hebrew secular poetry into Italian intellectual circles. His poems were published as "Compositions of Immanuel" (Machberet Immanuel).

1270 - 1343 (12 Tamuz 5103) JACOB BEN ASHER (Germany)

The Baal Haturim. The third son of the "Rosh" (Asher ben Jehiel), he achieved fame as a codifier of Jewish law. His code is constructed in four sections: 1) Orah Hayim - dealing with worship, 2) Yorah Deah - on ritual law, 3) Eben ha-Ezer - laws relating to marriage and divorce, 4) Hoshen Mishpat - on civil law. Unlike Maimonides, he only compiled current laws and his works served as a foundation for Joseph Caro and others. His son, Solomon, died during the Black Plague.

C. 1270 RAYMOND MARTIN ( Spain)

Aka Raymundus Maritini (1220 1285) published his anti Jewish polemic Pugio Fidei (Dagger of the Faith). trying to prove that Judaism was based on deceit especially in regards to the Talmud. It was used extensively in the Tortosa dispute. In it he writes "It is well, that the Christians take in hand the sword of their enemies, the Jews, to strike them with it? He also wrote another anti Jewish work Capistrum Judaeorum (Muzzle of the Jews). He is considered one of the churches greatest Hebraists of the middle ages.


Invented a quadrant table of 11 fixed stars These were used in the construction of the instrument known as “Quadrans Judaicus,” later called the Quadrans Novus (new quadrant). A quadrant is a simple tool that allows the user to determine the latitude by measuring the altitude of certain stars.


Countess Margaret of Flanders had written to Aquinas requesting to understand the Catholic view of the Jewish people . In his response he wrote: Jews by reason of their fault are sentenced to perpetual servitude for killing Jesus. Jews of each sex in all Christian provinces, and all the time, should be distinguished from other people by some clothing. He also advised that the Jew should be punished with a greater fine than anyone else in a similar case. Aquinas is known as the Doctor Angelicus (the Angelic Doctor) of the Catholic Church.


Considered Jews to be a monetary asset, taxing them and confiscating their property without any concern for the depletion and impoverishment of the community. A "good crusading prince", he was also an imperialist and a builder. He was determined to rid his kingdom of anti-Christian practices such as usury.


Sponsored by Alphonse X (1229-1284). They were compiled over a period of nine years by a team led by Isaac ibn Sid, who was also the cantor of the synagogue in Toledo and included Yehuda ben Moshe, who was the Rabbi of the same synagogue, and also the kings personal physician. They were used until 1627, when Kepler published his Rudolphine Tables. . ( see 1252)

1272 October 7, POPE GREGORY X (590-604)

Condemned the ritual murder libels. In addition, since Jews could not bear witness against Christians, he refused to accept testimony by a Christian against a Jew unless it was confirmed by another Jew.

1273 JATIVA ARAGON (Spain)

The first known paper mill in Europe was built and run by Jews.


Torn between his need for funds and pressure from the Church, he adopted a policy of accepting gifts for favors. Rudolph reconfirmed the Old Jewish Charters in Austria and Rutushion and forbade forcible baptism. However, he banned the public appearance of Jews during Holy Week and did little to stop attacks on Jews in Bavaria, Franconia and the Rhineland (1283-87).


The names of 24 women surgeons and 15 women practitioners (not midwives), are known most of them Jewish.


King Edward banned usury and tried to encourage Jews in agriculture, crafts and local trades. He failed, partly because of local prejudice and opposition. Jews were forbidden to lend money at interest and the order was renewed that all Jews over the age of seven had to wear a badge shaped like the twelve tablets of law. This was similar to the edict of Louis IX (1254). The Jews, mostly financially drained and impoverished, were replaced by the Lombards of Italy as the bankers of the King - and were thus no longer considered an asset.

1275 FEZ (Morocco)

The local population attacked the Jewish community. Abu Yusuf Yaqub (12691286) the Merinide/Marinid sultan quickly put down the riot. The Marinid's were a Sunni dynasty which overthrew the Almohads in 1244 and ruled for about 200 years.


Published his Sefer Hamitzvot Hakatan, an abridgement of his father-in-law's work. He was known as the Semak. His father-in-law, R. Jehiel bar Yosef de Paris (Baal Hachotam) feared that the Torah was being forgotten by the masses so he set out all the Halachic and customs applicable in his day in clear and concise language for easy use.


Was murdered along with her servant. Licoricia was a twice widowed money lender, and one of the richest Jews in England. Approximately 10 percent of the Jewish money lenders were women. After her second husband David of Oxford died, his house and its contents were seized by the crown and turned into the Royal Domus Conversum: a house for converts. The murderer was never caught. Henry III confiscated 3000 (over 2 million in today's value) from her estate and used it to rebuild Westminster abbey.

1278 August 4, POPE NICHOLAS III

Issued the papal bull Vineam Soreth , forcing Jews to attend conversion sermons. The earliest record of forced sermons stems from Agobard of Lyon's (see 820) Epistola de baptizandis Hebraeis, where he ordered the local priests to preach in the Synagogues. This will remain in effect for the next 600 years (see 1870).

1278 November 17, EDWARD I (England)

Arrested all the Jews for alleged coin clipping and counterfeiting. 680 were arrested, jailed and put on trial. The judges were given prior instructions clearly biased against the Jews. Although many Christians were accused, many more (ten times as many) Jews were hung than Christians (269 Jews and 29 Christians). Edward received 16,500 pounds from the property of the executed Jews and the fines of those charged. At that time Jews comprised 1% of the English population. 16,500 pounds was almost 10% of the exchequer's national income.

1279 SYNOD OF OFEN (Hungary)

Held during the reign of King Ladislaus IV (1272-90), it decreed that every Jew must wear a red cloth on his left side. In addition, any Christian living in a house together with a Jew would be prohibited from participating in Church services.

1279 April 19, PEDRO III (Aragon)

Following the pronouncement of Nicholas III's bull of 1278, he ordered all Jews to attend conversion sermons in the synagogues. This soon led to excess on the part of local mobs led by church officials. In order to keep order he banned anti - Jewish demonstrations. Pedro (1239-1285 ) on one hand appointed Jews to his administration, yet on the other slowly gave in to the rising tide of religious fanaticism within the church. By 1283 there were new incidents of anti-Jewish legislation throughout the kingdom. With his death, the position of Jews in service to the king was more or less, a thing of the past.

1280 - C. 1355 ESTORI (Isaac ben Moses) HA-PARHI (Spain-Eretz Israel)

Physician and topographer. Ha-parhi settled in Eretz Israel around 1314 and moved to Beth Shean where he wrote Sefer Kaftor va-ferach. In it he described the topography of Eretz Israel, its borders and the names of various towns. He was the first to identify the towns of Beitar and Modiin.

1280 January 2, LONDON (England)

Jews were forced to hear Dominican conversion sermons. Jewish blasphemy of the Church was deemed a capital offense. Abraham the son of Deulecresse of Norwich was drawn and burned for "Blasphemy and other trespasses" including alleged coinage violation. The punishment for coinage clipping alone was hanging.

1280 August 26, KING JAMES I OF ARAGON

Under the influence of the Dominican Friar Raymond Martini, he ordered all disparaging statements regarding Jesus and Mary erased from the Talmud. In addition, the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides was condemned to be burned due to references to Jesus in the chapter on the laws of kingship.


Alfonso X arrested the leaders of the Jewish community and demanded a exorbitant ransom paid per day. One of his Jewish tax collectors Zag De la Maleha (Isaac ibn Zadok) had raised money for the army but didnt prevent Sancho, Alfonso's son, from appropriating the money to pay queen Violante's depts. When Alfonso lost the battle, he had De la Maleha killed and others including Todros Abulafia arrested, until the ransom was paid. During the last years of Alfonzo's reign and under the influence of the church, his treatment of the Jews underwent change for the worse.

1282 LONDON (England)

All synagogues were closed by order of the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Pectin. Jewish physicians were prohibited from treating Christians.

1283 - 1287 ANTI-JEWISH RIOTS (Franconia, the Rhine and Bavaria)

These riots convinced many of the wealthier Jewish families in those areas to consider emigrating to Eretz Israel.

1283 - C. 1330 SHEM TOV BEN ABRAHAM IBN GAON (Spain -Eretz Israel)

Scholar, and Kabbalist. Author of Migdal 'Oz, a commentary on Maimonides' and Keter Shem-Tov on the Pentateuch, he immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1312.

1283 April 19, MAINZ (Seventh day of Passover)(Germany)

Ritual murder accusation (blood libel). Thirty six Jews were slain, known as the Harugei Magenza , the murdered of Mainz.

1285 April 4, - 1314 REIGN OF PHILIP IV PHILIP THE FAIR (France)

(The Fair - referring to color, not to temperament). The grandson of Saint Louis. His policy regarding the Jews was to use them solely for his financial benefit.

1285 October 12, MUNICH (Germany)

A blood libel resulted in the death of 68 Jewish inhabitants. The one hundred and eighty survivors were burned alive in the synagogue.

1286 - 1328 KALONYMOS BEN KALONYMOS (Provence)

A prolific writer and translator, best known for his poetry. He was especially noted for his translations of Arabic scientific works into Hebrew.

1287 April 19, WERNER OF OBERWESEL (Germany)

A 16 year old boy was found dead on the shore of the Rhine.Immediately a ritual murder accusation placed the blame on the Jews. Over the next few months forty men, women and children - were killed by riots as they spread down the Rhineland. Werner himself (despite the order of King Rudolf I to burn the corpse) was buried in a chapel in Oberwesel where he was venerated as a saint. Nearby Bacharach, where his body was found, also erected a chapel. Although Pope John XXIII ordered the holy day deleted from diocese of Trier in 1963 it still appears in some German Saint Directories. The Saint Werners Chapel was renovated in 2001.rn

1287 May 4, ENGLAND

Jews were arrested and again accused of "clipping" the coinage. Although there was no evidence, the community as a whole was convicted and ordered to be expelled. A ransom of 4,000 (others say 12,000) pounds of silver was paid.

1288 - 1344 (6 Iyar 5104) LEVI BEN GERSHON RALBAG

Rabbi, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and biblical/talmudic commentator. In his Milchamot Hashem (Wars of the Lord) he elaborated on his own conception of Maimonides' philosophy. He tried to explain miracles through laws of nature. As an astronomer, he influenced Copernicus and is reputed to be the inventor of the "Jacob's Staff", a quadrant used for centuries by navigators. He also wrote a commentary on the Bible and reportedly invented the "camera obscura", which threw images on a screen and was the forerunner of the modern camera.

1288 PAULA DEI MANSI (Italy)

Female scribe. She translated a collection of Biblical commentaries adding explanations of her own. Dei Mansi was from a family of well known scribes and copyists. She also copied a prayer book adding her own clarifications. Among her other works are a extensive book on Halachah which she copied for a learned relative.

1288 April 24, TROYES (France)

A Christian body was placed in the house of the richest Jew of the city. The resulting tribunal condemned fourteen of the city's wealthiest men and women to be burned at the stake.

1288 June 8, BONN (Germany)

Riots, after a ritual murder accusation, left 104 Jews dead.

1288 September 5, TURBATO CORDE

Pope Nicolas IV issued his Bull Troubled Ropes, demanding that all Christians who turn to the damnable Jewish rite be treated as heretics. Although this specific bull did not identify itself as specifically referring to lapsed Christians, it was understood as such. Later versions would specify converts who had gone from the error of Jewish blindness to the light of the Christian faith.

1289 GASCONY (France)

Jews were expelled from France and their property was confiscated. (Edward I of France had incurred large debts and he needed money quickly.)

1290 PARIS (France)

A Jew by the name of Jonathan and his wife, living in the Rue de Billetts, were accused of stabbing the wafer (Host). Blood was said to have flowed unceasingly from the wafer. They were both burned to death at the stake, their house was razed and a chapel was erected on the site. The "Miracle of the Rue de Billetts" is still celebrated in Paris.

C. 1290 BARTOLOMEO DE CAPUA (Apulia, Italy)

Was a Dominican friar who accused the Jews of killing a Christian child in a derision of the death of Jesus. The king ordered them to either accept baptism or flee. Most of the local synagogues in Trani, Bari, Naples, Apulia, and other cities were converted to churches. Thousands of Jews throughout southern Italy either fled or converted as a consequence, ending 1,000 years of active Jewish life.

1290 July 18, EDWARD I (England)

Pressured by his barons, the Church and possibly his mother, he announced the expulsion of all the Jews. By November 1 approximately 4,000 had fled, mostly to France. The Jews had to pay their own passage. They were allowed to take movables (i.e. clothing). A number of Jews were robbed and cast overboard during the voyage by the ship captains. The Jews did not return to England until 1659. This was the first national expulsion of the Jews. (England was one of the only centralized and national monarchies of that time.)

1291 March, SAAD AD-DAULA ( Mongol Empire-Persia)

Physician to the Mongolian khan Argun (1284-91. Appointed viser and minister of finance in 1288, he soon uncovered corruption which he duly reported. This earned him the enmity of many Muslims and some of the Mongol generals. In March 1291 while the sultan was gravely ill, they used the opportunity to confiscate all of his property, execute him together with many of his family, selling women and children as slaves. Moslems also attacked local Jewish populations.

1291 May 18, ACRE (Eretz Israel)

After a two month siege, the fortress fell to the Mamluk (see 1250) Egyptians under Al-Ashraf Khalil(1262-1293). Any inhabitants Christian or Jews who did not succeed in fleeing were killed. To all intents and purposes the Crusades were at an end. The various crusading armies never succeeded in uniting as a cohesive force. They were defeated as much by infighting and separate treaties as by the Fatimid armies.

1295 April 25, FERDINAND IV

Ascended the throne of Castile and Leon. Unlike his mother Dona Maria before him, he refused to ban Jewish courtiers. Ferdinand (1285-1312) opposed the church in anything which he perceived to be not in his best interest. "The Jews and all their possessions are mine ( not the Churches) ".

1295 July 21, NISSIM BEN AVRAHAM (Castile, Spain)

Known as the prophet of Alvila,ׂ had predicted that the messiah would come on this date. Rabbi Solomon ben Aderet (see 1235) warned people against him but to little avail. Jews fasted and gathered in synagogues, and when nothing happened many converted. Unfortunately the troubles mounting in the Iberian peninsula would encourage other false messiahs looking for a both an explanation and a solution.

1296 June 19, BOPPARD AND OBERWESEL (Germany)

A blood libel instigated by Rindfleish, a German knight, resulted in the murder of 40 Jews. Heine's Der Rabbi von Bacherach was based on this massacre. Over the next few years the slaughter of thousands of victims, if not tens of thousands, in 146 communities in southern and central Germany and Austria were attributed to Rindfleish and his mobs. Emperor Albert I was too busy with internal threats to defend the Jews. A few years later he did make a half-hearted attempt at restoring peace, which was mostly ignored.

1298 April 20, ROTTINGEN (Germany)

Rindfleish accused the local Jews of profaning the host. He then incited the Burgher and local populace to join in the killing. Twenty-one Jews were murdered.

1300 - 1350 SANTOB DE CARRION (Spain)

Famous troubadour and poet to Don Pedro and his predecessor, Alfonso X.


Was estimated at 1.5 million, with 93% Sephardic.

1300 May 19, CERVERA BIBLE

Was completed. Written on parchment by Samuel Ben Abraham ibn Nathan, it consists of 451 folios in two columns It was illustrated by Joseph Hazarfati. This is one of the most beautiful illuminated bibles still in existence.

1301 EGYPT

Riots broke out, encouraged by the Mamluk rulers. Many Jews and Christians - including all the Jews of Bilbeis - were forcibly converted to Islam.


For anyone under the age of 30 was read out in synagogues on Shabbat ( 4 of Av) throughout southern France and Spain. The decree, which did not include medicine, originated with Abba Mari Ben Moses. It was written by Solomon ben Aderet and signed by thirty three rabbis. He was vociferously opposed by Jacob Machir and Don Profiat Tibbon, (see 1235) who pronounced a counter ban. The expulsion of all French Jews by Philip IV " the Fair" in 1306, for the most part ended the controversy.


Scholar and Halachist ,was exiled by Philip IV. His celebrated Orhot Hayyim ( Ways of Life) is a compilation of Talmudic laws and discussions. His work though unique, was overtaken in popularity by Jacob ben Asher's Arba'h Turim (see 1270)

1306 January 21, FRANCE

Phillip the Fair, needing funds after his war with the Flemish, issued secret orders to ready for the expulsion of the Jews and the confiscation of their property. Any Jews found after a given date were to be executed.

1306 July 22, PHILIP THE FAIR (France)

Expelled the ( approximately 100,000) Jews from his lands after arresting all of them (on the day after the 9th of Av) and confiscating their property. Phillip began planning the expulsion six months in advance. All their property and belongings were auctioned with the king receiving the takings. Their debts were also transferred to the King and he received the payments from their Christian debtors. Gradually, they were allowed to drift back. In 1315 his son Louis cancelled the decree but they were expelled again in 1322.

1307 (4 Adar 5067) RABBI MEIR OF ROTHENBERG (Germany)

Was allowed to be buried. He had died in prison more then 10 years earlier, and was finally allowed to be buried after being ransomed by Alexander b. Salomo Wimpfen for a large sum of money. He was buried in Worms. (See 1215)

1310 - C. 1375 NISSIM BEN REUBEN GERONDI (Rabbenu Nissim - the Ran) (Spain)

Talmudist, scholar and physician. He was recognized as one of the most authoritative halachic interpreters of his generation. His halachic commentary on Alfasi is considered a standard text. His commentary on Tractate Nedarim is printed together with the Talmud and is used instead of Rashi which is not extant for that section of the Talmud. The exact date of his death is unknown. It is presumed he died while being held captive in prison.

1311 October 16, - 1312 COUNCIL OF VIENNE ( France)

Was summoned by Pope Clement V. Although it mostly dealt with the suppression of the Knights Templar, it also resolved to establish chairs of Hebrew and Arabic at universities in Paris, Oxford, Bologna etc, in order to better dispute Judaism and to train missionaries. The chairs in Arabic were in reality never established.

1313 January, - 1380 COUNCIL OF ZAMORA (Spain)

The Council, under the patronage of the Queen Mother Maria, had as its goal to end all social interaction between Jews and Christians. The edicts included; the wearing of the "Badge of Shame", exclusion from all state occasions, and a ban on the employment of Jewish physicians. Jews were also forbidden to use Christian names. However, the council rejected the request of Pope Clement V to cancel all debts to Jews.

1315 LOUIS X (France)

Philip's Iv’s son and successor. He allowed the Jews back into France largely for financial considerations. (Jews were often expelled because of pressure from the Church, economic or political considerations, only to be readmitted at a later date.) The Jews were promised one year's notice should permission to return be rescinded. He also returned their synagogues and cemeteries.

1315 November 28, TALMUD BURNED (Toulouse)

Despite the general improvement of the atmosphere under Louis X, two wagon loads of Jewish books including the Talmud were burnt under the orders of Bernard Gui the French Dominican inquisitor.

1317 August 12, BULL EX PARTE VESTRA

Was issued by Pope John XXII. The bull concerned those who were suspected of heresy, and Jews who had "relapsed". It ordered the inquisitors to " Pluck out by the roots …such a noxious and pestiferous weed." The bull was confirmed by Pope Benedict XIV as late as February 20 1751 in his Elapso Proxime Anno".


Despite his reluctance to appoint any Jews to the court he had many strong personal relationships . During his reign (1336-1387) although their financial position (and help to the crown) was greatly reduced the Jews were allowed a great amount of autonomy. He tried to protect the Jews against the worst of the inquisition and anti- Jewish ferment.

C. 1320 LUCERNE (Switzerland)

A town proclamation demanded a fine for anyone perpetrating a blood libel against the Jews without notifying the council in advance.


Founded Vilna and made it his capital. He then brought a number Jews to live there. Although a real Jewish presence would not find its way to Lithuania until the end of the century (1389) and the rule of Grand Duke Witold.

1320 July 7, PASTOUREAUX (Southern France)

A crusade against the Jews was started by a shepherd. It spread throughout most of southern France and northern Spain. One hundred and twenty communities were destroyed. At Verdun, 500 Jews defended themselves from within a stone tower where they killed themselves when they were about to be overrun.

1320 July 22, KING JAMES II (Aragon)

In reaction to the excesses in southern France, he proscribed support for the survivors, including an exemption on taxes. At the same time, he refused to allow forcibly baptized children to be returned to their parents.

1320 September 6, POPE JOHN XII

Ordered the burning of the Talmud and the expulsion of Jews from the Papal States. A large bribe managed to avert the expulsion order although two years later the Talmud was burned in Rome during the festival of Shavuot (Pentecost). During the riots which ensued, the father-in-law of Immanuel of Rome was killed and local expulsions did take place ( Milan).

1321 CASTILE (Spain)

Henry II forced the Jews to wear the yellow badge.

1321 August 21, FRANCE

Jews were accused of encouraging lepers to poison Christian wells. This directly led to wide-spread and similar accusations during the Black Plague. This time, five thousand Jews were killed. At Chinon, 160 Jews were burned in a pit on an island outside of town. The king, Philip the Tall, in due course admitted that the Jews were innocent. The island is still known as Ile de Juifs.


Expelled all the Jews from France without the promised one year's warning.

1322 June 24, CHARLES IV " The Fair" OF FRANCE

The son of Phillip IV, expelled all the Jews from France without the promised one year's warning.


The Jews were accused the Egyptian sultan Al-Nasir Muhammad (1285- 1341) of starting a fire. They were given the choice of death or a payment of a fine of 50,000 gold pieces. They paid the fine.

1326 - 1408 ISAAC BEN SHESHET PERFET (the Rivash) (Spain)

Rabbi, Halachic Authority and communal leader. Though he actually studied under the Ran, he is considered a pupil of ben Aderet whose teachings he followed. He wrote commentaries on the Talmud, Bible and Halachah, with many of his 518 responsa published as She'elot u-Teshuvot ha-Ribash. He was arrested and held along with his brother Judah, R.Nissim Gerondi and R. Hasdai Crescas and others on false charges of host desecration but eventual cleared. Perfet then served as rabbi of Sarargossa. He is also remembered for his uncompromising defense of Jewish tradition, even attacking those of the ruling class which often led him into conflict.

1326 ETZ HA-HAYYIM SYNAGOGUE (Basra, Ottoman Empire)

Was established with permission of Sultan Orhan Gazi (1281-1360) after his conquest of Bursa in northwestern Anatolia. The synagogue was active until 1941 when it was destroyed in a fire.rn


At the city councils request, the Jews were expelled.


Andrew of Perugia, a Franciscan friar and local Bishop, commented in frustration that the Jews of Quanzhou refused to be converted. The Jewish presence there dated back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). In the Middle Ages, Quanzhou port was of major importance in what was known as the Marine Silk Road", which linked up nearly 100 Asian and African countries and regions.

1326 July, Barcelona (Aragon, Spain)

Sixty families of Jewish refugees were permitted to settle in Aragon by James II after being expelled from France. For the most part the king managed to protected these Jews even those who had been previously baptized

1326 August 28, SARA DE SANCTO AEGIDIO (St. Gilles France)

A physician, signed a teacher-student contract with, Salvetus de Burgonoro. She was to teach him for seven months and provide room and board. In return all income during his apprenticeship was to go to her. Her late husband Abraham, had also been a physician. This was unusual not only in the fact that she was a physician, but that she was recognized as a teacher of medicine.


With the support of the Sultan an-Nasir Muhammad in Cairo, a local synagogue was turned into a mosque . It is known as the Al-Hayyat (“Snake”) mosque due to a carving on a central pillar. The synagogue built in 1241 may been constructed on the ruins of another synagogue dated back to the 6th century.

C. 1328 - 1369 AARON BEN ELIJAH ( aka Aaron the younger) (Nicomedia, Turkey)

Karaite scholar, and philosopher, and jurist. Famed for his works Etz Hayyim ( Tree of Life) on philosophy, Gan Eden (Garden of Eden) on Karaite law, and Keter Torah (Crown of the Law), a commentary on the Pentateuch.

1328 March 5, NAVARRE (France)

After the death of Charles the Fair (Charles IV), Philip's brother and successor, Pedro Olligoyen, a Franciscan friar, used the Jews as a scapegoat against French rule. Charles was the last of the French Capet dynasty which had inherited Navarre. Local militias tried to defend the Jews but were outnumbered. All Jewish houses were pillaged then destroyed. Approximately 6000 Jews were murdered. There were 20 survivors. Those that took part were fined but the fines were later cancelled.


A street with the name of Via Scannaguidei rn(Kill the Jews Street) was noted.

1334 - 1369 PEDRO (Peter) OF CASTILE (Spain)

Known as "the Cruel", he (r.1350-1369) was in general friendly to the Jews. When he was overthrown by his step-brother, Henry, the Jews were forced to wear the Yellow Badge in penance for their loyalty to Pedro. They also had to renounce their Spanish names, the use of which was considered a privilege.

1334 October 9, CASIMIR III THE GREAT (1310-1370) (Poland)

Re-affirmed the policies of Boleslav regarding protection of the Jews. This document was instrumental in encouraging Jews to begin to flee Germany and move East. In general Casimir protected Jewish interests. Later a myth developed, claiming that it was due to influence of a beautiful Jewish mistress, Esterka of Opoczno. (See 1356)


Was made Grand Master of the Order of Alcantara by Alfonso XI. Soon after he attained the post, he had his former patron Don Joseph of Ecija and Don Samuel Ibn Wakar arrested on trumped up charges. Don Samuel died under torture and Don Joseph died in prison. Though cautioned against it by cardinal Gil Alborno, he petitioned the king to confiscate all Jewish property and then expel them as a way to raise revenue. After criticizing the kings his mistress, Leonor de Guzman, he was arrested accused of treason, and executed in 1340.

1336 February 25, ALFONSO XI OF CASTILE (Spain)

Was persuaded by the apostate Abner of Burgos (Alfonso of Valladolid) to ban the prayer Alenu, composed by the Amora Abba Arucha (the Tall, or as he was later called, Rav, c. 247, founder of the academy of Sura). Alfonso alleged that Alenu was anti-Christian. As a result, many Jewish communities excised the sentence from the prayer They bend knee to emptiness and pray to a god who will not answer, which has only been printed again in recent years in some prayer books.The same accusations were made regarding the Birkat ha-Minim part of the Amida or Eighteen Benedictions even though they had been written regarding "the empire of insolence" or Rome .

1336 July 29, ROTTINGEN (Germany)

Led by John Zimberlin, a self proclaimed prophet, a group of peasants known as the Armleder (for their leather straps worn on their arms)or Judenschlaeger ("Jew-killers") attacked Jewish communities in Franconia and the Alsace region. They also destroyed Jewish communities in Bohemia, Moravia and elsewhere along the Rhine. Roughly 1500 Jews were murdered. Eventually, when the Armleder began to attack non-Jews, they were opposed by local Lords.

1337 September 30, DECKENDORF, BAVARIA (Germany)

Host desecration was alleged and violence spread to fifty-one communities, including Bohemia and Austria. Mass pilgrimages to the church were made until 1843 where paintings show Jews in medieval dress desecrating the host "wafers". Under one the words were written "God grant that our Fatherland be forever free from this hellish scum." Only in 1967 were the pictures covered up.

1338 COLMAR ( Germany)

Emperor Louis IV the Bavarian intervened to protect the Jews of Colmar from Armleder, asking of course for extra taxes which was called the golden penny. He did not interfere with the attacks in nearby Rufach and Sulz whose Jews "belonged to the Bishop of Strasburg.

1338 May 17, ARMLEDER (Alsace)

Under the bishop of Strasburg the lords of Alsace decided to pursue John Zimberlin (Armleder) and his main followers. In 1339 Rudolph of Andlau, an Alsatian knight, granted him amnesty as long as his attacks would cease for the next ten years.

1338 August 19, WOLFSBERG (Austria)

Host desecration riots. The Jews were accused of stealing the Eucharist, making it bleed, and trying to burn it. Over 70 Jews were burned at the stake and the community was destroyed, never to be revived.

1339 SOLOMON B. SAMUEL (Urgench, Transoxania present day Uzbekistan)

Published the first Judeo-Persian dictionary Sefer ha-Melizah, with over a thousand words from the Bible, Talmud, and the Midrash. It was written in the literary language common to the Jews of Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia in this period.

1340 - 1410 HASDAI BEN JUDAH CRESCAS (Spain)

Rabbi, rationalist philosopher, poet, and statesman. Crescas was a student of Nissim Ben Reuben (RaN) Gerondi (c. 13101376) . His, Or Adonai (Light of the Lord) was part of a major work he wanted to write ( Ner Elohim) as a reaction to Maimonides, but he only succeeded in writing the first part. ‎He also wrote Bittul Ikkarei ha-Notzerim (Refutation of the Christian Principles) as part of his efforts to fight against Christian pressure to convert. In 1390 he was appointed as the judge of all the Jews of the Kingdom of Aragon. During the anti-Jewish riots of 1391 he tried his best to protect the Jewish community, unfortunately his only son was murdered in Barcelona during the riots.


One of the leading Hebrew poets of is day aka En Vidas de Gerona. Some of his poetry was later collected and published under the name Sefer Shirim Melitsot U-Khetavim or just Melitsot V''shirim. He also compiled a three part comprehensive dictionary or rhymes called Imre No'ash ("Speeches of a Desperate One") .

1343 April 19, WACHENHEIM (Germany)

A pre-Easter massacre that soon spread to surrounding communities.

1346 SARAH OF TURNOVO (Bulgaria)

Was taken by Czar Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria (r.1331-1371) as his wife, after forcing his first wife into a nunnery. Sarah converted and took the name Theodora. She was evidently beautiful and intelligent. There is a controversy as to whether she had any part in instigating the 1360 anti heresy ( and anti-Jewish) synod in Veliko Turnovo.

1348 - 1349 THE BLACK PLAGUE (Europe)

One third of Europe's population died from the Black Death (Bubonic plague). Though many Jews were among the dead, they were accused by local church leaders and tortured to confess that they had poisoned the wells (Chillon) in order to kill Christians. During the next few years - despite the protests of Pope Clement VI - over 60 large and 150 small Jewish communities were destroyed as a direct result of these accusations. These included untold atrocities in cities such as Basel, Cologne, Strasbourg, Worms, Zurich and others. The plague, which originated in China, was spread for the most part by rats which came aboard ships from Asia to European ports. It is estimated that 25 million people perished within three years.


Black Plague massacres began in Barcelona and Cervera.In Saragossa 80% of the Jewish population died of the plague.


Bern, Chillon, Zurich. In the Castle of Chillon on Lake Geneva, Jews under torture admitted to being given poison to place in wells around Venice.

1348 September 26, POPE CLEMENT VI

Issued a Bull contradicting the libel against the Jews. In it he stated that the Jews were suffering just like the rest of Europe. Other rulers issued similar denunciations, but to little effect.

1348 November 22, RIOTS REACHED BAVARIA AND SWABIA (Germany)

Jews in eighty towns including Augsberg, Munich and Wurzburg were attacked.

1349 January, - August, ATROCITIES (Germany)

Spread from city to city up the Rhine; cities included Strasbourg, Worms and Cologne.

1349 January 16, BASEL (Switzerland)

The guilds brought up charges against the Jews accusing them of poisoning the wells. Despite an attempted defense by the town council, 600 Jews together with the rabbi were burned to death. One hundred and forty children were taken from their parents and forcible baptized. The victims were left unburied, the cemetery destroyed and the synagogue turned into a church. The remaining Jews were expelled and not readmitted until 1869.

1349 January 22, SPEYER (Germany)

The Jewish community was destroyed. The Jewish inhabitants were either killed, converted or fled to Heidelberg. All their property - including the Jewish cemetery - was confiscated.

1349 February 14, ST. VALENTINES DAY (Strasbourg)

Earlier that month, a riot ensued in the town after corn prices fell. The Jews were accused of a conspiracy. The mayor and some members of the city council had voted against the action and were removed from office by the tradesmen. The entire Jewish population (2000) was dragged to the cemetery and burned to death. Only those who accepted Christianity were allowed to live. The new council voted that Jews could not return for 100 years and their property and possessions were divided amongst the burghers. Within six months Emperor Charles IV pardoned the town council for the murders. Twenty years later, Jews were re-admitted.

1349 February 22, ZURICH (Switzerland)

Although the town council initally tried to protect the Jews of the town, they were forced to give in to the mob, resulting in the murder of many of the Jewish inhabitants.

1349 March 1, (10 Adar I 5109) WORMS (GERMANY)

Riots broke out in the town. Many Jews fled to Heidelberg, others in desperation set fire to their homes or were murdered. An estimated 420 people died that day. Their property was seized by the town.

1349 March 21, ERFURT (Germany)

After a mob marched into the Jewish quarter carrying a flag with a cross, the Jews tried to defend themselves. Over a hundred Jews were killed and much of the ghetto burned.

1349 May 28, BRESLAU/ WROCŁAW (Silesia)

Sixty Jews were murdered by a mob, after a fire in the town. The city claimed their property and the synagogues, while the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (1316-1378), was given the cemetery and all debts owed to the Jews. Less than a year later on Feb.21,1350, the king ordered the murderers to be punished, but left it up to the city council to determine the punishment.

1349 August 23, COLOGNE (Germany)

As the riots began, many of the residents took shelter in the synagogue. When it was attacked as well, the Jews inside set fire to it rather then be taken by the mob outside. Most of those who had not taken refuge in the synagogue were also murdered. Their property was confiscated by the Church, with the municipality and the Count of Juelich each fighting over their share.

1349 August 24, MAYENCE AND BRESLAU (Germany)

After a mob marched into the Jewish quarter of Mayence carrying a flag with a cross, three hundred young Jews tried to defend themselves. Although as many as 200 of the attackers were killed, they soon overcame the defenders. Rather then be converted, the Jews set their houses on fire. 6,000 Jews died and another 4,000 died in Breslau.

1349 September 29, ALBERT II (Austria)

After an attack on the Jews at Krems, he forcibly ended the riots. Austria was thus one of the few places of relative security in Europe.

1350 - 1414 ISAAC DURAN (Profiat Duran) (Spain)

Scholar, astronomer, physician and philosopher. Though forcibly converted to Christianity, he reverted back to Judaism as soon as possible. After one of his friends was also converted and decided to remain Christian, he wrote two brilliant attacks on Christianity: Al Tehi ka-Avotekha (Be Not Like Your Fathers) and Kelimat ha-Goyim (The Confusion Of The Gentiles). The first was such a successful satire, that some Christian scholars actually thought it was pro-Christian and republished it until they realized the true meaning behind it. His Ma'aseh Efod (The Making of the Ephod) discussed both linguistics and the fundamental nature of Jewish music. He also wrote a historical work Zikaron haShemadot. ( A Record of Persecutions) .

C. 1350 ISAAC TYRNAU (late 14th-early 15th century) ( Austria)

In the introduction to his Sefer HaMinhagim ("Book of Customs") he describes the poor condition of Torah study in Hungary. He was the first Rabbi to discuss in detail the idea of Yahrzeit - anniversary of a death.

1350 - 1396 JOHN I (Aragon, Spain)

Son of Peter(Pedro)IV, known before his coronation as the Infante(crown prince) Don Juan. Although prior to his reign (1387-1396) he was in the forefront of anti-Jewish agitation, he adopted a somewhat less belligerent policy as king.

1355 May 7, TOLEDO (Spain)

Henry de Trastamasa, step-brother of Peter the Cruel, invaded Toledo on the pretense of rescuing the Queen Blance from Peter. Twelve hundred Jews were killed. His hatred for his brother, Jews, and his brothers good relationship with Jews, were ostensibly part of his reasons for his attacks against him. Bitter fighting within the Jewish quarter repelled the attack. As a reward for the courage of the Jews and loyalty of his advisor, Samuel ben Meir Halevi (Abulafia), Pedro allowed him to construct a beautiful synagogue (1357) which was later converted into a church under the name of El Trnsito. A few years later despite his service, Abulafia lost favor with the king and he was painfully murdered.(see 1360).


Alienated all rights of Jews. This led to the common practice of expelling the Jews from one district and, due to financial considerations, accepting them in another.


Six years after the 1348 riots, community leaders met in order to formulate a united front in representing their case before the King and Pope. Due to the lack of a consensus on the makeup of the council and the fear of the local communities of losing their independence of action none of the resolutions were enacted.rn rnrn rn

1356 ESTHERKA ( Poland)

Daughter of a Jewish tailor won over Casimir III "The Great" (1310-1370) so completely that many of his pro Jewish enactments are said to be due to her. He installed her in a royal palace near Cracow. She was said to have born him 2 sons and two daughters. The daughters raised as Jews and the sons as Christian. She was killed around 1370 by Casimir's successor, Louis of Hungary during his persecution of the Jews.


The defeat by the English at Poitiers, and the ransom that was needed to be raised, led to a financial crisis. This prompted King John II ( The Good), to readmit the Jews (mostly financiers) back to France, this time for 70 years.

1360 MIRANDA DEL EBRO (Castile, Spain)

Furious after a massacre of the Jews, Pedro I roasted one of the perpetrators alive, boiled another and executed eight others with an axe.


The Spanish financier, diplomat and Jewish leader was arrested by King Pedro without any reason being given. He was tortured to death and all his great wealth was confiscated by the king. His house still stands today as the El Greco museum.

1361 - 1444 (30 Adar 5204) SIMEON BEN ZEMAH DURAN (The Rashbaz) (Majorca-Algiers)

Talmudist poet, physician, and community leader. After the death of Isaac bar Sheshet's (1408) Simeon was appointed chief rabbi. Throughout his rulings he believed that that one should be stringent with oneself but lenient with others. He was a prolific author who wrote Novella on many of the tractates of the Talmud, poetry (piyutim), and responsa. His most well known work is Magen Avot a philosophical commentary on the tractate Avot andhis Responsa Tashbez (Teshuvot Shimon ben Zemach) .

1365 - 1427 JACOB BEN MOSES MOLLEN (The Maharil) (Mainz and Worms, Germany)

One of the first great authorities to be distinguished with the title "Moreinu"rn (our leader/master). He was also noted for his cantorial prowess and his adherence to nusah ha'tfillah (wording of the prayers). His Sefer ha-Maharil aka Minhagim, is a major source on the rituals of German Jews.rn

1365 June 7, Pope URBAN V

Reaffirmed the Bull of Sicuti judaeis Thus to the Jews, forbidding to molest Jews or to force them to baptism. Many other popes published similar affirmations, but unfortunately they often were ignored or rejected (see 590, & 1120).

1366 March 31, HENRY II ( Spain)

Entered Burgos after the city decided to surrender. The king levied a tax of 30,000 doubloons (0.21 troy ounces) on the local Jews. In order to raise this vast sum (over 6,400,000 dollars into days terms), they were forced to sell their property, and even the Torah scroll ornaments. This marked the beginning of a three year struggle between the brothers Henry backed by the English, and Peter backed by the French. The Jews were squeezed financially by both sides bankrupting the Castilian community. Thousands of Jews were killed during the war.

1367 HOST TRIAL (Barcelona)

Jews were accused of purchasing a host in order to desecrate it. One of the main forces behind the accusation was Infante Don Juan ( later to be king John I). Although disproved, it did not prevent him from bringing up the same accusation 10 years later (see 1377).

1367 April 25, CASIMIR III

Expanded the "priviliges" of 1334 to include the Jews in Lesser Poland and Ukraine.

1369 March 23, MURDER OF PETER ( Pedro) OF CASTILE

Near Toledo by his half brother Henry, soon to be known as Henry II. Pope Urban V upon hearing the news exclaimed The church must rejoice at the death of .... a favorer of the Jews.... During Henry's (aka Henry of Trastámara) 10 year reign he did his best to persecute and impoverish the Jewish community which included forcing Jews to wear distinctive clothing , and not being allowed to hold public office . This marked the worst anti Jewish policies in Spain since the Visogoths and a harbinger of things to come. In the battle for Toledo some 8000 Jews had been killed, and all of their property sold for the benefit of the new king. Henry ostensibly took the Jews under his "protection" using them to his benefit .

1370 May 22, ALLEGED HOST DESECRATIONS (Brussels, Belgium)

After killing a local wealthy Jew, the perpetrators tried to cover their tracks by accusing the Jews of Host desecration and escaping in the resulting confusion. Twenty Jews were burned to death, many injured, and the rest were banished from the country. A holiday was declared by the local churches.

1374 FLORETA CA NOGA (Spain)

Received a license to practice medicine throughout Aragon. She received 15 gold florins for successfully treating Sibila of Fortia, Queen consort to the kingdom of Aragon.

C. 1375 - C. 1450 SOLOMON BEN REUBEN BONAFED ( Spain)

Poet, philosopher and community Rabbi . Considered the last important Spanish (Hebrew) poet . He attended the dispute at Tortosa, and wrote many poems describing the events and his pain following the mass conversions which took place soon after. His anguish was especially evident in a poem he wrote regarding Vidal Joseph de la Cavalleria. Cavalleria a descendent of Judah de la Cavalleria (see 1257) had represented Saragossa under pressure he converted, which caused great consternation in the entire Spanish Jewish community.


The famous Majorcan cartographer to Pedro IV of Aragon. He sent a map of the world as a gift to Charles VI of France. He is also credited from creating the famous Catalan atlas. Many of the maps of this era - which were known as Portolanos - charted coastlines and oceans (mostly of the Mediterranean area). Many Jews from the island of Majorca - as well as from Alexandria - have their names signed to these early maps.


Following persecutions in the wake of the Black Plague, many Jews fled south to Greece, becoming absorbed into the local Sephardic population. The term "Sephardic Jews" originally refered to those Jews who lived in the Iberian peninsula and followed certain customs. After the expulsion of 1492 the Sephardic community spread throughout the Levant, to Turkey , Greece, and North Africa. Ladino (which is the equivalent of Yiddish) was spoken by some but, was not as widespread as the former among its population.


Was given permission to practice medicine throughout Sicily especially for the poor and handicapped, becoming the first official woman doctor in Sicily. Her husband Pasquale was also a physician.

1377 HOST PURCHASING TRIAL (Teruel and Huesca, Spain)

As in the trial of 1367 Jews were again accused of trying to purchase a consecrated host. The person behind it was again the crown prince (Infante) Don Juan (see 1350). A number of Jews were tortured and burned alive in Huesca. Others were taken to Barcelona for trial. His father Peter IV who attended the trial, wrote to him complaining that his actions would drive the Jews out of the realm. He replied that it was his duty to revenge the death of Jesus.

1378 - 1400 KING WENCESLAUS (Germany)

During the fights between the cities and the nobility, he tried a compromise proposal using the Jews as a pawn (1385). He later retracted and broke up the Swabian League, (the league of free cities in S. Germany) remitting all debts owed to Jews, with the Emperor getting his percentage. This provided further impetus for the Jews to move eastward.

1379 JOHN I OF CASTILE (Spain)

A Jewish advisor to his father, Joseph Pickon, was condemned to death by a rabbinical court for informing (on other Jews) and treason on the day of his coronation. John was so incensed that he ordered the court executed and forbade Jewish courts to condemn anyone to capital punishment or expulsion.

1380 - 1444 JOSEPH ALBO (Spain)

Philosopher and one of the main defenders of Judaism at the disputation in Tortosa. His philosophy was based on the premise that salvation is the main aim in life. His main work, Ikkarim (Principles), was much criticized because of its similarity to the Christian doctrine of salvation. He also disagreed with Maimonides on the centrality of the Messiah to Judaism.

1380 November 15, CHARLES VI ASCENDS THE THRONE (France)

He told a mob that he would relieve some of the taxes but not expel the Jews. Instigated by the nobles, they plundered and murdered in the Jewish quarter for four days. The nobles hoped that this way they would relieve themselves of some of the debts owed to Jewish money lenders. Some Jews took refuge in the royal prison. Hughes Abriot, the Provost, obtained an order for restitution of all property and the return of all infants forcibly baptized. Because of this, he was accused of converting to Judaism and sent to jail for a year in penance.

1382 March 2, MAILOTIN RIOTS (Paris, France)

These riots were similar to the tax riots held two years previously. Both times the Jews were considered accomplices in over-oppressive taxes. Sixteen Jews fell victim to this outbreak.

1383 March 13, PETER IV ( Spain)

As a pretext to exhort funds from the Jews, he demanded an immediate full translation of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah into Catalan on pain of losing his favor". Loans had to be secured in order to come up with the enormous sum demanded by the king.


Guilds revolt against the patricians. The Jews, an old enemy of the guilds, who saw them as competition, shared the fate of the patricians. The Federation of Swabia tried to put down the revolt. In many cities (i.e. Nuremburg), the Jews were forced to buy the protection of the local councils.

1385 JOHN OF CASTILE (Spain)

Enforced previous anti-Jewish legislation.

1385 ULM (Germany)

At a meeting of the Swabian League cities it was decided that one fourth of the debts owed to Jews should be cancelled and the other three-quarters should be paid to the cities. Jews were prevented from emigrating.

1385 June 16, King WENCESLAUS (Germany)

Arrested Jews living in what was known as the Swabian League, and confiscated their books. A hefty fine had to be paid for the release of the prisoners and the return of the books.

1386 STRASBOURG (Germany)

After an inter-community dispute, the Jewish community was expelled on orders from Wenceslaus. Their property was confiscated.

1386 - 1456 JOHN OF CAPISTRANO (Giovanni da Capistrano) (Italy)

Nicknamed "Scourge of the Jews". A Franciscan monk, considered it an obligation and a privilege to persecute the Jews. As such, for the next 40 years, he traveled throughout Italy even reaching Bohemia. John of Capistrano acted as an agent of the Church, attacking Jews and heretics and did his best to undermine their positions. He did not hesitate to chastise the pope on occasion for being too lenient. He even convinced the Queen of Naples to cancel any rights given to the Jews and to reinstate all anti-Jewish measure, although this was short-lived.


A collection of stores completed by Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400). His "The Prioress's Tale" is a story about a child killed by Jews as encouraged by Satan 'That hath in Jewes' heart his waspe's nest'. The story ends with the mention of another ritual murder libel, Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, in 1255.

1388 - 1460 MOSES BEN ISAAC RIETI (Italy)

Composed the encyclopedic moralistic work, Mikdash Me'at (The Little Temple), describing a symbolic journey and search for paradise similar to Dante's 14th century "Divine Comedy".

1389 April 18, MASSACRE AT PRAGUE (Bohemia)

A priest, hit with a few grains of sand or pebbles by small Jewish boys playing in the street, became insulted and insisted that the Jewish community purposely plotted against him. The priests followers beat up the boys whose parents arrived to defend them. A mob was then incited to attack the ghetto. Thousands were slaughtered, the synagogue and the cemetery were destroyed, and homes were pillaged. King Wenceslaus insisted that the responsibility rested with the Jews for venturing outside during Holy Week.

1389 July 1, GRAND DUKE WITOLD (Vitold) (Vytautas the Great) (1350-1430) (Lithuania)

Established the basis for the legal status of Jews, including freedom of trade and worship originally in the Grodno Province and then on his other regions. This bill of rights "Cartia" was in sharp contrast to the medieval position of the Jews throughout Poland. Individual Jews were not taxed but the community itself was responsible for the collection and their lives and property were protected. The Duke also brought Jews from the Crimea and settled them in Vilna and even proposed that synagogues and Jewish cemeteries be tax exempted.


Based on a Bull of Pope Callixtus II (1120) Sicut Judaeis(Latin: "As the Jews")written during the first crusade, he forbade Christians to harm the Jews, destroy their cemeteries, or forcibly baptize them. The Bull was confirmed many times by different popes but unfortunately did not have a lasting effect.

1390 - 1469 ISRAEL ISSERLIN (aka Maharai) (Austria)

Talmudic authority and Halachist. Known for his responsa Terumat Hadeshen which is considered one of the sources for the Isserles Hamapah (see 1520). He also wrote Pesakim u-Ketavim on the laws of marriage.

1391 - 1415 BIRTH OF THE CONVERSOS (Marranos) (Spain)

Between those years as many as 200,000 ( half the Jewish population) chose conversion and became New Christians or Conversos. Of these, many continued to practice Judaism in secret while paying lip service to the Church. They became known by the Christians as Marranos. The Jews never used the term Marrano themselves although some knew of it. Many scholars have speculated that the origins of the word stemmed from Latin, Arabic and even Hebrew, but in fact it was the Spanish term for pig or pork and expression of extreme disgust on the part of the Christians. The Jews referred to themselves as anusim "those who were forced to convert". Eventually, these mass forced conversions led to the establishment of the Inquisition.


Began in Seville and were led by Ferrand Martinez Archdeacon of Ecija who incited mobs into attacking the Jewish quarter during holy week. Although the riots were forcibly put down, they soon reappeared with a vengeance (see June 6, 1391) eventually they spread throughout most of Spain.


Led by Archdeacon Ferrand Martinez ( see march 15, 1391) the campaign soon spread through 70 towns especially in Castile, Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia. Only Granada was spared. The Jewish quarter in Barcelona, located for over 400 years near the castle, was totally destroyed. Over 10,000 Jews were killed, and thousands more converted.

1391 June 20, ISRAEL BEN JOSEPH AL NEKAWA Elnekaveh (Toledo)

An aged poet and scholar was dragged through the streets. He preferred to take his own life rather than convert . He was joined in martyrdom by his brother Solomon and Judah ben Asher II a noted scholar and astronomer (the great grandson of Asher Ben Jehiel (see 1250). Al Nekawa was a noted scholar his chief work on ethics was Menorat ha-Maor (Shining Candelabra) . He believed that social morality as a intrinsic part of Jewish life. His book is especially valued since he quotes from many books which are not extant today.

1391 July 9, VALENCIA (Spain)

The violence, which had begun a month earlier by Ferrand Martinez (see June 6), continued in the province of Valencia. A mob marched to the main gate of the Juderia on the Place de la Figuera, shouting," The Archdeacon of Seville comes to baptize all Jews". Although they mounted a defense the Jewish community was destroyed The synagogue became a monastery (S. Cristobal) and 250 Jews massacred. Many others, including the King's physician, Joshua (Ha)Lorki later to be infamously known as Geronimo de Santa Fe, converted to Christianity. A few found refuge in the houses of their Christian neighbors. Few of the perpetrators were ever punished ( see November 1391).

1391 July 10, PALMA DE MAJORCA

As news of the Spanish riots reached Majorca, riots broke out all over the island. Despite the efforts of Francisco Sa Garriga, the local viceroy, the entire Jewish community was destroyed and its inhabitants were either converted or murdered. Over 110 families converted, and the remnants fled to North Africa. Although a number of Jews were again invited to reside there the following year, a blood libel 40 years later ended the 800 year old Jewish community.

1391 July 16, VALENCIA (Spain)

King John I ordered that all Jews who had hidden in Christian houses be allowed to return to their homes unmolested. Furthermore, he decreed that synagogues were not to be turned into churches. This did not prevent him from confiscating all the property of those Jews who had either fled or been murdered.

1391 August 5, BARCELONA (Spain)

Although the city fathers and artisans tried to protect them, more than 400 Jews were killed in attacks instigated, for the most part, by Castilians who had taken part in the massacres in Seville and Valencia.

1391 November, PARDONS FOR RIOTERS (Valencia Spain)

Was granted by King John I of Aragon upon the recommendation of his wife Queen Yolande to those who had rioted against the Jews. The king declared the city leaders, the clergy, and most of the rioters innocent, commenting that no royal personnel were killed and that the Jews themselves were not blameless. Only five rioters were executed. After the riots no Jew was permitted to enter Valencia without permission. In general, most of the cities were fined, and a few of the perpetrators hung or banished. The Jewish communities never recovered.

1392 DAMASCUS (Syria)

Local Jews were accused by the Mamluk ruler of setting fire to the central mosque. Though no real evidence was ever presented, a number of Jewish leaders were arrested, one was burned alive, and the synagogue was converted into a mosque. Two years later the synagogue was restored.

1392 April 23, LETTER OF PRAISE ( Barcelona)

Was written by King Henry III (1379-1406) and Queen Catherine of Castile to the city of Saragossa for taking efforts to protect the Jews of the city from the riots . The king had his summer residence in the city.rn

1392 July 17, PORTUGAL

King John (Joao I) (1385-1432) ordered compliance with the Bull of Pope Boniface IX protecting Jews from forced baptism and extended it to Spanish Jewish refugees.

1393 August 18, KING JOHN I (Spain)

In an effort to prevent "backsliding" by converted Jews, he prohibited them from living in the same quarter as unconverted Jews or even eating with them.

1394 September 17, CHARLES VI (France)

Using the pretense that a convert in Paris, Denis Machuit, returned to Judaism, he once again expelled the Jews. The order, signed on Yom Kippur, was enforced on November 3. Jews continued to live in Lyons and papal possessions such as Pugnon.

1398 PAUL OF BURGOS (Spain)

Was appointed by Pope Benedict of Trevio. Paul (c. 1351 1435) (aka Pablo de Santa Maria) not to be confused with Abner of Burgos, was the former scholar Solomon Halevi. There is controversy as to whether he converted before or after the riots of 1391. After his conversion, he set as his goal to convert by force as many Jews as possible To that end he instigated anti Jewish legislation known as the Laws of Valladolid ( see 1412). His Dialogus Pauli et Sauli contra Judos became a source book for anti Jewish polemics and which was later used by Geronimo de Santa F, and Martin Luther. His wife refused to convert and was killed in 1420.

1399 JUAN I (Castile, Spain)

Renewed the anti-Jewish decrees of Alfonso XI forbidding Jews to lend money or collect their depts.


A Christian woman was accused of stealing 3 hosts and giving them to Jews for the purpose of desecrating them. Under the instigation of the local Archbishop, the Rabbi, thirteen members of the community and the woman were all tortured and burned alive slowly. The community was forced to pay a special tax each year for more until the 18th century.

1399 August 16, YOM TOV LIPPMAN-MUELHAUSEN ( Prague)

Rabbi and philosopher, was arrested along with other Jews accused of defaming Christianity. Despite his efforts, 77 Jews were killed. This outstanding Jewish scholar, in addition to his extensive knowledge of philosophy, knew Latin, studied the New Testament and was a skilled polemicist. He had previously held dialogues with the Bishop of Linda, which was unusual for its time in that they were held in an atmosphere of tolerance.

1400 - 1480 ISRAEL BRUNA (Germany)

Rabbi and Halachic scholar, aka Mahari Bruna, the Hebrew acronym for "Our Teacher, the Rabbi, Israel Bruna". He studied under Israel Isserlin, and is known for his work Teshuvot Mahari Bruna which is one of the important Ashkenazi Halachic resources. Bruna was jailed on a trumped up ritual murder charge by an Jewish apostate Hans Vagol, but was declared innocent by both Frederick III, as well King Ladislav of Bohemia. Vagol later admitted to the perjury.

C. 1400 ISAAC ABOHAB I(Spain)

Scholar and author of Menorat ha-Maor ("Candlestick of Light") a collection of Aggadot arranged according to the subject. The book published in more than 70 editions and in at least 5 languages, remains popular today. His objective was to return the knowledge of the Aggadah or Midrashic lore to the common people. He also wrote Aron ha-'Edut ("The Ark of the Testimony") tracing ritual laws and Shulḥan ha-Panim ("Table of the Showbread").

C. 1400 Yomtov Lippmann ben Shlomo Mühlhausen (Bohemia)

Wrote his Sefer ha-Nitsachon (“Book of Victory”) which served as a defense against Christianity. He survived the massacre in Prague (see 1389). Mühlhausen (d.1421) traveled throughout Bohemia trying to strengthen the local communities, as well as their religious knowledge and understanding.

1400 July 27, KING LADISLAS (Naples, Italy)

Offered the Jews a charter which would give them economic equality.

1402 BANI ISRAEEL (western Africa)

In a manuscript known as the Tarikh al-fattash a Jewish tribe is mentioned which ruled in Tirdirma near the Niger River. They were said to have had over 300 wells and 1500 soldiers. They were known as the Jews of the Bilad al-Sudan.

C. 1403 - 1450 MIRIAM LURIA (SPIRA) (Germany)

Teacher and Talmudic scholar. She was the daughter of Solomon Spira (c. 1375c. 1453) Known as Rabbanit Miriam she taught at a yeshiva in Italy, and gave public lectures on Halachah. It is said that " because of her beauty", she would teach Talmud to some of the most qualified young men from behind a curtain, so that they would not be distracted. Miriam Luria was the grandmother of Solomon Luria ( Maharshal 1510-1573).

1407 October 26, CRACOW ACCUSATIONS (Poland)

One of the first blood libels in Poland. The Jews tried to defend themselves and were forced to take refuge in the Church of St. Anne, which was surrounded and then set afire. Any children left alive were forcibly baptized.

1408 GRODNO (Lithuania)

Jews received a renewed "Bill of Rights" granting them the opportunity to work as tradesmen and framers.

1408 October 25, COUNCIL OF REGENCY (Castile/Leon, Spain)

Under the inspiration of the apostate Paul de Santa Maria, the council reinstituted all of the anti-Jewish legislation of Alfonso the Wise (1252-1284).

1410 MEIR ALGUADES (Spain)

The chief rabbi and former physician to King Henry III (Castile) was accused by Paul de Santa Maria ( see 1398) of desecrating the host. He was tortured until he "confessed". Then he was killed and the synagogue was converted into a church.


A combination of the anti infidel laws, Vincent Ferrer's crusade, and the Tortosa debate led to a loss of heart among many Jews. Approximately 50,000 Jews voluntarily " converted. Typical among them was Don Vidal de La Caballeria a noted poet and diplomat. He converted under pressure by the king of Aragon who then rewarded him with a new position.rnrn

1412 January 2, LAWS OF VALLADOLID (Castile, Spain)

Under the direction of Fra Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419) and Paul of Burgos (de Santa Maria) the government of Castile issued 24 edicts against the Jews, with its goal being to drive them to Christianity. These included a ban on working in handicrafts, trading in wine, flour, meat or bread, carrying arms, shaving, leaving the country, etc. Punishment was 100 lashes and a fine. Ferrer, a Dominican friar, traveled around Castile preaching anti-Jewish sermons, and compelling Jews under duress to convert. In many cases Jews were forced to listen to him preach in synagogues with a Torah in one hand and a cross in the other. He then would often consecrate the synagogue as a church. There was no strong central rule at the time since King, John II, was a child ruled by his mother Catherine and his uncle, Ferdinand I of Aragon. John only took control of the throne in 1418. Ferrer was canonized in 1455.


Under Under King Vladislav Yagilu (Jagiello) the "privileges" of the Jews were temporarily reduced.

C. 1413 MOSES BOTAREL (Spain)

Philosopher and false Messiah. Botarel wrote a non kabalistic commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah ( The book of Creation") .He was a self described saint and pious Rabbi. He invited all Rabbis to send him questions which he would answer.

1413 February 7, TORTOSA DISPUTATION (Aragon, Spain)

Vincent Ferrer , assisted by the apostate Joshua (Ha)Lorki (Geronimo de Santa Fe/ Hieronymus de Sancta Fide), known to the Jews as Hamegadef (the Blasphemer), convinced Pope Benedict XIII to stage a disputation at Tortosa over messianic doctrine . It was presided over by the pope himself and lasted for a period of twenty-one months in sixty-nine sessions. The Jews, led by Vidal Benvenisti, Astruc Halevi and Joseph Albo, were faced with an opening salvo by Benedict in which he made the expected outcome clear. Sante Fe also attacked the Talmud as anti-Christian and urged its banning. Few of the Jews' counter-arguments were officially recorded.

1415 SOLOMON ALAMI (ibn-Lachmish) (Spain)

Wrote his Iggert Musar (" Letter of Ethical Rebuke"). Alami brought up the question of " why bad things happen". Though not the first to address the issue, he believed it was the result of the flaws within the Spanish Jewish community . He placed the blame on social inequities, lack of care for the poor, and both moral and religious failings. He also criticized the leadership as cut off from the common people , and the court Jews with what he perceived as their misuse of wealth.


Was enraged by the lack of a greater number of “voluntary” conversions after the Christian "victory" at the Tortosa disputation. Benedict XIII (not to be confused with Pope Benedict XIII (1649-1730), published his Bull Etsi Doctoribus Gentium. In it, he banned owning or studying of the Talmud, the right to bake and sell unleavened bread, and engaging in any vocational or medical professions. He instituted forced Christian sermons (where Jews were forced to listen to conversion sermons each Sunday), and prohibited Jews from leaving the country.

1416 JEWISH SYNOD (Bologna, Italy)

Tried to formulate a plan of defense against Vincent Ferrer.

1418 May 18, REGIONAL CONFERENCE (Flori, Italy)

Representatives from the Jewish communities of central and northern Italy met to discuss raising funds for self-defense as well as instituting sumptuary regulations so as "not to show off in the presence of Gentiles." It is plausible that the issuing of these sumptuary regulations, influenced Pope Martin V to issue a protective Bull the following year.

1419 - 1436 HUSSITE WARS (Germany)

Occurred after the Church executed John Huss for his outspoken criticisms. The Jews were attacked by the anti-Hussite Catholics, who were urged onward by the Dominican preachers.

1419 SARAH OF WUERZBURG (Bavaria, Germany)

Received a license from Archbishop Johann II von Nassau (1396-1419) to practice medicine, making her one of the few women allowed to do so. Other Jewish women physicians during this age included Sarah La Migresse, Sara de Saint Gilles and Rebekah Zerlin of Frankfort. For the most part, women were limited to helping other women.


With the ascension of Alfonzo V of Aragon (r.1416-1468), John II of Castile (r.1406-1454), as well as the rule of Pope Martin V, many of the anti-Jewish edicts were repealed. Copies of the Talmud were returned and a number of synagogues we placed again in Jewish hands. In many communities local governments refused to follow the kings declarations. Despite some efforts by the government, Jews no longer lived in Barcelona or Valencia. Most were concentrated in Castile. The Jewish community was impoverished monetarily and spiritually and had no influence on the King and his court.


Pope Martin V after receiving payment, published a brief protecting the Jews and against forced baptism. Three years later he received additional payment for another bull - this one specifically addresses to monks.

1420 LYONS (France)

All Jews were expelled from Lyons, including the refugees from Paris who were expelled 20 years earlier. The only Jews left in France remained in Provence (until 1500) and in the possessions of the Holy See.

1420 - 1495 MOSES B. ELIJAH CAPSALI (Crete-Turkey)

Jewish leader and HaRav HaGadol the first Chief Rabbi of the Ottoman Empire. The official title Hakham Bashi was only officially instituted in 1836. Capsali was well respected, and had excellent relationships with both Mehmed II (1432 1481) and his son Bayezid II (1447 1512). He encouraged Bayezid II to send the Ottoman Navy to Spain in order to help evacuate Spanish Jewish exiles and bring them to the Ottoman empire. His son Elijah (see 1523) also became a respected scholar. them to the Ottoman empire. His son Elijah (see 1523) also became a respected scholar.

C. 1420 - 1494 ISAAC BEN MOSES ARAMA (Spain)

Rabbi and philosopher. In an effort to neutralize effect of the forced conversion sermons he delivered counter sermons, which were later included in his writings. Arama fled Spain to Portugal after the expulsion, and then to Naples where he died soon after. His works include Akedat Yitzchaḳ (Binding of Isaac) a philosophical commentary on the bible. Ḥazut Ḳashah (A Burdensome Vision) on philosophy and theology. Yad Abshalom (The Hand of Absalom) on the Book of Job and Hamesh Megillot on the five scrolls.

1420 May 23, ARCHDUKE ALBERT (Albrecht)(1397-1439)(Austria)

Later to become king of Bohemia and Hungary as Albert the Magnanimous, accused a rich Jew, Israel of Enns, of purchasing a wafer in order to desecrate it. He ordered the imprisonment and forcible conversion of all Jews in the surrounding Viennese area. Those who refused were expelled. Those who were well off were kept in prison, many of whom were tortured and their property confiscated.rnrn

1420 November 25, POPE MARTIN V

Favorably reinstated the old "privileges"/charter of the Jews and ordered that no child under the age of twelve could be forcibly baptized without parental consent.

1421 March 12, WIENER GESERA (Gezerye) (Vienna, Austria)

A combination of murder libel and host desecration charges brought about the destruction of the entire Jewish community.This was done under the auspices of Archduke Albert V of Austria and was partly due to the revival of the crusader spirit of the Hussite Wars. Many Jews were forcibly baptized others took their own lives. Albert ordered the execution of 92 men and 120 women who were burned at the stake south of the Vienna city. The Jews were placed under an "eternal ban" and the synagogue was demolished.rnrnrn

1422 February 20, POPE MARTIN V (1417-31)

Issued a Bull reminding Christians that Christianity was derived from Judaism and warning Church leaders not to incite against the Jews.He also criticized Dominican friars for their policy of compulsory sermons. The Bull was withdrawn the following year, following allegations that the Jews of Rome attained the Bull by fraud.

1423 CONVENTION OF THE SHLAKHTA (Landed Gentry) (Varta Poland)

Led by King Vladislav Yagilu, the Shlakhta which served as a parliament, passed a law forbidding Jews to lend money against any security. In practicality it meant a far greater risk to all Jewish money lenders.

1424 KAIFENG (China)

Jewish physician Y'en Ch'eng was given the surname "Chao" as an honor by the Emperor. This family, which probably originated in India and Babylon, became one of the leading Chinese Jewish families.

1424 COLOGNE (Germany)

Jews were banned from the city. This ban remained in effect until Cologne was annexed by revolutionary France in 1794.


Pope Martin V renewed the law requiring Jews to wear a distinctive badge.

1427 March 9, POPE MARTIN V (Italy)

Ordered the Italian fleets to cease transporting Jews to Eretz Israel. The basis for the order was the claim that the Jews were responsible for building a Mosque on Mount Zion in the hope of eventually turning it into a synagogue. This made immigration to Eretz Israel far more difficult.

1430 October 3, EXPLUSION OF THE JEWS FROM EGER ( Bohemia)

After complaints by local Christians to King Sigismund of Luxembourg (1368 – 1437) "Holy Roman Emperor", that Jews weren't serving in the army, he gave the town permission to expel them all. The synagogue was turned into a church. Four years later (1434), the town's leaders asked the king to readmit as many Jews as the city's businesses interests could accommodate.


Pope Eugene IV (1383 -1447) issued a bull against forced baptism and disturbance of synagogues and graveyards. The same Pope demanded the complete separation of Jews and Christians (see 1442).

1432 May 2, COUNCIL OF VALLADOLID (Castile, Spain)

Led by Don Abraham Benveniste,among other things, it called for the establishment of a Jewish educational system. After the disturbances of the 1390's and 1410's, many communities were left impoverished. Those that retained their wealth were often reluctant to share in the cost of educating the community at large. The council established a statute endorsed by King John II for establishing and maintaining schools. It also enacted Sumptuary laws which regulated what people may wear, how they may marry etc. They were voluntarily placed on the Jewish community by its leaders hoping to lessen ostentation and appear less flamboyant to the gentile population. Similar laws can be found starting from the 13th century (Rhineland) until the 18th century (France). rnrn

1433 - 1493 ISAAC ABOAB OF CASTILE (Spain- Portugal)

Aka Isaac Aboab II, was a noted scholar, teacher and biblical commentator. He was also known as the "last Gaon of Castile,". Aside from Nehar Pishon, which is a collection or his lectures he also published commentaries on the Talmud and supercommentaries on Rashi, and Nachmanides. Among his students were , Abraham Zacuto , Jacob Berab, and Joseph Fasi. In 1492 he and others went to Portugal to meet with King John II of Portugal and arrange for their absorption of some of the exiles.

1434 September 7, COUNCIL OF BASEL (Switzerland)

Instituted new measures against the Jews throughout Europe. The council, aside from adopting many of the old measures like preventing interaction between Jews and Christians, prohibited Jews from entering universities, and forced them to listen to conversion sermons. The council encouraged Christian study of Hebrew in order to "combat Jewish heresy". The council, which had begun three years earlier, was to last more than 15 years and was one of the most turbulent councils in the middle ages, being for the most part a contest between council and pope for supremacy. Many Papal scholars claimed that the council was never officially recognized by the Pope, although this had no effect on the anti-Jewish legislation.


Three years after a blood libel the community was forced to either leave or convert. The 200 who were converted became known as chuetas (the word for pork). Legal discrimination against them existed until 1782.

1435 May 5, SPEYER (Germany)

Jews were expelled. One of the refugees was Moses Mentzlav who moved to Italy. His son, Israel Nathan, founded the printing house of Soncino.

1435 September 25, AIX-EN-PROVENCE (France)

As a result of riots a few years earlier when nine Jews were killed, Jews were forced to wear the "Jewish badge". Nine years later, King Rene of Naples / Duke of Anjou ( 1409-1480), agreed to reduce the size of the badge, and decreed that it need not be worn while traveling.

1436 January 24, AIX-EN-PROVENCE (France)

A riot ensued after a crowd felt that a Jew who insulted the Virgin Mary received too light a sentence.

1437 FLORENCE (Italy)

The Jewish community was founded when a number of Jewish bankers were asked to set up services in the town. For the most part, the Medici family tried to protect the Jews against the local population, which was opposed to their presence in the city.

1437 EMPEROR SIGISMUND (Holy Roman Emperor r.1433-1437)

Though he drained the Jews of their wealth whenever he could, he protected them from some of the worst excesses. His successor, Austrian Archduke Albert V (1397-1439) (Emperor Albert II), hated the Jews passionately and welcomed any excuse for persecuting them.

1437 - 1509 (6 Av 5269) DON ISAAC ABRAVANEL(Abarbanel) (Spain)

Philosopher, financier and scholar. He interceded many times on behalf of his fellow Jews, including trying to stop Ferdinand II from expelling them. In 1492 he was foiled by Torquemada and followed them into exile. His commentaries cover the major and minor Prophets. Consistent with his belief that the Messiah would come in his lifetime, he also wrote three messianic texts called Migdal Yeshu'ot (Tower of Salvation).


By Abd al-Haqq II (14201465) the Marinid Sultan. Other ghettos in Marrakesh and Aghmat were constructed during the mid 16th century, and more in 1807, during the rule of Mulay Suleiman (1792-1822). The word mellah is similar to Melach (salt) in Hebrew, and referred to al-Mallah, "the saline area" near Fez (Hims).

1439 ALBERT II (Austria, Holy Roman Empire)

Agreed to accept 900 gulden from the city of Augsburg in return for allowing them to expel their Jews. Jews were to be allowed into the town on business and if a war broke out.

1439 - 1494 BERNADINO DA FELTRE (Europe)

A Franciscan monk known for his preaching. He traveled through Europe inciting the public against the Jews. Da Feltre was responsible for a number of blood libels including the one at Trent in 1475. He was beatified after his death.

C. 1440 - 1510 GASPAR DA GAMA (Goa, India - Portugal)

A Jew, whose real name and origins are unknown, though some claim he was originally from Poland. He was captured and sold as a slave in India. While he was serving the ruler of Goa in 1498, the visiting Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama took him prisoner, forced him to convert, and gave him a new name. Using his vast knowledge of languages, Gaspar accompanied many Portuguese voyages, meeting Amerigo Vespucci and Pedro Cabral.

C. 1440 - 1524 DAVID BEN SOLOMON IBN YAHYA (Portugal- Naples- Corfu Constantinople)

Rabbi, biblical commentator, and grammarian. In 1496 Ibn Yahya was forced to flee Portugal after a death sentence was pass on him by king John (Joao) II ( 1455-1495) for encouraging conversos to return to active Judaism. He fled first to Naples where he served as Rabbi until expelled by the French losing all of his possessions. His works include Leshon Limudim and (probably) Shekel Hakodesh on grammar, Hilkhot Ṭerefot on ritual law, as well as commentaries on Proverbs, Psalms, and Maimonides guide for the perplexed.


Pope Eugene IV (1383-1447) issued his bull Dundum ad nostram audientiam forbidding Jews from living with Christians. Just two days later he issued Super Gregem Dominicum which annulled all "privileges" previously extended by Pope Martin V. He also imposed additional restrictions, including banning Jews from Universities.

1444 AVIGNON (France)

A partnership was formed between a gentile goldsmith named Procop and a member of the Jewish community named Davin to form a "publishing house". This was ten years before Gutenberg. Unfortunately, there are no known manuscripts from their partnership, which soon dissolved.


A French physician Published the first Hebrew Concordance called Meir Netiv. One of its purposes was to make it easier for Hebrew-speaking Jews to reply to Christians.


Rabbinical leader and scholar. In the years following the expulsion he focused on the practical Halachic problems that arose on a daily basis. Ibn Habib strived to find ways to ease the sufferings and difficulties of those expelled from Spain, within the realms of Halacha. He is most remembered for his Ein Ya’akov ( Well of Jacob), a compendium of the agadot” (non-legalistic literature) from the Talmud. His emphasis’ reflect the problems facing his generation. Over 100 editions of Ein Ya'akov have been published, and it remains just as popular today as it was 500 years ago.


A dyer, he contracted with a Christian goldsmith from Prague offering to teach him art of dyeing in return for Hebrew letters ready for printing . Unfortunately the agreement did not work out. This was four years before Guttenberg's first printing of a poem in 1450.

1447 August 14, CASIMIR IV (Poland)

Following a fire in Posen which decimated the community , Casimir IV renewed all the rights and made his charter one of the most liberal in Europe. This charter lasted less than a decade before it was revoked under pressure by Cardinal Zbignyev Oleshnitzki the Archbishop of Cracow ( see 1454)rnrn

1449 January 17, ANTI - CONVERSO RIOTS (Toledo)

In the aftermath, fourteen Jewish conversos were put on trial accused of not having truly converted, and deprived of their public offices. Toledo soon enacted a ban against conversos holding any government office. Although this was only a local ban, it soon gained momentum despite the initial opposition of both the Pope and King who were against the discrimination of baptized Christians.

1449 January 27, TOLEDO ANTI-CONVERSO RIOTS (Spain)

New Christians (Conversos) were attacked during a revolt against taxation imposed by lvaro de Luna on behalf of King John II of Castile. The conversos were accused of siding with the tax collectors. Three hundred of them decided to band together and defend themselves. During the attack one Christian was killed. In response, 22 conversos were murdered and numerous houses burned.

1449 June 5, PURITY OF BLOOD Limpieza de Sangre TOLEDO (Spain)

In the aftermath of the converso trial in January of that year, the council decided not to allow New Christians to hold any public office. The Sentencia-Estatuto de Toledo, composed by its mayor Pedro Sarmiento, states" " all the said conversos descended from the perverse line of the Jews, in whatever situation they may be...." This is considered by many to be the earliest reference to Jewish blood rather than Jewish faith and the first example of racial rather than religious discrimination. Pope Nicholas V condemned the decision, claiming that all Catholics constitute one body.

C. 1450 - 1525 ELIJAH MIZRACHI (HaRe'em) (Ottoman Empire)

Talmudist and Halachist and mathematician. He is best known for his Sefer ha-Mizrachi, a supercommentary highlighting Rashi�s Talmudic and Midrashic sources (see 1040 SOLOMON BEN ISAAC). He served as HaRav HaGadol (Chief Rabbi) from 1497 to 1526. His works on math and astronomy include Sefer ha-Mispar, a commentary Euclid's Elements, and . a commentary to Ptolemy's highly influential Almagest, on motions of the stars and planetary paths.

1450 October 5, EXPULSION OF JEWS (Lower Bavaria)

Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria, successor to Henry of Landshut, who had invited the Jews to live in his area, decided to banish them. He first tried conversion, then had many Jews arrested, then fined them 32,000 florins, and finally expelled them

1451 - 1500 CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (Spain-America)

Discoverer of America. The possibility of his being Jewish is based on the origins of his name being Colon (which was a common Jewish name) and his own mysterious writings.

1451 September 21, JEWISH BADGE (Arhhem, Holland)

Cardinal Nicolaus de Cusa ordered all Jews to be registered, and to wear a badge on their outer clothes.

1452 JOHN CAPISTRANO (Germany)

Convinced the Bavarian Dukes to expel the Jews from their Duchies.

1452 - 1515 ABRAHAM ZACUTO (Spain-Portugal-Tunisia)

Astronomer and historian. Around 1474 he wrote his "Great Treatise" HaHibur HaGadol under the patronage of the bishop of Salamanca which was translated into Spanish. His astronomical tables were used by Columbus. After the expulsion of 1492, he went to Portugal where he developed the copper Astrolabe used by Vasco Da Gama. In 1497 he was forced to flee or convert. He left and reached Tunis, where he wrote a history of the Jews from the creation until 1500.

1452 - C. 1528 ABRAHAM BEN MORDECAI FARISSOL ( France- Italy)

Scholar, cantor, biblical commentator and geographer. He wrote a commentary of the Pentateuch Perachei Shoshanim (The Flower of Lilies), a polemic work defending Judaism Magen Avraham ( The Shield of Abraham ) and his famous Igeret Orchot Olam on cosmography and geography, which was translated into Latin as Tractatus Itinerum Mundi in 1691.Farrisol composed a prayer book for women in 1471 ( revised in 1480.) In it he proposed a radical change in the morning prayer regarding women (see 1471).rn

1452 March 21, CUPIENTES JUDAEOS. Wishing that the Jews

Pope Paul III issued this Bull laying down some of the fundamental privileges for those Jews who converted to Christianity (Neophytes). In order to qualify they had to break all ties with other Jews including family members, and could only marry a born Christian. The Bull protected their property, offer then tax incentives, and gave them full citizenship. Until then Jews who converted had to give over their wealth to the church.

1453 FRANCONIA (Germany)

Bishop Godfrey of Wurzburg (Duke of Franconia), previously a benefactor of the Jews, was persuaded by John of Capistrano to expel them. When Capistrano arrived at Neustadt, Israel Isserlen offered to follow him to the stake to see by what miracles he could save himself - needless to say, Capistrano turned down the opportunity.

1453 - 1821 GREECE

Under Turkish (Ottoman) rule. Jews arrived from Spain, Portugal, and even Poland. For the most part they were free to engage in trade and crafts. Their economic situation varied greatly, depending on the area. In Salonika the Jews controlled much of the trade, to such a degree that the port was closed on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.

1453 May 29, CONSTANTINOPLE (Ottoman Empire)

Fell to the Turks under Mohammed II. Jews were welcomed to settle in the city. Turkey provided a refuge for thousands of Jews who were soon forced to leave the Iberian Peninsula. Prophesies regarding the coming of the messiah began to circulate leading some Jews from Spain to leave to Eretz Israel.

1453 June 2, BRESLAU (Germany)

John of Capistrano led a mock trial of alleged desecrations of the host. The Rabbi hung himself and urged other Jews to commit suicide. Forty-one Jews were burned, their property confiscated, and all children under seven were forcibly baptized.


De Luna, a close confident of king John II, was beheaded under the influence of his queen Isabella of Portugal. De Luna had angered the nobility by appointing first Jews and later substituting them with Conversos to key positions in the court. His act roused jealousy of the nobility against the Conversos , and at the same time showed that Jews themselves were dispensable, possibly leading to their eventual expulsion.rn

1454 (18 Tamuz 5214) CRETE

After a trial that lasted for two years, the nine leading members of the Jewish community who were accused of host desecration were acquitted by a Venetian court. Although further charges were brought claiming that the Jews had bribed the judges, this view was not accepted and the day was celebrated as a semi-holiday for many years by the Jewish community in Crete.


Educator and scribe. She reproduced a copy of a book on Jewish law Kitzur Mordechai for her husband. She also ran a school for young children.

1454 November, NIESZAWA STATUTE (Poland)

Casimir IV revoked the Jewish charter, at the insistence of Bishop Zbignyev Oleshnitzki. The Cardinal had correctly "predicted" Casimir's defeat by the Teutonic Knights backed by the Pope, and succeeded in convincing the King that it was due to the Jews.

1455 CRACOW (Poland)

Due to anti-Jewish agitation and the refusal of the authorities to offer protection, a massacre ensued.

1455 SYRACUSE (Sicily)

Twenty four Jews from all over Sicily chartered a Spanish boat to take them to Eretz Israel without prior permission from the King, Alfonso V. They were arrested by the kings representative, the archbishop of Palermo. After making a large payment, they were released and permitted to leave. Among them was the poet and astronomer Isaac ben Solomon Alhadib (1396- c.1429). Syracuse was considered a city second in importance only to Palermo.


In the bull Si ad Reprimendos (If He Is Preventing) Pope Calixtus III(1378- 1458) prohibited Jews from testifying against Christians, but permitted Christians to testify against a Jew.rnrn


The Converso son of Diego Arias (treasurer to Henry IV) became Bishop of Segovia. Many new Christians attained high positions in both the government and the Church, which led to resentment and jealously on the part of many "old Christians". This paved the way for the acceptance of the Inquisition. Despite his position, Davila was later persecuted by the Inquisition.

1460 - 1497 ELIJAH DEL MEDIGO (Crete)

A distinguished physician, philosopher, translator and kabbalist. He was respected throughout the Italian courts.At the request of Pico della Mirandola the Italian Renaissance humanist and scholar, he translated many of Averroes, the Andalusian-Arab philosophers commentaries into Latin.

C. 1460 - C. 1523 DON JUDAH ABRAVANEL(Abarbanel)(Spain)

Also called Leone Ebreo, he was the son of Don Isaac. While he was in Italy seeking refuge, his son was forcibly taken into the church in Portugal. He is noted for his Dialogues on Love (Dialoghi d'amore) considered one of the most significant works of Renaissance Neoplatonism and had an effect on later philosophers including Spinoza.


A Jewish woman named Perna applied for a physicians license. It is not known whether she received one.

C. 1460 - 1532 ABRAHAM BEN ELIEZER HALEVI (Spain-Eretz Israel)

Scholar and kabbalist aka haZaken to distinguish him from others with that name. He was forced to leave Spain with the expulsion, and spent many years wandering - a fact which had a great impact on him especially regarding the idea of redemption . He reached Jerusalem in 1514 and served as the head of a yeshiva . Ha-Levi wrote numerous books dealing with Kabbalah and the coming of the messiah. They include Masoret ha-Hokhmah ("Tradition of Wisdom"), Ma'amar Perek Helek dealing with Talmudic references. Nevuat ha-Yeled (The Prophecy of the child) Mashreh Kitrin (Untier of Knots) and Iggeret Sod ha-Ge'ullah (The letter about the mystery of redemption") He believed that the age of the Messiah would begin in 1524 ( see 1510).

C. 1460 - 1554 SOLOMON IBN VERGA (Spain-Turkey)

Physician and scholar. His is famed for his Shevet Judah (Staff/ tribe of Judah) a historical chronicle . He relates various persecutions (64 in number), beginning with the destruction of the second temple. Ibn Verga tried to analyze the source of these persecutions, proposing that it is flamed by jealousy, and religious fanaticism both stemming from a lack of education. This said he readily admitted that he was pessimistic as to whether they would do any good. It was first printed in 1550, and translated into Yiddish in 1591, then into Latin, Spanish and German. Although there are questions as to the accuracy of his work, it is considered one of the greatest accomplishments of Hebrew literature during the renaissance rn

1461 August 10, ALFONSO DE ESPINA (Spain)

A Franciscan Bishop, called on king Henry IV of Castile for the immediate establishment of a Spanish inquisition against the Jews. In 1459 De Espina had written Fortalitium fidei in which he condemned both "Judios publicos," public non converted Jews, and "Judios ocultos," secret Jews. He praised as truth all the claims of blood libels, host desecration's and the poisoning of wells. De Espina detailed his plan for the actual implementation of an inquisition. He also called for the total expulsion of all Jews, as the only way for Spain to become a truly Christian country. He is considered by some to be the practical father of the Spanish Inquisition. Henry promised to consider it.

1462 FRANKFURT (Germany)

After intensive pressure by the Church and especially the Pope, the Jews were confined to a special area (ghetto) known as the Judengasse, which was behind gates and walls. Since the ghetto was not permitted to be enlarged, all building within it had to be done vertically.

1462 - 1505 REIGN OF IVAN THE III (The GREAT) (Russia)

The Grand Duke of Muscovy. He was responsible for breaking the Tartars' 240 year hold on Russia. He also laid the basis for a unified Russia.

1462 MONTI DI PIETA (Perugia, Italy)

A free loan association, the Funds of Piety was established by Fra Michele da Milano as a replacement for Jewish money lenders. The problem of usury (charging interest) even pertained to such societies and fierce debate raged as to whether they could take even enough interest to cover expenses. Over the next 50 years, over 30 Monti opened in Italy eventually receiving the pope's blessing (1515) and often Jewish money lenders worked side by side with these institutions.

1462 July 12, ANDREW (Anderl) OF RINN (Austria)

Alleged victim of a ritual murder. He was supposedly bought from his Uncle by four Jewish travelers. The cult of Andrew of Rinn was introduced in 1475, but it became popular only in the 17th century. The local church designed panels describing in detail the "martyrdom" of Anderl at the hands of Jews. Each year there was a procession to his grave. In the 1990's, the bishop of Innsbruck (Bishop Stecher) succeeded in replacing the panels after trying to forbid the cult. There are still people who make the pilgrimage.

1464 April 12, CRACOW (Poland)

Prior to his death in 1456, John of Capistrano had called for a crusade against the Turks. Such a crusade composed of clergy, students impoverish nobles and peasants passed through Cracow, and Lemberg on the third day of Easter where they killed over thirty Jews and plundered their homes. The attacks later expanded to include Posen and the surrounding area. Despite his previous repealing of Jewish privileges King Casimir IV imposed a fine on the city council for allowing the pogrom to take place.

1465 FEZ (Morocco)

Riots broke out after Sultan Abd al-Haqq asked the Jews of Fez for financial help and appointed Harun (Aaron ben Batash),a local Jew to be his prime minister. During the riots the Sultan was murdered and Aaron was executed by having his throat cut. Most of the city's Jews were killed. Some reports claim that thousands were killed with only 11 left alive.

1466 January, SICILY

King John of Sicily gave formal permission to establish a Jewish University in medicine and law. The idea was not acted upon, and in 1492 the Jews were expelled by order of the Spanish crown.

1468 POSEN (Poland)

With conditions similar to that of Cracow (1464), an anti-Jewish riot ensued.

1468 - 1549 ELIAS (ELIJAH BAHUR) LEVITA (Germany-Italy)

Grammarian and Lexicographer. Levita was renowned in his day for his teaching of Hebrew to Christian scholars. His own works include Dikduk Eliyahu Halevi, Pirkei Eliyah and Masoret Hamasoret. Two additional important compositions were Meturgeman (a dictionary) and Tishbi which is a lexicon of Hebrew used in the Talmud. Although invited to Paris in the name of the king to lecture, he refused, stating that it would make it too difficult for him to continue to live as a religious Jew. Levita is credited with writing the first Hebrew-Yiddish dictionary and being the first to publish a Yiddish translation of the Psalms. With all his accomplishments, he is most famed for his adaption of the epic Bovo dAntonia (Anglo-Roman romance, "Sir Bevis of Hamton) into Yiddish, also known as the Bovo Buch (1507). It was the first Yiddish non-religious book, and went through 40 re-printings over the next five centuries.rnrn


A few months after his ascension to the Sultanate (1468-95), he forced the Jews to pay a fee of 75,000 gold pieces or be expelled. This severely impoverished the community.

1468 March 13, KING FERDINAND I (FERRANTE) ( Naples)

Although tyrannical and greedy, he decided to give the Jews full rights of citizenship making it one of (if not the only) place in medieval Europe to do so. Naturally it was for a price, but even this did not last after his death in 1494 when his son Alfonso II assumed the crown.

1469 TOMAS DE TORQUEMADA C. 1420-1498 (Spain)

A Dominican, he became Queen Isabella's confessor. He exerted tremendous influence - especially over the queen - and was instrumental in persuading the king and queen to expel the Jews in 1492. Torquemada - together with Cardinal Mendoza - convinced the pope to establish the Spanish Inquisition. He was appointed Inquisitor General in 1483.

1470 - 1541 (23 Sivan 5301) JACOB POLLACK (Prague-Cracow-Eretz Israel)

The first important Polish-Jewish Rabbinic scholar. He helped establish the talmudic method of study called Pilpul. This complicated and often hair-splitting method of explanation originated in southern Germany. It is called mental acrobatics by some, yet it was also responsible for the development of the sharp talmudic mind.

C. 1470 - 1540 Fernão de Loronha aka FERNANDO DE NORONHA (Portugal- Brazil)

Converso Explorer and Merchant. He arrived in 1503 in Brazil with six ships and a charter allowing his exculsive right exporting brazilwood. Many of his passengers were “New Christians”. De Loronha was instrumental in settling Brazil and even is thought to behind creating the name which had been formally Santa Cruz. The islands of Fernando de Noronha are named after him.

C. 1470 - C. 1550 OBADIAH BEN JACOB SFORNO (Italy)

Biblical commentator and physician. He is mostly known for his commentary of the Pentateuch, as well as Song of Songs and ecclesiastics psalms etc. Sforno had a decidedly humanistic approach, which he combined with an understanding of the literal meaning of the text. He wrote a book on philosophy Ohr Amim (Light of the Nations) which he translated himself into Latin (Lumen Gentium,) . Other works included a translation on Euclid's eight books and Diḳduḳ Leshon 'Ivri, on Hebrew grammar.

1470 September, VALLIDOLID (Spain)

Conversos were attacked by a mob believing that under Isabella's reign, anti-Jewish riots would be legalized. Don Henry IV of Castile interceded and much damage was averted.


Abraham Farrisol proposed in his prayer book for women, to change the morning prayer from "that you made me according to your will" found in the Arba Turim (1270) -"that you made me a woman and not a man." Unfortunately his proposal was not embraced.

1473 March 14, CORDOVA (Spain)

First massacre of New Christians (Marranos or Conversos). This was partly due to the populace's jealousy of the New Christians holding many important positions in the court and society. After the massacre, a decree was issued prohibiting them from living in Cordova. This process of jealousy, accusations, massacre and decree led to the accusations of heresy and, finally, to the Inquisition.

C. 1474 - 1546 (30 Nissan 5306) JACOB BERAB (Beirav) (Morocco)

Rabbi and Halachic Leader. Berab became Rabbi of Fez at the age of 18 and was considered one of the most influential halachic leaders of North Africa, Syria and Eretz Israel. Berab, under the messianic influence of the era, was a strong proponent of reviving the official Semichah program which would then lead to the forming of a new Sanhedrin (a combination of a supreme court and ruling body)(see 1538). It would have been the first since the destruction of the second temple. However it was never instituted, due to differences with other rabbis and his having to leave Eretz Israel.

1474 May 16, SEGOVIA (Spain)

Minister Pacheco used an attack he organized against "New Christians" as a diversion in an attempt to capture the citadel of Segovia (and perhaps the King). Although the plot was discovered in time, the Conversos were attacked anyway by an organized mob. Men, woman and children were murdered.

1474 December, DON HENRY IV (Castile, Spain)

Don Henry IV died, and with his death fell the last barrier to the full persecution of the Jews. His half sister, Isabella, ascended the throne of Castile. Within five years her consort Ferdinand succeeded his father, John II of Aragon, thereby uniting most of Christian Spain.

C. 1475 - 1542 JACOB BEN DAVID TAM IBN YAHYA ( Portugal-Ottoman empire)

Talmudic scholar, physician and authority on Islamic law. Ibn Yahya was appointed chief Rabbi of Constantinople and also served as a physician to Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 15201566). A productive writer, all of his manuscripts were destroyed in a fire. He died a year later. After his death, 213 of his extant responsa were collected under the title Ohale Tam (The Tents of the Pure).

C. 1475 - 1554 BENVENIDA ABRAVANEL (Naples -Ferrara)

International business women, banker , and philanthropist. Daughter of Jacob (d.1528), and niece of Isaac Abravanel (see 1437). She married his son Samuel (1473-1551), a scholar in his own right and financier to Don Pedro de Toledo. Bevenida helped raise the daughter of Don Pedro, Leonora (15221562), which later proved a useful connection. When Donna Gracia ( see 1510) proposed the boycott of Ancona for their anti Jewish policies, Abravanel, who had extensive ties at the port, refused. She was also supportive of the controversial David Reuveni (see 1523. Benvenida together with her husband were active in financing Jewish scholarship, redeeming Jewish captives and using their connections to defend other Jews.

1475 February 18, (10 Adar 5235) FIRST DATED COMPLETE HEBREW BOOK (Reggio DernCalabria, Italy)rn

Rashi's commentaries (without the Bible) was printed by Abraham ben Garton. It is believed that the first printed books in Hebrew began a few years earlier.rn

1475 March 23, SIMON OF TRENT (Italy)

One of the more notorious blood libels. A Franciscan monk, Bernardinus of Feltre, came to Trent and began preaching Lent sermons against the Jews. A week before Easter a boy by the name of Simon drowned in the river Adige. The monk charged the Jews with using the body for its blood. The body washed up a few days later near the house of a Jew who brought it to the Bishop Honderbach. 17 Jews were tortured for over two weeks. Some confessed while being tortured and 6 Jews were burned. Two more were strangled. A temporary hiatus was called by Pope Sixtus IV, but after five years the trial was reopened and 5 more Jews were executed. The papal inquest agreed with the trial, Simon was beatified, and all Jews were expelled for 300 years. The trial served as the basis for anti-Semitic writings for hundreds of years. Only in 1965 was Simon debeatified.

1475 July 3, MESHULLAM CUSI (Italy)

Established the first Hebrew press in Italy at Piove di Sacco near Padua and printed Jacob b. Asher's Arbah Turim. The same year he also printed a Slichot (prayers for the Days of Repentance).

1476 SPAIN

The first Jewish book printed in Spain is the Pentateuch with Rashi's commentaries (showing the importance of Rashi's work).


Ferdinand and Isabella abolished the Jewish aljamas (the self governing Jewish communities) and reaffirmed the anti Jewish edicts of 1380 and 1412 including segregation of Jews and Moslems from the Christian community.

1476 July 24, 1476 BIBLE CODEX LA COURUNA (Spain)

Also knows as the Kennicott bible was completed by Moses ibn Zabara and illustrated by Joseph ibn Chayim. Its rarity lies not only in its early date but the unusual illustrations, which along with animal and floral decorations also include four figures, David, Pinchas, Balam and Jonah.Of the 922 pages 238 are illustrated. It was eventually named after Benjamin Kennicott an 18th century English churchman and Hebrew scholar who acquired the book for Oxford.

1478 November 1, POPE SIXTUS IV (Spain)

At the request of King Ferdinand V ( aka Ferdinand II of Aragon) and Queen Isabella, he issued a Bull Exigit sincer devotioni s empowering them to establish to investigate charges of heresy known as the Spanish Inquisition. Unlike the papal inquisition of 1230, this one was totally under royal authority. This tribunal was established ostensibly to root out "backsliding Jews who had converted, sometimes under duress, to Christianity. Often these Jews - known as New Christians or conversos - succeeded in obtaining high social and political positions which aroused the jealousy on the part of old Christians. Thus, although officially religious in nature, the inquisition was a political tool. Specific signs such as no fires on the Sabbath, no eating of pork, washing hands before eating, turning the face towards the wall when dying, etc., were given to root out those who may have continued to secretly practice Judaism. The Spanish inquisition- which spread to all Spanish and later Portuguese (1536) colonies and possessions - was finally disbanded on July 15, 1834. It is estimated that over 300,000 people were tried (not all for Judaizing) and 30,000 executed.

1479 - 1516 FERDINAND AND ISABELLA (Spain)

Ruled a unified Spain. Isabella was the heiress to the crown of Castile, and Ferdinand heir to the crown of Aragon. Five years after their marriage - which ironically is credited to Jewish and Converso courtiers - they began to reign in Castile, and five years later (1479), over both realms. Both of them, desiring the support of the Church, determined that Spain should be unified under one religion. Isabella and Ferdinand's desire to "protect" the Converso's from Jewish influence, and their belief that the Jews were no longer of major economic importance, led to the final expulsion of the Jews from Spain.

C. 1479 - 1589 DAVID BEN SOLOMON IBN ABI ZIMRA (RaDbaz) (Spain- Eretz-Israel))

Rabbinical leader, Talmudist, and Kabbalist. He served as chief Rabbi of Egypt for 40 years. A productive writer he authored more than 3,000 responsa (halakhic decisions). Among his many works are Metzudat David ("The Tower of David"), Dinei Rabba ve-Zutra ("The Great and Small Decisions") and Divrei David ("Words of David"), Shivim Panim la-Torah ("Seventy Faces to the Torah")

1480 - 1554 JOSEL (JOSEPH) OF ROSHEIM (Germany)

Shtadlan (Court Jew) of Germany. The Shtadlan's job was to intercede with the authorities on behalf of the Jews. In 1514 he and other Jews were charged with torturing the host but were released. Josel dedicated himself to intervening with various rulers. In 1520 he succeeded in obtaining a letter from Charles V protecting the Jews. He published a defense against the attacks of Martin Luther. Josel succeeded in blocking anti-Jewish legislation and defending Jews against charges of ritual murder countless times.

1480 ISRAEL NATHAN (Italy)

Founded the Hebrew printing house of Soncino in Soncino, Italy. Their first book, printed in 1483 under the direction of his son, Joshua Solomon, was a volume of the Talmud (Tractate Brachot). A Bible with vowels was printed with over 400 illustrations in 1488. In all, more than 130 Hebrew books were printed by their various presses over the next 70 years.

1480 - 1543 LEVI IBN HABIB (Ralbach) ( Spain -Jerusalem)

Rabbi and communal leader . When he was a youth he was forcibly baptized by king Manuel of Portugal but upon reaching Salonika, he returned to Judaism. Ibn Habib edited and published his father's Ein Ya'akov ( see1445) and wrote around 150 responsa. As Rabbi of Jerusalem he came into conflict with Jacob Berab over the issue of ordination (see 1583).

1480 September 17, SEVILLE (Spain)

Two Dominican friars were commissioned by Pope Sixtus to begin "investigations" into heresy charges against the conversos in Spain. The first order was for all noblemen to denounce lapsed conversos to the Inquisition. Between 1481 and 1488, approximately 700 men and women were burned at the stake, and approximately 5000 were forced to "repent."

1480 September 17, INVESTIGATIONS BEGIN (Seville Spain)

Two Dominican friars, Juan de San Martin and Miguel de Morillo were commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV to begin "investigations" into heresy charges against the conversos in Spain. The first order was for all noblemen to denounce lapsed conversos to the Inquisition. Between 1481 and 1488, an estimated 700 men and women were burned at the stake, 5000 were forced to "repent" and approximately 3000 families fled .


Joseph di Montagna, a traveler from Italy, reported a thriving community of 300 families in Safed.

1481 February 12, FIRST AUTO DA FE (Seville, Spain)

Six Converso (Marrano) men and six women were burned alive for allegedly practicing Judaism.Diego de Suzan a prominent merchant and the others were turned in by his daughter. The Auto da Fe (Act of Faith) combined the Judicial ceremony of the Inquisition with vociferous sermons. An individual could be denounced for having lapsed back into his old religion or committing heresy. Although the Inquisition and the Auto da Fe was used on anyone accused of heresy, its main victims were Jews. The inquisition accused people of backsliding or heresy for actions such as not eating pig (for whatever reason), washing hands before prayer, changing clothes on the Sabbath, etc. Over two thousand Auto da Fes are said to have taken place in the Iberian Peninsula and its colonies. The number of victims in Spain alone is estimated at 39,912, many of whom were burned alive. Some were burned in effigy. Others, convicted posthumously, were dug up and burned - and the property they left was confiscated from their heirs. Approximately 340,000 people, many of them Jews, suffered at the hands of the Inquisition, although the vast majority were given lesser punishments. The last Auto da Fe was held in 1790.

1482 January, POPE SIXTUS IV

Published his bull Numquam Dubitavimus (He Never Hesitated To). Sixtus permitted Ferdinand to appoint inquisitors to continue with his investigations and to root out any Jewish practice among converts to Christianity.Yet, Sixtus after receiving complaints from conversos regarding illegal procedures, initially protested that the inquisitors were abusing their powers. Ferdinand forcefully rejected the Popes remonstrations and intervention. The popes protest subsided.

1483 - 1485 CUIDAD REAL TRIALS (Spain)

Typical of the trials of the Inquisition, many of the prime witnesses were members of the accused's own family. Fernan Falcon voluntarily testified against many people in the community, including his father. The son of Carolina de Zamora, a monk, swore to see her burned. Juan de la Sierra convinced his mother, Leonor Gonzales, to return to Spain from Portugal. Upon her return she was tortured and burned.


Including Seville and Cordova . Ferdinand knew that this half measure would give him support in the south in his war against Granada, and yet not totally alienate the Jews whom he still needed. This was a foretaste of the edict of 1492 which mentions this expulsion.

1483 October 17, POPE SIXTUS IV (Spain)

Despite his previous protest, Pope Sixtus gave into Ferdinand's pressure (allegedly threatening to withhold military support from his kingdom of Sicily) and extended the authority of the Inquisition to Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia. This consolidated the Inquisition into one central body under Torquemada.

1483 December 19, SONCINO (Italy)

The first tractate of the Talmud (Brachot) was printed by Joshua Soncino. It included Rashi, Tosafot, Piskei Tosafot, and the commentaries of Maimonides and Mordecai b. Hillel.

1484 April 8, ARLES (France)

Local farmers, led by the town's monks, attacked the Jewish section of the town. A number of people were killed and 50 men were forced to accept Christianity.

1484 November 29, OPPOSITION TO INQUISITION ( Saragossa)

After its initial implementation on May 10, a local delegation met with the king requesting that the inquisition be stopped, as it violated the laws of Aragon. The king rejected their petition, and the inquisition though temporarily postponed , returned by the end of 1485.

1485 CRACOW (Poland)

The municipal council "recommended" that the Jewish community "of their own free will" agree to renounce its rights to trades and crafts which would compete with the Christian population - they agreed.


Local Conversos were accused of plotting to assassinate the two newly appointed inquisitors. Under the direction of the mayor, Gomez Manrique , six of them were hung, and local Rabbis were commanded to have their communities report any backsliding of Conversos.

1485 August 1, FRAY DIAGO DE MARCHENA ( Guadalupe, Spain)

A monk at the monastery of St. Jerome, was burned at the stake for Judaizing. A fellow priest, Fray Diego de Burgos was condemned to permanent imprisonment. During the trials, 21 of the 130 friars in Guadalupe were accused of Judaizing. Due to the sensitivity of the issue only two were made public. There are many other cases of active Conversos who took refuge in monasteries .

1485 September 17, PEDRO ARBUES (Spain)

The infamous inquisitor of Aragon was slain. Appointed by Torquemada, he was zealous in finding lapsed "new Christians" to bring before the Inquisition and have them burned alive. He was murdered in church by a group of Conversos which included the elderly Jaime de Montessa the deputy chief justice, in retaliation for his actions against their families. The perpetrators were caught, had their hands cut off, and were then beheaded and quartered. Other leaders such as Francisco de Santa Fe, the grandson of Joshua Ha-lorki (see 1413) ,committed suicide, or as in the case of Juan de la Sanchez (brother of the treasurer Gabriel Sanchez), fled to France. Arbues was canonized in 1867.

1486 FIRST PRAYER BOOK (Siddur) Italy)

Was printed in Italy by Soncino. This was the only time that the Siddur was published during the 15th century. For the most part hand-copied manuscripts (of which there were plenty) were used.

1486 February 12, AUTO DA FE AT TOLEDO (Spain)

The first in that city and one of the most lenient Auto da Fes anywhere. Seven hundred and fifty men and women were paraded through the streets . They were forced to recant, fined 1/5 of their property and permanently forbidden to wear decent clothes or hold office. A similar one on April 12 composed of about 900 people.

1486 April 12, AUTO DA FE AT TOLEDO (Spain)

This time more than 900 people were persecuted and humiliated at the Auto da Fe. Though many suffered on the forced penitential marches, no one was actually killed. The executions would begin only in august of that year.

1488 OVADIA DI BERTINORO (Italy-Eretz Israel)

Arrived in Eretz Israel. As a scholar in Italy he wrote a commentary on the Mishna. In Israel he started a yeshiva and other benevolent institutions and improved Moslem-Jewish relations. He thus helped pave the way for the integration of the Spanish refugees soon to arrive.


Was printed at Soncino.

1488 - 1575 (13 Nissan 5335) JOSEPH CARO (Safed)

A student of the Ari, he published his code of Jewish laws in 1567 after thirty-two years of work on Rav Jacob ben Asher's Arbah Turim. He called his work the Bet Yoseph (House of Joseph). It is better known as the Shulchan Aruch (Prepared Table) since it made every Jewish law available to everyone. Unfortunately, like Maimonides, he was criticized for placing religious growth in "hibernation". His death marked the end of the Rishonim (first commentators) and the beginning of the period of the Acharonim (last) - which continues to the present time.

1488 - 1529 MOSES BEN JACOB OF KIEV (Kaffa (Feodosiya), Crimea)

Aka Moshe Hagoleh- Rabbi , Talmudist and author. In 1506 while visiting Lida (Belarus) he was captured by the Tartars and held for ransom. Once freed he settled in Kaffa where he united members of the different Jewish communities with one siddur ( Prayer book) and one set of customs, known as Minhag Kaffa. There were later adopted by all the communities of the Crimea. His works include Sefer ha-Dikduk,Shushan Sodot, Oẓar ha-Shem, Ozat Nechmad and Sha'arei Ẓedek.

1489 - 1578 ISAAC BEN ABRAHAM AKRISH (Naples, Egypt- Constantinople)

Talmudic scholar, traveler. He was employed in Egypt to teach in the household of David ibn Zimra (see 1479). He used his earnings to purchase rare manuscripts and have them copied. Eventually while traveling the Venetian authorities confiscated them, but he managed to retrieve them and moved them to Constantinople. Unfortunately in 1569 a fire destroyed most of his invaluable collection.

1490 GENEVA (Switzerland)

Jew were expelled and not allowed to return for 300 years. Jews had lived there since their expulsion from France by Philip Augustus in 1182.


By Jacob Pollack (see 1470).

C. 1490 - 1567 Moses Hamon (Amon) (Spain-Turkey)

Renown physician, scholar, philanthropist, and community leader. Hamon served as the chief physician to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 15201566), whom he accompanied on his military expeditions. His treatise, Diseases of the Mouth was the first book on Dentistry written in Turkey. Hamon actively defended the Jewish community from false ritual accusations and interceded with the sultan on behalf of Donna Gracia when her property was threatened due to her secret observance of Judaism.

C. 1490 MUHAMMAD AL-MAGHILI (Tlemcen, North Africa)

A local preacher and Islamic scholar .In his book Tuhfat al-Nazir , he called for the death or expulsion of the Jews in the northern Sahara. The synagogues in Tamantit, Touat and Tlemcen were destroyed. Al-Maghili (1425-1505) set new regulations which restricted Jewish movement in the Saharan borderlands to the northern southern edge from Libya to Morocco and which were in place until 1860. He also succeeded (1492) in convincing the emperor of the Songhai Empire (Western Africa), Askia Mohammad (ca. 1443 1538), to prohibit Jews from living or trading in his kingdom. This included the main trading stop Timbuktu.

1490 April 24, BEHEADING OF THE COURT PHYSICIAN (Muscovite kingdom)

Grand Duke Ivan III had invited one master Leon, a Jewish physician from Venice, to be the court physician. When his son took ill master Leon was instructed to heal him. Unfortunately despite his efforts the Dukes son died (March 15). After the proscribed 40 days of morning, Duke Ivan promptly and publicly beheaded his physician.

1490 December 17, LA GUARDIA BLOOD LIBEL (Spain)

Six conversos and two Jews were accused of killing a child for ritual purposes. Although no child was ever declared missing, they were tortured for over a year by a special inquisition. They were declared guilty on November 14, 1491 of Host Desecration and the taking of the child's heart to use in sorcery. All eight were burned at the stake in the town of Avila and their property confiscated, and used to build the Church and monastery of Santo Tomas of Avila. According to a papal brief (1496) monks descended from Jews were not to be admitted into the church. The child became a saint known as the "Child of La Guardia". Books and plays were written and embellished about him as recently as 1943. The trial was developed and used by the inquisition to demonstrate that the very presence of Jews in the country was a danger to Christianity and was used by the king as a pretext for the soon to be proclaimed edict of expulsion.

1492 (9 Av 5252) SPAIN

The expulsion of the Jews from Spain.

1492 January 2, GRENADA (Spain)

The last Moorish stronghold was overrun, adding even more Jews to Catholic Spain. Under the terms of surrender, the Jewish inhabitants were promised protection by the King and Queen. Within a few months the razing of the Jewish quarter was ordered by Ferdinand V.

1492 March 31, EDICT OF EXPULSION (Spain)

King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile, signed the Alhambra Decree. Since professing Jews were not under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, the Church leveled a ritual murder accusation against them ( see 1490).Thus both Jews and Conversos were ordered to be expelled of from Spain within three months beginning May the first. Jewish leaders, including Don Isaac Abravanel, offered compensation for its annulment but their appeal was rejected. In his plea to the king he wrote, On behalf of my people, the people of Israel,, I declare them blameless and innocent of all crimes declared in this edict of abomination. The crime, the transgression, is for you, not us, to bear". It is estimated that approximately 200,000 Jews (some quote higher numbers) were living in Spain. They were forced to sell all their property and prohibited from taking out any precious metals. Most synagogues were taken over by the church without any compensation. As the borders on the north were only opened for practicing Christians, approximately half of them found temporary sanctuary in Portugal. Another 50,000 fled to friendlier shores (e.g. Turkey) and the rest (approximately 60,000) remained as "Christians". By July 31 no professing Jews were left in Spain.

1492 August 3, COLUMBUS (Spain-America)

Set sail for the New World. His journal recorded the sighting of some vessels carrying Jews away from Spain. The loan for his voyage was advanced by Luis de Santangel, chancellor of the Royal household, and Gabriel Sanchez, high treasurer of Aragon. Both were born into Converso families. Support also came from Alfonso de la Caballeria vice-chancellor of Aragon and also of converso descent.

1492 October 12, LOUIS DE TORRES (Spain-America)

Became the first white man to set foot in the Western Hemisphere landing in San Salvador with Christopher Columbus. De Torres converted to Christianity right before sailing and served as an interpreter for Columbus. He discovered and introduced tobacco into Europe. There is an interesting story relating to Torres who saw a bird he thought to be a peacock and called it a "tuki" (Hebrew for peacock - I Kings X22). Today that bird is known as a turkey. In Spanish one of the names for Turkey is Pavo, which originally referred to a peacock.

1492 October 24, MECKLENBURG (Germany)

Jews were again accused of stabbing a consecrated wafer. Twenty-seven Jews were burned, including two women, and all the Jews were expelled from the duchy. The spot where they were killed is still called the Judenberg.

1493 PRINTING PRESS ( Istanbul)

Within one year of the expulsion from Spain , David & Samuel ibn Nahmias brought in printing press making it the first Hebrew printing press in Istanbul.


Twenty thousand former Spanish Jews arrived during that year. The city was to become one of the main centers for Jews fleeing the Iberian peninsula. By the end of the next century, so many Portuguese Jews found residence there, that it influenced the local Ladino dialect .

1493 BONET DE LATTES (Carpentras-Rome)

Rabbi and astronomer, published a treatise describing his astronomical ring-dial, which could measure solar and stellar altitudes even at night. He later moved to Rome, and served as the physician to both Pope Alexander VI, Pope Leo X.


Sicily became a province of Aragon in 1412. Approximately 37,000 Jews had to leave Sicily. Despite an invitation during the 18th century, Jews, except in extremely small numbers, never returned.

1493 January 31, GENOA (Italy)

During the previous year, Jews fleeing Spain were allowed to land for three days. As of this date this special consideration was cancelled due to the "fear" that the Jews might introduce the Plague (Black Death) into Genoa.

1494 BUTCHERS GUILDS (Kazimierz, Poland (near Cracow)

Limited to four the number of kosher butchers allowed in the entire district.

1494 TYRANU / TRNAVA (Hungary)

Riots began after a blood libel with 16 Jews being burned at the stake. Tyranu was one of the oldest Jewish settlements in Hungary/Slovakia being founded before 1350.

1494 June 29, FIRE IN CRACOW (Poland)

A fire broke out in the Jewish quarter, destroying part of the city of Cracow. The Jews were accused of purposely setting the fire and attacked with many of the Jewish residents trying to defend themselves King John Albert I (14591501) ordered them to leave the city and move to the "suburb" of Kazimierz, which became the first Polish ghetto. Jews were confined to the ghetto until 1868.


Alexander the Grand duke of Lithuania ( brother to king John Albert of Poland) expelled the Jews from his districts including Grodno, Brest, Lutzk, and Troki, and confiscated their properties. He allowed them to return 7 years later and some of their properties were returned.

1495 December 26, SAVONAROLA (Italy)

Expelled the Medici and the Jews from Florence. The Jews, who had previously served as the Medici's bankers, were replaced by the Monte di Pieta, a public loan bank.

1496 - 1578 JOSEPH HACOHEN (Italy)

Physician and historian. Author of Emek Habacha (Valley of Tears), a history of Jewish martyrdom.. He also wrote ( see 1553) Divrei ha-Yamim… ( Chronicles..), becoming one of the few early Jewish historians to deal with non-Jewish themes.


By Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519), but only after the government of Styria agreed to pay him 38,000 florins to compensate him for his loss of revenue from the Jews. In his justification he wrote that Jews have "repeatedly insulted and desecrated the holy sacrament, tortured and killed Christian children and used their blood . cheated people, and impoverished and ruined many noble and other families..."

1496 December 5, (23 Tevet 5257) MANUEL OF PORTUGAL

During the first year of his reign he befriended the Jews, but his desire to unite the Iberian Peninsula through marriage to the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella changed all that. Four years after the expulsion of Jews from Spain, he ordered them expelled from Portugal within 11 months (October 31, 1497). As his real desire was not to see the Jews leave, he only opened one port, which first forced most of them to remain behind after the designated date, and then forced them to be baptized.

1497 January 6, GRAZ (Austria, Holy Roman Empire)

Emperor Maximilian I expelled the Jews. Jews had been settled there since 1160, thirty years after the town was established.


King Manuel, in an effort to prevent the Jews from fleeing the persecutions, secretly ordered the baptism of all children between the ages of four and fourteen.


By Prince (later king) Alexander, he forced most of the Jews to forfeit their property or convert. The main motivation for the expulsion was to cancel the debts owed by the nobles to the Jews. Within a short time trade ground to a halt and the Prince was forced to invite the Jews back in with some of the properties returned to them.


The ten year old daughter of Juan Esteban, a shoemaker, claimed that in a vision she spoke with Elijah the prophet. She related that the messiah would come in March 1500. Ines urged the Conversos to return to their beliefs and practices. Many people, mostly women and children , believed in her. Over 100 of her followers were murdered by the inquisition. Ines, was burned as well. She was twelve years old at the time of her death. Others appeared in towns including Chillion, and Agudo, and even later in Mexico (see 1596), all predicting the coming of the Messiah and the resurrection of the dead.

1499 March 11, VERONA (Italy)

Jews were banished from the province and their position as the territory bankers was taken over by Christians. The Jews were asked to return after only a short period of time, owing to the usurious interest rates charged by the Christians.

1499 April 21, NEW CHRISTIANS (Portugal)

Were forbidden to leave Portugal, including those who had been forcibly baptized.


An estimated 20-30,000 Jews were living in Poland. Within 75 years the number of Jews would reach 150,000.

1500 - 1558 CHARLES V OF HAPSBURG (Holy Roman Empire)

Was generally protective of the Jews. In 1520 he refrained from demanding the customary coronation tax. In 1530 Charles V reconfirmed the "privileges"/charter he had granted to the Jews and defended them through the encouragement of Josel of Rosheim against Martin Luther.

1500 - 1568 GARCIA DE ORTA (Portugal-India)

Converso scientist and physician. He is known as "the first European writer on tropical medicine and a pioneer in pharmacology." In 1580, more then ten years after his death, he was condemned by the Inquisition and his remains were thrown into the sea.

1500 - 1532 SOLOMON MOLCHO (Diego Peres)

Converso and pseudo messiah. He became so impressed with Reuveni (1524) that he reconverted to Judaism. He predicted correctly an earthquake in Portugal and a flood in Rome. At first Pope Clement VII befriended him, after his predictions came true. He traveled with David Reuveni to Charles V to convince him to let the Jews fight against the Turks (see 1532). Charles V had him killed.

1500 - 1559 (1 Kislev 5319) SOLOMON SHAKNA (Shachne) BEN JOSEPH (Lublin, Poland)

Student of Jacob Pollack. He was called to serve as the Chief Rabbi of Little Poland (1541). He was known as a great talmudist and pilpulist, and helped adapt Caro's Shulchan Aruch to Northern Jewry. He refused to write any halachic work out of fear that it would be taken as a final word.

1500 ASHER LEMLEIN ( Venice)

Announced that the messiah would be coming within two years. His call for repentance, fasting and preparation for the messiah spread to western and central Europe. Little is know about the effect of his pronouncements on the Jewish community at large . Johann Pfefferkorn, (see 1509) in his pamphlet The Jew glass Der Juden Speigel (1505) ridiculed Lemlein, and called for his brother Jews to convert as he did.

1502 - 1736 SAFAVID DYNASTIES (Persia)

Under its first Shah Ismail I brought Shia (Shiite) Muslim rule to Persia. All non Muslims are now considered unclean. Jews are forbidden to coming into any physical contact with Muslims.

C. 1502 - 1578 PEDRO NUNES (Portugal)

Influential mathematician and royal, cosmographer. His book De arte atque ratione navigandi - On the art and science of navigation was one of the important contributions of his day. He is considered the inventor of the marine navigational rhumb line (loxodrome) which is a line crossing all meridians of longitude at the same angle. Nunes was not bothered by the inquisition, since he was the teacher of the Inquisitor General Cardinal D. Henrique but in 1620 his grandchildren were questioned.


King of Poland (1501-1506) allowed the Jews to return to Lithuania eight years after he expelled them while serving as grand duke of Lithuania. He also appointed Jacob Pollack as Chief Rabbi (see also 1470).

1504 December 27, MOSCOW (Russia)

"Proselytizing" Jews in Moscow and Kiev were expelled after a few high officials converted to Judaism.

1505 - 1584 SOLOMON B. MOSES HALEVI AL KABETZ (Turkey-Safed, Eretz Israel)

Kabbalist and author of Lecha Dodi (Come My Beloved), a mystical song still chanted Friday evenings in most synagogues as a greeting to the Sabbath. He is credited by some as establishing the custom of staying awake all night on Shevuot reciting Tikkun Leil Shavu'ot. In addition to many Kabbalistic works (e.g. Amarot Tehorot), he wrote Biblical commentaries (e.g. Ayyelet Ahavim, Divrei Shelomo) and an explanation of the prayers Beit Tefillah.

1505 December 12, CESKE BUDEJOVICE (Bohemia)

Ten Jews were tortured and killed after being accused by a local shepherd of killing a local girl. Years later, on his deathbed, the shepherd confessed he made up the whole story.

1506 - 1589 (2 Cheshvan 5350) SAMUEL Di MEDINA (The Maharashdam) (Salonika, Greece)

Rabbi, leader and one of the outstanding Halachic authorities of his time. Although Medina suffered from both financial difficulties and health problems, he established a Yeshiva in Salonika which was supported by Donna Gracia Mendes. His fame was such that many of his Halachic decisions (over 1000 were published) were also accepted in Eastern Europe.

1506 - 1548 REIGN OF SIGISMUND I. JAGIELLON (Yaghello) ( Lithiuania / Poland)

Sigismund I, aka Sigismund the Old (1467-1548), succeeded his brother Alexander and was considered a liberal ruler granting rights and "privileges" (a charter) to the Jews of Lithuania. His attitude to the Jews in Poland especially in the larger cities, was tainted by the pressure from Christian merchants and the magistracy which resented any competition from Jewish merchants. rnrn

1506 - 1589 SAMUEL BEN MOSES DE MEDINA (Thessaloniki)

Known as the RaShDaM. One of the great halachic authorities whose decisions are still quoted today. He published more than 1000 responsa.

1506 April 19 - 21, LISBON (Portugal)

During a service at St. Dominics Church, some of the people thought they saw a vision on one of the statues. Outside, a newly converted Jew raised doubts about the "miracle". He was literally torn to pieces and then burned. The crowd, led by two Dominican monks, proceded to ransack Jewish houses and kill any Jews they could find. During the next few days countrymen, hearing about the massacre, came to Lisbon to join in. Over two thousands Jews were killed during these three days.

1506 August 9, PRINCE FEODOR YAROSLAVITCH (Lithuania)

Established the community of Pinsk. At the same time, he reconfirmed the rights given to the Jews by King Alexander Jagello, king of Lithuania/Poland. By the beginning of the 18th century Jews became the majority of the town and remained such until July 4, 1941 when the Germans entered the city. The final "aktion", which took place on Oct. 28, 1942, left alive only 150 artisans, who were killed a few months later.


Complained that "Practically every ship [is] field with Hebrews and New Christians."

1509 - 1564 JOHN CALVIN (France-Switzerland)

Founded his own form of Protestantism which led to Puritanism in England. Calvinism spread to the Netherlands, where its humanism helped establish a refuge for Spanish and Portuguese Jews. Although he often accused his opponents of Judaizing - and one Servetus was actually burned at the stake due to a dispute with him - Calvin placed unusual emphasis on the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments.

1509 August 19, FRANKFURT (Germany)

Battle of the Books. Johann Pfefferkorn, an apostate Jew, convinced Maximillan I to destroy all Jewish books, especially the Talmud. A gentile, Johann von Reuchlin, who was a noted humanist, scholar and student of the Zohar, defended the books. The battle was decided in von Reuchlin's favor, and the decree was voided. Such challenging of the Church by Christian scholars - on its own ground - helped bring about the Reformation and the revolt against the Church.


The first known printing of a book in Ladino. Ladino is a Judeo-Spanish dialect which spread to the Levant as well as the Ottoman Empire after the expulsion from Spain in 1492. Ladino is printed in Hebrew script similar to Yiddish. The first translation of the bible was a book on Psalms in 1540 published in Constantinople.


A rabbinical leader and apocalyptic Kabbalist (see 1460) wrote letters proclaiming the year 1524 as the beginning of the arrival of the Messiah. HaLevi, who was originally from Spain, spent many years wandering after the expulsion until he settled in Jerusalem in 1514. There Ha-Levy who was widely respected for his scholarly knowledge, urged people to repent and make themselves ready for the redemption. He believed that the ascension of the Ottoman empire as well as the episode of David Reubeni were signs. Halevi's letters unfortunately paved the way for the acceptance of messianic pretenders such as Molcho (see 1500) and Shabbetai Zevi (see 1626).

1510 - 1573 (12 Kislev 5334) SOLOMON LURIA (The Maharshal) (Brest-Litovsk)

A contemporary of Solomon Shakna, he represented an opposing view in talmudic study, as he believed in plain but lucid methods. He was also the author of the Yam Shel Shlomo (Sea of Solomon) on several volumes of the Talmud, and Chokmat Shlomo (Wisdom of Solomon) in which he corrected many faulty readings in the Talmud, Rashi and the Tosafot.

C. 1510 - 1569 DONNA GRACIA MENDES NASI (Beatrice de Luna) (Portugal-Italy-Turkey)

Philanthropist and Jewish Leader of Converso extract. She married a banker and merchant, Francisco Mendes, also a Converso, and was widowed with a daughter at age 26. Moving to Antwep to join the banking business with her brother-in-law Diogo Mendes, they established an underground organization to help fleeing Conversos. In Ferrara, she declared her Judaism and took on the name Nasi. She later relocated to Constantinople where she used her wealth for various philanthropies including establishing yeshivot, synagogues, and feeding the poor. When in 1555 the Italian city of rn Ancona burned 25 Conversos, she tried to organize a boycott of the port but was opposed by rabbinical authorities and some merchants including Benvenida Abravanel. She passed on her influence to her son-in-law and nephew, Don Joseph Nasi.

1510 July 19, BRANDENBURG (Germany)

Jews were accused of desecrating the host and stealing church vessels. Joachim the Elector had thirty-eight Jews burned at the stake in the market place along with the real offender (a Christian). Another two accepted Christianity and were mercifully beheaded. Soon after, all the Jews were expelled from the entire electorate of Brandenburg. All the accused were proved completely innocent at the Diet of Frankfurt in 1539, and those that left were permitted to return.

1510 November 23, NAPLES (Italy)

The Jews were expelled. Fifteen years earlier the Spanish had conquered the island and within a year had issued an order for the banishment of all Jews, which was never carried out. Now the community, which had existed since Roman times, was forced out. The only Jews remaining were the "New Christians" (who were to be expelled 5 years later) and 200 wealthy families, who paid a new annual tax for such tolerance.

1511 - 1548 BOMBERG PRINTING HOUSE (Venice, Italy) (Daniel Bomberg) (d. c. 1550)

A pioneer printer. Despite his name, Daniel Bomberg was not Jewish. The son of an Antwerpen burgher, Cornelius von Bomberghen, he was shown the possibilities of printing Hebrew books by the apostate Jew, Felice da Prato, who had a printing license from the Pope. Bomberg moved to Vienna where he was able to obtain a similar license. His printing house published a total of more than 200 books, including the first Mikraot Gedolot (see 1517), which combined the Pentateuch with many commentaries on the same page and which is still used today. Bomberg is also credited with the first complete printing of both the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud (see 1523).


A Converso and famous physician, he had to flee from Portugal to Belgium to Salonika before he found freedom from the Inquisition. His major work, Centuries, a seven volume composition of medical case histories, was published many times.

1511 June 6, SICILY

The first Auto da Fe was held. Eight former Spanish converts were accused of practicing Judaism and were executed.


The Jewish community was expelled after rival princes could not agree on who should receive the Jewish taxes.

1513 - 1521 POPE LEO X

An enlightened clergyman from the Medici family, he even encouraged Hebrew scholarship.

1514 - 1578 AZARIAH DE ROSSI (Ferrara, Italy)

Scholar and author of Me'or Enayyim (Light of the Eyes), a book on Jewish history (see 1575). A descendant of one of the first Jewish families in Italy (Min Ha'Adumim), he introduced the scientific method of comparing sources to Jewish study. De Rossi earned the ire of many when he proved that Jossiphon was actually written in the medieval times and was not reliable as a historical work.

1514 June 14, AZEMMOUR (Morocco)

A Portuguese-run free city which offered "privileges" (/a charter) to Jews fleeing from Portugal.

C. 1515 - C. 1587 GEDALIAH IBN YAHYA (Italy)

Talmudist and historian . He wrote more than 20 works only a few which are in existence. He worked on his Sefer Shalshelet ha-Ḳabbalah, (" Chain Of Tradition") for 40 years. It included philosophy kabbalah genealogy and the history of his time . His work has been criticized as not always accurate, but is important none the less.

1515 January 1, LAIBACH AUSTRIA

Acting on the petition of its citizens, Emperor Maximilian I (1459- 1519) expelled the Jews from Laibach. Only in 1867 were the Jews once again give the right to settle in the city.

1516 JEWISH GHETTO (Venice, Italy)

Was established. It was called the Ghetto Nuovo or the New Foundry. The basis for the ghetto is found in the Cannon of the third Lateran Council (1179), forbidding Jews and Christians to live together. In France it was called the Carrire des Juifs, and in Germany the Judengasse or Judenstadt. The ghetto era was to last almost 300 years, though later also revived by the Nazis.


Under Selim I (1512-20), ("the Grim"), it conquered Syria and Eretz Israel from the Mamluks. The Ottoman reign was to last 400 years. Under it, Jerusalem and Safed became the two major centers of Jewish populations in Eretz Israel. The manufacturing of firearms, which had been brought to the empire by exiled Jews, played a major role in Selim's victory.


Broke the Roman Catholic hegemony over Europe.

1517 - 1583 NICOLAS DE NICOLAY (France)

Soldier, cartographer, and spy. In 1551, he joined the second expedition sent by King Henry II of France (1519 1559) to the Ottoman Empire. He returned with over 800 drawings of sites, cities, islands, ports, castles and fashion, and was appointed Gographe et valet de chambre du roi (Geographer and Valet to the Chamber of the King). In 1565 he was asked by Catherine de Medici, Henrys widow, to prepare a description of the provinces of the French kingdom. He is also believed to have also made a terrestrial globe.


Jews make up 54% of the population.

1517 January 24, SAFED ATTACKED

During the conflict between the Mamluks and the Ottoman Turks over control of the area, the Jewish community was attacked by retreating Mameluke forces and local Arabs. Many Jews were killed and their homes plundered. The Jews of Egypt under Rabbi Nissan Bibas helped the victims and the rehabilitation of the town. The Jews in Hebron were attacked as well. Most fled to Beirut, not returning for the next 16 years.

1517 December 21, (27 Kislev 5278) VENICE, THE MIKRAOT GEDOLOT

The first Pentateuch with Biblical commentaries was printed by Daniel Bomberg. It was also the first Bible to be divided into chapters.


Were found on the wall of many churches claiming "The Messiah has not come. Jesus was not the true Messiah." Expansive rewards were offered to find the perpetrator. The Conversos fearful of the reaction posted an announcement declaring that" I the author, am neither Spaniard nor Portuguese, but an Englishman" Despite this the author Manuel da Costa was caught and confess after his hands were cut off and he was stretched on the rack. The he was publicly burned.

1519 February, HERNAN CORTÉS'S

Army lands on the Yucatan Pennisula on the way to conquer what will become Mexico. It includes 100 conversos

1519 February 21, RATISBON (Regensburg, Germany)

Upon the death of Maximillian, the Jewish community of approximately 800 (one of the oldest in Germany), was expelled. The synagogue was destroyed and a chapel built in its place. About 5,000 gravestones were taken the Jewish cemetery and used for building.

1520 HILDESHEIM (Germany)

After over 60 years of no Jews being allowed to live there, a residence permit was granted to Grosse Michel, known as "Jud Michel". According to legend, he was the illegitimate son of one of the dukes of Regenstein. Michel was a wealthy financier who lived in a high life style and was protected by Joachim II, elector of Brandenburg. When one of the dukes of Regenstein reneged on a loan, he threatened, then burned down his fields. Numerous accusations were brought against him and his wife over the years, including poisoning wells. He died in 1549 from falling down a flight of stairs in peculiar circumstances.

1520 - 1592 BEZALEL BEN ABRAHAM ASHKENAZI (Eretz Israel)

Talmudist and Jewish leader. As Rabbi of Jerusalem he succeeded in renewing life there, raising money abroad and encouraging immigration to Eretz Israel. He is especially remembered for his collecting of old manuscripts of the Chidushim (Novella) of the Geonim (6th-10th c.) and Rishonim (10th to mid 15th c.) on the Talmud. His indispensable compendium, known today as the Shitah Mekubbezet, has preserved much of these commentaries and is used by most students of Talmud to this day.

C. 1520 - 1603 SOLOMON ABENAES (Even Yaish) (Portugal-Ottoman Empire-Turkey)

Born into a converso family under the name Alvaro Mendes, he acquired his wealth though diamond mining. He reverted to Judaism upon reaching Turkey in 1580. He served the Turkish court in many functions, including finance and foreign affairs. Abenaes was a strong proponent of a Anglo-Turkish alliance against Spain and used his spy network to bring the news of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. He received renewal of the grants of Don Joseph Nasi in Eretz Israel and was a strong supporter of Jewish life there.

C. 1520 COUNCIL OF THE (FOUR) LANDS (Vaad/ Kahal) (Poland)

Was set up in Poland, with a separate council established in Lithuania. Its official objective was to help collect Jewish taxes for the government. In reality it had the status of a court and oversaw much of Jewish life. It also tried to serve as the representative of the Jewish communities and ensure that all rights and "privileges" were kept. Very few Jews had any say as to who was elected to serve in the councils, a point which led to much friction. The "Council of the Four Lands" generally consisted of: the provinces of Great Poland (capital: Poznan) and Little (Lesser) Poland (capital: Cracow); "the Lvov Land"; and the province of Volhynia. At times the council may have only included 3 "lands", and at its zenith it included 18 units. The council was abolished by the Polish Sejm in 1764.

C. 1520 - 1572 (18 Iyar 5332 Lag BaOmer) MOSES ISSERLES (The Rama) (Poland)

The son-in-law of Shalom Shakna. He served as Rosh Ha (Head of the) Yeshiva in Cracow. His main work was the adaptation of Caro's Shulchan Aruch to European Jewry, called Mappah Hashulchan (The Tablecloth). An earlier work, Darke Moshe Hakatzar (The Ways of Moses Abridged) was written on the Tur (see 1270). He was also known for the almost 100 responsa he published. Isserles tried to strengthen the stature of many customs, elevating them almost to the level of commandments. On the other hand, he was very lenient when it came to cases of stress or financial loss.

1520 - 1579 (7 Av 5339) DON JOSEPH NASI (Joao Migues, Duke of Naxos) (Portugal-Ottoman Empire[Turkey])

Nephew and son-in-law to Donna Gracia (Beatrice de Lune). After fleeing Portugal, this rich merchant, adventurer and friend of Maximillian re-established himself in Turkey. Once there, both he and Donna Gracia did much to help the fleeing Conversos. As a high member of the Turkish Court, he planned a resettlement of Tiberias. In 1561, the sultan confirmed Donna Gracia's concession and the walls were rebuilt in 1564. He sent out invitations to various communities in Italy but it is not known if any major immigration took place. Unfortunately, he became involved in other political affairs, and fell from favor during the war against Venice.


Salonika became the city with the largest Jewish population. According to an official census, it had 3,143 families and 530 singles, adding up to over 15,000 people - more than half of the total population. This was mainly due to the influx of Spanish refugees. Istanbul had 1,647 Jewish households, or 10% of the entire population.


Published Derech Emunah "Way to Faith". He urged all Jews including converso's not to abandon Judaism.

1522 GERSHOM BEN SOLOMON KOHEN (d. 1544) (Bohemia)

Produced a beautiful Hagaddah which contained over 60 wood cuts. Kohen was the founder of the first family of Hebrew printers in central Europe in Prague. He also published various prayer books including a machzor and Pentateuch.

1522 - 1570 (22 Tamuz 5330) MOSES CORDOVERO (Ramak) (Safed, Eretz Israel)

Rabbi, philosopher and early Kabbalist. Cordovero was a student of Joseph Caro and a teacher of Isaac Luria. His classic Pardes Rimonim (Orchard of pomegranates) which he completed when he was just 27, developed for the first time a system for interpreting the Kabbalah. Among his other works are Elimah Rabati, also on kabalistic systems, Tefilah L'moshe on Prayers, and Tomer Devorah (Date palm of Deborah) which developed Kabalistic ethical literature.

1522 GIL GONZALEZ DE AVILA (Central America)

A "New Christian", became governor after defeating a local tribe headed by an Indian Chief named Nicarao.

1522 Stephen IV Stefanita" (Moldavia)

Prince of Moldavia ruled between 1517 to 1527 . He withdrew all previous rights previously given to Jewish merchants.

1523 CRANGANORE (Malabar Coast, India)

The Portuguese conquered the city, resulting in the destruction of its Jewish community. Most refugees fled to the city of Cochin.

1523 ELIJAH CAPSALI (c. 1483-1555) (Crete)

Published Seder Eliyahu Zuta. Capsali was a rabbi and historian and his book deals with the history of the Ottoman Empire, focusing on the persecutions and expulsions from Spain and Portugal. It is a primary resource of that time period.

1523 - 1533 POPE CLEMENT VII

Another Medici Pope who continued and expanded the policies of Leo X regarding the Jews.


Only allowed immigration to those who could prove four generations of Catholic ancestry. In spite of this, many Conversos succeed in purchasing "Purity of Blood" (limpieza de sangre) certificates.

1523 June 3, VENICE (Italy)

After four years of effort the final tractate of the entire Babylonian Talmud was printed by Bomberg.

1524 DAVID REUVENI (Italy-Portugal)

Arrived in Rome claiming to be a representative of the Ten Lost Tribes and requesting assistance from Clement VII to fight the Turks. Though he was burned at an Auto da Fe in Portugal in 1552, his effect on his fellow Jews was to raise their self-esteem, knowing that somewhere there existed a strong and independent part of Israel.

1524 February 24, (27 Adar 5284) PURIM CAIRO (Egypt)

Celebration of the deliverance from the self-proclaimed Sultan Ahmed Shaitan. The Sultan, upset with being rejected as Grand Vizier, ordered his Jewish coinager, Abraham de Castro, to print his likeness and title of Grand Vizier on coins. When De Castro fled, the Sultan got his revenge by ordering the Jewish community to choose between paying a massive fine or being killed. On the last day before the Sultan's edict would have been enforced, he was assassinated by one of his viziers.

C. 1525 - 1609 (18 Elul 5369) JUDAH LOEW BEN BEZALEL (Maharal of Prague) (Bohemia)

Brilliant Talmudist, mathematician and astronomer. He was respected and admired by Emperor Randolph II. A famous legend arose that he made a man of clay and gave him life by putting God's name into him. The story became widely known, giving birth to novels, plays and operatic works. This being, known as the Golem, was said to have served the community until disabled by his master.

1525 - 1594 RODRIGO LOPEZ (Portugal-England)

A Converso physician. He supposedly arrived in England as Francis Drake's prisoner of war. He rose in importance to become Queen Elizabeth's physician (1586). He was accused by other members of the court, including the Earl of Essex, and the Portuguese pretender Dom Antonio,of being a Spanish spy who was trying to poison the Queen, and arrested, but the Queen refused to carry out the death sentence. On June 7, 1594, she finally consented and he was hanged. He was vilified as being a "Jew" throughout his trial.

1525 GAZA

Ninety- five Jewish families were registered as paying taxes. There was a Jewish community in Gaza more of less continuously, from Talmudic times until 1929.

1525 - C. 1590 Leone de' Sommi ( Italy)

Italian playwright. He wrote the first discourse on the art of stage direction. While almost all of his plays were written for the non Jewish audience, it is believed that he is also the author of the only known Hebrew comedy prior to the 18th century Tzachut bedichuta d'kidushin (A Comedy of Betrothal). Unfortunately almost all of his plays were destroyed in a fire.rn

1525 - 1593 DAVID DE' POMIS ( Italy )

Physician, philosopher, Rabbi, and linguist. He was forced to move from place to place according to where the current pope allowed Jews to practice medicine. His De Medico Hebraeo Enarratio Apologica, refuted charges made against Jewish physicians by Pope Gregory XIII. He is most renowned for his Tzemach David Offspring of David ),a Hebrew -Aramaic,Latin, and Italian dictionary.

1526 March 30, ANTWERP (Belgium)

Emperor Charles V, ruler of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, issued a general safe-conduct to the Portuguese "New Christians" and Conversos (though not to professing Jews), allowing them to live and work in Antwerp. Although they still had to live under cover, they were safe from the Inquisition which was not recognized and allowed to work in the Southern "Low Countries," though they were under Spanish rule. Only after the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), when Antwerp passed to Austrian rule, were the Jews able to live there openly. Charles was the grandson of Ferdinand V as well as Emperor Maximilian I.

1526 November 9, HUNGARY AND CROATIA

Following the short occupation by the Ottoman Empire of Buda, the Jews were expelled after being falsely accused by the Hapsburgs of aiding the Turks against Hungary. Many Jews had left Hungary with the departing Turks in hopes of a better life. Jews were not allowed to return for almost 200 years.

1527 May 16, ROME WAS SACKED (Italy)

By troops of Charles V in his fight against the League of Cognac which consisted of France, England, Pope Clement VII, Venice, and Florence. Although Jews suffered with the rest of the population, their lot would soon worsen under the Counter-Reformation.

1527 June 16, FLORENCE (Italy)

With the expulsion of the Medici family (as in 1495) the Jews were again ordered to leave. Their actual expulsion was delayed until 1531, when Alessandro de Medici became duke and the order was rescinded.

1528 - 1601 MORDECHAI MEISEL (Prague, Bohemia)

One of the first great Court Jews. He was extremely wealthy and a generous philanthropist.

1528 October 17, FIRST AUTO DA FE (Mexico)

And the first Auto da Fe that took place in the new world One of its first victims was Hernando Alonso. One of Cortes' conquistadors, he is considered the first Jew to have arrived in Mexico, He was burned at the stake with another "Judaizer". The official office of the inquisition would follow only in 1571.


Was published in the sixteenth century. Sefer HaYirah (Book of Fear), was originally composed by Jonah Gerondi the Hasid in the thirteenth century.

1530 ROME (Italy)

After a long siege, the Republican government was finally disposed and Jews were allowed to return.


Opened the first Hebrew printing house in Cracow. In 1537 they converted to Christianity and petitioned King Sigismund I to force the Jews to buy their books (which the Jews had boycotted since their conversion). (See 1539)


After three years of pressure by local merchants and officials, King Sigismund I agreed to ban Jews from having stores in the market place. The official rationale given by the merchants was that the presence of Jews might lead to "great temptations and even to seduction from the path of the true faith."

1530 August 12, GERMANY

A charter was granted to the Jews despite the protests of Martin Luther. Josel of Rosheim, the famous shtadlan or interceder, was instrumental in its passing.


Poet, scholar and traveler. Dahiri traveled for ten years throughout the east including India, Persia, Syria, and Eretz Israel. He provided essential details of Jewish life in Safed and Tiberius. In 1568 upon his return to Yemen he was imprisoned for a short while with other Jews. It was then, that he began his travelogue Sefer Hamusar. Aside from describing the places he visited and the great luminaries he met (Joseph Caro, Moses Cordovero, Moses di Trani), he also provided us with a window into the difficult life of Jews in Yemen. He wrote other works including Tzeida Laderekh ( Provisions For The Way) a commentary on the Pentateuch.

1531 December 17, PORTUGAL

Under pressure from King John III, Pope Clement VII appointed Frei Diogo da Silva, the king's confessor, as the Inquisitor General. Frei Diogo never took up his post, and was accused of being in the pay of the New Christians.(see 1533).


Were arrested by Charles V. Molcho was accused of being a Church renegade and burned at the stake in the first Auto da Fe held in Evora, Portugal on November 7 of that same year. Reuveni was sent to Spain where he was also probably burned at the stake, probably at Badajoz Spain in 1538.

1533 - 1600 ELEAZAR BEN MOSES AZIKRI (Safed, Eretz Israel)

Kabbalist, ascetic scholar and poet. Azikri divided his waking ours into two-thirds writing and one-third silent contemplation. His Sefer Hareidim arranged the commandments according to time and the limbs of the body. His best known poem was Yedid Nefesh (Faithful Friend) which is in all prayer books and recited in most synagogues and homes on Shabbat. Another well-known poem ascribed to him is Bilvavi Yivneh beitcha (In my heart I will build your house).

1533 - 1594 ISAAC BEN ABRAHAM OF TROKI (near Vilna Lithuania)

Karaite scholar, physician, and writer. He was fluent in a number of languages including Latin and Polish and was well versed in Christian texts and arguments. These he used to write his famous Chizuk Emunah, Fortification of Faith a two volume work which defended Judaism against Christian polemics. His book (which was praised even by Voltaire) was unique and had a strong influence on both Jews and anti clerical non Jews. It was translated into Latin, Yiddish, German, Spanish, and even English.

1533 April 5, DUARTE DE PAZ (Portugal)

An emissary of the New Christians of Portugal succeeded in gaining from Pope Clement VII a postponement of the establishing of the Inquisitions against New Christians in Portugal. The pope issued the , Bulla de Perdao, which was essentially a pardon for all past offenses. Unfortunately, the pope died a few years later, and the Inquisition was officially established (1536).

1534 CRACOW (Poland)

The first book to be printed in Yiddish, a biblical dictionary and concordance Mirkevet HaMishnah Sefer Rebbi Anshel was published. The earliest works in Yiddish, mostly verse and biblical epics, were composed probably 100 years earlier.

1534 - 1572 (5 Av 5332) ISAAC LURIA (HaAri Hakadosh - Sacred Lion) (Egypt-Eretz Israel)

Born in Jerusalem, he moved as a child to Egypt where he became a scholar and began to study Kabbalah. There he spent seven years in isolation on an island on the banks of the Nile, visiting his family only on the Sabbath. He wrote a commentary on Sifra di- Zeniuta, an important section of the Zohar. In 1569 he moved to the "Holy City" of Safed, and became known as the founder of modern Kabbalah. His most famous pupil was Hayim Vital. Joseph Caro also studied Kabbalah with him. The latter was responsible for disseminating his ideas. The Ari was also known as a liturgical poet and many of his songs were published in a manuscript called Har Nof. Some of these hymns (including Yom Ze LeYisrael) are still sung on Shabbat during the meals in many Jewish homes.

1535 - 1612 (3 Adar II 5372) MORDECAI BEN ABRAHAM JAFFE (Prague, Bohemia)

Rabbi, halachist and Jewish leader. Jaffe, a student of Moses Isserles and Solomon Luria, was one of the important codifiers of Jewish Law. He also studied philosophy and astronomy. His work Levushim (Garments), taken from the scroll of Esther 8:15, included opinions as well as the decisions of Beit Joseph. He wrote it from concern that Caro's Shulchan Aruch was too abbreviated. Jaffe was instrumental in setting up the Council of the Four Lands and was the successor of Judah Lowe (The Maharal) to the chief court (Av Bet Din) of Prague.


Pope Paul III issued a charter to the (mostly foreign) Jews of Ancona. One of the most expansive of its kind, it included allowing them to bear arms and not to be forced to hear conversationalist sermons. A similar but more limited charter was also written for the Jews of Rome the same year.

1535 July 21, TUNIS

Was sacked by the Spaniards. The Jewish community was destroyed.


Were granted the right to live in the Netherlands by Charles V.

1536 May 23, PORTUGAL

Pope Paul III, acting upon the petition of King John III, issued a Bull providing for the establishment of an Inquisition based on the Spanish archetype to begin in 1539. The first inquisitor was John de Mello a doctor of Papal law. The first grand inquisitor was Diogo da Silva but he was soon asked to resign being considered "too weak". In 1544, after numerous bribes, it was again postponed for three years but reestablished permanently in 1547. The last Auto da Fe in Portugal was held in October 1791. Over the years (until 1821) there were more then 40,000 recorded cases tried before the Portuguese Inquisition, with 30,000 condemnations (though many of these were reconciled).

1538 - 1639 JOSEPH (di) TRANI ( Greece

Rabbi and Scholar known as the MaHarit . He authored a major responsa entitled Sheelot u-Teshuvot as well as novella on parts of the Talmud.

1538 SINAN REIS (Ciphut Sinan) (Greece)

A Jewish pirate and second in command to Barbarossa. He destroyed much of the Spanish fleet off the port in Pleveza, Greece. A short while afterwards his son was captured by Charles V and send to Elba. In 1544 Barbarossa sailed to Elba and demanded his release. Upon being refused, he attacked the fort and returned the boy to his father. Sinan flew a flag sporting a six pointed star which he called the Seal of Solomon


New constitution prohibited Jews from being tax collectors. They could also no longer deal in trade without a special license, from the king or the city council.

1538 smicha controversy (Safed Eretz-Israel)

Rabbi Jacob Berab basing himself on a Maimonides commentary, decided to reinstitute in the city of Safed the rabbinical ordination known as smicha ( the figurative laying on of hands) which had fallen into disuse around the 4th century. Berab convinced Rabbis Alkevetz, Alsich and Caro, of his position. He was adamantly opposed by Rabbi Levi ibn Habib, the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. Berab was forced to leave the country by the ottomans , who were told that his activities were seditious . Prior to departing he succeed in ordain four Rabbis including Joseph Caro.. Today smicha refers to a test of knowledge. rn

1539 February 7, PLACARDS IN LISBON

Were found on the wall of many churches claiming, "The Messiah has not come. Jesus was not the true Messiah." Expansive rewards were offered to find the perpetrator. The Conversos fearful of the possible repercussions, posted an announcement declaring that, "I the author, am neither Spaniard nor Portuguese, but an Englishman" Despite this, the author Manuel da Costa was caught and confessed after his hands were cut off and he was stretched on the rack. Then he was publicly burned. Diogo da Silva, the grand inquisitor, resigned soon afterwards.


Born a catholic, and married to a local councilman (Melchior Weigel) she converted late in life to Judaism. Catherine was imprisoned at the age of 70 for denying the basic tenants of Christianity, and argued her case before the Polish Sejm (15381539) She was kept in prison for 10 years. At the age of 80 upon the order of the local bishop Peter Gamrat, and with the approval of the Queen of Poland Bona Sforza, she was burnt at the stake in the Cracow market place. She refused to recant.

1539 December 31, KING SIGISMUND I (Poland)

Ordered the Jews of Cracow, Posan and Lemberg (Lvov) to buy 3,350 Jewish books from the Printing house of the apostate Helitz brothers. The Jews bought the books as ordered - and then destroyed them all.

1540 SOCIETY OF JESUS (Jesuits)

Was founded. In Poland they were the most anti-Jewish segment of the Clergy.

1540 May 12, POPE PAUL III

Published a bull against blood libels, concluding that "those accusing the Jews of drinking the blood of children are blinded by avarice, and only want to rob their money"

1540 September 20, LISBON (Portugal)

The first Auto da Fe of those forcibly converted to Christianity (Conversos) was held. The Auto da Fe was to play a macabre part of Portuguese life for the next 250 years.

1541 SIGISMUND I (Poland)

Appointed two chief rabbis over Little Poland: Moses Fishel of Cracow (martyred the following year at the stake); and Shalom Shakna of Lublin.

1541 - 1613 (8 Elul 5373) DAVID GANS (Prague, Bohemia)

A Jewish historian and scholar noted for his Tsemach David (Spirit of David), printed in 1592. It was based half on Jewish and half on general history and it was translated into other languages, including Latin and Yiddish. Gans was a student of Moses Isserles and Judah Lowe (the Maharal). He wrote in Hebrew on cosmography, Nehmad Ve'Naim (Delightful and Pleasant) and, as a noted astronomer, was in contact with Johannes Kepler.

1541 FERDINAND I ( Bohemia)

Accused the Jews of helping the Turks during the Siege of Buda. As a punishment, Ferdinand (1503-1564) enacted a special property tax. Later that year, with the exception of fifteen families, he expelled them. He readmitted them ( for a large fee) in 1554, and expelled them again five years later, only to welcome them back for another substantial fee in 1561.


Under the guidance of Inquisitor John De Mello, In all 32 people were penanced, 9 strangled and burned, and 21 sentenced to death in absentia. By the following year it had become routine at Lisbon, Evora , Tomar, Lamego and Oporto.

1542 CHURCH SYNOD (Piotrkow, Poland)

As the Reformation began to make headway in Poland, the Catholic Church under Archbishop Peter Gamrat and the Papal Nuncio Luigi Lippomano decided to combat it by increasing the level of Judeophobia and demanding that Jews be expelled or at least be put into ghettos. rnHost desecration and ritual murder accusations, led by church leaders, became far more common throughout the next 200 years.

1542 POPE PAUL III (Rome, Italy)

The Congregation of the Holy office - also known as the Roman Inquisition - was established, originally to counter Protestantism. In 1555, when Cardinal Caraffa became Pope Paul IV, he immediately expanded its operation, advocating the tracking down of all "suspects", especially conversos. Until this date, many conversos had found refuge in the papal states and were able to return to Judaism unmolested. After this, the Inquisition operated within the papal states, Venice, Milan, Naples, Mantua, and Tuscany.


Pope Paul III issued this Bull laying down some of the fundamental privileges for those Jews who converted to Christianity (Neophytes). In order to qualify they had to break all ties with other Jews including family members, and could only marry a born Christian. The Bull protected their property, offered tax incentives, and gave them full citizenship. Until then Jews who converted had to give over their wealth to the church.

1543 GOA (India)

Geronimo Diaz, a New Christian (converso) physician, was burned at the stake by the Inquisition.

1543 MARTIN LUTHER (1481-1545) (Germany)

Wrote Concerning the Jews and their Lies. As an ally of anti-Catholic Reuchlin, he wrote a pro-Jewish work in 1520 called Jesus was a Jew. Luther expected the Jews to join his revolution, and when they rejected his views he became bitter. He called for the Jews to be slaves to the serfs, so as not to touch the hand of a German Christian. His attacks were generally not based upon the vicious and virulent anti-Jewish writings of past Christians, i.e. Chrysostom.

1543 - 1620 (1 Iyar 5380) HAYIM VITAL (Damascus, Syria - Safed, Eretz Israel)rn

A pupil of the Ari, he was respected both in and out of Eretz Israel. Vital was the author of many Kabbalistic, talmudic and Biblical works including Etz Chaim (Tree of Life) on Lurian Kabbalah, and Lekutai Torah (Gleanings of Torah). He had sole possession of the Ari's writings, and most of our knowledge of the Ari's life. Most of our knowledge of the Ari's life and teachings are from Vital.

1543 February 11, AUTO DA FE (Oporto. Portugal)

Thirty thousand people watched as four people were burned to death. The idea that the residents of Oporto opposed the Inquisition and forced its closure is a legend.

1543 February 19, HOUSE OF CATECHUMENS (Casa dei Catecumeni) (Italy)

Was established by Pope Paul III. The sole purpose of the house, supported by forced Jewish taxation, was to convert Jews. A person sent there was subjected to 40 days of intense "instruction". If he still refused baptism after that time, he was allowed to return to his home - but few did. Around 2440 Jews were converted in Rome alone before it was abolished in 1810. Other houses were set up in various Italian cities.

1544 JOSEPH BAR YAKAR (Ichenhausen, Germany)

Translated a Siddur (prayer book) into Yiddish making it one of the oldest extant.rn

1544 April 3, EMPEROR CHARLES V (Holy Roman Empire)

Was convinced by Josel of Rosheim to condemn the ritual murder accusations.

C. 1545 - 1588 ABRAHAM HIYYA BEN MOSES DE BOTON (Salonika)

Scholar and leading Rabbinical leader. De Boton is most noted for his commentary Lehem Mishneh on Maimonides Mishneh Torah. It is still today published as part of every edition of the Mishneh Torah. rnrn

1545 - 1632 AARON IBN HAYYIM (Morocco)

Rabbi and scholar . Known for his work Korban Aharon ( Sacrifice of Aaron) a commentary of the sifra (the halachic midrash fo Leviticus), and Lev Aharon (Aaron's Heart) a commentary on Joshua and Judges.


Became ruler of Russia. He refused to allow Jews to live in his kingdom.


Two Jews were accused of kidnapping the son of a local tailor and crucifying him in the town of Rawa. They were burned at the stake and the rest expelled. Over the next 240 years there would be 81 ritual murder accusations and trials in Poland. Thirty-two in the 18th century alone.

1547 July 16, PORTUGAL

An irreversible and independent Inquisition was finally approved by the Bull Meditatio Cordis by Pope Paul III. Offices of the Inquisition were established in Lisbon, Evora, Coimbra, and even in Goa.

1547 November 22, ASOLO (Italy)

One of the few pogroms recorded in Italy. Ten Jews in a town of thirty were killed, and their houses robbed with no apparent motives.

1548 - 1617 FRANCISCO SUAREZ (Spain)

Was considered a major Jesuit theologian and philosopher. Suarez advocated the banning of the Talmud and the building of synagogues, as well as forbidding "any familiarity with Jews".

1548 - 1620 MENAHEM AZARIAH DA FANO (Italy)

Scholar, philanthropist, and student of Moses Cordovero. He helped publicize the teaching of Isaac Luria and kabbalah in general, as well as the works of Joseph Caro. De Fano published his own responsa, as well as Asarah Ma'amarot (" Ten essays") on kabbalistic thought.

1550 - 1619 (7 Adar 5379) EPHRAIM SOLOMON OF LUNTSCHITZ (Poland-Prague)

Rabbi, preacher and biblical commentator. "Ephraim of Luntschitz" was renowned for his brilliant sermons, in which he spared no sector. He bullied the rich for not being more generous, criticizing their pretensions of religious status based on finance rather than on deeds. At the same time he accused the poor of not doing enough to "help themselves" and relying on charity. His sermons were collected and published in Ir Giborim, Revivot Efrayim and others. His Klei Yakar is included in many editions of the Bible as a standard commentary.

C. 1550 - 1626 AARON BEN JOSEPH SASSON (Ottoman Empire)

Rabbinic scholar. Aaron served as the head of the yeshiva in Salonika and later in Constantinople. His 232 responsa were publish under the title; Torat Emet - sheelot u-teshuvot (Torah of Truth - Questions and Answers).

C. 1550 - C. 1625 ISRAEL BEN MOSES NAJARA (Safed? - Gaza)

Poet, kabbalist, and Rabbi. Najara is most famed for his liturgical poetry, though many of the tunes he used were totally secular for which he was criticized. His Most famous book of poems Zemiroth Israel ( Songs of Israel ) consists of 108 liturgical poems, Among his poems are Yah Ribon Olam (O Lord of the World) which is recited in Jewish houses on Shabbat throughout the world. Najara also wrote books on ethics, halacha, and a commentary on the Pentateuch. He served as Rabbi in Gaza where he lived until his death.

1550 - 1616 SAMUEL PALLACHE (Morocco -Netherlands)

Spy, diplomat, and pirate. Together with his brother Josef they served Muley Zaydan of Morocco(1610) and were close to the Dutch crown prince Maurice. Both had an extensive Jewish education and Samuel even studied for the Rabbinate. Pallache acted as a double agent between the Dutch / Moroccans and Spain. When the Dutch appointed him as a privateer, his crew consisted mostly of Conversos. His is said to have kept kosher on board, didnt fight on the Sabbath, and gave a 10th of his booty to charity. In 1614 he was forced to dock in England where the Spanish ambassador had him arrested but he was released and sent back to the Hague where he died of illness and in semi poverty.

1550 April 2, EXPULSION FROM GENOA (Italy)

A physician named Joseph Hacohen (see 1496)and his nephew tried to open a practice in Genoa. They were chased out of the city. The rest of the Jews were expelled soon afterwards.


A French geographer and traveler reached Turkey. He bemoaned that Jews recently banished from Spain, have taught the Turks inventions and means of war... artillery, gun powder and other weapons." Other visitors also commented on the number of Jews who brought their knowledge of weaponry to Turkey.

1551 August 13, SIGISMUND II AGUSTUS (Poland)

The last Jagello monarch of Poland issued a proclamation which permitted Jews to elect their own chief rabbi and judges, answerable only to the King. It is appropriately called the "Magna Carta of Jewish Self-Government". He also permitted Jews to settle in Vilna without restrictions other then being limited to certain streets.

1553 SAMUEL USQUE (Portugal)

Wrote ConsolaLam as TribulaLoens de Israel (Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel) in Portuguese, which he dedicated to Dona Gracia Nasi. The work is a history of the Jews based on the Bible and biblical traditions. Set as a dialogue between three shepherds, he covers the first and second Temple periods as well as the persecution of the Middle Ages.

1553 September 9, (1 Tishrei 5314 Rosh Hashanah) THE TALMUD (Rome, Italy)

Was confiscated and publicly burned in Rome. This burning was held under the auspices of Cardinal Caraffa, later to be Pope Paul IV, with the backing of Pope Julius III. Caraffa, a rabid counter-Reformationist, chose this day specifically so the Jews would feel the grief more strongly. Talmud burning spread through much of Italy.

1553 November, JOSEPH HACOHEN ( ITALY)

Completed his Divrei ha-Yamim L'malchei Tzarfat U'malachei Beit Ottoman Hatogar (Chronicles of the Kings of France and the Kings of the House of the Ottoman Turk). This is one of the few Jewish medieval historical works not based on the history of Judaism per se. Hacohen ( see 1496) started with fall of the Roman empire and dealt with the conflict between Christianity and Islam. He also included information on the " new World".

1554 May 29, POPE JULIUS III

After an appeal by Jews in Catholic countries, the Pope agreed only to allow the burning of the Talmud, but not "harmless rabbinical writings".

1554 September 4, ROME (Italy)

Cornelio da Montalcino - a Franciscian Friar who converted to Judaism - was burned alive.

1555 JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Officially had 324 Jewish householders and 13 bachelors.

1555 - 1631 (5 Kislev 5392) SAMUEL ELIEZER AIDLES (Edels) (The Maharsha) (Cracow, Poland)

Born 1555 in Cracow. Also known as the Maharsha, he is one of the best known talmudic commentators. His Chidushei Halachot is included in almost every publication of the Talmud. He believed that many of the Aggadot (talmudic legends) could be explained rationally and as parables. Aidles also served as the chief rabbi in Lublin and Ostrog. He was known by his mother-in-law's name, Aidel, who supported him and other scholars for many years.


Talmudic scholar and Halachist. Author of Beit Israel on the Arba Turim (see Jacob ben Asher 1270). He wrote other works on Halachah including Me'irat 'Enayim, a commentary to the Shulhan 'Aruk and other works on the Talmud. Unfortunately, many of them were destroyed in a fire. His wife Bayla was famous in her own right (see 1564).

1555 May 23, - June, POPE PAUL IV (1555-1559) (Ancona Italy)

The former Cardinal Caraffa was elected to the papacy. As part of his Counter-Reformation, Pope Paul IV supported the arrest of 51 Conversos. Twenty-five were burned. rnDonna Gracia Mendes Nasi tried to organize a boycott of the port of Ancona by Jewish merchants throughout the Ottoman empire but was opposed by some merchants and many rabbis who feared that the Pope would retaliate.rn

1555 July 14, BULL CUM NIMIS ABSURDUM (Rome, Italy)

In his Bull, POPE PAUL IV (1555-1559), the former Cardinal Caraffa, renewed all previous anti-Jewish legislation and installed a ghetto in Rome. Jews were forced to wear a special cap and forbidden to own real estate or practice medicine on Christians. Communities weren't allowed to have more than one synagogue. He ordered Jews to pay an annual amount for every synagogue, "even those that have been demolished," and said: "Jews can only engage themselves in the work of street sweepers and rag pickers". Jews in all the papal states were forced to lock themselves into the confines of the ghettos each night.

1556 SOKHACHEV (Poland)

The Bishop of Chelm accused local Jews of host desecration. Three Jews were condemned and executed. This happened despite a lack of evidence and the order of a retrial by King Sigismund II Augustus.

1556 - 1647 HAYYIM SHABBETAI (Maharhash) (Salonika)

Halachik authority, and chief rabbi of Salonika. His Sefer Torat Hayyim (The Book of Law and Life or The Book of the living Law) is a responsa in three volumes. One of his responsa relates to the question of when Jews in the rain forests of the New World (Brazil) should pray for rain, due of the reversal of seasons south of the equator. This made it the first recorded American related responsa. Sefer Torat Hayyim was reprinted in Jerusalem in 1970.

1556 March, ANCONA (Italy)

Under orders of Paul IV, "privileges" or charters granted to Jews were revoked. Former Conversos were forced back into Christianity. 23 men and woman were burned for refusing. The Sultan Suleiman complained (March 9th) that his Turkish Jewish subjects had been imprisoned, and that because of this he had lost a substantial amount of money. He demanded that all Turkish Conversos be set free.


Jews were among the first settlers of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Although little is known of them, to this day many of the older families still light candles on Friday night and sit on the floor as a sign of mourning.


Granted Jews freedom to emigrate in return for a fee of 250,000 ducats. Many decided to leave.


Written by Berechiah ben Natronai Krespia ha-Nakdan ( France), it contained over 100 ethical fables some of them his own. Berechiah or Berachya, lived in the 13th c. and the first manuscript of his work dates back to about 1268. A Yiddish translation appeared in 1588, and was very popular. He is also famed for his book Sefer Hahibur and Sefer Hamazref both ethical works. rn

1558 - 1603 REIGN OF ELIZABETH I (England)

Under her rule, the first Conversos were unofficially allowed to enter England as Christians.

1558 - 1616 (6 Iyar 5376) MEIR BEN GEDALIAH (Maharam of Lublin) (Poland)

Educator, talmudic scholar, and director of the Yeshivot of Cracow, Lvov and Lublin. Many of his pupils became well-known in their own right. His casuistic commentary (Meir Enai Chachamim) is considered one of the important commentaries on the Talmud. After his death, over 140 of the halachic questions posed to him were published under the name Manhir Einai Chachamim.

1558 September 22, RECANATI (Italy)

Under the protection of Pope Paul IV, Joseph (Paul) Moro, a baptized Jew, entered a synagogue on the Day of Atonement. Holding a crucifix, he tried to preach a conversion sermon. The congregation evicted him and a near massacre occurred. Eventually the entire Jewish population was expelled.


Published the first Index of Forbidden Books which would lead to burning of the Talmud as well as any other books deemed offensive to Catholic faith or morals.


After the public burning of the Talmud in Rome (see 1553) the center for publishing the Talmud moved to Poland.

1559 March 29, PRZEMYSL (Poland)

King Sigismund II granted the Jews a charter despite opposition from the local authorities.

1559 April 17, CREMONA (Italy)

Sixtus Senesis, an apostate Jew who became a Dominican, tried to convince the local Spanish governor to burn the Talmud. The governor demanded witnesses before he would give the order. Vitttorio Eliano, the converted grandson of Elias Levita and one Joshua dei Cantori, bore witness that the Talmud was full of lies about Christianity. A few days later approximately 10,000 books were burned. The Zohar was not touched since the Pope and the Catholic church was interested in its publication, believing that it would supplant the Talmud and make it easier to convert the Jews. Ironically, it was Eliano himself who wrote the preface to the Cremona Zohar.

1560 GOA

Portugal, which ruled Goa, established an inquisition which was to last (with one four year break) for almost 250 years.

1560 - 1640 (20 Adar 5400) JOEL SIRKES (the Bach) (Lublin, Poland)

One of the great Polish talmudic scholars. His halachic commentary on the Tur (1270-1343 Jacob ben Asher - the Baal Haturim) called Bait Chadash (New House) traced each law to its source in the Talmud. Sirkes was critical of those who relied solely on the Shulchan Aruch for halachic decisions rather than the Talmud and the Geonim.

1561 EMPEROR FERDINAND I (Holy Roman Empire}

Took an oath to expel the Jews from Prague. They were saved by Mordechai Zemach, who hurried to Rome and convinced Pope Pius IV to release the Emperor from his oath. While he was gone, many Jews were forced to leave or were attacked by robber barons.

1563 December 11, (25 Kislev 5327) IVAN THE TERRIBLE (Belarus)

Captured Polotsk, one of the oldest Jewish communities in Lithuania, and ordered all Jews to be baptized. The 300 Jews who refused were drowned in the Dvina River.

1564 - 1622 BAYLA FALK (Lemberg - Eretz Israel)

Described as a Bat Torah ( daughter of Torah) by Rabbis of her time . She was known for her knowledge and piety. She contributed her opinion in regards to candle lighting and ritual purity. She was the wife of Rabbi Joshua ben Alexander Ha-Cohen Falk (see 1555).

1564 March 22, MANTUA, (Italy)

David Provensalo and his son Abraham asked the Jewish notables to help create a Jewish College. The idea was to allow Jews to learn languages and science and receive a "Jewish education." Although they did establish a talmudic academy, they were opposed by the local Church and did not succeed in opening the College.

1564 March 24, POPE PIUS IV

Permitted the publication of the Talmud - after censorship and the deletion of the name "Talmud".

1564 July 13, BREST LITVOSK (Lithuania)

Abraham, the son of a wealthy and envied Jewish tax collector, was accused of killing the family's Christian servant for ritual purposes. The accusation was encouraged by the local burghers who resented Jewish competition. He was tortured and executed. King Sigmund Augustus forbade future charges of ritual murder, calling them groundless.

C. 1565 - 1630 (11 Nissan 5391) ISAIAH BEN ABRAHAM HA-LEVI HOROWITZ (SheLaH Hakadosh) (Prague, Bohemia-Tiberias, Eretz Israel)

Rabbi, kabbalist, and Jewish leader known as the SheLaH Hakadosh for his major work Shnai Luchot Habrit (Two Tablets of the Covenant) which combines Halacha and Kabbalah as a way of life. He moved to Eretz Israel in 1621 after the death of his wife. In 1625 he was arrested with many other Rabbis and held for ransom by the Pasha. Horowitz served as leader and Ashkenazi Rabbi in Jerusalem. He used his wealth to financially support the community. Horowitz strongly believed that he was privileged to be able to observe the commandments tied to the land of Israel. He was buried next to Maimonides in Tiberias.

1566 VILNA (Lithuania)

The Bishop of Vilna "alarmed" at the rate of intermarriage convinced the King (Sigismund II) to ban the wearing of luxurious clothes, gold jewelry or carry a decorative sword. Instead Jews had to wear special clothes which would differentiate them from the Christians, including yellow hats and head coverings.

1566 - 1574 REIGN OF SELIM II "The Magnificent" (Ottoman Empire)

Selim had been supported by the Jews in his claim to the throne. As a result, many Jews received important positions in his government, including Don Joseph Nasi who was appointed Duke of Naxos. Selim II also allowed Conversos fleeing Portugal to settle in Turkey.

1566 April 19, POPE PIUS V (The Papal States, Italy)

Three months into his reign, he rejected the leniencies of his predecessor and re-invoked all the restrictions of Paul IV. These included Jews being forced to wear a special cap as well as the prohibitions against owning real estate ( see 1567) and practicing medicine on Christians. Communities were not allowed to have more than one synagogue and Jews were confined to a cramped ghetto.

1567 January 19, BULL CUM NOS NUPER "When We Recently")

Was enacted by Pope Pius V, forbidding Jews to own real estate within the papal states.

1567 June 15, GENOA (Italy)

Expulsion of the Jews. The two prior expulsions of 1515 and 1550 were local. This decree was extended to the entire republic. Within a few years a limited number of Jews, specifically those engaged in money lending and business, were again allowed to live there.

1568 CHOCHIN (India)

The Paradesi (foreign or non-Indian) synagogue, was built with the support of the rajah of Cochin, despite Portuguese rule. The synagogue is still standing.

1569 BREST (Lithuania)

The union of the kingdoms of Poland and Lithuania opened the door for Jewish settlement in the Ukraine, which became one of the main centers of Lithuanian Jewry. Up to this date there were no more than 4000 Jews in the area. During the next 80 years the Jewish population increased to more than 50,000.


Ordered the Jews of Bologna expelled. He gave the cemetery to the nuns at the convent of St. Peter the Martyr. He commanded them to " Destroy all (Jewish) graves…exhume the cadavers…and move them to where ever they please".

1569 January 25, Phillip II (Spain)

Issued the order to set up an inquisition in the New World. Five years later, Mexico was the first in the New world to establish one.

1569 February 26, PAPAL STATES (Italy)

Pope Pius V in his Bull Hebraeorum Gens ( Nation of the Hebrews) ordered the eviction of all Jews who refused to convert from all the papal states except Rome and Ancona where he needed them due to their position in trade with the Levant (Mediterranean lands east of Italy). Most of the approximately 1000 Jewish families living there decided to emigrate.rnrn

1569 July 1, THE UNION OF LUBLIN (Poland and Lithuania)

Against the backdrop of a fear of Russian intentions under Ivan IV, the Duchy of Lithuania and the kingdom of Poland decided on a practical merging. Although they were now ostensibly "one common country", Lithuania still kept its own title, army, treasury, and code of law. Jews helped found new towns and villages on the border between the two countries. Unfortunately the general status of Jews in Lithuania now fell more in line with those of Poland. The less then total union resulted in Lithuania retaining its own independent Jewish council that was not connected to the Council of the (four) Lands in Poland.

C. 1570 - 1635 ABRAHAM COHEN (ALONSO NUNEZ) DE HERRERA (Portugal- Vienna?)

Philosopher and kabbalist. Herrera was purportedly captured by the English, and freed in a diplomatic exchange between the Sultan of Morocco Ahmad al-Mansur, and Queen Elizabeth I. Once freed he fled to Amsterdam, where he returned to openly practice Judaism. Herrera wrote Sefer Sha'ar ha-shamayim (The Gate of Heaven/ Puerta Del Cielo), a discourse on Kabbalah while in Cadiz on business for the Sultan. It is the first Hebrew work to mention Brazil. Isaac Aboab de Fonseca (1605 1693), the first practicing rabbi in the New World, translated the work from Spanish to Hebrew.

1570 - 1634 JACOB BASSEVI OF TREUENBERG (Verona- Prague)

Court Jew and financier. He and his brother Samuel were instrumental in buying 34 houses and expanding the Jewish quarter of Prague. Bassevi intervened time and again, to help the Jewish communities in Bohemia and Italy He raised the money ( mostly his own), to fund the release of Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller in 1629. After the death of Charles of Liechtenstein, he lost favor and was forced to flee Prague. His property was confiscated by the Emperor Ferdinand II (1578-1637). rn


Was created, becoming the first set up in the new world. It was disbanded only in 1820. Thirty four trials were held during that period resulting in the conviction of 131 Jews, twenty four of which were burned alive(see 1639). In spite of this conversos continued to arrive.

1570 July 31, (Av ) FLORENCE (Italy)

Duke Cosimo I the Duke of Florence in an effort ( successful) to have Pope Pius V to crown him Grand Duke of Tuscany forced all the Jews of his principality into a ghetto in Florence. This despite that until a few years earlier his rule was considered one of the most liberal in Italy. The following year (December 1571) he did the same to the Jews of the Siena district. At that time roughly 60% of the Jewish community (approx 24,000) had lived in small towns and cities.rnrn


After the Inquisition was convened that year, it was no longer possible for Jews to live in the Low Countries.


At the order of King Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572), Solomon Ephraim Luntschitz (author of the Klei Yakar) was appointed chief rabbi of Lemberg (Lvov) and Galicia. Luntschitz was given wide authority to open schools and yeshivot, which directly led to the spread of yeshivot and the raising of Jewish education in Poland (see 1550). He was later (1604) appointed the Rabbi of Prague.

1571 October 18, MEXICO

An Inquisition was set up that remained in force until the end of the eighteenth century. During that period, 1,500 persons were convicted of being judaizantes (someone who practices Judaism). Aproximately 200 were either burned at the stake or died before being convicted. A similar number were sentenced to jail terms.


The Jagello Dynasty ended. Poland was weakened and the king became a figurehead, while the nobles and landowners ruled the country.

1574 SELIM II DIED (Ottoman Empire)

The Ottoman Empire began to decay and the situation of its Jews deteriorated.

1574 February 28, MEXICO

The first official Auto da Fe in the New World was held after the establishment of the Inquisition 5 years earlier. The first unofficial Auto da Fe was actually held in 1528 when the conquistador, Hernando Alonso, was executed.

1574 May 6, KING HENRY VALOIS (Poland)

Granted Jewish privileges. He was the Son of Henry II of France and Catherine de Medici. A year earlier with his mother's influence, he became king of Poland after the death of Sigismund II. In his war against Russia, he was helped by Salomon Ashkenazi a Jewish Turkish diplomat. Upon the death of his brother Charles IX (that same year), he returned to France to become Henry III.rnrn


Published his Me'or Einayim (Enlightenment to the Eyes). Written after surviving a strong earthquake in Ferrara, it was the first Jewish historical work to base itself on secular as well as Jewish sources, quoting over 100 secular authorities. De Rossi examined talmudic legends with a critical eye and believed that they were not written necessarily as an absolute historical truth. He delved deeply into the chronology of events, comparing Jewish and secular sources. Needless to say his book was controversial. It was severely criticized by Joseph Caro and Judah Loew b. Bezalel of Prague, among others, who believed in the unqualified truth of the talmudic legends. This led to a banning of the book which lasted more then 100 years.


Finished his major work Reshit Chochmah (The Beginning of Knowledge). De Vidas was a student of Moses Cordovero (see 1522) in Safed. His Reshit Chochmah synthesized ethical and moral teaching with Kabbalah. Written in an easy and understandable style, it became very popular.

1575 January 8, AUTO DA FE AT SEVILLE (Spain)

Many Conversos were among the victims of this Auto da Fe.

1576 - 1586 REIGN OF STEPHAN BATORY (Poland)

The Transylvanian Duke became King after marrying Anna Jagiellon the new queen of Poland. During his reign he forbade any charges of ritual murder against the Jews denouncing them as calumniae. In addition he protected what he believed to be the legitimate rights of the Jews. With his death and the strengthening of Jesuit influence the position of Polish Jews became precarious.

1577 September 1, POPE GREGORY XIII (Italy)

Pope Gregory XIII, issued the Bull Vices ejus nos He Turns Us, reconfirming the Bull of Pope Nicholas III (1278),which decreed that one hundred and fifty Jews must hear conversion sermons in Rome every week. He reissued a similar Bull a few years later in 1584. A college for neophytes was set up with instruction in Hebrew and even Arabic.

1578 - 1648 (27 Av 5408) JOSHUA HESHEL BEN JOSEPH (Cracow, Poland)

Rabbi and halachist. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he believed that halacha should be determined by facts and that one could arrive at a different ruling than the Shulchan Aruch. His works include the Megeinei Shlomo on the Talmud and the Pnai Yehoshua on the Shulchan Aruch.


Due to the difficulty of importing Jewish books from abroad and the major censorship of the Talmud by pope Pius IV, King Batory granted Kalonymus Ben Mordecai Jaffe the right of printing Jewish books in Lublin. This lead to greater competition between the polish printing houses and those of Venice and Prague.

1578 August 4, MOROCCAN PURIM (Purim de Los Christianos)

Jews faced near disaster when the opposition led by King Sebastian of Portugal nearly succeeded in conquering the country. The date of the Portuguese defeat at al-Qasr al-Kabir became a day of celebration and thanksgiving for the Jewish community of Morocco.

1578 September 4, POPE GREGORY XIII

Ordered the Jews of Rome to contribute 1,100 gold scudi (Approximately $13,750) toward the maintenance of the Casa dei Catecumeni (Home for Converts to Christianity). One scudo was roughly $125 in today�s terms.rn

1579 UNION OF UTRECHT (Protestant) (Holland)

Formed as a loose confederation in the Northern Netherlands (Holland). Its purpose was to counteract the League of Arras formed by the Spanish Catholics in the Low Countries (i.e. Belgium). This marked the beginning of an enlightened atmosphere regarding the Jews in the Netherlands.

1579 - 1647 (1 Adar 5407) AZARIAH FIGO (PICHO) (Italy)

Scholar and Preacher. Figo served in the community of Venice, where he fought against the secular trend of the Italian renaissance. His Binah le-Ittim is a collection of his sermons for the holidays and fast days, which was published over 50 times. His talmudic commentary Gidulei Terumah was composed after the banning of the Talmud when it was difficult to come by copies of the Talmud.

1579 - 1654 (6 Elul 5414) YOM TOV LIPMANN HELLER (Wallerstein-Cracow, Poland)

Scholar and historian. He served as the rabbi of many communities including Nikolburg, Vienna and Prague. Heller was very active in community affairs, and because of this was once denounced as an author of anti-Christian writings. Although the charges were baseless (he had written about idolaters during the time of the Temple), he was forced to move. He is best known for his commentary on the Mishna called Tosaphot Yom Tov (Supplements of Yom Tov). He later became Rabbi of Cracow.

1580 DOM ANTONIO (Prior of Crato) (Portugal)

Laid claim to the Portuguese throne after Henry II died without leaving an heir. Dom Antonio was the grandson of King Manual, whose son Dom Luiz married a Converso. King Phillip II of Spain quickly annexed Portugal. A French, and later English expedition backed by Converso funds, to take Portugal, ended in failure. Antonio later blamed the Marrano community for his failure and turned against them, especially against Roderigo Lopez (see 1525) accusing him of treason.

1580 - 1651 HAVA BACHRAH (Bacarach) (Prague)

The granddaughter of R. Judah Loew ben Bezalel (the Maharal) of Prague (15251609), she was renowned for her knowledge and teaching, especially the Bible with its commentaries and Apocrypha . Her husband Samuel the Rabbi of Worms, was killed during a pogrom in 1615 and she never remarried. Hava's grandson Yair Hayyim Bacharach named his responsa (published in 1699) Havot Yair in acknowledgment of her scholarship .

1580 DAVID ABRABANEL (Netherlands)

W Survived a massacre by the Spanish which killed his family as they sailed to the new world. David joined the Royal Navy and won fame as a privateer attacking Spanish vessels. He was known as “Captain Davis” and named his ship Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). Abrabanel was purportedly one of the people who discovered Easter Island.


Joachim Gaunse of Prague, a professing Jew, had been invited to England to help oversee and develop mining operations. He was accused of heresy when he denied believing in Christianity, but whether he was punished for this is unknown.


The retorts was published by Rabbi Jacob from Belzhytz (near Lublin) as an answer to Martin Czechowiczs (1532-1613), attacks on Judaism. Czechowicz was a leader within the Anti-Trinitarians Christians in Poland. These heretical groups included the Arians (named after Arius of Alexandria 320 ce.) and Socinians named after the Italian Faustus Socinus. The Church attacked them as "Judaizers". Partly in response, Czechowicz had published vociferous attacks arguing against basic Jewish tenets.

1581 March 30, POPE GREGORY XIII

Issued a Bull banning the use of Jewish doctors. This did not prevent many popes from using Jews as their personal physicians.

(The ancient dishonesty of the Jews)

Was enacted by Pope Gregory XIII. It granted jurisdiction to the inquisition of Jews within Rome in cases of blasphemy or possession of forbidden books.rn


Translated a report regarding the Wiener Gesera (see 1421) into Yiddish. This was an early effort to provide historical literature in Yiddish. It was republished in Cracow in 1609. Other tragedy's such as blood libels also made their way into this branch of literature. rn

1583 February 19, ROME (Italy)

Three Portuguese Conversos from Ferrara were burned in Rome's Campo dei Fiori at the command of Pope Gregory XIII. One of them, Joseph Saralbo, proudly proclaimed that he had helped 800 Conversos return to Judaism. According to reports, he asked the Jews of Rome not to mourn for him stating "I am on my way to meet immortality."


Pope Gregory XIII issued his bull Sancta mater ecclesia "Instruction on the Historical Truth of the Gospels", ordering the Jews of Rome to send 100 men and 50 women every Saturday afternoon to listen to a conversion sermon given in Hebrew in a local church . This was over a third of the local Jewish population.


Scholar and wife of Solomon Modena (15221580). She was knowledgeable in Torah, Talmud, Midrash, and Jewish law,. She was even well read in kabbalistic literature, including the Zohar. Evidently her sister Diana Rieti of Mantua, was also well educated. At the age of 75, after the death of her husband, Fioretta immigrated to Safed where she died.

1586 YEMEN

Since the Ottoman conquest some 40 years earlier tensions had risen between the Turks and the local Zaydi population - with the Jews in the middle. The Zaydi Iman al-Mutahhar accused the Jews of aiding the Turks and reinforced regulations regarding special Jewish dress and head coverings, especially in Sana.

1586 - 1677 (26 Shvat 5427) DAVID BEN SAMUEL HALEVI (Poland)

Called the Taz after his commentary, Turai Zahav (Rows of Gold). This, together with works by the Bach (Joel Sircus 1650), and the Rama (Moses Isserles 1520-1572), formed the most important halachic commentaries upon which most of modern halacha is based.

1586 October 22, POPE SIXTUS V (Italy)

Gregory's successor. He revoked Gregory's policies allowing Jews to reside in the Papal states and to print the Talmud. These policies were reinstated upon his death and lasted until 1870.

1587 - 1643 SALAMONE DE ROSSI (Italy)

The leading Jewish composer of the late Italian Renaissance and the musical director to the Ducal court of Mantua. He was an innovator of polyphonic music and the most noted Italian-Jewish musician of his time. He had his own orchestra which was invited by Alessandro, Duke of Mirandola, as "the Jew Salamone and his company". His most famous compositions are Ha-Shirim Asher li-Shelomo, 33 pieces of traditional Hebrew texts, and other religious poems for the synagogue service.


Was defeated by England. Spain's position was significantly weakened. As a by-product, the Inquisition was less powerful, especially in the Netherlands.

1589 January 14, FRANCIS KETT (England)

An Anglican clergyman was burned alive. Kett (c.15471589), was accused of heresy by the Church for suggesting that Jesus was not divine, but a good man and that Jews would one day return to the Holy Land.

1590 - 1640 URIEL ACOSTA/Da Acosta (Amsterdam, Holland)

A descendant of a Converso family, he was raised as a Christian and became chief treasurer of an abbey. Acosta decided to return to Judaism after studying the Old Testament. He fled to Amsterdam, where he grew disillusioned and attacked Jewish tradition. He was excommunicated, reinstated and excommunicated again. He found the disciplinary penance offered him in the presence of the congregation too difficult and committed suicide.

1590 - 1670 ASNAT BARAZANI MIZRAHI (Mosul, Iraq)

Scholar and teacher. The daughter of Samuel b. Netanel Ha-Levi of Kurdistan a distinguished Rabbi and educator who built a yeshiva in Mosul. As his only child they studied together and soon she became renown for her knowledge. She was know as the Tanna’it the feminine version of Taanai - a rabbinical teacher , rather than “rabbi”. Her marriage contract to Rabbi Jacob Mizrahi stipulated that she did not have to do any housework, and could spend her time studying. After her father's death she became the Rosh Yeshiva ( Academy Director), and was considered one of the leaders of Kurdistan Jewry. She was asked by the community of Baghdad to choose her best student to send to them as the Rabbinical leader. Her decedents continued to play important roles as rabbinical scholars.


International trader and the first Jewish permanent resident ( Denizen) of England ( see 1655). He aided Manasseh ben Israel with his petition to readmit the Jews. Carvajal helped Cromwell regarding information on Royalist activities in Holland, and the relations between Charles II ( Stuart) and Spain.


Was proclaimed by a number of leading polish rabbis including Moses Mat (1551-1606). Mat also is recognized for his Matteh Moshe ("Staff of Moses"), a compendium of Jewish ritual law.


Sumptuary laws (see 1432) were at times self enacted and at other times imposed by the local Christain rulers. The laws at Casale belonged to the latter and were designed to humiliate and punish the Jews in the name of Christ.

1590 June 11, POSEN FIRE (Germany)

Built of wood, the entire Jewish quarter burned while the gentile population watched and pillaged. Fifteen people died and eighty scrolls were burned.


Rabbi, encyclopedist and physician. Delmegido was a pupil of Galileo. He wrote over 30 works on a great variety of scientific subjects including math, geometry, chemistry, mechanics, philosophy, and medicine.

1592 ESTHER CHIERA (Ottoman Empire)

Was executed along with one of her sons by the Sultan Murad III's cavalry. Esther, the wife of a Jewish merchant, was known as a Chiera or Kiera, the title given to the women in charge of all relations (including commercial) between the wives in the sultan's royal harem and the outside world. Esther was extremely influential with Safiyeh, the favorite wife of the Sultan. Jealousy on the part of other ministers and the desire of the Sultan for her assets led to their arrest (officially for interfering in a military appointment) and execution, with all their possessions and property going to the Sultan.

1592 LONDON (England)

Synagogue services were held privately in a house owned by Solomon Abenaes (Alvaro Mendes, Duke of Mitylene). He was then in negotiation with the English court over an Anglo-Turkish alliance against Spain. (see 1520)

1592 - 1641 SARA COPIA SULLAM (Italy)

Poet and writer. She spoke Hebrew, Italian, Greek, and Latin. Copia Sullam became friendly with Ansaldo Ceb a famed monk and author of LEster. He eventually professed his love for her and urged her leave her husband and covert. Despite her admiration for him, she refused him on both counts. In 1621, she was accused of not believing in the immortality of the soul, which is considered heresy. She defended herself in "The Manifesto of Sara Copia Sulam". None of her Christian admirers or friends spoke out for her.

1592 February 28, BULL CUM SAEPE ACCIDERE ( "As often happens")

Was published by Pope Clement VIII. It prohibited Jews in Avignon (which was a papal state) from trading in new goods. This, in order to put them in an economically disadvantaged position.

1592 September 1, LVOV (Poland)

Harsh persecution began with Archbishop Salikowski ordering the Jews to build a church.


Issued papal bull Caeca et Obdurata Hebraeorum perfidia (The blind and obdurate perfidy of the Hebrews) , expelling the Jews from all Papal states except Rome and Ancona, and thus revoking the bull Christiana pietas (1586) of his predecessor Pope Sixtus . The Jews had three months to leave.He also confirming an earlier bull of Pope Paul III Cum Nimis Absurdum ( 1555) which established the Jewish ghetto in Rome.


Despite efforts by Italian Jews to self- expunge the Talmud of any anti- Christian sentiment, Pope Clement VIII issued his bull Cum Haebraeorum malitia reaffirming the ban against owning or even reading the Talmud.

1593 April 22, AMSTERDAM (Holland)

The arrival of the first group of Conversos, which was led by Jacob Tirado. Moses Uri Halevi soon joined them and helped arrange for prayer services.

1593 June 10, LEGHORN, LIVORNO (Italy)

Under Ferdinand I (the Medici ruler). In an effort to turn the town into a successful port Ferdinand I issued an open invitation for "Westerners, Spaniards" etc. to join in settling the town. The charter guaranteed freedom of religion including the open practice (for Conversos) of Judaism and the right of citizenship.

1593 November 23, BUCHAREST (Romania)

As part of his revolt against the Turks, Prince Michael the Brave ordered the massacre of Jews and Turks. Since most of the local Jews were also Turkish citizens, his murder of the Jews also won support from the local merchants who resented Jewish competition.

1594 July 7, LONDON (England)

Roderigo Lopez, Queen Elizabeth's physician and a Converso, was executed after being accused by the Earl of Essex of trying to poison the queen. The Earl, who headed the War Party and was allied with the Portuguese pretender, Dom Antonio, was incensed at Lopez's efforts to establish peace with Spain after the defeat of the Armada. The anti-Semitism raised by the trial is reflected in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.


Published The Kuhbuch (Cow book), consisting of fables. Many sections were adapted from Mishlei Shu'alim ( see 1557) and Meshal ha-Kadmoni (see 1244). A book with a similar name consisting of 34 fables (also called Sefer Meshalim) was later produced in 1697 by Moses ben Eliezar Wallich of Worms.

1595 December 17, LIMA (Peru)

Ten people were accused of practicing Judaism. Four were handed over for punishment. One of them, Francisco Rodriguez, was burned alive.

1596 October 2, AMSTERDAM (Holland)

Yom Kippur services were held for the first time. Neighbors, thinking they were secret Catholics, reported them to the authorities and the leaders were arrested. Once it was explained that they were secret Jews rather than Papists, they were left alone and the leaders released.

1596 December 8, MEXICO

Luis de Carvajal el Mozo, his mother, and three sisters were burned at the stake together with five other Crypto-Jews (Conversos) who were also accused of Judaizing. Manuel Diaz who predicated the coming of the Messiah in 1600 was taken to the market place in San Ipolito, where he was garroted and burned.

1597 CREMONA (Italy)

Jews were exiled. The Duchy of Ferrara was included in the Papal states and ceased harboring Conversos.

1598 AMSTERDAM (Holland)

A synagogue was publicly dedicated.


The book by Father Przedas Moiecki entitled "Jewish Bestiality" (Okrucienstwo ZydowsTcie) listed all the European ritual murder trials both real and those fabricated by the author. The same year 3 Jews in Lublin were brutally tortured and executed by quartering, when a Christian boy was found in a nearby swamp

1598 August, AMSTERDAM (Holland)

The first Jewish (Converso) wedding in Amsterdam was celebrated. Both the groom, Duarte Saravina, and the bride, Maria Nunez, were recent refugees. There is a legend which relates that Maria was originally captured by an English ship but freed on the orders of Queen Elizabeth, who noted her beauty and offered to let her remain in England. Maria refused to give up her Jewish beliefs and made her way with the other passengers to Amsterdam.

1600 JACOB JANOW (Lublin, Poland)

Published Tze'enah U-Re'ena (Come forth and Behold), the most popular Yiddish book for women. It is actually a Midrashic commentary on the Bible.


One of the very few woman scribes. Miriam's father Benayah ben Sa'adiah and her brothers were scribes and copyists (before printing reached Yemen). The family copied over 400 books. She wrote a sefer torah (Torah scroll ) to which she appended a note : Do not condemn me for any errors that you may find, as I am a nursing woman.

1600 January 16, VERONA (Italy)

The 400 Jews of Verona completed their synagogue after their move into the ghetto. This date was actually celebrated as a "Purim" until the French Revolution, since many felt that the ghetto provided some protection, and since in an unusual move the keys of the ghetto were given to the Jewish leaders.

1600 May, SUBATOL DEUL (Caribbean)

A Jewish converso pirate, founded together with Henry Drake the anti-Spanish league called the Hermandad de la Banda Negra or Black Flag Fraternity.It is rumored that they buried a treasure on an island near Coquimbo (Chile) in 1645.

1601 January 14, ROME

In accordance with a papal bull issued by Pope Clement VIII on March 3, 1593, all Talmudic works were handed over to the Inquisition by the Jews of Rome to be burned. The bonfire was held on the Piazza San Pietro.

1601 March 13, PRAGUE (Bohemia)

Mordchai Meisels, one of the wealthiest people and biggest philanthropists in Bohemia, died. Although his widow had given presents of tens of thousands of florins to the king and city, soldiers forcibly entered his house on the Sabbath. His nephews were tortured until they "confessed" that there was still more money hidden away. All the money was declared property of the Bohemian Chamber, with nothing left to the family.


Devora Ascarelli's book Ma'on ha-Sho'alim "The Abode of the Supplicants" was published. Among other items, it includes a translation of liturgical Hebrew text, a liturgical poem for Yom Kippur, parts of Mikdash Me'atof Moses Rieti, and two of her own poems. The book had been completed in about 1537.

1602 BASEL (Switzerland)

The first all-embracing encyclopedia of ethics (Mussar) was published, called the Brant Speigal (Fairy Mirror). It was written in Yiddish and intended mainly for women.

1603 - 1673 September, (17 Elul 5433) HAYYIM BEN ISRAEL BENVENISTE ( Turkey)

Rabbi and Halachic Scholar. He studied under Joseph Trani and was one of his foremost pupils. For a short time, he supported Shabbetai Zevi, but he soon took the opposite point of view becoming a strong opponent. Benveniste is best known for his Shiyurei Kenesset ha-Gedolah and Knesset ha-Gedolah in which he explains previous Halachik decisions of the Arba'ah Turim and Shulchan Arukh, as well as later commentaries. Both of his works are still in use today.

1603 - C. 1675 JACOB JUDAH LEON (TEMPLO) (Portugal - Holland)

Rabbi, teacher , and translator. Leon translated Psalms into Spanish, and printed a punctuated edition of the Mishnah. His fame lies in the wooden models of the temple of Solomon and of the tabernacle which he designed and which were exhibited in Europe and England. The name Templo was added to his name later in life.

1603 August 3, FREI DIOGO DA ASSUMPCAO (Portugal)

A young, partly Jewish Franciscan friar became attracted to Judaism. Arrested while trying to flee to England, he was imprisoned and subjected to constant attempts to force him to renounce Judaism. During his imprisonment he did his best to keep his Judaism alive, including lighting candles Friday night. Finally, realizing he would not recant, he was burned alive in Lisbon. He was twenty-five years old. His arguments against Christianity were published and gained wide popularity.

1604 - 1657 (20 Kislev 5418) MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL (Holland)

A Converso by birth, he became an outstanding man of letters. He was mystically inclined and believed that Jews must dwell in every country before the Messiah could come. This was the basis on which he approached the religiously-minded Cromwell with a petition for the resettlement of Jews in England. He was assisted by Antonio Carvajal, the first "denizenized" (foreigner granted residence and some other rights) Jew in England under Charles I. Although Menasseh was later offered a job in Brazil, he remained in Amsterdam. Cromwell eventually had his way, despite the fact that England and the Dutch states were at odds, and in spite of the opposition of English clergy and merchants.

1605 - 1693 (27 Adar 5453) ISAAC DA FONSECA ABOAB (Portugal-Holland-Brazil)

Rabbi and preacher. Aboab was a student of Isaac Uziel, one of the outstanding Rabbis of Amsterdam. In 1642, after its conquest by Holland, he was appointed Rabbi in Recife (Pernambuco) in Brazil, becoming the first Rabbi in the Americas. His Zekher Asiti le-Nifla'ot El ("I made record of the mighty deeds of God"), written as a thanksgiving prayer, is the first known Hebrew composition in the "New World".

1605 JACOB BAK AND SONS (Prague, Bohemia)

Family of printers who printed Hebrew books for almost 200 years.


Jews were granted a liberal charter. In Haarlem the charter was conditional on fifty families arriving in Haarlem so the community was not established at that time. The liberal charter served as a basis for Jewish settlement throughout much of Holland (see 1619).


Yiddish author, poet and educator. She was educated in the Bible, Talmud, Midrash and both Hebrew and Yiddish literature. Her book Meineket Rivkah deals with ethics, relationships, and health which she is prefaced with a poem. Tiktiner also wrote Simkhas Toura Lid ("A song for Simhat Torah "). She is considered to be the first woman to write a book in Yiddish.

1605 July 26, MATTEO RICCI (Beijing)

An Italian Jesuit missionary, sent a letter to his order describing the existence of the Jewish community in Kaifeng (see 1163). Ricci had met Ai T'ien a Jewish Kaifeng mandarin (b. c. 1545), the previous month in Beijing, when Ai T'ien walked in to the church thinking it was a synagogue. This was the first official report on the Chinese Jewish community to the western world

1605 July 26, CHINA

A Jesuit Missionary traveling though China wrote a letter describing his meetings with Ai T'ien, a Chinese Jewish teacher. Most of what we know regarding the Kaifeng Jewish community is from this correspondence.

1607 CONGREGATION BETH JACOB (Holland, Netherlands)

The first Jewish congregation in the Netherlands was established in the home of Jacob Trado. It was led by Uri Halevi. Ashkenazi Jews began to arrive 20 years later. By 1640 there would be over 1000 Jews in the Netherlands.

1608 - 1644 MEIR SHIF (Maharam Shif)(Frankfurt, Germany)

Scholar and commentator. He is remembered as one of the greatest German talmudic scholars of his time. After his death, many annotations known as the Maharam Shif were written as a talmudic commentary.

1609 LONDON (England)

A small Converso colony founded by Queen Elizabeth was expelled on charges of Judaizing.


The nursemaid of Rebecca written by Rivke Bas Meir Tiktiner (Tykocin)was published. A moralist homiletic work, it was the first Yiddish book written by a woman she died April 13, 1605 and is buried in the old cemetery in Prague.

1609 - 1660 ALEXANDER ABRAHAM COOPER ( England -Sweden)

Well known miniaturist painter, and convert to Judaism. He worked both in the Hague and for Queen Christina and her successor, Charles X in Sweden. There is an opinion that he may have been born Jewish, but only acknowledged it after leaving England. It is more probable that he converted either in the Netherlands or in Sweden, where he assumed the name Abraham and declared himself Jewish.

1610 - 1695 (4 Iyar 5458) JACOB SASPORTAS (Oran, Morocco-Amsterdam, Holland)

Kabbalist and rabbi and a fierce opponent of Shabbetai Zevi. He served as envoy to the Spanish court in Morocco and later became head of the yeshiva in Amsterdam. In his battle against Sabbatianism he produced Tsitsit Novel Zvi in which he collected vast material, including pamphlets and letters, and answered it in detail.

C. 1610 JACOB CURIEL ( Koriel) (Portugal- Eretz Israel)

A former pirate, arrived in Eretz Israel. He had served as a captain on a Spanish ship before being arrested by the inquisition for being a crypto-Jew. Curiel aka Diego Perez D'acosta ( was freed by his sailors many of them Conversos (Marranos) whose families had suffered at the hand of the inquisition. Curiel plied the waters of the Caribbean with three ships attacking mostly Spanish vessels. According to Hayyim Vital he became repentant, moved to Safed and is buried near the Ari (Rabbi Isaac Luria).


Advised that bagels are an appropriate gift for those about to give birth. although this is the first documented usage of the bagel it is similar to obwarzanek which were among the breads that Jews were forbidden to sell within the city walls according to a edict in 1496.


Commercial treaty was signed. Much of it was sue to the efforts of Samuel Pallache the diplomat/pirate (1550) . This was one of the first treaties signed between a Christian and Moslem country.

1612 November 7, HAMBURG (Germany)

The Senate decided to officially allow Jews to live in the city on the condition that there be no public worship. Portuguese Jews had been living there for over 40 years under the guise of officially being Catholic.

1614 August 22, (27 Elul 5372) FRANKFURT (Germany)

Vincent Fettmilch, a former pastry cook and leader of "the guilds", calling himself the "new Haman of the Jews", attacked the synagogue while the community was at prayer. Although many tried to organize a defense, they were soon overpowered and many took shelter in the cemetery while the community was destroyed. He and his accomplices were hung and quartered for their actions two years later.

1614 August 24, FRANKFURT (Germany)

The Jews were allowed to leave but without any property. 1,380 Jews left. To the credit of some of the Christian inhabitants, many Jews were given shelter in neighboring small communities.

1615 PADUA (Italy)

Despite church protests, non-Catholics were officially allowed to study at the university famed for its medical facilities, though at a far higher fee then regular students. Though it was rare, some Jews succeeded in attending by paying heavily for the right, the first being Benaia di Nigro in 1409. It is estimated that during the 16th and 17th centuries approximately 10% of the student body was Jewish.


Shall They Return to Jerusalem Again? , was published posthumously. Brighton (1562-1607), an English clergyman, supported the return of the Jews to the Holy Land'. There is nothing more certain: the prophets do everywhere confirm it and beat upon it.

1615 April 20, (21 Nissan 7th day of Passover) JEWS BANISHED FROM WORMS (Germany)

With the encouragement of the Guilds, the Jews were forced from the city during the holiday and the synagogue destroyed. The following year on January 20, (1st of Sh'vat, 5376) they were allowed to return to their homes and rebuild the synagogue. The community instituted a public fast day to be held each year on the last day of the month of Tevet (the month before Shvat). This commemoration remained in effect for generations.

1615 April 23, FRANCE

Louis XIII decreed that all Jews must leave France within one month on pain of death.

1616 GRODNO, (Belarus-formerly Poland-Lithuania)

Jesuits arrived and accused the Jews of blood orgies and host desecrations.

1616 TSEN0 URENO (Tze'nah u-Re'nah)

A complication of biblical portions, their commentaries, the Megillot, ethics and various legends is published. Written in Yiddish by Jacob ben Isaac Ashkenazi (1550-1928), it was designed for the female reader.Tseno Ureno enjoyed huge popularity and went through 120 editions up to the 20th century.

1616 January 19, WORMS (Germany)

Under orders of the Bishop of Speyer and with the backing of Frederick's troops, the Jews were re-admitted to the city.

1616 March 10, (20 Adar 5376) FRANKFURT (Germany)

Fettmilch (see 1614) was hanged. That day is commemorated as a feast day known as "Purim Winz" (Purim of Vincent)by the Frankfurt community, with the reading of the Megillat Vinz composed by Elhanan b. Abraham Helin.

C. 1617 - 1687 ISAAC (BALTAZAR) OROBIO DE CASTRO (Spain- Netherlands)

Professor of philosophy and physician. Denounced to the inquisition by a servant, he spent 3 years under torture without admitting to practicing Judaism. Forced to leave Spain, he became a professor of pharmacy in Toulouse. De Castro settled in Amsterdam in 1662 where he took the name Isaac and became active in the Jewish community. He published a number of books defending Judaism against Christianity, and one against Spinoza.

1618 - 1638 THIRTY YEARS WAR (Europe)

Between Catholic and Protestant forces in Europe. The fighting centered around Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands (Ferdinand II of Spain vs. Christian IV of Denmark). In Vienna, Jews suffered during the occupation of Imperial soldiers. Throughout many towns in Germany and Moravia, the Jewish population was expelled, which resulted in thousands of refugees fleeing to Cracow and other Polish cities. After the war, owing to the general destruction and decline of the local populations, France, Moravia, and Germany encouraged foreigners- including Jews - to settle and help rebuild their economies.


Sebastian Miczynski a professor at the local university, published Zwierciadlo Korony Polskej (The Mirror of the Polish Crown) in which he accused the Jews of everything from murder to witchcraft and urged their expulsion. Its publication led to anti Jewish riots and a ban on the book by King Sigismund III Vasa. Despite the ban new additions were reprinted and the charges were still debated in the Diet of 1618.

1618 - C. 1685 DAVID CONFORTE (Salonika)

Rabbi and literary Historian , known for his Kore Ha-Dorot a record of authors from post-Talmudic times until his own. It included an alphabetical list of Rabbis during the tosafist period ( 1100-1328). Although it is not an original work in itself, its importance lies in his use of many sources which are no longer extant.

1619 - 1720 (10 Shvat 5470) RABBI SHALOM SHABAZI (Elshabizi) (Yemen)

Poet, talmudist, and community leader. Shabazi was born in Southern Yemen where he worked as a weaver. Shabazi is most famous as a poet, with almost half the poems in the Yemenite diwan being his. Approximately 550 of his poems and hymns are still in existence, written in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic. Although he lived in poverty, he was recognized as a spiritual leader and an astute politician, especially during the expulsion of the Jews from Saana in 1679. The local ruler captured his daughter, Shima, but she preferred death to being forced to live with him.

1619 November 21, SHAH ABBASI (Sufi Dynasty, Persia)

Intensified persecution against the Jews. Many were forced to live "Marrano-like" lives, outwardly practicing Islam. This policy was continued by his son, Abbas II.

1619 December 13, HOLLAND AND WEST FRIESLAND (The Netherlands)

Under the rule of Prince Maurice of Orange, it was decided that each city could decide for itself whether or not to admit Jews. In consequence, the position of Jews differed greatly between cities In those towns where they were admitted, they would not be required to wear a badge of any sort identifying them as Jews.


Its Converso publicly returned to professing Judaism.

1621 - 1663 (1 Adar I 5422) SHABBETAI BEN MEIR HACOHEN (Vilna, Lithuania)

One of the most well known and important commentators on the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah) in which he explained and clarified rather than criticized Joseph Caro. His work is called Siftei Hacohen (Lips of the Priest) or the Shach for short. A lively competition developed between him and David ben Shmuel Halevy (1586), author of the commentary Turei Zahav (Taz). Each wrote replies and rebuttals to the other's works. Most of the Polish/Lithuanian rabbis ruled according to the Shach while those of Germany went according to David Halevy. He and Yom Tov Heller wrote litanies for those killed by Chmielniki (1648), which he described in his Megillat Eichah (1651). He fled Vilna in 1655 and became a rabbi in Moravia.

1621 April, SIR HENRY FINCH (England)

Called to restore the Jews to their homeland. Finch (1558-1625), the legal advisor to King James I was arrested after publication of his treatise "The World's Great Restoration", Sir Henry predicted that Jews will once again soon have their own land and a worldwide empire with it. Needless to say, King James was less than enthralled, especially as it implied that the present rulers would have to pay homage to the Jewish king, and forced him to recant any parts which could be construed to not supporting the monarch.

1622 November 25, KING CHRISTIAN IV (Denmark)

In a letter to the Amsterdam Jewish council he promised "privileges" to Jews, including freedom of worship for those settling in his country. Denmark became the first of three Scandinavian countries to permit Jews to settle there.


Permitted Jews to live in France along with a payment of 110,000 francs (about $450,000 in today’s terms)to be delivered with the crowing of each new king. This was of course in addition to a capital tax and a poll tax.

1624 FERRARA (Italy)

A ghetto was instituted.

1624 BAHIA (Brazil)

Conversos declared their Judaism after the Dutch conquest. This was the first colony in the New World in which Jews openly professed their Jewish beliefs. Unfortunately, the following year the Portuguese reconquered the region and the Jews were forced to flee.

1625 VIENNA (Austria)

Jews were forced to move into a ghetto (Leopoldstadt).

1625 MOHAMED IBN FAROUK (Eretz Israel)

A tyrant from Nablus who purchased the office of the Governor of Jerusalem and then imprisoned Jewish leaders in lieu of 12,500 gold florins.

1625 - 1693 (10 Adar 5453) GERSHON ASHKENAZI (Austria)

Rabbi and preacher. Ashkenazi served as chief Rabbi of Austria until the expulsion of 1670. His responsa, Avodat HaGershuni dealt with a wide range of Halacha. Much of what we know about the Chmielniki massacres are based on this work. A prolific writer, he also composed Tiferet HaGershuni, which was comprised of his sermons on the Torah, and Chidushei HaGershuni on Halacha.

1625 - 1697 MOSES BEN MORDECAI ZACUTO (Amsterdam, Holland)

Rabbi poet Together with Joseph Penso, he was a pioneer of Hebrew drama. Zacuto is known for commentary on the Mishnah Kol Ha ReMe"Z , as well as his commentaries on the Zohar . He was also noted for his play Yesod Olam (Foundation of the World) the first biblical drama in Hebrew and his dramatic poem, Tofteh Arukh apparently inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy.

1625 - 1647 ISAAC CASTRO TARTAS (France - Portugal)

Born in France to a Converso family ,he traveled to Amsterdam and then Brazil where he was recognized , arrested, and taken to Lisbon for trial. This despite the fact that he was a Dutch citizen. He was convicted and burnt at the stake on December 15,1647, refusing to recant his belief in Judaism. As the flames were lit, he recited in a loud voice the Shema prayer. His public act served as an inspiration for many other Conversos.

1625 October 23, POPE URBAN VIII

Decreed that Jews should be buried in unmarked graves. Pope Urban VIII (1568-44) also ordered per-existing tombstones to be removed or destroyed.

1626 - 1676 SHABBETAI ZEVI (Ottoman Empire)

Born in Smyrna of Spanish immigrants, he started learning Kabbalah at a young age and became ascetic. Nathan of Gaza helped him convince himself that he was the Messiah, a fact which he proclaimed in 1648. He soon built up a large following. When forced by the Sultan to choose between conversion or death, he became a Moslem. Some still believed in him and founded a sect called the Donmah in Salonica. So ended a period of tragic hope, whose repercussions were felt for many years to come.

1626 MA'AVAR YABOK (Mantua Italy)

Was published by Aaron Berechiah ben Moses of Modena (d.1639), an Italian Kabbalist. Ma'avar Yabok ( the Yabok River Crossing) was written for the Mantua burial society ( chevra kadisha ), and included customs and prayers that are still in use today. He wrote other works including Me'il tzedaḳah (The Cloak of Righteousness) on worship and Ashmoret haBoḳer (The Watches of the Morning) on prayers to be cited in the morning.

1626 December 1, MOHAMED IBN FAROUK (Governor of Jerusalem, Eretz Israel)

Was deposed. His downfall after his harsh persecutions was celebrated by the Jews, although the succeeding governors were not much of a relief.


Published the Hope of Israel (in Latin and Spanish) in which he asserted that the American Indians were the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes.

1627 January 12, AMSTERDAM (Holland)

The first Jewish printing press in the Netherlands was set up by Menasseh ben Israel. Its first publication was a prayer book in the Sepharadic tradition.


The first knowledge of Jews on the British conquered (1605) Island, was in a letter from one Abraham Jacob to the Earl of Carlisle. By 1680 there were over 200 Jews on the island , and by the end of the century 190 of them received citizenship.

1628 MOSES COHEN HENRIQUES (Bay of Matanzas Cuba )

A Jewish pirate, he helped the Dutch capture large part of a Spanish treasure fleet. The treasure is estimated to have been worth over 11.5 million guilders (close to 1 billion dollars today). For a while he ran his own pirate island off the coast of South America. When the Portuguese retook the area he escaped. Henriques became an adviser to the pirate Henry Morgan who later as Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica granted him citizenship in Jamaica on November 18, 1681.

1630 - 1703 SAMUEL OPPENHEIMER (Austria)

A financier, he supplied the Austrian army during their various campaigns. In 1692 he was falsely arrested by Bishop Kolbnitsch and had to buy his freedom with 500,000 florins. He was the founder of the Viennese Jewish community, receiving permission to settle there after the expulsion of 1670. He supported Jewish communities, even ransoming Jews from the Turks.

1630 January 15, SANTA ENGRACIA (Lisbon, Portugal)

Simon dias Solis, a young New Christian seen near the local church (on his way to a rendezvous with a young woman) was arrested for allegedly stealing a silver vessel from the church. After his hands were cut off, he was dragged through the streets and then burned. The real culprit, a common (Christian) criminal, admitted to the crime one year later. As a result, Solis' brother, a friar, fled to Amsterdam and reconverted to Judaism.

1630 March 14, PRZEMYSL (Poland)

Moses the Braider, a Jewish merchant, was accused of conspiring to desecrate the host and was burned alive.

1631 PADUA (Italy)

Due to the crowded and unsanitary conditions in the ghetto, 634 out of the 721 inhabitants were infected with various illnesses. Of these 431 died.

1632 July 4, MADRID (Spain)

Two years after Miguel Rodregues was discovered holding Jewish rites and accused of destroying a crucifix, a great Auto da Fe was held in the presence of the King, Queen, and foreign ambassadors. Rodregues, his wife Isabel, and five others were burned alive. Their house was razed and a convent called La Paciencia was built on the site.

1632 November 24, - 1677 BARUCH SPINOZA (Amsterdam, Holland)

As a child, he showed great promise in his religious studies, but as he grew older he decided that there was no place for him in organized religion. The brilliant heretic Van den Ende, who was later burned by the authorities for his beliefs, influenced him. Spinoza delved into Descartes and Bruno, and his radical theories on G-d and mortality brought about his excommunication from the Jewish community. He denied revelation, but not God's existence, although he was against all traditional religion. His later life was marked by poverty for which he never accepted any assistance. Spinoza's great works include his "Ethics" and "Theologico-Politica Tractate". He was buried in an unmarked grave at the church in Spux, Holland.

1633 Vladislav IV ( Poland )

Confirmed the basic privileges of the Jews yet at the same time prohibited any building of new synagogues or cemeteries without a royal license.

1634 July 29, SAMUEL COHEN (Curacao)

Landed together with the Dutch fleet captain Johannes van Walbeeck who captured the island from Spain. Cohen served as the interpreter, and was the first Jew to reach Curacao.


A woman was accused of keeping Jewish customs and refusing to eat meat which was not ritually prepared. She was imprisoned by the Court of High Commission. Though officially Jews were not allowed to settle in England, there were a number of legal cases which show that some Jews did indeed live there.

1636 AMSTERDAM (Holland)

The Ashkenazi community, which had begun to arrive almost 15 years earlier, established their own congregation, appointing Moses B. Jacob Weile of Prague as their rabbi.

1637 - 1683 (9 Tishrei 5444) ABRAHAM ABELE GOMBINER (Poland)

Known for his Magen Avraham on Caro's Shulchan Aruch. Gombiner tried to find a compromise between Caro and Isserles wherever they clashed on Halachic decisions, though for the most part he supported Isserles. He also wrote Zayit Ra'anan on the Yalkut Shimoni and other works.

1638 - 1702 (12 Tevet 5462) JAIR HAYIM BACHARACH (Germany)

Rabbi and Scholar. In 1699 he published his monumental collection of 238 responsa Chavat Yair. (The Tents of Jair) taken from Numbers 32:41. Others say it was in honor of his grandmother Chava, the granddaughter of the Maharal of Prague who was known for her vast talmudic knowledge.

1638 (16 Tevet 5399) BAGHDAD (Persia)

Ottoman Sultan Murad IV conquered Baghdad. The day was celebrated as a day of miracles (Yom Ness). In general, when the Ottomans ruled the city, life for its Jewish residents improved. When the Persian Shiites ruled the city the situation was very difficult to say the least.


In order to support her family she experimented with using oats to make brandy. She was very successful and opened a large distillery. Unfortunately, probably do to the difficulty of the work (heat and alcohol vapors) she fell ill and died of a lung ailment.

1639 SURINAME (South America)

The first Jews settled the area, mainly on sugar plantations. They were Spanish-Portuguese Jews, who were mainly from Holland and Italy in 1651. Another group of about 20 people led by David Nassy arrived in 1664 after having to flee French occupied Cayenne. Under the Treaty of Brenda (1667), the area was given by the British to the Dutch in return for New York. The Jews petitioned to receive the same rights they had under the British. Some left, but others were prevented to do so by the Dutch for economic reasons. Suriname is also known as Dutch Guiana.

1639 January 23, AUTO DA FE (Lima, Peru)

More than eighty New Christians were burned in this Auto Da Fe, including the renown doctor Francisco Maldonna de Silva (Elia Nazareno), after the Inquisition discovered that they were holding regular Jewish services. De Silva spent 12 years in prison, during which time he managed to write two books using a chicken bone and charcoal. Each book was about 100 pages. He succeeded in putting together a rope out of corn husks, but instead of escaping he used it to visit other prisoners, urging them to believe in Judaism.

1639 March 27, ROME (Italy)

A child was forcibly baptized after his father jokingly remarked that he would not mind if the Pope acted as godfather. As a result, two of his children were taken, one a baby, and were carried in a ceremony by the Pope. The Jews rioted and were violently crushed.


A young boy was found murdered and although the suspicion rested on a local vagabond Foma, two Jewish elders, Meyer and Lazar were arrested and tortured. Despite the protests of the local town governor (Starosta), and the lack of any confessions or proof, they were quartered with their bodies hung near the main road. The local Bernardine monks took the remains of the boy and proclaimed him a martyr, encouraging pilgrimages and donations to their church.

1640 - 1688 FREDERICK WILLIAM (the Great Elector of Prussia) (Germany)

After the 30 years war he reformed economic conditions and broke the hold of the guilds. He encouraged Jews and other foreigners to settle in his lands, and is accredited with building up Prussia as an important power.

C. 1640 - 1717 ABRAHAM BEN SAUL BRODA (Bohemia- Germany)

Bohemian Talmudist and educator. Broda was renowned both for his method of teaching Talmud, and the successful Yeshivot he opened in every city in which he served. He wrote numerous novella on the Talmud including Hiddushei Geonim, Hiddushei Halakot, Shema'ta Hadta, Eshel Abraham and Toledot Abraham.

1641 (22 Tamuz 5478) - 1718 SHABBTAI BEN JOSEPH (BASS) (Kalish - Prague, Bohemia)

Scholar, publisher and printer, he was also fluent on Latin. Known as the father of the Hebrew bibliography, he was the author of Siftei Yeshainim (Lips of the Sleepers) containing over 2000 categorized titles. A biblical commentator and scholar of repute, his Siftei Chachamim ( Lips of the Sages) a concise analysis of Rashi is printed today in most Bibles with commentaries. Shabbtai fought to set up a printing house and finally succeeded in doing so near Breslau. He was jailed numerous times when accused by local Church leaders of printing anti-Christian material. His printing house, founded in 1689, lasted for over 150 years. One of the reasons for his name was the beauty of his voice. He was also known as "The Singer ( Meshorer ), for his part in the choir of the Altneuschul in Prague .


First Jewish colony where Jews were allowed to live openly as Jews in the New World.

1642 CHAO YING-CHENG (Moses) (China)

Helped rebuild the synagogue after the Yellow River flooded in Kai Fen. He served as a judge, and was appointed military commander of the Chekiang-Fukien circuit in 1650 after putting down groups of bandits. Chao also distinguished himself by establishing schools in the area.


The Warsaw Diet legislated the rate of profit that can be made on merchandise. Christians 7% foreigners 5% and Jews 3%.

1644 July 25, LOPE DE VERA (Judah the Believer) (Spain)

A brilliant young Christian scholar who was drawn to Judaism by the outrages of the Inquisition. He was arrested in Valladolid for his inclinations toward Judaism. During his five years in prison he resisted all attempts to get him to change his ways. He changed his name to Judah the Believer and even circumcised himself with a bone. On July 25, 1644 he was burned alive for refusing to yield to the Inquisition. He chanted Hebrew prayers during the procession. Even while the flames were burning he was heard reciting the psalm "Unto thee oh Lord do I lift my soul". The Inquisitor Mirezo wrote: "He was the greatest Jewish heretic that I think has been in the church."


A converso Portuguese traveler, arrived in Amsterdam. Montezinos (1604-1648) persuaded Menasseh Ben Israel (see 1604), that he had found one of the Ten Lost Tribes living in the jungles of the "Quito (Pichincha) Province" of Ecuador . This was the impetus that led him to write Mikveh Israel (1648) published in English as The Hope of Israel (1652) which had a great influence on both the British parliament and public.


Began led by Portuguese catholic planters and supported by Portugal. During the war many Jews both Sephardi and Ashkenazi fought on the side of the Dutch. In one case 13 Jewish soldiers were hung and their Jewish captain burned alive by the Portuguese. Approximately 1450 Jews lived in Brazil in 1645, by 1654 less than half remained. 1647-1648 PRIVATEERING AGAINST PORTUGAL Due to the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652 54, the Netherlands did not have a fleet to spare for the war against Portugal in Brazil. The Zeelanders (a Netherland Provence) backed by the Jewish community organized a massive privateer campaign against Portuguese shipping. Though initially very successful (220 ships captured or sunk), the Portuguese began to send heavily armed escorts to protect their ships which lessened their effect.

1646 - 1719 GLUCKEL OF HAMELIN (Germany)

A businesswoman, she was noted for her memoirs of Eastern Europe. She was one of the very few autobiographers of her day, and her writings provide an invaluable picture of everyday life in her time.


Due to the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652 54, the Netherlands did not have a fleet to spare for the war against Portugal in Brazil. The Zeelanders (a Netherlands Provence) backed by the Jewish community organized a massive privateer campaign against Portuguese shipping. Though initially very successful (220 ships captured or sunk), the Portuguese began to send heavily armed escorts to protect their ships which lessened their effect.

1647 SIMON DE CACRES ( Barbados)

Arrived with his brother Benjamin, from Amsterdam. They received permission from Oliver Cromwell to trade in October 1653. De Cacres was one of the signers of Menasseh ben Israel's petition to allow Jews into England. Together with Carvajal they purchased the first Jewish burial ground at mile end. Cromwell used Cacres for updates on political intelligence. In one of his more daring plans, he proposed to Cromwell that he organize a Jewish army to conquer Chile from the Spanish. It was not acted upon.

1647 December 15, ISAAC DE CASTRO TARTAS (Portugal)

Was burned at the stake in Lisbon. Originally born in France, where his parents had found refuge, he decided to travel to Bahia which was under Portuguese control. There he was arrested for judaizing and sent to Lisbon for trial. Although a Dutch citizen, he was condemned when he steadfastly refused to accept Christianity. While being burned alive, he cried out the words of Shemah Yisrael... (Here oh Israel...) with such fervor and inner calm, that the local witnesses repeated the words to their friends. The inquisition became so obsessed with this that it banned Christians from repeating the words of Shema. He was twenty-one years old.


Victory for the Protestants. France annexed Alsace and Lorraine. This region, with its many Jews, became part within a France that was still known for its lack of toleration.


A former Spanish diplomat, he decided after moving to Hamburg to return to Judaism and had himself and his sons circumcised. Despite a vicious denunciation by the Viennese court, the Hamburg senate refused to confiscate his property and wealth. Teixeira founded the international banking house that became known as Teixeira de Mattos. In 1655 he was appointed by Sweden as its local diplomatic and financial minister. Teixeira was active in the Jewish community and helped build the new Sephardic synagogue in Hamburg.


Bitterness over forced Catholicism by the Jesuits and the unscrupulous taxes collected (some by Jews) for the nobles set the stage for the Cossack uprising. During the reign of Vladislav IV, the Zaporozhin Cossacks lived in a semi-autonomous kingdom called Sitch. Led by their leader - or Hetman - Chmielniki, they decided to fight to establish an autonomous Ukraine with the Cossack leaders as the new aristocracy. Their victories over the Polish army encouraged the serfs to join them. The Jews were even more hated than the Poles and were massacred in almost every town. In the ten tumultuous years that followed, over seven hundred Jewish communities were destroyed and between 100,000-500,000 Jews lost their lives. This helped give rise to the messianic movement which soon followed.

1648 June 24, TULCZYN (Poland)

An agreement between the 2,000 Jews and 600 Christians of Tulczyn to defend it at all costs succeeded in preventing the Cossacks from capturing the town. Kryvonos, the Cossack leader, contacted the local governor and offered to leave the Poles alone if he gave them the Jews. The Jews found out about the plan and only through the intervention of leader Rabbi Aaron (who feared reprisals) persuaded them not to kill the local leaders. Instead, Rabbi Aaron convinced the governor to take a high ransom and give it to the Cossacks. Kryvonos accepted the ransom, entered the town, killed most of the Jews and then killed the Poles for betraying the Jews. For the most part, during the entire war, the Poles and the Jews were uneasy allies against the Cossacks.

1649 JOHN CASIMIR (Poland)

Ascended the Polish throne and negotiated a truce with Chmielniki. One of the Provisions included the expulsion of all Jews in Cossack lands. However, Casimir did allow forcibly converted Jews to return to Judaism.


The more fortunate Jews were taken captive by the Tartars and were ransomed in Constantinople.

1649 ESTHER LIEBMANN (ne Schulhoff;) ( Germany)

Business woman, financier, and court Jew. She served with her first husband Israel Aron as the purveyor of jewels to king Friedrich I of Prussia, After Aron died, she married Jost Liebman and together they established excellent relations with the King. Upon Josts death she continued running the business, and even received permission to mint coins.

1649 January, ENGLAND

The first petition to re-admit the Jews to England was presented to Lord Fairfax. The petition by Johanna and Ebenezer Cartwright called for "Repealing the Act of Parliament" for their banishment from England. Unfortunately, due to the turmoil in England and the execution of King Charles, the petition was never given a hearing.

1649 April 11, MEXICO

The largest Auto da Fe in the New World was held with 109 victims. All but one of them were accused of Judaizing. It was the largest number of Jews ever convicted in the New World. Thirteen were burned alive and 57 in effigy. Of the thirteen, twelve "repented" and so were garroted before being burned. Tomas Trevino, whose mother and wife had also been killed by the Inquisition, refused. For the most part this ended the prominence of crypto-Jews in Mexico.

1649 April 21, ACT OF TOLERATION (Maryland)

Was approved protecting anyone one (Catholics or Protestants), who believed in Jesus. For those who did not profess such a belief, there was the death penalty or confiscation of their lands - it was never actually carried out. Although the act was repealed in 1654, an anti-blasphemy law remained on the books until the 1920's.


Dedicated the Latin edition of his book The Hope of Israel to the English Parliament. Menasseh asserted in his book that the American Indians were the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes.


A Jewish merchant by the name of Jacob opened the first coffee house at Oxford and is credited with being the first to introduce coffee to the English public.


First wave of immigration. The Jewish population rose to ten thousand.

1650 BENJAMIN DA COSTA (Carribean)

Introduced the sugar cane cultivation industry to Martinique.

1650 - 1726 NEHEMIA HAYYUN (Holland)

Kabbalist imposter and Sabbatian. His theory on the trinity caused an uproar in the Amsterdam community. He was supported by Salamon Ayllon and opposed by Haham Zevi.


The first group of Jews led by Joao de Yllan from Portugal tried to settle on this island, which was captured by the Dutch in 1634 from the Spanish. The effort failed due to the difficult agricultural conditions, and special restrictions placed by the West India company regarding trade and the use of slaves on plantations. The next attempt in March 1659 succeeded with a group of around 50 Jews led by Isaac Da Costa. A cemetery was set up, and in 1732 a synagogue was built which they named "Mikve Yisrael". Isaac was the nephew of Uriel Acosta/Da Costa (see 1590).

1651 July 1, POLAND

Was victorious over the Cossacks. The Jews were allowed to return to their lands.

1652 - 1729 TOBIAS COHN, (Tuviyah Cohen)(Germany Eretz Israel

Physician to five successive sultans, he spoke nine languages. He is also famed for his major work, Ma'aseh Toviyyah ("Work of Tobias") a scientific encyclopedia in 8 parts; (1) theology; (2) astronomy; (3) medicine; (4) hygiene; (5) syphilitic maladies; (6) botany; (7) cosmography; and (8) an essay on the four elements. His third part includes an illustration of the human body comparing it to a house. Five years before his death he moved to Jerusalem.

1652 December 1, MANUEL FERNANDES VILLAREAL (Portugal)

One of the foremost diplomats and men of letters of his day, he was garroted by the Inquisition. Villareal, who served as the council general in Paris, was a friend of Cardinal Richelieu and an author of some reknown. On a visit to Lisbon he was arrested and accused of practicing Judaism, which he did not deny.


A Protestant pastor, he wrote the first complete history of the Jews. This later served as a basis for the works of Jost and Graetz.


Published Yeven Metzolah (Pit of Mire) based on eyewitness accounts of the Chmielniki pogroms. It was translated into many languages, including English ("Abyss of Despair", 1950).

1653 June 6, PETER STUYVESANT (Curacao)

Governor of New Netherlands and the Curacao islands complained about the Jews to the West India company. He warned them to be on your guard.." against " this fraudulent nation."

1654 CZAR ALEXIS (Russia)

Joined with Charles X of Sweden and Chmielniki to attack White Russia and Lithuania. The Cossack region was annexed by the Moscovite Empire.

1654 - 1696 MOSES IBN HABIB (Salonika- Eretz-Israel)

Rabbi and Halachist. In 1689 Ibn Habib (Chaviv) became the Rishon LeZion (Sephardic chief Rabbi of Israel), and the head of a major yeshiva in Jerusalem. His Halachic expertise lay in the area of marriage and divorce. His major works, Get Pashut and Ezrat Nashim, relate to the problem of agunot . Agunot refers to a Jewish woman who is "chained" to her marriage, either because her husband is missing (on a voyage, or after a battle), or one who husband refuses to grant her a divorce. His works still serve as a cornerstone in relating to these laws. In addition, he wrote Shammot ba-Aretz, dealing with the Talmud.

1654 January 26, PORTUGAL

With the capture of Pernambuco (Recife) from the Dutch, Portugal retook Peru and Brazil. The Jews, having fought on the side of the Dutch, fled by the hundreds to North America, especially to New Amsterdam.

1654 June 29, CUENCA (Spain)

57 Conversos were taken to the Auto da Fe; ten were burned to death. One of them, Balthasar Lopez, announced as he was taken to the stake "I don't believe in Christ even if you bind me." He had returned recently from Bayonne to persuade his nephew to return to Judaism when he was captured by the Inquisition.

1654 July 8, JACOB BARSIMSON (North American Colonies)

Left Holland aboard the Peartree for New Amsterdam and landed there on August 22. He was considered the first Jewish resident of New Amsterdam (New York). A month later, on September 23, Jews who had sailed from Brazil joined him.

1655 LUBLIN (Poland)

A force comprised of Cossacks and Russians led by Peter Ivanovich offered to leave the city alone if it surrendered and paid a heavy fine. The Jews, knowing what would happen to them, paid local people to hide them. The local leaders agreed to the offer, only once they were allowed in, the local inhabitants told the Cossacks where the Jews were hiding. Two thousand were slaughtered.

1655 April 26, ENGLAND

Menasseh ben Israel was invited to London by Oliver Cromwell to negotiate the resettlement of the Jews. William Prynne succeeded in officially postponing the resettlement for a couple of years. Cromwell's change of heart was partly due to the rise of Puritanism, which emphasized literal application of the Old Testament.

1655 April 26, THE WEST INDIA COMPANY (North American Colonies)

Refused to accept Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant's request to ban the settling of Jews in New Amsterdam. In their letter, they relate to the "large amounts of capital which the Jews have invested in the shares of this company" therefore "these people (Portuguese Jews) may travel and trade...live and remain there provided the poor shall not become a burden to the company or the community."


From Spain with the help of Jewish pirates. Jewish Conversos were welcomed and in the same year the first synagogue was founded in Port-Royal A few years later when the Spanish tried to attack Port Royal it was defended in no small part by Jewish pirates. Penn was the father of William Penn the founder of Pennsylvania. rnrn

1655 August 8, RUSSIA

The Russians took Vilna. As part of the peace settlement between Chmielniki and Czar Alexis, the east bank of the Dnieper became part of the kingdom of Moscow. The Jews of Vilna were once again subject to expulsion and murder.

1655 August 17, ENGLAND

Antonio (Abraham Israel) Carvajal and his two sons received residency rights (endenizened) as "crypto Jews" thus becoming the founder of the converso (Marrano) London Jews community. Carvajal (see 1590) was an important trader whose wide connections provided Oliver Cromwell with vital information concerning both the Spanish government and the exiled Stuart, Charles II.

1655 December 4, WHITEHALL (England)

The question of the re-admittance of the Jews was brought to a conference of notables. The judges decided that there was no statute which excluded the Jews from the country. Cromwell dissolved the commission, considering it too pro-admittance.


Shah Abbas II (1632 -1666) declaring that all Jews were unclean, forced them to either convert or be expelled. Many Jews accepted Islam on the outside, but continued to practice Judaism in secret similar to their brethren 150 years earlier in Spain.

1656 March 24, ENGLAND

After the outbreak of the English-Spanish war, Jews living in England petitioned Cromwell to be allowed to stay in England, insisting that they were Conversos, not Spaniards. Although Cromwell chose not to reply officially, he permitted the community to establish a Jewish Cemetery, and to have protection during prayers. His unwritten agreement was conditioned on there being no public Jewish worship. This is considered by many to mark the official end of the expulsion of the Jews from England.

1656 May 16, ENGLAND

Antonio Robles, a successful Converso merchant, had his goods confiscated at the outbreak of the war with Spain. Robles contended that he was a Portuguese "of the Hebrew nation" and not Spanish - and therefore his property should be returned to him. In this landmark case the Council decided in his favor, strengthening the position of the community and opening the door for allowing Jews to live in England as Jews.


Its Directors ordered Peter Stuyvesant to permit the Jews to trade and own real-estate in New Amsterdam.

1656 July 27, SPINOZA (Holland)

Was excommunicated in Amsterdam. Spinoza had been accused - together with Juan de Prado - of denying the being of Angels, the immortality of the soul and that the Torah was given by God. De Prado apologized but Spinoza refused to do so. The council forbade anyone to communicate with him in any fashion or to read any of his books.

1656 October 4, LECZYCA (Lenshitz, Poland)

During what was known as the Russo-Swedish wars, Jews from the surrounding area took refuge behind the city walls. The Polish army attacked after the local garrison fled to the castle, leaving the Jews to the mercy of the attacking forces. Between 2-3000 Jews were murdered and hundreds of Torah scrolls were destroyed, many of which had been brought to the city by the refugees.

1657 SPALATO (Split, Croatia)

Jews had lived in this city since the third century. During the Turkish attacks against Venetian rule, the Jews so distinguished themselves that one of the city's towers became known as the "post of the Jews".

1657 April 20, ASSER LEVY (New Amsterdam, North American Colonies)

After a battle of almost two years Asser Levy, one of the original 23 settlers, was allowed to serve on guard duty ("watch and ward"). Levy, who was the ritual slaughterer of the town, opened his slaughterhouse on what is now Wall Street. He also petitioned to be allowed the rights as a Burgher or freeperson of the town, which he received (albeit reluctantly and as a "second class" Burgher) from the burgomasters of New Amsterdam.

1658 NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND (North American Colonies)

Fifteen Jewish families from Holland were accepted in what was then the most important port on the northeast Atlantic coast.

1658 - 1724 SAMSON WERTHEIMER ( Germany - Austria)

Rabbi, philanthropist and court Jew. Wertheimer , a friend of Samuel Oppenheimer (see 1630), served both Leopold I and his son Joseph I. As a Jewish scholar he held the title as chief Rabbi of Moravia and Hungary, presided over the Rabbinical court, and answered many halachic question posed to him by various communities. He was renowned for his generosity, scrupulously giving 10% of his money to charity and setting up foundations in both Vienna and Jerusalem . Wertheimer intervened whenever possible in defending his co-religionists ( see Entdecktes Judenthum 1700).

1658 February 23, MARYLAND (North American Colonies)

Jacob Lumbrozo, a doctor and the first Jew known to have settled in the colony, was arrested under the Toleration Act of 1649 (act concerning religion). This act imposed the death penalty for anyone denying the basic tenants of Christianity. Though Lumbrozo was saved by a general amnesty, proclaimed by Richard Cromwell it was not until the "Jew Bill" passed in 1826 that Jews could hold public office without submitting to a Christian oath.rnrn


The Dutch West India Company granted a charter to David Cohen Nassi for a Jewish settlement. The charter allowed for "freedom of conscience, public worship, synagogue, and school". This lasted only until the Dutch cession to the French in 1664. Though the French promised to continue the Dutch policy, they soon (1671) outlawed all public worship of Judaism.

1660 CHARLES STUART (Charles II) (England)

Earlier that year, Thomas Violet had petitioned the London city council and the King demanding the re-expulsion of all Jews. King Charles, who recently regained the English throne, sent a Royal message to Parliament asking them to take the protection of the Jews into consideration. The Violet's petition was rejected.

1660 - 1718 (11 Iyar 5478) ZEVI ASHKENAZI, MANAH ZEVI (Moravia)

Fled Vilna on the arrival of the Cossacks. He left Buda in 1686 after his wife and sons were killed during the siege. Arriving in Sarajevo, he became the rabbi and started a school in Alfona. Zevi served as rabbi in Amsterdam, London and Lemberg, and was an opponent of Shabbetai Zevi. His son, Yaakov Emden, later became a famous scholar and was involved in a controversy over Shabbetai Zevi with Jonathan Eybeshutz.

C. 1660 - 1746 JEHIEL BEN SOLOMON HEILPRIN (Lithuania)

A scholar and historian as well as rabbinical leader and dean of the yeshiva in Minsk, he is best remembered for his Seder ha-Dorot, which set the talmudic era in order, both chronologically and biographically.

1660 - 1742 EZRA HA-BAVLI (Iraq)

Rabbi and Hebrew poet. Ha-Bavli had a extraordinary knowledge of the Bible, and Talmud. He was renowned for his Tokhaḥot Musar(Moralistic Reproofs) an ethical guide and Netivot Shalom ( Paths of Peace), which included moral rebukes, sermons, and interpretations of the bible.

1660 - 1744 HAYYIM BEN JACOB ABULAFIA ( Eretz-Israel)

Scholar and community leader. He wrote number book among them Mikrae Kodesh on the Talmud and bible Yosef Lekach on the Pentateuch and Shevut Yaakov on the Ein Yaakov by ibn Habib. In 1742 he asked and agreed to help reestablish the Jewish community in Tiberias (see1742 and 1743). He built a synagogue , bathhouse , oil press and helped raise funds for housing.

1660 April 13, ANTONIO ENRIQUEZ BASURTO (Spain-Holland)

A captain in the Spanish army, poet and one of Spain's greatest comedy playwrights, he was burned in effigy after fleeing with his son to Amsterdam. When told of his burning effigy, he commented "They are welcome to it."

1660 September, CAYENNE ISLAND (present French Guyana)

A boat with Jews from Amsterdam and Brazil tried to land. The Dutch governor Jan Classen Langedijk refused them permission. This despite that a charter had been signed between the West India Company David Nassy on September 12 1659, allowing for the establishment of a Jewish community. The governor also tried to extort money making false claims against the group. Only following the intervention of the local population (including the Indians), did he relent. One of their most successful products was vanilla extract. The capture of the island by the French just 4 years later, spelled the end of the prospering community.

1661 SHAH ABBAS II (Persia)

Five years after he forcibly converted or expelled the Jews, he reversed his decision. This was mainly due to the loss of revenues previously collected from Jews ( Jizya). He allowed them to return to openly practice Judaism in return for them resuming the payment of the poll tax and wear a distinctive mark on their clothing.

1663 FRA VINCENTE DE ROCAMORA (Spain-Amsterdam)

The confessor of the Infanta Maria of Spain and the Empress of Austria. He disappeared, but soon turned up in Amsterdam, where he changed his name to Isaac and became a prominent physician.

1663 ANTI JEWISH RIOTS (Istanbul)

Two Janissaries (elite guards of the Sultan) of Christian origin accused Istanbul Jews in the Balat neighborhood of killing the child of one of them, (who in reality had killed his own son). In the riot that ensued local Greeks killed almost twenty Jews and ransacked the Jewish commercial center. The two guards was eventually arrested and killed upon orders of the Sultan Mehmed IV.rnrn

1663 April, NEW FRANCE (later Canada) becomes a royal province

Under Louis XIV (1638 1715). According to his proclamation only Roman Catholic's were allowed to settle there. Although a single Jewish woman did try ( see 1738), she was deported. It was only in 1760 after the French and Indian War, that the first Jews (probably British soldiers) were allowed to establish a community.

1663 December 13, MATTATHIAS CALAHORA (Poland)

A renowned physician and scholar, had been accused by Friar Servatius of being the author of an anti Christian pamphlet found in a Dominican church and written in German. The Cracow court condemned him to death. His lips were cut off , his tongue cut out, and then burned alive. His ashes were dispersed to prevent him from having a proper Jewish burial. Despite this, enough of his remains were found for a burial to take place. He did not know any German.


The Sephardi community drew up regulations for Jewish communal organizations. They were known as the Ascamot or Agreement. The original document was written in Portuguese. One of the regulations against the founding of another synagogue was later to cause controversy.


Sephardic boys school, opened in London. It originally only taught Hebrew subjects, but added English and math in 1736.

1664 - 1723 ISAAC CANTARRNI ( Italy)

Poet physician and Rabbi. His sermons were so popular that they were attended by Christians as well as Jews. He wrote Pachad Yitzchak {"Awe of Issac ) describing the attacks on the Padua ghetto in 1684 , a collection of poems Pi Sefarim ("Mouth of Books"), and Vindex Sanguinis, in Latin, a defense against blood accusations.

1664 May, LVOV

Jews, learning about an impending attack by Jesuit seminary students and the Cathedral school, prepared a defense of the ghetto. The local official sent in the militia to ostensibly restore order. Instead, they joined the rioters, killing about 100 Jews.

1664 May 9, LEMBERG AND CRACOW (Poland)

Anti-Jewish riots by students and peasants resulted in damages and death in both communities. In Lemberg, the synagogue was attacked on the Sabbath and the Cantor was murdered.

1664 September, NEW AMSTERDAM (North American Colonies)

Was occupied by the British and its name changed to New York. The rights won by the Jews under Dutch rule were preserved, although they were still not allowed to join a guild or engage in retail trade. Each colony was free to decide which rights to grant the Jews. In many cases they were even less then those granted in England.

1665 May 31, SHABBETAI ZEVI (Ottoman Empire)

Under the coaching of Nathan of Gaza, he proclaimed himself the Messiah.

1665 August 17, GRANT OF 'PRIVILEGES' (Suriname)

The small colony, recently occupied by the English, gave full rights to the Jews (mostly Spanish and Portuguese refugees) to practice Judaism and run their own affairs. With the support of Henry Willoughby and Lieutenant General William Byam the charter included freedom of religion, permission to build synagogues and schools, as well as the right to their own court of justice. In Jamaica, Jews would only attain full rights in 1831 and in Barbados in 1802. The first synagogue and school were built in 1671 at Cassipora. This remarkably liberal charter was transferred over to the Dutch when they conquered the colony as a means of encouraging the Jews to remain.


The first Anglo-Jewish charity, Hebra (Chevra) of Bikur Holim was set up for visiting the sick.

1666 September 14, SHABBETAI ZEVI (Ottoman Empire)

The Sultan, aware that by killing Shabbetai Zevi would turn him into a martyr, "convinced" Zevi that converting to Islam was in his best interest. On this day, he was brought before the Sultan where be took off his Jewish head dress and replaced it with Turkish turban. The repercussions of his conversion sent shock waves throughout the Jewish world and were to be felt for many years. Some of his followers claimed that it wasn't really him who converted. Others professed that, by going to Islam to redeem them as well, he had proved that he was the Messiah.

1666 December 9, EXCOMMUNICATION OF NATHAN OF GAZA (Constantinople)

Shabbetai Zevi's foremost "prophet" was excommunicated by the rabbinical council in Constantinople.

1667 July 31, TREATY OF BREDA ( Breda, Netherlands)

Signed between England, the Dutch Republic, France, and Denmark, ended the second Anglo-Dutch War. Under the treaty England received the Dutch provinces in the New World, and guaranteed full rights of worship trade and property to its inhabitants including the Jews. Jews were as yet forbidden to build synagogues.

1668 January 28, POPE CLEMENT IX (1667-1669) (Italy)

Cancelled the humiliating forced races of near naked Jews through the streets of Rome during Saturnalia carnival time (known as the Palio). In return for this revocation, the Jews of Rome had to pay a special cancellation tax of 200 ducats. This tax was paid for almost 200 years.The races had been first introduced by Pope Paul II in 1466.

1668 October 23, BARBADOS

The local British colonists passed "Jewish laws,” Theses determined where Jews could live and what commerce they could engage in, including a ban on retail trading.. Jews were forbidden from owning more than one slave, or employing Christians which prevented them from running a plantation. The Laws remained in effect until 1802.

1669 (8 Iyar 5429) PURIM CHIOS (Aegean Island)

The Venetian armies' attack on the island, which had a sizeable number of Jews, was beaten off. In commemoration, the local Jews instituted an annual celebration.

1669 CAROLINAS (North American Colonies)

"Jews, heathens and dissenters" were granted liberty of conscience.


June 19 1669 MICHAEL I ELECTED KING OF POLAND By the nobility and perceived as malleable to their wishes. Michael I (1640-1673) tried to restore protections and previous agreements to the Jews. He was opposed by the Diet, which was controlled by the clergy and the lesser nobles, and who wanted more restrictions ;" in order that the perfidy and self-will of the Jews should not gain the upper hand". His reign lasted a little more than four years when he died suddenly of food poisoning.

1670 BENJAMIN LEVY (c. 1650-1704) (London, England)

Arrived in England and was credited with founding of the London Ashkenazi community. Levy became very wealthy as a broker and purchased the first Ashkenazi cemetery in 1696.

C. 1670 - 1744 MEIR EISENSTADT ( MaHaRaM ESH) (Poland)

Rabbi and talmudic scholar. He served as the Rosh Yeshiva in both Worms and Eisenstadt. Among his students was Jonathan Eybeshutz, who he raised after his father had died. His works include Panim Me'irot, and Or ha-Ganuz both on the Talmud, and Me'orei Esh, on the Pentateuch.

1670 - 1756 AARON HART (Breslau- England)

First chief rabbi of Great Britain (1705). His Urim ve-Tummim (1707) was the first book printed entirely in Hebrew in London.

1670 January 18, METZ (France)

Raphael Levy, a peddler, was accused of killing a Christian child for sorcery and was tortured to death. A former Jew, Paul du Vallie, son of a renowned physician, leader in the Jewish community, helped to convict him. King Louis XIV later declared it to be "judicial murder" and demanded that all such cases be brought before the king's council.

1670 February 28, VIENNA (Austria)

Leopold I ordered Jews to be expelled within a few months. Although Leopold was reluctant to lose the large amount of taxes (50,000 Florins) paid by the Jews, he was persuaded to do so by Margaret, the daughter of, Phillip IV, the Spanish Regent and a strong follower of the Jesuits. (see 1630, Samuel Oppenheimer). Margaret blamed the death of her firstborn on the tolerance shown to the Jews.The last Jews left on the 9th of Av.

1670 August 8, VIENNA (Austria)

Leopold I, after evicting the Jews, sold the Jewish quarter for 100,000 florins, which was then renamed Leopoldstadt in his honor. The synagogue and the bet midrash (talmudic study hall) were turned into St. Margaret's Church.A tablet was placed into the foundation stating that it was now a temple dedicated to God, and not a murderers pit.

1671 BARBADOS (The Carribean)

Under Lord Willoughby and approximately 50 years after the British occupation of the island, Jews were granted freedom to worship without any restrictions. Later, jealous rival merchants sometimes succeeded in temporarily imposing disabilities, usually in the form of higher taxes or trade restrictions.

1671 May 21, FREDERICK WILLIAM "THE HOHENZOLLERN" (The Great Elector) (Germany)

Became the Margrave of Brandenburg. On September 10 of that year, he re-admitted 50 wealthy Jewish families from Austria to the capital, Berlin. Although they were permitted to live and trade where they wished, they had to pay a protection tax of 8 Thalers per person per year and a gold florin for every wedding and funeral. In addition, Jews were not allowed to sell their houses to other Jews, and were permitted to have prayer rooms, but no synagogues.

1672 September 23, SATANOW (Poland)

One of the few Polish towns to have escaped harm was captured by the Cossacks.

1673 February 11, ENGLAND

According to the Conventicle Act of 1664, any prayer meeting of more the five persons that was not according to the Book of Common Prayer would be considered seditious. The act had been originally designed as a device against the Puritans, but soon Jews were prosecuted as well. The Jews requested from the King to either be allowed freedom of worship or to be allowed to leave the country with their possessions. Charles II ordered the Attorney General to desist from prosecuting the "offenders".


Against the Maranos was temporary suspended by pope Clement X. Unfortunately it continued unabated in Spain, and was reintroduced into Portugal by the next pope, Innocent XI in 1681.

1675 August 2, AMSTERDAM (Holland)

The new synagogue "Talmud Torah" was inaugurated with a great ceremony. Amsterdam had over four thousand Jewish families at that time. The synagogue is still in existence today.

1678 YEMEN

Iman-Al-Mahdi Ahmad offered Jews the choice of either converting or being expelled to a hot barren land near Aden known as Mawza. The iman also closed all synagogues and prohibited public prayer by Jews. They were allowed to return one year later, though it is estimated that 2/3 of them did not survive the year. Upon their return, they found their homes occupied by Moslems. Many of the smaller communities disappeared and were not rebuilt. Among the exiles was Shalem (Shalom) Shabazi, who wrote over 550 historical, ethical and religious poems. He is considered the greatest Yemenite Jewish poet.

1679 MINSK (Lithuania)

King John III Sobieski confirmed the right of the Jews to own real estate and engage in all trades and commerce, despite the opposition of the local population. These rights were confirmed again in 1722 and led to a relatively peaceful situation for the Jews in the city during those two centuries.

1679 JOSEPH ATHIAS (Amsterdam)

Published a Yiddish translation of the Bible. He began his printing house in 1658.

1679 - 1756 (23 Cheshvan 5517) ISAAC HEZEKIAH BEN SAMUEL LAMPRONTI (Italy)

Rabbi, educator and physician, Lampronti served as head of the Yeshiva in Ferrara where he developed a reputation for innovative educational ideas. He kept his practice as a physician even while serving as a Rabbi, refusing to accept payment for his services from those who could not afford them. Lampronti is renowned for his Pachad Yitzchak, a halachik Encyclopedia arranged in alphabetical order

1680 - 1756 (14 Shvat 5516) JACOB JOSHUA FALK (Cracow-Galicia-Eastern Europe)

Known by the name of his most popular novellae work, Penai Yehoshua (Face of Joshua) on the Talmud (not to be confused with Joshua Heshel Ben Joseph's Pnai Yehosuah on the Shulchan Aruch 1578). After the death of his wife and family in a fire, he decided to apply himself totally to his studies and accepted the post of rabbi in Lemberg. There he fought against the influence of Sabbatianism. He also wrote Sefer Minchat Ani on the Talmud, and Klal Gadol, which deals with the idea of a majority in halachic issues.


A Jewish guide book written in Yiddish, was published by Shabbtai Ben Joseph Bass (see 1641). It included currency rates, weights and measures, as well as distances between cities, and special prayers for the traveler.rn

1680 June 30, MADRID (Spain)

An Auto da Fe was held in honor of the marriage of Carlos II to Louis Marie d'Orleans. It lasted 14 hours and was the last time that a "royal" Auto was held. The king himself set light to the quemadero (burning place). His successor, Philip V, refused the "honor".

1681 PRINCESS ANNE ( England)

The future queen visited a London synagogue in Creechurch lane (later to evolve into the Bevis Marks synagogue). Making Anne ( 1665-1714) the first member of the royal family to visit a synagogue ,since before the expulsion of 1290.

1682 - 1725 REIGN OF PETER I THE GREAT (Russia)

Although by no means a lover of Jews, he tried to enlighten Russian policies and make them on a par with those of Western Europe.

1682 May 10, LISBON (Portugal)

The largest Judaizing trial was held in Lisbon: 117 persons were judged within three days. One penitent included Anna Rodriguez of Chaves, who was 97.


Cardinal Francesco Albizzi in his De inconstantia in jure admittenda vel non , determined that the age of reason for baptism is seven rather than twelve. This will allow the church to legally baptize any child over seven, if he in "any way" expresses his desire to do so, even without parental consent. This decision will be quoted by many Popes justifying the baptism of children.

1683 July 14, UHERSKY BROD (Moravia - Eastern Europe)

Hungarian rebels known as Kuruc attacked the town, killing most of its Jewish inhabitants. Many of the Jews were recent refugees expelled from Vienna in 1670. One of the victims was the Rabbi and Kabbalist, Nathan Nata Hannover, who had survived the Chmielniki attacks. He was the author of Yeven MeZulah, which dealt with Chmielnicki's massacres and Sha'arei Ziyyon, a collection of prayers for Tikun Hazot. The survivors fled to Hungary.

1684 August 20, PADUA (Italy)

Attack on the ghetto. During the war between Venice and Turkey, the Jews were accused of praying for the Turks during their attack on Buda (today: Budapest, Hungary). In actuality, it was the 9th of Av and all the Jews were in the synagogue mourning the destruction of the Temple. Soon after, the attack on the ghetto began. When the gates were opened to allow for an emissary to the Duke to leave, the crowd rushed in. As soon as the authorities heard about the disturbances, an order to forcibly curb them was given. The day of the order (10 Elul) became a day of thanksgiving, or Purim Buda.


After a number of minor persecutions the crown confirmed freedom of worship for the Jews.


Published Pahad Yizhak (Fear of Isaac), a rabbinical encyclopedia which also described the attacks on the Padua community the year before. For safety, he couched it in obscure language.

C. 1685 - 1732 JACOB CULI (Eretz Israel-Turkey)

Rabbi and commentator. In addition to his own writings Culi helped edit and publish the writing of the Chief Rabbi of Constantinople, Judah Rosanes (Parashat Derakhim), as well as the works of his grandfather, Moses ibn Habib. Yet his real fame lies in his easy-to-read commentary on the Bible that was originally written in Ladino, Me-Am Lo'ez. This enormously popular commentary brought to the masses, who didn't understand Hebrew, the Midrashic anecdotes and folklore behind each Torah portion. Although he only published a small amount of it in his lifetime, others took up his notes and completed the work after his death. It was later translated into Hebrew and even into English.

1685 CODE NOIR (Martinique)

Instigated by the French Jesuit governor Count de Blenac The Black Code was signed by King Louis XIV. According to the code, all Jews had to leave French held territories within three months or forfeit their property.

1686 BUDA (Budapest, Hungary)

During the fighting between the Ottoman and Austrian imperial forces, the Jews chose the side of the Turks. When the Austrians finally conquered the city, only half of the approximate 1000 Jews had survived and their quarter sacked.

1686 JUDAH BEN ELEAZAR (Riba) (Persia)

Published Hovot Yehudah (Duties of Judah) dealing with faith and philosophy. Ben Eleazar was a physician, philosopher and astronomer, He was evidently forced to convert to Islam along with most of the community during the reign of Shah Abbas the second of the Safavid dynasty (1656-1662). Upon the Shahs death, they were permitted to return to publicly practicing Judaism. He also produced works on astronomy and medicine.

1687 - 1769 David Altschuler (Galicia- Prague)

Biblical commentator. His "Metzudat David" (Tower of David) clarifies verses, while his Metzudat Tzion (Tower of Zion) explains the individual words and phrases. Altschuler's "metzudot" cover almost all of the Nevi'im and Ketuvim ( Prophets and "Writings/Hagiographa) and is printed today in most Hebrew editions of the bible which contain commentary

1687 December 5, JACOB AND DAVID ROBLES ( New York City)

Petitioned for the granting of a letter of denization (rights of a settler) which would allow them both an exemption of imported property tax, and the ability to own and farm land.

1688 JOSEPH PENSO DE LA VEGA (Amsterdam, Holland)

Wrote the first Hebrew drama, Asirei Tikva (Prisoners of Hope) in which, in allegorical form, morality triumphed over evil.

1688 - 1755 YUSUF (Joseph b. Isaac) YAHUDI, (Bukhara)

Persian Poet who wrote in Hebrew characters. His many works include Haft Braderan ("The Seven Brothers") based on the Midrash of the martyrdom of seven brothers and their mother, as well as Mukhammas in praise of Moses. He was also a prolific translator and was responsible for translating many zemirot for Judeo-Persian songbooks.

1689 WORMS (Germany)

Louis XIV's troops set the Judengasse on fire.


Fighting erupted between the English and French along the northern border of New York. One of the first Jews known to have fought under the British flag was Joseph Isacks. Isacks, a butcher from New York, was an active member of the synagogue until his death at age 78.

1689 June 22, PRAGUE (Bohemia)

The Jewish quarter was destroyed by French troops who shelled the area. In one synagogue the roof caved in, killing the 100 people who had sought refuge there. Most of the population was taken in by their Christian neighbors until new shelters were built.


Was started under order of General Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who served in the Hapsburg army and led the attack to capture Kosovo from the Ottoman empire. He claimed he set fire to the city after an outbreak of cholera, others differ. The Jewish quarter and its synagogues were totally destroyed.

1690 COPENHAGEN (Denmark)

The Danish police chief was fired for suggesting that a ghetto be established.

1690 - 1764 (21 Elul 5524) JONATHAN EYBESHUTZ (Poland-Bohemia)

Kabbalist, author, and rabbi. He became head of the Prague yeshiva at the age of twenty-one and was considered a brilliant authority on many subjects. He was proficient in several languages, wrote poetry, and promoted the study of Hebrew and science. Eybeshutz ostensibly came under the influence of Sabbatianism and was later forced to publicly repudiate his views. He accepted a position as the rabbi of three communities at the same time: Altona, Hamburg and Wandesbeck.

1690 July 8, AARON BEN MOSES TEOMIM (Chmelnik, Poland)

Was arrested and died after either being beaten or (according to the soldiers) by his falling off a horse. Teomim, the rabbi of Cracow was attending a conference of the council of four lands. The supposition for his arrest on the Sabbath was probably for ransom.

1690 December 29, (1 Tevet 5451) ANCONA (Papal States, Italy)

A major earthquake hit the area with little damage and no loss of life. A local Purim was established, as was the custom to celebrate deliverance from danger.


In Palma Majorica, after one hundred and fifty years of freedom from the Inquisition, an investigation led to the conviction of 219 people. All agreed to be reconciled with the Church. When they tried to flee the island 37 were burned to death, since it was considered a relapse to heresy. Among them were Raphael Benito and his sister Catalina, who, though declaring that she did not want to die, jumped into the flames rather than be baptized. Her steadfastness of belief was made into a ballad which is still sung on the island today: "She leaps into the flame. At the brink she cries, Oh brother mine, take courage your heart will not scorch."

1692 LAZA OF 'FRANKFURT' ( Germany)

Translator. Laza was the wife of Jacob ben Mordecai of Schwerin ( aka Jacob of Fulda) the author of a number of kabalistic works. In 1692 she translated his work on the Zohar : Tikkun Shalosh Mishmarot, ("Prayers for the Three Night Watches") into Yiddish adding her own introduction. She also wrote a megillat ( scroll of ) Esther although whether in Hebrew or translated into Yiddish is unknown.


Was published. The first Haggadah to include copper engravings and a map. The illustrator and cartographer was Abraham ben Jacob (d.1714 ) who converted to Judaism. His map of the land of Israel in the Haggadah one of the earliest printed maps of the holy land. Hagar is also said to have made the engravings for Hurowitz's Sheni Luchot Habrit (1565).rn

1695 - 1785 (25 Tamuz 5545) ARYEH LEIB (Loeb) BEN ASHER GUNZBERG (Germany)

Rabbi and talmudist. He believed in using the exacting pilpulist method of study in order to stimulate the minds of his students. Aryeh Leib wrote a number of works, including his famous Sha'agat Aryeh which is concerned with Jewish law (Halacha). Though very poor, he did not hesitate to stand up for an issue he believed in. As a result, he lost his job as a rabbi in Metz when he tried to get the synagogue to change one of its customs. Among his students were Raphael Hakohen and Hayim Volozhiner.

1696 BEHREND LEHMANN (1661-1730) (Germany)

Was appointed to the court of Frederick of Saxony. Deeply religious, he built a beit midrash in Halberstadt and financed the Frankfurt printing of the Talmud. He used his influence to help other Jews whenever threatened. His job was to finance his ruler's military expenditures.

1696 - 1743 HAYYIM BEN ATTAR ( Morocco-Eretz Israel)

Rabbi, Kabbalist and scholar. He authored the well known commentary on the Pentateuch, Or Hahayyim (The Light of Life), as well as Pri Toar (Beautiful Fruit) on the Shulchan Aruch, and Ḥefetz Hashem (God's Desire), on parts of the Talmud. He left Morocco in 1733, but only arrived in Eretz Israel in 1742, being delayed by the Jewish communities in Livorno ( where a yeshiva was set up in his honor) ,Venice and Damascus. He died soon after his arrival.

1696 ELLA BAT MOSHE (Dessau)

Printer. In 1696 she printed the siddur (prayer book) Tefilat Moshe , when she was 9 years old. Her family were famous from their work which also included her younger sister Gela.

1696 JOHANN PETER SPAETH ( Vienna - Amsterdam )

Converted to Judaism in taking the name Moses Germanus Spaeth (c.1643-1701) was born Catholic, converted to Lutheranism , then reconverted to Catholicism before eventually converting to Judaism. He wrote numerous theological works both against Catholicism and defending it, a fact which made it difficult for some in the Jewish community to accept the depth of his commitment, despite the risks he took in converting.

1696 December 24, EVORA (Portugal)

A provincial capital of Portugal, it had been an important center for Converso Jews. On Christmas Eve, the victims were led from the palace of the Inquisition (still existing today) to the Roman square, the most visible height of the town, where they were burned. The tribunal of Evora was infamous for its cruelty and was responsible for almost two-thirds of the Portuguese Inquisition's sentences to be burned alive, though it had far less than half the trials in Portugal.

1697 - 1776 (30 Nissan 5536) JACOB EMDEN (Altona, Germany)

Anti-sabbatianist and rabbinical scholar. He devoted himself to searching out heresies, and succeeded in stamping out mysticism in western Germany. The rabbinical council of Yaroslav later condemned him for his attack on Eybeshutz (in which he had alleged that Eybeshutz had written amulets engraved with the name of Shabbetai Zevi). In spite of this, he was recognized as a scholar and author on Jewish law (Halacha).

1698 RITUAL MURDER LIBEL (Sandomierz, Poland)

Aaron Berek the Parnas (leader) of the Jewish community was accused of the ritual murder of a Christian child by Father Stefan Żuchowski. After being dismissed by the lower courts it was brought to the Lublin Supreme Court where the accusation was upheld and Berek was executed. This incident became a model for many blood accusations in Poland over the next century. After the execution a Christian women confessed that she had thrown the body of her illegitimate child into his courtyard.

1698 - 1738 JOSEPH SUSS OPPENHEIMER (Jud Suss) (Germany)

He was responsible for the financial planning of Karl Alexander, the Catholic ruler of Protestant Germany. After Karl's death, he was accused, among other things, of trying to bring back Catholicism. He had lived a life of opulence and had no dealings with his religion or his fellow Jews. Despite this, the community tried to ransom him to no avail. He returned to Jewish beliefs while in prison and died while reciting the Shema. (See 1738)


During his stay in Holland he was petitioned to admit Jews into Russia but he politely refused. In response Czar Peter (1672-1725) stated, you know the Jews, their character.. and the Russians believe me, the time has not yet come to unite the two nationalities.

1699 BAMBERG (Germany)

A mob, attacking the Jewish quarter, turned around and retreated after one quick thinker poured baskets of ripe plums on the attackers. An annual Plum fast (Zwetschgen Taanit) was instituted.


Was fought between a coalition of Russia, Denmark-Norway and Saxony-Poland (from 1715 also Prussia and Hanover) vs. Sweden. Czar Peter I and King Augustus II eventually defeated Charles II of Sweden and Stanislaus Leszczynski (the Pretender). Jews were forced by both sides to pay heavy taxes, especially in the cities occupied by the Swedes. In Poznan (1704), Jews were forced to defend the city by catching firebombs with their hands.

C. 1700 - 1766 (7 Sivan 5520 second day of Shavuot) ISRAEL BEN ELIEZER (THE BAAL SHEM TOV) (Medzibezh, Poland-Lithuania)

Founder of the Hasidic movement. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by the Jewish community and spent much of his time alone in the nearby forests. After he married, he moved to the Carpathian Mountains and then to a small town where his wife set up an inn. At age 36, he revealed himself to the community as a healer and a comforter. He received the name "Baal Shem Tov" (Master of the Good Name) and was simply called the "Besht". His major philosophy consisted of worshipping G-d with joy and believing that simple prayers, when uttered in earnest, were more important that extreme intellectualization. The Besht believed that Tzaddikim, or righteous ones, were sent by G-d to guide the people. Though he left no writings of his own, he was immortalized by the often miraculous and magnified stories of his life told by his closest followers. The Baal Shem Tov did not have any children. His closest pupils set up "courts" and established Hassidic dynasties with different variances but in all adhering to the principles of Hassidism he laid down.


It is estimated that at this time there were about 2 million Jews in the world, with the Ashkenazic / Sephardic populations almost equal in size . This would change over the next centuries with Ashkenazic population on the ascendance.

1700 ENTDECKTES JUDENTHUM (Judaism Unmasked)

Was published by Johann Andreas Eisenmenger (1654-1704) Eisenmenger was a Christian intellectual who had a good knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic. Using Jewish sources including those of baptized Jews, he railed against the "superstition and barbarism" of Judaism He proposed a prohibition on the building of synagogues and of public worship. His work served as a basis for future anti-Semites including August Rohling in his Der Talmudjude ( see 1871). Under pressure from Jewish leaders including Samson Wertheimer, Emperor Leopold I confiscated the copies which weren't released until 1711 . An English translation was published in 1748 under the title The Traditions of the Jews. Prince Johann Wilhelm took great interest in it, appointing Eisenmenger professor of Oriental Languages in the University of Heidelbergrn


Published the anti-Semitic Entdecktes Judenthum (Judaism Unmasked). His alleged purpose was to force Jews to recognize their "folly" and embrace Christianity. He recommended that all civil rights to Jews be canceled. Unlike other works of this kind, he tried to address the secular public and intellectuals rather than just the religious. Prince Johann Wilhelm took great interest in it, appointing Eisenmenger professor of Oriental Languages in the University of Heidelberg.

1700 - C. 1772 ISRAEL BEN MOSES HA-LEVI ZAMOSZ (Ukraine)

Scholar, philosopher and mathematician. Among his works are "Netzach Yisrael (Eternity of Israel) on the link between astronomy and mathematics in the Talmud. "Even Yisrael" on Responsa; Arubbot ha-Shamayim," on ancient and modern astronomy; Tuv ha-Levano n ("Lebanon's Best"), on Ḥovot ha-Levavot ("The Duties of the Heart"). He settled in Berlin teaching math, Hebrew and philosophy. One of his students was Moses Mendelssohn.

1700 June 23, SOLOMON DE MEDINA (c. 1650-1730) (England)

Was knighted by William III of England. Medina was the first professing Jew to receive a knighthood. Medina had helped finance what became known as the "glorious revolution" which installed William of Orange and Mary (the daughter of James II) on the throne. Their rule ended any hope for a restoration of catholic rule in England.

1700 October 14, JUDAH HASSID (Eretz-Israel)

Arrived in Jerusalem . He had started out with 31 families in Poland and reached a high of 1500 people before setting sail. One third perished along the way. Judah Hassid died 3 days after reaching Jerusalem. The community , met with suspicion by the mostly sephardi community fell into financial hardship. The synagogue and compound under dept to local Arabs was occupied by them and destroyed. It became known as the Ha Hurva or The Ruin synagogue. It took 140 years before it was rebuilt only to be destroyed by the Jordan legion in 1948. It was restored in 2010.rnrn

1701 September, BEVIS MARKS SYNAGOGUE ( England)

The oldest existing synagogue in Brittan was consecrated. It replaced the synagogue in Creechurch Lane which had been established in 1656.

1703 August 28, ALEINU PRAYER BANNED (Brandenberg, Germany)

The Aleinu prayer was prohibited in much of Germany. The Aleinu, composed by Rav, one of the great Talmudists (d. 247), had been part of the ritual prayer for almost 1500 years. It served as a focal point for anti-Jewish attacks. Although the wording "For they bow down to emptiness and vanity and to a God that cannot save" was taken from Isaiah (45:20) and referred to idol worshipers, some Christian leaders claimed it was an attack on Christianity. The prayer was eventually entirely eradicated from the Ashkenazi siddur and only reprinted recently.

1704 ELLUS BAT MORDECAI (Slutsk ,Belarus)

Translated into Yiddish Maavor Yarbuk ( Crossing the Yarbuk), a kabalistic work on burial rituals written by Aaron Berechiah ben Moses ( see 1626). She was a well educated translator. She also translated a prayer book Shomrim Laboker ( Dawn Watch).


Bull by Pope Clement XI confirmed all the benefits given to converts under Paul III ( see 1542), and expanded them to include giving then the rights over properties owned by non converted members of their families.


The first Hebrew printing press in England was opened.


After a plague which impoverished much of the Jewish community, the local ruler decided that the plague was the fault of the Jews and ordered their expulsion and the confiscation of the synagogues. Only the payment of a huge bribe saved the community from expulsion, but it left them destitute.

1707 PETER THE GREAT (Russia)

Conquered Vilna and the Grodno province. Jews were forced to pay a fine for "not supporting" the Russians. When Karl XII "The Great" of Sweden liberated it from the Russians, the Jews again had to pay a heavy fine for not having supported the Swedes.

1707 - 1747 (26 Iyar 5507) MOSES HAYYIM LUZZATTO (Padua, Italy)

A great poet, dramatist, and above all, mystic. He became an unfortunate victim of the reaction to Sabbatianism. Under pressure from local Italian Jewish Authorities he was forced to deliver most of his writings to his teacher Isaiah Bassan and refrain from teaching Kabbala. Much of these were eventually destroyed . Luzzatto (known as the Ramchal) moved to the relative freedom of Amsterdam for a number of years and tragically died soon after his arrival in Eretz Israel. His most lasting achievements were his use of Hebrew in secular poetry and his ethical work, Mesilat Yesharim (Path of Righteous). Luzzatto also wrote two Hebrew dramas, Migdal Oz (Tower of Strength) and La-Yesharim (Praise to the Righteous) and a collection of 150 hymns.rn

1709 LIBLIKE TEFILLEH … ( Delightful Prayer..)

A unique prayer book was published by Aron ben Samuel of Hergerhausen. It consisted not only of translated prayers, but included many of his own creation, all in Yiddish. His book was banned as heresy by many. Aron ben Samuel, is considered to be the first to use or coin the phrase muter-loshn or mamaloshen, to describe Yiddish.rn

1710 - 1772 (19 Kislev 5532) RABBI DOV BER (the Maggid) OF MEZHIRECH (Poland)

The Besht's (Baal Shem Tov)most brilliant disciple, he provided his teachings with a firmer foundation. He was the first of the Hasidic Rebbes who held court and gave personal advice. People began to feel that the importance of the Rebbe had more to do with his family background than with his scholarship. Sons were thus able to inherit both the title and the Hasidim (followers) of their fathers. (see 1766)

1710 SANDOMIERZ (Poland)

A second blood libel (see 1698), was incited by Father Stefan Żuchowski (1666-1716). The local Rabbi Jacob Herc and eight others were accused. The Rabbi died while being questioned, his son converted, and 3 others were executed It also led to the expulsion of the Jews from the city by King Augustus II. A large painting depicting a blood libel was commissioned by the church which hung the cathedral until 2006, when after many protests (mostly by recent catholic visitors) it was covered up with plywood . Żuchowski was praised for his efforts and rewarded by being appointed commissioner for Jewish affairs by the Cracow diocese. He published two influential books on ritual accusations.

1710 April 5, THE FIRST BLOOD ACCUSATION IN MOLDAVIA ( present day Romania)

Jews of the town of Targu Neamț (Naimtz) were accused by a baptized Jew (who actually planted the body in a Jewish courtyard) of having killed a Christian child for "ritual purposes". Five Jews were murdered , others wounded or arrested, and all the Jewish houses sacked. Only after an appeal was made to Prince Nicholas Mavrocordatos, was there an investigation which lead to the freeing of all those imprisoned. rn

1711 January 14, FRANKFURT (Germany)

A fire, which broke out in the house of the Chief Rabbi, Naphtali Katz, destroyed almost the entire Jewish quarter. Although they were able to find temporary refuge at their non-Jewish neighbors, they were forced back into the ghetto as soon as it was rebuilt.

1712 KING AUGUSTUS II (Poland)

Reneging on his promise to stop further persecution of the Jews, he expelled them from Zausmer on a murder libel.

1712 - 1778 JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU (Geneva, Switzerland)

One of the leaders of the Romanticists, which was a reaction to the philosophy of Rationalism. He was profoundly influenced by Spinoza (1632-77).

1712 October 8, SURINAME

The French privateer Jauques Cassard attacked Suriname. The Jews in the settlement of Jodensavana fought valiantly against the French, but were eventually overrun, and forced to pay a very heavy tribute. The community never fully recovered

1713 - 1793 (17 5553) RABBI EZEKIEL LANDAU (Prague, Bohemia)

Brilliant talmudist and halachic authority. Landau was also unusual in that he endorsed the idea of learning math and science, and supported the traditionalist element within the Haskalah Movement. Landau helped to establish the first Jewish school in Prague. His Magnum Opus is called the Nodeh B'Yehuda, which is still very popular today. It contains eight hundred and fifty-five responsa divided into two volumes.

1713 April 11, GIBRALTAR

Was ceded to Great Britain by Spain under the Treaties of Utrecht. One clause in the treaty read, "no leave shall be given under any pretence whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar." Although in 1717 the Jews were expelled, they were readmitted permanently the following year. The new Jewish population consisted of both English citizens and Moroccan immigrants.

1714 JOHN TOLAND (England)

Published anonymously his Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews in Great Britain and Ireland on the Same Footing with all Other Nations. Toland, an Irish born deist (a Biblical rationalist movement), believed that the naturalization of foreign-born Jews would encourage foreign-born Jews to settle in England.

1715 - 1780 JACOB RODRIGUEZ PEREIRE (France)

Pereire was a descendant of a Spanish Converso family and returned to Judaism together with his mother. He is remembered for his pioneering work with the deaf that stressed lip reading. Pereire taught students from all levels of society and became active in Jewish life.

1715 March 12, BAVARIA (Germany)

Elector Max Emanuel ordered the expulsion of the few Jews still living in Bavaria.

1717 - 1786 ELIMELECH OF LIZHENSK ( Poland)

Rabbi and hasidic leader . He is credited with the spread of the hasidic movement in Poland and Galicia. He and his brother Zusya were disciples of Dov Baer, the Maggid of Mezeritch. He wrote Noam Elimelech, a commentary on the Pentateuch. His book developed hasidic theory and delineated the position of the Rebbe he believed that the tzaddik, or “righteous one”), serves as a mediator both in the spiritual sphere and in all areas of life.

1720 HARVARD COLLEGE (North American Colonies)

Confered on Judah Monis a degree of Masters of the Arts for his book on Hebrew grammar, making him the first Jew in America to receive a degree from any college. Two years later he converted to Christianity after being offered the position of Instructor of Hebrew at the college.

1720 - 1777 (10 Shvat 5537) SHALOM SHARABI (Ha-Reshash or Ha-Shemesh) (Yemen-Eretz Israel)

Jerusalem Rabbi and Kabbalist. Sharabi became head of the famous Bet El Kabbalist Yeshiva ( see 1737), succeeding Gedaliah Hayon (its founder) in 1751. His prayer book, Nehar Shalom, includes the mystical meditations on prayers and on mitzvoth (commandments). He also wrote Rehovot ha-Nahar, a commentary on Lurian Kabbalah and Emet ve-Shalom, on Hayyim Vital's Etz Hayim.

1720 - 1786 (19 Iyar 5546) ZERAH BEN MEIR EIDLITZ (Prague)

Rabbi, preacher, and mathematician. Eidlitz, a student of Jonathan Eybeshutz, was renowned for his sermons, some of which were preserved in his Or la-Yesharim. He wrote a textbook on math in both English and Hebrew called Melekhet Mahashev. Wealthy at first, he used his funds to support others. Eventually he lost all his resources but refused to accept any charity for himself.

1720 - 1797 (19 Tishrei 5558 3rd day Chol Hamoed Succot) ELIJAH BEN SOLOMON ZALMAN (the Vilna Gaon)

The greatest talmudic mind of his time. He had mastered the Bible and started on the Talmud at the age of six. Though he preferred to live in seclusion, his reputation grew until he was known as the unofficial spiritual head of Eastern European Jewry. Feeling that the Hasidim leaned toward Sabbetianism and that they were dangerously anti-intellectual, he issued a ban and excommunicated its followers. The group which opposed the Hasidim became known as the Mitnagdim (Misnagdim) or the opponents. As a scholar, he pointed the way to a systematic study of the Torah in its entirety, not just those sections relevant to practical life. He wrote over 70 commentaries on all aspects of Jewish life.

C. 1720 - C. 1805 YAHYA SALIH (Yemen)

Scholar, Rabbi and Halachic authority. Salih refused to take a salary and earned his living as a scribe (he was also a famous scribe). He is considerd the greatest Yeminate scholar, authoring numberous books on Jewish law. Among them are Meil Katan on the Shnai Luchot Habrit (ShLaH) of Horowitz (1565), Zevach Todah on the Shulchan Aruch and Peullat Tzadik, his most famous, which contains 762 responsa.

1720 - 1790 LEAH HOROWITZ (Poland)

Born into a family of scholars she soon showed acumen for studying Talmud. She was a composer of T'hkines, Yiddish for the hebrew Techinot or supplications. These were prayers in Yiddish for women who did not understand Hebrew. Horowitz is known for her of Tkhinne Imohes (Supplication of the Matriarchs). In her Hebrew introduction she described the importance of women's prayer, and encourages women to participate in daily prayers. She also deafened women's participating in Halachic and Talmudic studies.

1720 April 7, MADRID (Spain)

In one of the last major Auto da Fe's in Spain, twenty families were accused of meeting in a private synagogue. Five Conversos were burned alive. Over the next seven years, there were 868 cases throughout Spain. Of those cases, 75 people accused of Judaizing were taken to the Auto da Fe. (see 1752)

1721 May 18, MADRID (Spain)

The oldest known victim of the Inquisition was burned alive. She was Maria Barbara Carillo and was 96 years old.

1722 MOSES FRANKFURTER ( Amsterdam)

Published Nefesh Yehudah a Yiddish translation and commentary on Isaac Aboab's Menorat ha-Ma'or( see 1400). Frankfurter (1672-1762) a dayan, printer, and scholar in his own right was criticized for writing in Yiddish rather than only in Hebrew. He defended himself by using the Talmud and the Zohar as examples of spreading Jewish knowledge in the " language of the common man". Frankfurter also edited a new edition of the Mikrot Gedolot on the Pentateuch with several new commentaries including his own, Keheliat Moshe ( the Congregation of Moses). He also wrote a commentary on the Mikhilta ,Ze Yenachameinu ( This Will Be Our Consolation),and other works.rn

1723 - 1799 MARCUS ELIEZER BLOCH (Germany)

Physician and zoologist. He was the first modern fish naturalist (ichthyologist). He classified 1500 species in his 12 volume work Allegemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische. His aquarium later became part of the Berlin Zoological Museum.


Shaar Hashamayim (Gate of Heaven) was built by Isaac Netto a merchant and Rabbi, on land granted by the governor.

1724 - 1806 (11 Adar 5566) HAYIM JOSEPH DAVID AZULAI (the Chidah)

Halachist, kabbalist, emissary, and bibliographer. Azulai traveled as an emissary of the Jewish community in Eretz Israel, especially Hebron. He visited Italy, Germany, Holland, France and England. While on his travels, he visited numerous libraries, noting their contents. His is renowned for his halachic commentary on the Shulchan Aruch (Berkei Yosef) and Machzik Beracha. In addition, he kept notes on all his travels, including ideas that came to him as well as people he met. In a controversial decision, he advocated women studying the Mishnah - if they were self motivated (Tuv Ayin, no. 4) . Azulai also collected Jewish folk stories which he published in his Zichron Maasiyyot V'Nissim.

1724 JEWISH CENSUS BOHEMIA / Moravia (Czech lands)

30,000 Jews lived in Bohemia and 20,000 in Moravia. Prague had a Jewish population of between 11-13,000 people (almost 30% of the city) making it the largest Ashkenazi city in Europe. The largest Sephardic population was in Thessalonica which had approximately 18,000 Jews.

1724 January 18, BULL EX INJUNCTO NOBIS ( It enjoined us ")

Was published by Pope Innocent XIII. It Forbade Jews from selling new objects. This was similar to the bull published by Clement VIII in 1592, and was meant to put Jewish merchants at a disadvantage.

1725 - 1805 NAPHTALI HERZ WESSELY (Germany)

Poet, contributor to the HaMeassef and leader of the Haskalah (Enlightenment - Reformers) Movement.


The former Jewish residents of Cayenne (French Guyana) petitioned the king to be allowed to return to their homes. King Louis (1710-1774) replied, " His majesty does not see it convenient" It was only in 1994 after over 300 years that Jews were officially invited to resettle on the island.rn

1725 - 1812 ARYE LEIB OF SHPOLA ( Ukraine)

Early Hassidic leader, aka the Grandfather (Zaide) of Shpola. .He was considered to be a faith healer, and was known for his warm personality. He had a simple approach to worship, which clashed with others including Nachman of Brestlav and Baruch of Medzibezh.

1726 FAMILIANTS LAWS (Austrian Empire)

Are introduced by Charles VI of Habsburg (1685-1740) and remained in force until 1848. Although for the most part the Habsburgs protected the Jews in their realm they decided to limit their numbers. Accordingly, no Jew could marry unless he possessed one of the "family numbers" (Familiennummern). This led to many Jews marrying "under the table", which made the children illegitimate. Many families were forced to wander from town to town because they were not allowed to permanently settle anywhere. There were strict regulations as to how the numbers were passed on in each family. These laws led to both immigration and assimilation.

1726 - 1791 JACOB FRANK (Podolia, Ukraine)

Last of the Messianic imposters, he considered himself the second person in the Trinity (son). Though he was soon excommunicated, he was still able to live in regal splendor, since the Rabbinate was too weak to crush him. Frank then converted to Christianity while still professing to be the Messiah. His daughter, Eve, carried on the family tradition of proclaiming her father the Messiah until her death in 1811.

1727 NEW YORK (North American Colonies)

General Assembly took out the phrase "upon the true faith of a Christian" from the oath of allegiance for naturalization.

1727 - 1792 (4 Iyar 5552) JOSEPH TEOMIM (Galicia-Germany)

Rabbi, halachic authority, and teacher. Teomim composed the Pri Migadim (Sweet Fruits), one of the most comprehensive commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch. Originally intended as a super-commentary on the Shach and Taz (on the Shulchan Aruch), he actually solved problems raised by himself. His work, accepted by all Orthodox Jews (Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Hasidic), is based on a systematic analysis of previous commentators (Rishonim) upon whom the commentators based themselves. At the same time he emphasized that his decisions are not to be taken as definitive halacha. He was an authority on grammar as well as the Talmud, and understood rudimentary logic. He also authored a commentary on the Torah entitled Rav Peninim (Many Pearls). In addition he wrote Porat Yosef and Rosh Yosef novellae to various talmudic tractates.

1728 May 13, HAYYIM AND JOSHUA REIZES (Lvov, Lithuania)

The head of the Rabbinical court and head of the yeshiva were arrested when a Jesuit priest, Zoltowskiki, discovered that Jan Filipowicz, a convert, had reconverted to Judaism and accused them of complicity. Jan Filipowicz was soon tortured and killed. Joshua was condemned to death, but committed suicide by cutting his own throat. For three days his brother Hayyim refused to convert to Christianity. His tongue was then torn out, his body quartered and he was finally burned. Their property was then confiscated.

1728 December 17, NEW YORK (North American Colonies)

Land is purchased for the first synagogue to be built in the United States, Shearit Israel. The oldest synagogue still standing is Touro in Newport Rhode Island (see 1763).

1729 January 22, - 1781 GOTTHOLD LESSING (Germany)

Poet, philosopher and playwright. Although a strong believing Christian, he advocated religious tolerance. His plays portrayed the Jews as decent, admirable people (Die Juden, 1749). His last play was Nathan the Wise (see 1804).

1729 September 26, - 1786 MOSES MENDELSSOHN (Dessau, Germany)

Born into an orthodox Jewish family, he was influenced by Rabbi David Hershel Frankel, whose knowledge of philosophy and Talmud was vast. At fourteen, he left on foot for Berlin, together with Frankel. There he met Gotthold Lessing, who introduced him to German literature and helped him publish his philosophical Dialogues. In 1783, Mendelssohn and his pupil, Naphtali Wessely, translated the Pentateuch into German. He served as the subject of Lessing's play Nathan the Wise and was the founder of Ha Me'assef, a Hebrew magazine. Believing in Jewish-Christian friendship, he tried to awaken secular interests in his fellow Jews and make them less alien to the Christian world. This backfired, as many of his own grandchildren converted to Christianity.


After two centuries, the New Christians of Southern France (Bordeaux) were recognized as Jews. Two years later their residency was legalized.

1730 - 1805 PINHAS HOROWITZ (Ba'al ha-Hafla'ah) (Poland-Germany)

Rabbi and scholar. Despite his hasidic leanings Horowitz was appointed the rabbi of Frankfurt (see 1772). There he was widely respected for his piety and his vast knowledge. His title "Ba'al ha-Hafla'ah" (author of the Sefer Hafla'ah) was based on his classical works of halachic pilpul in three volumes. Among his students was Moses Sofer (see 1762).

1731 ZHITOMIR (Poland/Ukraine)

31 Jewish men and 2 Jewish women were charged with kidnapping and ritual murder of a 3 year old child . The Bishop of Cracow, Kajetan Sołtyk, was the force behind the investigation and trial. Eleven Jews were executed, others converted; some were freed after conversion; others granted speedier executions.

1731 April 17, YESHIBAT MINHAT AREB (New York Colony)

Became the first Jewish day school founded in North America under the auspices of congregation Sheeirith Israel. The hazzan who taught the classes was instructed to teach the students "the Hebrew, Spanish, and English writing, and arithmetick." Eventually its name was changed to the Polonies Talmud Torah. With the advent of the public school system, Jewish education for the most part, (as in the case of protestant congregations) became limited to Sunday school.

1732 LONDON (England)

The Talmud Torah school, a predecessor of the Jews' free school, was established.

1733 (11 Av 5493) BAGHDAD (Persia)

Persians, trying to reoccupy Baghdad, were defeated by the Ottomans. This day is celebrated as a holiday like the day in 1638.

1733 July 11, GEORGIA (North American Colonies)

Soon after its settlement by General James Oglethorpe, the first group of Jews arrived from England. The approximately 40 Jews included Dr. Samuel Nunez, a former court physician, and Abraham de Leon, who introduced viniculture to the colony. Later that same month a group of 12 indigent German Jewish families also arrived. Oglethorpe was originally against allowing the Jews to remain, until one of them, a doctor, helped stop an epidemic.

1735 November 5, MANTUA (Italy)

A pact between the Jewish community and the local high school was mediated by the secretary of state. In return for the Jewish community providing liquor and other gifts to the school on St. Catherine's day, the students did not press their right to throw objects at any Jew who passes the school.

1736 - 1747 NADIR SHAH (Persia)

For a brief period Jews in Persia experienced a period of tolerance and even growth. With his assassination and the ascension of the Zand and Qajar dynasties (1796 -1926), their position severely deteriorated.

1736 November 22, RITUAL MURDER ACCUSATION (Poznan Poland)

Three leaders of the Jewish community were among those arrested. Aryeh Leib Kalahora, the darshan of the community; and Yaakov ben Pinhas the communal leader died under torture. Others were kept in captivity for up to four years when they were finally released.rnrnrnrn

1736 December 23, PERU

The last Auto da Fe in the New World took place. Dona Ana de Castro, a former lover of the viceroy (among others), was accused of Judaizing and burned at the stake. Her execution probably had more to do with official embarrassment than any religious devotion on her part.

1737 BET EL YESHIVA (Jerusalem)

A Yeshiva dedicated to the studying of the Kabbalah was founded by Rabbi Gedaliah Hayyon. The yeshiva achieved prominence under its second leader, Rabbi Shalom Sharabi (1720-1780, also known as Ha- RaSHaSH. During his time there were around 40 scholars both Sephardi and Ashkenazi. During the Israel War of Independence the Yeshiva was plundered and destroyed and reestablished in 1974

1737 St Eustatius ( Statia, West Indies)

Permission was given by the Dutch colonial government to build a synagogue . It was named Honen Dalim " generous to the needy" The community comprised of around 17 mostly Sephardic families.

1738 ESTHER BRANDEAU ( New France )

A young Jewish woman traveled to Quebec disguised as a boy. Since Jews were prohibited from settling in New France, she was told she must convert. After a year or so of refusal, she was forcibly repatriated back to France(fall 1739). It would be another 22 years before Jews would be allowed to settle in New France.


Oppenheimer, the finance minister (see 1698), was arrested after the sudden death of Prince Karl of Wurttemberg. He was offered a pardon if he agreed to be baptized. Although not a practicing Jew, he refused and was placed in a cage in the center of Stuttgart declaring: "I will die as a Jew. I am suffering violence and injustice." He died while shouting "Shema Yisrael."

1738 July 15, ST. PETERSBURG (Russia)

Baruch Laibov and Alexander Voznitzin were burned alive with the consent of Empress Anna Johanova. Voznitzin, a naval captain, was guilty of the crime of converting to Judaism. Laibov was guilty of helping him.

1739 - 1809 CHAILE RAPHAEL KAULLA ( Germany)

Consider to be one of the most famous court Jews in her time . Known as Madame Kaulla she took over her father business when she was just 21 years old. She was responsible for providing horses, silver, and jewelry to the local court . In 1770 she became a court factor for the Grand Duke of Wuerttemberg in Stuttgart. She married Akiba Auerbach a horse dealer and Talmudic scholar. Kaulla was probably one of the wealthiest women in Germany and supposedly established a synagogue in each of her homes.

1739 July, BARBADOS

The local synagogue, Semach David, “Offshoot of David,” was destroyed in by rioters after a non Jew was accused of theft at a wedding.

1739 October 19, PORTUGAL

Antonio Jose da Silva, a well-known dramatist, was burned at the stake for alleged heresy. Da Silva, whose parents had also been persecuted by the Inquisition, was arrested numerous times and tortured. Although the King himself was inclined to leniency, he was burned while one of his plays was being performed in a popular theater in Lisbon.

1740 - 1785 HAYYIM SALOMON (Poland-America)

As a member of the Sons of Liberty, he was arrested and condemned to die. He escaped and joined the American Revolution as a patriot and financier. Salomon later died penniless and friendless.

1740 - 1804 (17 Tevet 5565) JACOB WOLF KRANZ OF DUBNO (the Dubno Maggid) (Ukraine)

Scholar, preacher and author. He was renowned for his brilliant composition and use of homiletics. It is told that when the Vilna Gaon was very ill, he sent for the Dubno Maggid to read his interpretations and parables at his bedside. He settled in Vilna at the request of the Vilna Gaon. His parables on the Pentateuch were published in Ohel Yakov (Tent of Jacob).

1740 - 1809 (25 Tishrei 5770) LEVI YITZCHAK OF BERDICHEV (Russia)

A great Hasidic Rebbe, leader and scholar. He studied under Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezhirech, and became one of his close friends. Levi Yitzchak stressed the joy in serving God, emphasizing the idea of connecting to God through fervent prayer. He always accentuated the good and the positive that was in people. Levi Yitzchak composed Hasidic music and was immortalized by his vivaciously optimistic parables.

C. 1740 - 1812 BARUCH SCHICK (Shklover)

Rabbi, physician, and scientist. He began by serving as a dayan in Minsk but went to England to study medicine. Schick was asked by the Vilna Gaon to translate Euclid into Hebrew. Among his works are Kenei Midah (Criteria) on geometry, Derech Yesharah ( The Straight Path) on medicine, and Amudei Shamayim ( Pillars of Heaven) a scientific commentary on Maimonides. He believed in the importance of revitalizing Hebrew as a tool for scientific education.

1740 February 3, CHARLES OF BOURBON ( Sicily/ Naples)

Son of Philip V, king of Spain, and considered to be the first Bourbon king of Naples, offered Jews the opportunity to resettle in the two Sicilies. In actuality the 20 families who arrived, lived under severe restrictions and were violently resented by the clergy-led local populace. Within 6 years only three families had remained, these were soon to be expelled (September 18, 1746).

1740 June 1, NATURALIZATION ACT (North American Colonies)

Also known as the Plantation Act,passed, making it possible for a Jew in any of Britain's American colonies to become naturalized. However, it was not always implemented (i.e. in Rhode Island). Between 1740 and the American Revolutionary War, around 200 Jews were naturalized, most of them in Jamaica, a British colony since 1670.rnrn

1741 June, BABA'I BEN NURIEL (Isfahan)

Together with three other Rabbis, translated the Pentateuch and the Book of Psalms into Persian at the request of Nadir Shah (see 1736).


Jews were encourage to settle in Tiberias by the arab governor Zahir al-Umar ( 1690-1775). Tiberias had been in ruins since its destruction by the Druze in 1660. In order to encourage resettlement he cut taxes and helped build schools. The Jews came mostly from Syria, but also from Cyprus and Safed. One of those he personally invited Hayyim ben Jacob Abulafia who was 82 at the time ( see 1660).

1742 December 1, CZARINA ELIZABETH PETROVNA (Russia)

Expelled 35,000 Jews from parts of Russia. The Empress ( 1709-1762) was the daughter of Catherine I and Peter the Great of Russia. When advised of the financial loss she allegedly responded "I do not want any benefit from the enemies of Christ."


Was published. Written in Yiddish by Menahem Mann ben Solomon ha-Levi Amelander, it was the most important and original Jewish historical work of the 18th century. It began with the destruction of the Second Temple in 72 CE and ended in 1740. Another chapter was added after his death. It incorporated valuable information regarding Jewish life in Holland, Poland and Germany. He also included the story of the discovery of America, and details about the Jews of India and Cochin.


Revolutionary officer and the first secretary general of the Masonic supreme council in Charleston. He married Ann Sarah Huguenin Irby, one of the first Jewish converts in the United States. Alexander served as a hazzan in the local congregation and even hand-wrote a high holiday prayer book. He also worked as an auditor for the United States customs service.

1743 - 1837 ISAAC HAI TAYYIB (16 Iyar 5594)(Tunisia)

One of the most revered Rabbis in the Tunisian community. Although he was renown in his day, he refused to hold any official position, and lived in poverty. Only one of his writings survived, Helev Hittim( Fat of the Wheat). According to legend he appeared after his death to his stone carver and insisted that he didnt die, requesting that he add the word Lo (No) so that his stone reads Rabbi Yitzchak Chai Lo Met.

1743 February 23, - 1812 September 19, MAYER AMSCHEL ROTHSCHILD (Frankfurt. Germany)

Founder of the most famous Jewish banking and philanthropic dynasty. The Rothschild house influenced the economic and even political history of Europe for almost 200 years. As a young man, Rothschild met William Landgrave and joined his brokerage business in Hesse-Cassel. He slowly built his own banking business throughout Europe and left it to his five sons. He originally studied for the Rabbinate and remained religious until his death.

1743 August 27, TIBERIAS (Eretz Israel)

Suleiman Pasha, governor of Damascus, laid siege to the city. The local Jews, led by Hayyim Abulafia, defended the city for 83 days. At the lifting of the attack and the subsequent death of the Pasha (5 Elul), a holiday was declared.

C. 1744 - 1813 (27 Tishrei 5574) ARYE LEIB HELLER (Galicia)

Talmudic scholar and rabbi. Heller is known for three works which serve are keystones of pilpulistic learning and are still popular today: Ketzot Hachoshen, Avnei Miluim and the Shev Shematita.

1744 November 8, PRAGUE (Bohemia)

Frederick the Great took Prague in the Wars of Succession and the populace ransacked the ghetto. He soon left and the Croats returned. They accused the Jews of treason and again their quarters were sacked, this time with the help of Austrian and Hungarian soldiers.

1744 December 18, PRAGUE (Bohemia)

Empress Maria Theresa ordered the expulsion of all the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia. Due in part, to the protests of the governments of England and Holland, the decree was dropped everywhere but in Prague.

1745 - 1813 (24 Tevet 5573) SHNEUR ZALMAN (Lyady/Liadi, Russia)

Founded an intellectualized form of Hasidism called Habad (Chabad). The name is derived from the initials Chachma (wisdom), Binah (understanding) and Daat (knowledge). His intention was to bridge the gap between the Mitnagdim and the Hasidim, combining intellectualism and mysticism. His Lekutei Amarim (Collected Sayings) became known as the Tanya and is one of the important study texts of the Habad (Chabad) Hasidim.

1745 - 1816 GERSHON MENDES SEIXAS (New York, USA)

Son of a Portuguese immigrant, he was the first native Jew to become a rabbi. At first he was a rabbi in New York and then he founded Mikve Israel congregation in Philadelphia. Seixas was a renowned patriot who left New York as the British approached rather than be under British rule. He participated in George Washington's inauguration.

1745 - 1815 (9 Av 5575) JACOB ISAAC HOROWITZ (Poland)

Hasidic leader, better known as HaChozeh MiLublin (the Seer of Lublin). He was a disciple of the Maggid of Mezerich and continued his studies under Elimelech of Lizhensk. The Chozeh believed that the tzadik should emphasize the practical needs of his Hasidim rather then only concentrating on their spiritual achievement. This led to a split in the community. His pseudonym was based on legends of his intuitiveness as well as healing.

1745 May 15, EMPRESS MARIA THERESA (Prague, Bohemia)

After many appeals and petitions, she revoked her decree banishing all Jews from Moravia and Bohemia, allowing Jews to live there for an unlimited time. Only the Jews in Prague itself were still under the order. They were soon permitted to return on a restricted basis.


Nadir Shah (see 1638) ordered Jewish families to settle in Mashhad to protect the royal treasures brought back from India. Prior to this Jews were not allowed to live in Mashhad. After his assassination the following year the Jews were attacked many murdered. Only 17 families remained forced into the Eydgah ghetto.

1747 RABBI ABRAHAM GERSHON OF KITOV (c. 1701 - 1761)

Became the first major Hasidic Rabbi to arrive in Eretz Israel. He was the brother-in-law of href=history.php?anchor=1700Besht> Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov ( see 1700) , and a well known scholar and mystic in his own right. Rabbi Abraham first moved to Hebron, then moved to Jerusalem where he joined the famous Bet El yeshiva.

1747 April 17, RITUAL MURDER TRIAL OPENED (Zaslav/Izyaslav, Ukraine)

April 17, 1747 RITUAL MURDER TRIAL OPENED (Zaslav/Izyaslav, Ukraine) A dead body had been found in the melting snow the same time that a celebration was being held in the local synagogue. Those present, including the members of the Jewish community and the innkeeper, were arrested and brought to trial . Eight of the accused were tortured and impaled alive two others succeeded in escaping and were pronounced guilty in absentia.

1748 - 1820 (4 Tishrei 5581) ABRAHAM DANZIG (Vilna, Lithuania)

Condensed Caro's Shulchan Aruch into an everyday guide. The guide is divided into two sections; Chayei Adam (Life of Man), i.e. prayers and Sabbath based on the Orah Chaim and Chochmat Adam (Wisdom of Man), dealing with dietary laws based on the Yoreh Deah.


Was established as a port by the English. Within a year, it had a number of Jewish families and its own cemetery.

1749 (7 Sivan 5509) COUNT VALENTINE POTOCKI (Lithuania)

Was burned at the stake in Vilna. The Count, along with his friend Zeremba, had met an old Jew in a tavern and promised to convert if he could convince them of the pre-eminence of Judaism. Potocki converted and eventually settled in Vilna. Zeremba, hearing that his friend converted, did likewise and moved to Eretz Israel. Potocki's presence in Vilna became known and he was put on trial for heresy. He refused to recant and was burned at the stake. His ashes were collected and buried in Vilna. On his tomb is written "Abraham Ger Zedek" (a righteous proselyte). The Jews of Vilna would visit his grave and say Kaddish.

1749 MARIA THERESA (Austrian Empire)

Re-admitted the Jews to Prague in return for higher taxes.

1749 - 1821 (14 Sivan 5581) HAYYIM BEN ISAAC VOLOZHINER (Poland-Lithuania)

Rabbi and Jewish educator. As a student of both the Gaon of Vilna and Rabbi Aryeh Gunzberg, he brought all he had learned from them when establishing his renowned Volozhin Yeshiva (see 1802). Although a student of the Gaon of Vilna and a staunch Mitnagid, he refused to sign any ban against the Hasidim. He was a firm believer of Torah study for the sake of Torah study, believing it to be the best way to be in touch with God.


Just prior to its division between Russia, Prussia, and Austria, Poland's Jewish population reached 430,000 (excluding Eastern Galicia). In Lithuania there were 157,300 Jews.

1750 MULAY AL-YAZID (Morocco)

Became sultan of Morocco after rebelling against his father and brother. The Jews under his father Mulay Mohammad III (1710 1790) were used as negotiators and bankers. Al-Yazid (1750 1792) being refused a loan by the Jews during his insurgency, swore vengeance. The Jewish community of Tetun was attacked, with the richer Jews being tied to the tails of horses and dragged through the city. Many others were murdered and the women raped. This was followed by attacks on other communities, including Fez and Mekns and Marrakesh. Jews, who had been loyal to his father, were hanged by their feet for 15 days until they died. The Spanish consul, Solomon Hazzan, was accused of betrayal and killed as were hundreds of Muslims loyal to his father or brother. Al- Yazid (1750-1792) died of a battle wound before completing a list of notable Jews and Muslims to be executed.

1750 April 17, FREDERICK II OF PRUSSIA (Germany)

Issued a general patent to the Jews that limited them to commerce and industry. Jews were no longer to be considered dependents of the king but rather of the State. Jews, on the one hand, were encouraged to be part of the State and its economy, while on the other hand they were still second class citizens who were divided into two classes - privileged and protected. An "enlightened monarch", Frederick wrote his Political Testament (published in 1752) in which he described Jews as dangerous, superstitious, and backward.


Went public after R. Jacob Emden declared that an amulet ascribed to Rabbi Jonathan Eybeshutz, must have been written by a believer in Shabbetai Zevi. The amulets were written 15 years earlier, for some expectant mothers, and ostensibly contained hints at the name of Shabbetai Zevi. The controversy divided the Jewish communities, and involved Rabbis Yechezkel Landau, Jacob Joshua Falk, and even to some degree the young Eliyahu of Vilna (the Vilna Gaon). Landau and Falk believed in his guilt, while the Gaon was more circumspect. The controversy, which involved Christian scholars and foreign governments, was widely reported in the press. Eventually in order to prevent a schism in the Jewish community, a ban was placed on anyone commenting on the controversy. Till this day the issue has not been resolved.


Became the first Prussian Jew to obtain a medical degree. Gomperz ( 1723 – 1769), was a student of Moses Mendelssohn. He is also the author of Sefer Megaleh Sod a super commentary on Ibn Ezra's commentary of the five megillot.


Sent an encyclical (a papal letter) Aquo Primum to the heads of the Polish clergy. In it Benedict(1675-1758) praised their efforts in combating Jewish " domination." He further encouraged them not to lease any land, or loan any money to Jews. Benedict called the Jews cruel task makers" and urged that no Jew be in any position to give an order to a Christian including as an employer.

1751 December 15, PROBE TE MEMINISSE

Pope Benedict XIV stressed the necessity to control the Jews and encourage conversion. He delineated the situations where a child (even under the age of seven) can be baptized without parental agreement. At seven year of age, he is considered having attained the age of reason (see 1683). Although Benedict decreed that forced baptisms were illegal, nonetheless they would be binding, and any "backsliding" would be considered heresy.


This legislation allowed Jews to own land and to "prefer bills in parliament without receiving the sacrament." The enactment was protested by mobs and pamphleteers calling it the end of Christianity in England and giving lie to the prophesies of the New Testament which implies that Jews must wander the earth. In the end, it was repealed the next year and was only re-enacted over a hundred years later in 1858.


His philosophical work in which he professed that while the basis for Judaism is determined by Jewish law and tradition, they must integrate themselves into the local culture. Mendelssohn (see 1729) also asserted that the host countries must not interfere with the religion of its citizens.


One of the leading Talmudist of his generation. His works include Biur Mordecai (The Commentary of Mordecai), Magen Avot (Shield of the Fathers), Har ha-Mor (Mountain of Myrrh), Parashat Mordecai (The Explanations of Mordecai), and Tekhelet Mordecai (Mordecai's Purple Garment) Although a vociferous opponent of the reform movement, he was in favor of a secular education for rabbinical students, once they passed the age of 18.

1753 - 1811 BARUCH OF MEDZHYBIZH (1753–1811)

Hassidic master and grandson of the Baal Shem Tov (see 1700). Baruch saw himself as the main heir to his grandfather. He possessed a quick temper and suffered from fits of depression. He was the first Hassidic Rebbe who ran his court as royalty (Malhhus) , which included a large house and a luxurious carriage. Baruch was also the first Hassidic Rebbe to raise money by requesting donations for his personal prayers or "interventions". This was disconcerting to many Hassidim including Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyadi (see 1745).

1753 May 26, ZHYTOMYR (Russia)

Under the influence of Bishop Solik (Kajetan Sołtyk) of Kiev, the castle court sentenced 33 Jews to death for the "ritual murder" The entire evidence was based on the “confessions” of the innkeeper and his wife, which were made after being tortured (although they later retracted their statements). Thirteen of those Jews were released upon converting. Eleven others were murdered, including the local rabbi (Polocti) and five others who were quartered alive. One couple converted on the spot and was granted a beheading. A painting was made of the child which was in the position of the archbishop of Lvov and probably still exists.

1754 - 1800 SOLOMON MAIMON (Silesia-Lithuania)

Inspired by Maimonides' Moreh Nevuchim (Guide to the Perplexed), he adopted the name Maimon, abandoned religion, embraced philosophy, and embarked on the life of a wanderer. During his lifetime, he met with some of the greatest minds of his day, including Moses Mendelssohn. Among his works are a critique on Kant and a commentary on Maimonides entitled Givat Hamoreh (Hill of the Teacher). He correctly predicted that "the Christians won't say Mass and the Jews won't say Kaddish at my grave." His autobiography (Lebensgeschichte) provided important insights into 18th Century Polish Jewry, particularly the Hasidic Movement.


Two young girls ages 6 and 12 were taken by their converted uncle to be baptized. Although the younger girl was clearly underage, she was not returned to her father, but kept in the House of Catechumens (see 1543), and "educated" until she was old enough to declare her desire to convert.

1755 January 15, LISBON (Portugal)

Jeronimo Jose Ramos, a merchant from Braganza, was the last known Jew to be burned alive for secretly practicing Judaism. He had escaped the previous Auto da Fe in September of 1752.

1755 February 22, BEATIFICATION OF ANDREW OF RINN aka Andreas Oxner (Germany)

Pope Benedict XIV issued his bull of Beatus Andreas which beatified Andreas Oxner who in 1462 was allegedly murdered by Jews in a ritual murder in Rinn near Innsbruck. This helped spread the anti-Semitic legends and performances which were based on the writings of Hippolytus Guarinoni ( 1651) . They were performed until 1954. Although the cult of the "Child of Judenstein" was proscribed in 1985, yearly pilgrimages are still made to the site.rnrn

1756 JEWISH COUNCIL AT SATANOW (Podolia, Poland)

Convened to ratify a ban against the Frankists.

1756 - 1810 ABRAHAM GOLDSMID (Holland-England)

Financier. He (together with his children) was very active in the Great Synagogue and in trying to achieve full emancipation for British Jewry. They were friends of Lord Nelson and the Duke of Essex (son of King George III).

1757 - 1811 HERSHEL OF OSTROPOL (Ukraine)

Jester in the court of Rabbi Baruch of Medzhybizh (see 1753). Rabbi Baruch, who suffered from depression and bouts of rage, brought in Hershel to help calm him. Hershel used his sharp wit usually at the expense of the rich and powerful, - Jews, and gentiles. Some believe that he died in a fatal accident, when in a rage Rabbi Baruch had him tossed off his roof. Many folktales were written about him including Isaac Babel’s “Shabos-Nakhamu” and Eric Kimmel's The Adventures of Hershel of Ostropol.

1757 February 18, AVIGNON (France)

A local townsman, walking through the ghetto on a dark night, stumbled and fell into a well near the synagogue. Fortunately, he was not hurt. The day was declared a local holiday for generations. The rationale for this was that had the townsman drowned so close to the synagogue, the Jewish community would have been accused of complicity in his death.


Jacob Frank, a follower of the false Messiah Shabbetai Zevi, had begun his own movement which emphasized the Kabbalah and denigrated the Talmud. His practices, some of which were sexual in nature, were condemned by the local Rabbinate. In revenge, he arranged a dispute in Lvov (June 20) between himself and the local Jewish leaders. Bishop Nicholas Dembowski, who presided over the disputation, ruled in favor of Frank and ordered all copies of the Talmud found to be dragged through the streets and burned. Around 1000 copies of the Talmud were destroyed. Within a few years, many of Frank's followers converted to Christianity.

1758 JACOB ZELIG (Poland)

After a series of blood libels, he was sent to Rome by the Jewish community to convince Pope Benedict XIV to publish a bull against the accusations. Cardinal Ganganelli (Clement XIV) who received, it wrote an unequivocal condemnation of the libels and asked the Holy See to intervene in Poland to stop the accusations.

1759 QUEBEC (Canada - New France)

With the British conquest of Quebec, Jews were allowed to settle there. Two of the first Jews were Aaron Hart and Samuel Jacobs. Jacobs arrived within a month of the British conquest. Abraham Gradis was thought to have been the first Jew to live in Quebec while under French rule, although in reality, he had never set foot there. It was actually his firm which played an important role in helping the French colonial empire in North America.

1759 - 1841 (25 Tamuz 5601) MOSES BEN ZVI TEITELBAUM (Hungary)

Hasidic rabbi, scholar and founder to the dynasty of Hasidic rabbis in Hungary and Galicia. Teitelbaum, a student of the Seer of Lublin, was one of the first to spread Hasidism to Hungary. His two most famous works are the Hasidic classic Yismach Moshe (Moses Rejoices) and Heshiv Moshe (Moses Responds), a responsa.

1759 January, LOUISIANA COLONY (North American Colonies)

Despite what was known as the Louisiana Black Code, there were at least 5 Jewish families living there. The law denied residence to Jews or the practice of any religion except Catholicism in the territory.

1759 October 31, SAFED (Eretz Israel)

A massive earthquake destroys much of the city killing 2000 people with 190 Jews among the dead.

C. 1760 - 1820 HAYYIM FARHI ( Syria- Eretz Israel)

AKA El Mu'Allim "The teacher", for his considerable learning. He was asked to serve Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar the governor of Sidon (r.1776-1804) as his chief advisor. Farhi was the defacto ruler of Acre, and did his best to interceded for fellow Jews when possible. He defended Acre against Napoleon in 1799. He lost his eye, part of his nose, and ear during one of Al Jazzars infamous rages. Farhi was the mentor to Abdullah Pasha who assassinated him.. His body was tossed into the sea and all his assets confiscated by Abdulla (see 1821).

1760 October 23, ENGLISH PRAYER BOOK

The first English translation of the Prayer book (Siddur) was published in England.

1760 December 14, BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS (England)

Was founded. It is the oldest Jewish communal organization in Great Britain. All Jews, whether Ashkenazi or Sephardi (and later the Reform) could elect their deputies, who would in turn represent the entire community. Membership was originally based on synagogues, but much later other organizations were added.

1761 - 1837 (13 Tishrei 5598) AKIVA EGER (EIGER) (Posen, Germany)

Renowned halachic and talmudic scholar, Eger was one of the leading talmudists in the first half of the nineteenth century and a strong opponent of the Reform movement. His devotion to the sick, at risk to his own life during a cholera epidemic, earned him the recognition of Frederick William III of Prussia.

1761 March 4, JEWS EXPELLED FROM LUBECK (Germany)

At the behest of the guilds. The following year only one Jew was allowed to live in Lubeck, and this only after paying a heavy fee. As far back as the 16th century (except for a few years during Napoleons time (1810), Jewish residence was for the most part prohibited. This didn’t change until the revolution of 1848.

1762 - 1839 (25 Tishrei 5600) MOSES SOFER SCHREIBER (The Chatam Sofer) (Pressburg, Hungary)

Rabbi, teacher and halachic authority. A strict adversary to Moses Mendelssohn, he was opposed to any changes made to education or tradition, yet did believe that Jews should study useful trades and agriculture. Sofer was strong supporter of rigid orthodoxy whose influence is still felt today. He was true to his motto “He-ḥadash asur min ha-Torah!” (Innovation is forbidden as a biblical prohibition!). Sofer wrote a voluminous collection of responsa called Chidushai Teshuvot Moshe Sofer (Novella and Responsa of Moses Sofer). It was divided into four parts containing 1377 responsa. He composed poetry, and wrote a diary of the Napoleonic siege of Pressburg from a religious perspective.rnrn


Sem the young son of the local Rabbi Elijah Crmieu, was forcibly baptized. Despite appeals to Pope Clement XIII, he was not returned to his family. Carpentras is known for having the oldest active synagogue France.

1762 March 11, RHODE ISLAND (North American Colonies)

Although considered more liberal than other states, and despite the fact that a few Jews had previously been granted citizenship, the court refused to grant it to Aaron Lopez and Isaac Eliezer, stating that "no person who is not of the Christian religion can be admitted free to this colony". Lopez was granted citizenship by Massachusetts and the sentence "upon the true faith of a Christian" was excluded from the oath. Lopez was probably the first Jew to be granted citizenship in Massachusetts.

1762 December 4, CATHERINE II (1729-1796) (Russia)

Issued a proclamation allowing all foreigners to travel and to settle in Russia - Kromye Zhydov ("except the Jews"), Within 8 years Russia acquired hundreds of thousands of Jews due to the partition of Poland.

1763 June 4, EZEKIEL SOLOMONS (North American Colonies)

After opening a trading post two years earlier, he was taken prisoner by the Indians. During this uprising in the Mackinac territory that was known as "Pontiac's conspiracy" at least three other Jewish traders were captured and ransomed. This territory later became the state of Michigan.

1763 December 2, CONGREGATION YESHUAT YISRAEL (Newport, Rhode Island, USA)

Dedicated its synagogue, now known as the Touro synagogue, after its first hazzan, Isaac Touro. Built with the help of Isaac Hart, and designed by Peter Harrison, it is the oldest synagogue still standing in the United States.

1764 - 1847 HENRIETTA HERZ (Germany)

One of Mendelssohn's brightest followers. Her home became the meeting place (salon) of the most distinguished intellectuals. She was baptized after her mother's death.


Led by Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Peremyshlyany (b. 1728). He was accompanied by Nahman of Horodenka the paternal grandfather of Nahman of Breslav. This is the first organized Hasidic Aliyah, and began a period of a immigration which would expand to over 300 people over the next number of years.


Aka Rayz beshraybung was published by Abraham Levi (1702- 1785). The travelogue written in Yiddish highlighted his visits to Poland Italy , Austria, Hungary, and Germany. He described the way of life and population of each city he visited.rn


The last King of Poland, with the backing of the Polish Sejm, abolished the Council of the Four Lands and imposed a poll tax (see 1520).

1764 July 5, - 1876 DANIEL MENDOZA (England)

Known as the "father of scientific boxing". Mendoza was proud of his Jewish heritage and billed himself as "Mendoza the Jew". He became one of England's greatest boxing champions and the first boxer to win the patronage of the Prince of Wales.

1765 - 1809 BEREK JOSELEWICZ (Poland)

Colonel of the Polish armed forces. Joselewicz joined Kosciuszko in the Polish uprising and the Napoleonic Wars. He believed in the importance of having Jews take part in the revolution. Together with Joseph Aronowicz, they received permission from Kosciuszko to establish a Jewish Unit. His famous call in Yiddish for support elicited hundreds of volunteers. Five hundred were eventually accepted, many of whom died in the insurrection.He died in a Calvary charge in the war against Austria near the city of Kotzk.

1765 October 27, PORTUGAL

The last "public" Auto da Fe (Act of Faith) was held. The latest recorded Auto da Fe in Portugal was held in 1791 and the last in Valencia, Spain was held in 1826.

1766 - 1850 AARON (ALBERT) ALEXANDRE (Germany-England)

Chess master and author of Encyclopedie des Echecs (1837) which explains all the rules of the game in four languages. In another book entitled Collection des Plus Beux problems d'Echecs he collected over 2000 chess problems and their answers.

1766 DOV BER (The Maggid) OF MEZHIRECH (d.19 kislev 1772)

Was recognized as the successor of the Baal Shem Tov who had died six years earlier. Dov Ber, a talmudic scholar and kabbalist, is credited with organizing Hasidism as a movement. Among his ideas was the role of the Tzaddik as a holy leader and medium between man and God, as well as Deveikut (communion with God) in all actions.

1766 - 1828 AARON BEN MOSES HA-LEVI (Horwitz) OF STRASHELYE. ( Lithuania)

Rabbi and Hassidic leader .Although a dedicated follower of Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745), he broke with his son Dov Ber (the Mittler Rebbe) over ecstatic expression during prayer. He was the author of Sha'are Abodah (The Gates of Worship) and favored unrestricted enthusiasm as opposed to Dov Ber who believed that enthusiasm should rely on contemplation and understanding . Although his son Hayyim Raphael tried to continue with his legacy, after his death most of his Hassidim returned to the main Chabad movement.


The first complete siddur (prayer book) in English was published by Isaac Pinto. Pinto (1720-1791), who also translated it from the Hebrew, was a learned merchant who had come from the west indies in 1751. He was a member of Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, and active in supporting the colonial cause against the British.

1768 - 1828 ISRAEL JACOBSON (Germany)

The "Father of Reform", he was also the financial agent of Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia. He organized the first Reform service and later founded the first Reform Temple with the help of Jacob Herz Beer. Jacobson was a strong believer in inter-racial association, and in 1801 established a school for Jewish and Christian children in the Herz mountains. The Reform movement was also known as the "Liberal" or "Progressive" movement. It developed partly out of the political and cultural emancipation of Jews in Western Europe. Although Jacobson sought a basis for his ideas in traditional Judaism, the Reform movement soon sought to distance itself from Orthodoxy, nationalism, and the authority of the written and Oral Law and concentrate on the "universal" aspects of Judaism. (See 1806, 1810, 1885)

1768 ISHAQ AL-YAHUDI ( Egypt)

The Jewish Ottoman appointed tax collector, was arrested, fined 40,000 gold pieces, and then murdered by Ali Bey al-Kabir. Ali Bey (1728-1773) was a Mamluk leader who rebelled against the Ottoman rule. Al-Yahudis death signaled the end of Jews serving in governmental positions in Egypt, being mostly replaced by Syrian Catholics. It also marked the decline of the position of Jewish community in general.

1768 June 18, HAIDAMAK MASSACRES (Ukraine)

Reached Uman. The peasant serfs and Cossacks rioted much in the same vein as Chemielnicki one hundred and twenty years earlier. At Uman, the Poles and Jews defended the city together under the Polish commander, Ivan Gonta. The next day, convinced by Zheleznyak the Polish revolutionary that only the Jews would be attacked, Gonta allowed the fortified city to be entered without a fight. Approximately 8000 Jews were killed, many of them trying to defend themselves near the synagogue. As soon as the Jews were all massacred, the Haidamaks (the paramilitary bands) began to kill the Poles. Although the Haidamacks began in the 1730's, the main rioting was during the years 1734, 1750 and 1768. It is estimated that during these years 20,000 Jews were killed. The Haidamaks became part of the Ukrainian national movement and are celebrated in folklore and literature.


Became the first Jew to farm in Lancaster Pennsylvania, in what was known then as the West.

1770 - 1839 ISRAEL BEN SAMUEL ASHKENAZI OF SHKLOV (Belarus-Eretz Israel)

Talmudist and scholar. He was one of many the students of the Vilna Gaon who decided to move to Eretz Israel. In 1824 while lying very ill from cholera, he made a promise that if he survived he would write a definitive code of laws applying to Eretz Israel. He did survive and although his manuscript was destroyed in an earth quake he rewrote it. Pe'at ha-Shulchan (Corner of the Table) is one of the most important works examining all the laws that pertain to Eretz Israel.

1772 FRANKFURT (Germany)

Rabbi Pinhas Halevi Horowitz was appointed Rabbi in Frankfurt despite his Hasidic leanings. He held the position until his death in 1805.

1772 - 1837 CHARLES FOURIER (France)

Catholic anti-Semite; he vented his hatred for the Jews at every available moment.


This was the first of three partitions (1772, 1794, 1795). The Ukraine went to Russia, Galicia to Austria (whose Jewish population now doubled), and Lithuania to Prussia. Thus Catherine II inherited many of the same Jews she was trying to be rid of. Each monarch made an effort to integrate and assimilate its Jews into the "State of Order" and central administration, thus abolishing self-rule for the most part.

1772 - 1811 (18 Tishrei 5571) NAHMAN BRESLOV Bratslaver (Medzhybizh Uman, Ukraine

Simply known as Rebbi Nachman. He was the great-grandson of the Besht (the Baal Shem Tov). Nahman forged new , if controversial ideas regarding Hasidut. He strongly believed in the principle of the Tzaddik Hador (holy person of the generation) and Hibodedut (self-seclusion) in prayer. He also promoted the importance of confession to the Rebbe, but seems to have dropped it near the end of his life. He was against the developing dynastic concept in the Hasidic world. Nahman was opposed even within the Hasidic world, mainly by Rabbi Aryeh Leib of Shpola (17251812) aka the "Shpoler Zeide". None of his sons survived him. His works included Likutey Moharan (Collected Teachings of Our Teacher), Tikkun HaKlali (General Remedy), and Sippurei Ma'asiyot (Tales of Rabbi Nachman). Many of his works were edited by his disciple Nathan Sternhartz, who also wrote his biography Chayey Moharan.

1772 - 1824 DAVID RICARDO (England)

Founded Political Economy as a science. His chief work was Principles of Politics and Taxation. Ricardo's theories provided the scientific basis for the rule of free trade.

1772 - 1812 HAKHMEI SHKLOV Sages of Shklov (Belarus)

Settled by students of the Vilna Gaon (see 1720) it became a major center for Talmudic and Halachic studies. The group of scholars were led by Binyamin Rivlin (1728-1810),and know as the Hakhmei ( Chachmei) Shklov . They were a powerful force in the anti-Hassidic movement. His son Hillel (1758-1838) eventually left with many of the Gaons disciples for Eretz Israel.

1774 December 19, FRANCIS SALVADOR (USA)

Was elected to the first Provincial Congress of South Carolina which became the General Assembly in 1776 making him the first Jew to hold a State office. He was killed in August 1776 while fighting against British supported Cherokee Indians.

1775 - 1816 SAMUEL (Dutch Sam) ELIAS

Boxing champion and originator of the "uppercut". Though famous throughout his career, he died a pauper plagued with boxing-derived illnesses.

1775 - 1854 JUDAH TOURO (USA)

Merchant-philanthropist. Judah Touro moved to New Orleans at the age of 22 and became a successful trader. He enlisted in the War of 1812 under Andrew Jackson and was wounded in the defense of New Orleans. Touro never married but left large funds (estimated $500,000) for various philanthropic purposes. Some of them included completing the Bunker Hill monument, enclosing the Jewish Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island, and numerous almshouses and Jewish congregations in New Orleans and other cities. His funds joined with Montefiore's to help build the first housing complex outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem, Mishkenot Shananim.


As Jews were generally not allowed to live permanently in Warsaw they had settled in the outlying areas including a settlement known as New Jerusalem. The local populace organized street attacks and their expulsion, taking over their property. Fifteen years later after the Jews had returned, they were once again attacked and expelled

1775 April 5, POPE PIUS VI (1775-98)

Partly in reaction to success of the reformation, he issued the Editto Sopra Gli Ebrei. The proclamation of Pope Pius VI reinstated all former anti-Jewish legislation. The 44 clauses included prohibitions against possessing talmudic writings and erection of grave stones. They also forbade Jews from passing the night outside the ghetto under pain of death. The regulations were in effect until the arrival of Napoleon's army 25 years later.

1775 September 28, STOCKHOLM (Sweden)

Aaron Isaac, a gem carver, became the first Jew to be granted the right of residence in Sweden. Within 3 years he was joined by 40 families.

C. 1776 - C. 1823 JEAN LAFITTE

Pirate and adventurer. Lafitte is mostly known for helping General Andrew Jackson in the war of 1812. Evidently his mother and maternal grandmother (Zora Nadrima), were crypto Jews, who had fled to France after his grandfather was executed by the inquisition.

1776 May 31, MANTUA (Italy)

Because Jews were not allowed to expand their housing outside the ghetto, they were forced to build vertically. Many times accidents occurred from weakened structures. On this occasion, two weddings held in the same house caused it to collapse. Twenty-eight women (including one of the brides) and three men were killed.


This document provided the basis for religious tolerance in most other countries. While there were less than 2,500 Jews within the colonies, approximately 600 Jews participated in the revolution including 24 officers and the great-grandfather of Supreme Court Justice Cardozo. Isaac Franks, David Salisbury Franks and Solomon Bush all attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. One company in South Carolina had so many Jews that it was called the "Jews Company".


Became the first Jew to die in the American Revolution at the age of 29. His exploits as an officer earned him the title of the "Paul Revere of the South." He lead an army of 330 men defending the frontier settlers against the Cherokee Indians, who had been incited by the British.

1777 - 1836 NATHAN MEYER ROTHSCHILD (Germany-England)

Famous for his Waterloo scoop in which he used carrier pigeons between England and Belgium to gain knowledge of the victory before anyone else. He expanded his father's bank into a world-wide firm.


Menahem Mendal of Vitbist and Abraham of Kalisk arrived to Safed with a group of around 300 people. Different reasons are given for this large (for its time) immigration; some say the it was due to the persecution by the Mitnagdim(see 1720), others claim it had a messianic fervor and still claim it was for purely religious reasons. Many of them later moved to Tiberias.


A local judge Francois Joseph de Hell, forged hundreds of receipts proving that peasants had repaid their debts to Jews. He publicly justified it as a legitimate means to protect the peasantry from the "Jewish oppressors". This led to the intervention of Moses Mendelssohn and his friend Christian Wilhelm von Dohm, who wrote his influential On the civic improvement of the Jews.

1778 JUEDISCHE FREISCHULE "Jewish Free School" (Germany)

Was established by Isaac Daniel Itzig and his brother in law, David Friedlander(1750-1834). The school, which omitted Talmud and limited Hebrew studies, concentrated on math, German, French, and commercial courses. After 1806, non-Jewish students were accepted, and they soon became one-third of the student body. (Since Juedische Freischule was the the first Haskalah school established, many use this date to mark the beginning of the Haskalah (Enlightenment) Movement, whose initial aim was to "modernize" Judaism by opening it to European culture and specifically to a philosophy of rationality which was spreading throughout Europe. Jews were encouraged to adopt the manners, dress, and language of their host country. In the beginning there were Orthodox leaders who supported some of the educational aims of the movement. When it became apparent that the movement was leading to an anti-halachic and assimilationist direction, the Orthodox establishment banned the movement, and established its own educational response to it through Samson Rafael Hirsch and others.

1780 JACOB JOSEPH(Polyonnye, Poland)

Rabbi and author, he published the first Hasidic book, Toldoth Yaakov Yoseph , which put forth the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. He was the developer of the Hasidic doctrine of the Tzaddik, as the Holy One, the soul of the Hasidic body.

1780 - 1852 Judah Bibas- Rabbi and Dreamer of Zion ( Gibraltar-Hebron)

Born in Gibraltar he later headed a Yeshiva there. He was appointed Rabbi of Corfu in 1832 where he reformed its educational system. Bibas also had a doctorate from Livorno Italy. He became a strong supporter of the Teshuva movement which believed that inner repentance had to be coupled with returning to Eretz Israel. During his travel around of Europe (1839-40) promoting his ideas, he met Judah Alkelai (1798-1878) of Sarajevo, who from then on considered himself Bibas student. He settled in Hebron in 1852 near the end of his life and is quoted as saying Jews must learn science and arms(weapons) so they can wrest the land of Palestine from the Turks.

1780 - 1855 RACHEL JOSEPH (SOLOMONS) ( Canada)

Early Canadian pioneer she married Henry Joseph a ritual slaughterer/ businessman who fought in the war of 1812. Her father Levy was one of the first Jews in Canada and a founder of the Shearith Israel congregation in Montreal ( 1768) the oldest synagogue in Canada. Rachel remained orthodox throughout her life and on her own did her best to educate her children as such.rn


Cancelled the "rights and property" of three members of the Hart family for supporting the British. Isaac Hart was murdered for the same "offence." Although many Jews were supporters of the revolution, others were supporters of the Tory cause. Some like Isaac Touro (father of Judah) decided to find refuge in Jamaica and other parts of the British Empire.


Was discovered by Sir William Frederick Hershel.

1781 - 1869 REBECCA GRATZ (USA)

Educator and philanthropist. Born to religious parents she remained an observant Jew all of her life. She became active in philanthropic affairs at an early age. Gratz founded or help found such institutions as the Female Association for the Relief of Women and Children of Reduced Circumstances in Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Orphan Asylum, The Female Hebrew Benevolent Society and a Hebrew Sunday school for which she didnt charge a fee. She is purported to be the prototype of Sir Walter Scott's Rebecca in Ivanhoe.

1781 March 6, GEORGIA (USA)

Governor James Wright ordered the Jews of the Georgia to leave, accusing them of being disloyal to his majesty by supporting the revolution. The order was never carried out.

1781 October 21, AUSTRIA

Joseph II rescinded the law forcing Jews to wear a distinctive badge. The regulation had been in effect since 1267, more than 600 years.

C. 1782 - 1854 MOSES ELIAS LEVY (USA)

Pioneer in Florida. Levy was a plantation developer who was rumored to have been the first to introduce the growing of sugar cane there. Levy fought against the idea of slavery and proposed that a Jewish agricultural school be developed to replace slavery. He also tried to encourage Jewish settlement of the area. Levy was not successful in either managing his farms or giving over his Jewish ideals to his children, both of whom converted. One of them, David Levy-Yulee, became the first senator of Florida.

1782 - 1853 ISAAC BEN SOLOMON FARHI, (Safed)

Scholar and kabbalist, also known as the rabbi who leads the masses to the right path for his piety and ethics. Farhi was a member of the Bet El Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and was renowned for his effort in helping the poor. He was a prolific writer, whose works included Matok mi-Devash, Marpe la-Ezem and Matok la-Nefesh on ethics,Tuv Yerushalayim which extolled the virtues of Eretz Israel, and , and Minei Metikah sermons for the Sabbath.

1782 JUDITH ROSANES (Zolkiev)

Moved to Lemberg and opened a printing shop. Before she died in 1805 she had printed at least 50 books. She was one of the most successful women pioneers in the Hebrew printing business. She employed 24 people.

1782 January 2, EDICT OF TOLERANCE (Toleranzpatent) (Austria)

Guaranteeing existing rights and obligation of the Jewish population, was enacted by Joseph II of Austria, the son of Maria Theresa. Joseph II was influenced by Wilhelm von Dohn, a friend of Mendelssohn and beginning with this edict, followed a generally enlightened attitude toward the Jews. The Edict (with the final edict less liberal then the original), received mixed reviews by Jewish leaders including Ezekiel Landau and Moses Mendelssohn.

1782 May 2, THE FIRST JEWISH SCHOOL (Prague)

was opened in Prague under the guidance of Rabbi Ezekiel Landau (see 1713). Despite his arguments with many of the Maskilim he supported the study of general education including history, grammar, and natural sciences.


The Sultan expelled the Jews after they failed to pay an exorbitant ransom. This was the third time they were expelled within a number of years.

1783 - 1869 (1 Tamuz 5529) SOLOMON BEN JUDAH KLUGER (MARSHAK) (Brody)

Talmudist and halachist. He studied under the Dubno Maggid and was known for his responsa. It is said that he wrote 375 books, although "only" 174 are known.


A translation and commentary on the Pentateuch. The work itself also became known as the Bi'ur (Explanation). It was initiated by Moses Mendelssohn who only succeeded in writing a commentary on Exodus. Others including Naphtali Herz Wessely Aaron Jaroslav and Hertz Homberg who carried on the work, became known as the Biurists. Solomon Dubno who wrote the commentary on Genesis, resigned after many in the orthodox community issued a ban against its use. The orthodox rabbis feared that it would encourage Jews to study the secular (German) texts rather than the Torah and Jewish sources.

1783 March 31, HUNGARY

Joseph II allowed Jews to live in the "Royal cities", including Pest. By 1787, 81,000 Jews lived in Hungary.

1783 April 13, HA-ME'ASSEF ( "THE COLLECTOR")

A Hebrew periodical, was launched by Isaac Abraham Euchel (1758-1804) and Mendel Bresslau ( d. 1829). This was the first journal of the Haskalah Movement, and it ran until 1811. Though ostensibly haskalah oriented, they also published some articles from an orthodox standpoint. Moses Mendelssohn, Naphtali Wessely, David Friedrichsfeld, and Aaron Halle-Wolfssohn were among the contributors. Many of them became to be known as " The Me'assefim".rn

1784 FIRST JEWISH PUBLIC SCHOOL (Altofen, Austria)

Was opened by Naphtali Wessely. Wessley advocated combining both Torah haAdam (human knowledge) and Torat Elokim (Divine knowledge) in one curriculum.

1784 - 1885 (16 Av 5645) SIR MOSES MONTEFIORE (Italy-England)

Sheriff of London and leading Jewish figure. Wealthy in his own right, he married into the Rothschild family and was extremely successful in his financial ventures. He retired at an early age (1824) and devoted his life to serving Jewish causes. He is noted for his numerous visits to Eretz Israel, contributions to many philanthropies, and intercessions into Jewish affairs. One of his greatest successes was his interference in the Damascus Affair (see 1840). He is credited with founding numerous agricultural settlements in Eretz Israel and the first Jewish quarter outside the old city walls (Mishkenot Shaananim). He added the top levels to the Kotel (Western Wall) to prevent Arabs from throwing garbage and stones on Jews praying at the Wall, and he rebuilt Rachel's tomb.

1784 January 10, LOUIS XVI (France)

Abolished the poll-tax on Jews in Alsace-Lorraine. This tariff was the same tax paid for market animals. It was paid by Jews who wished to enter certain cities. The poll tax had been instituted in many countries in Europe and dated back as far as the Roman Emperor Domitian (93 C.E.), though it was only adopted in Europe in the 14th century.


French politician and economist. He posed the question of Jewish emancipation at the Metz Royal Academy, which he fully supported.

1785 - 1840 NACHMAN KROCHMAL (Galicia)

Tried to formulate a philosophy of Jewish history. He wrote the Guide for the Perplexed in Our Times. He endeavored to explain a Jewish philosophy of history using the mission theory. Together with Leopold Zunz he was part of the Wissenschaft des Judentums(The scientific investigation of Judaism/Hohmat Israel) movement which endeavored to study Judaism through modern methods of research.

1785 - 1851 July 19, MORDECHAI MANUEL NOAH (Philadelphia, USA)

Author, journalist, and diplomat, he became the United State's consul to Tunis. Noah dwelled upon the problem of a haven for Jewish refugees. He wrote about the importance of a revived Jewish homeland. In 1825, he decided to acquire Grand Island as a Jewish city of refuge. The plan and the city faded. After he failed to keep his position in the elections for Sheriff of New York, he was appointed Grand Sachem of Tammany Hall by Martin Van Buren. In 1837 he came to the conclusion that the best solution was for the Jews to have their own homeland in Eretz Israel.

1785 September 14, JOSEPH ABRAHAM STEBLICKI (Upper Silesia)

Entered the synagogue in his town of Nikolai (then part of Germany) on Yom Kippur to pray with the rest of the congregation. Steblicki (c. 1726-1807) born catholic, was the town's treasure and a respected member of the city council. He had begun studying Judaism five years earlier mostly in Cracow. Since no one was willing to do the circumcision, he did it on himself under the guidance of a Rabbi who arrived from Cracow. Steblicki told no one till that date about his conversion. He was investigated by authorities since conversion to Judaism was against the law. Due to his reputation, the support of his family, and the determination that the Jewish community had no part in his conversion he was not prosecuted. Instead he was declared mentally imbalanced, and therefore not even required to pay the mandatory Jewish tax.

1786 - 1837 LUDWIG BOERNE (Germany)

Political essayist. He believed that freedom for mankind and freedom of the Jews were bound together. Though he was later baptized, he still fought for Jewish rights. His famous Letters from Paris called for an end to injustice in Germany. Boerne, along with Heine, are considered major influences in German literature.

1786 - 1866 JOSEPH ZUNDEL SALANT (Lithuania-Eretz Israel)

"Spiritual Father" of the Mussar (ethical) Movement established by Israel Lipkin Salanter (see 1810). Although an exemplary student of Hayim Volozhiner and Akiva Eger, he refused to accept a rabbinical position, preferring to work for a few hours a day earning his living as a shopkeeper and spending the rest of his day studying. He moved to Jerusalem in 1837 and there again in his humility he refused any official position, opening a vinegar factory instead.

1786 JEDDA (Arabia)

The small mostly Yemenite Jewish community in Jedda was expelled and not allowed to return.

1786 October 4, AARON LEVY (1742-1815) (USA)

A land speculator who had made many loans to the Continental Congress, he announced plans for a new town, Aaronsburg, to be built in the Penn Valley. This was the first town to be founded and named after a Jew. Unfortunately, it did not succeed and left him in difficult financial straits.


Called the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, was signed. The treaty was negotiated in part by Isaac Cordoza Nues, on behalf of the sultan in Marrakesh, and Isaac Pinto (17201791), a U.S. citizen of Moroccan origin, It remains the longest unbroken treaty relationship in United States history.

1787 November 12, JOSEPH II (Austria-Hungary)

As part of his "Aufklarung" (Enlightenment)policy, he forced the Jews to adopt family names. This was part of the European movement (including the Age of Reason in France) which encouraged rationality and science over religion.

1788 - 1860 ISAAC BAER LEVINSOHN (Russia)

Called "the Russian Mendelssohn". He became a notable Yiddish satirist and Haskalah leader. In his Bet Yehudah (1837), he formulated a philosophy and described Jewish contributions to civilization in an effort to promote Judeo-Christian understanding.

1788 PRUSSIA (Germany)

The poll-tax was lifted from the Jews.


The number of Jews residing in Poland and Lithuania was estimated at well over 900,000.


On order of King Louis XVI, Chretien Guillaume De Malesherbes began to prepare a memorandum including recommendations regarding the situation of the Jews . His conclusions helped pave the way to their eventual freedom. Malesherbes believed that their emancipation and the weakening of the Jewish community, would lead to their conversion.

1788 January 18, Botany Bay Australia

The first group of approximately 1300 men, women, and children landed in Australia from England on what was to become known as the first fleet. Most were convicted of crimes in England and were sentenced to various terms of forced settlement. Among them were twenty three Jews (including an infant).One of them was John Harris who, after being freed, became the first policeman in Australia.


Approximately four hundred thousand Jews lived in Western Europe, three quarters of them in Germany.

1789 - 1866 (25 Adar 5626) ISAAC MEIR ROTHENBERG ALTER (Poland)

Scholar and Hassidic leader. Isaac Meir was recognized as an outstanding scholar from an early age. His Novellae on the Talmud and the Shulchan Aruch are known as Chidushei Ha-rim and are still classical texts today. He was a follower of the Kutzk branch of Hasidim and became their leader. Isaac Meir founded the dynasty of Gur Hasidim which was one of the leading Hasidic groups in Europe. He believed strongly in not separating himself, but working directly, on daily problems with ordinary people.


Known as Abbe' Gregoire a catholic priest and revolutionary leader, published , Essai sur la régénération physique et morale des Juifs calling for equal rights for Jews. At the French National assembly he called for a motion on Jewish emancipation. The Jews numbered less than 40,000 out of a population of 26 million.

1789 July 14, FRANCE

Fall of the Bastille. Jews viewed the fall of Bastille as a triumph although by and large they were not allowed to participate in the election of the Estates-General which became the Constituent National Assembly. Many of them enlisted in the National Guard.


Over 1000 Jews were forced to flee after being attacked and their houses burnt during an uprising known as the agrarian revolt. The Jews in Alsace numbered around 22,000 more than half the total of French Jewry . In neighboring Lorraine there were a further 7500 Jews totaling almost 70% of French Jewry.

1790 - 1867 (19 Tishrei 5628) SOLOMON RAPOPORT (Lemburg, Germany - Prague, Bohemia)

Rabbi, historical researcher, and biographer of talmudic and post-talmudic personages. Among his other works, he edited the notes of Benjamin of Tudela and wrote about the independent Jewish tribes of Arabia and the Karaites. His works on Sa'adia Gaon, Hai Gaon, and Rabbi Natan (the Aruch) established a precedent in accurate chronology of Jewish history. He was one of the founders of the new The Society for Culture and Science of Judaism (see 1819).rnRapoport also began work on an encyclopedia Erech Milim but didn’t finish it.


Hebrew poet, she was related to Moses Hayyim Luzzatto . Morpurgo was well educated and had studied the Talmud and the Zohar, as well as math and Italian literature. Her poetry published in the Hebrew journal Kokhavei Yitzhak ('Stars of Isaac'), established her as the first woman to have written modern Hebrew poetry . Some of her works were published in 1890 under the title Ugav Rahel ('Rachels Harp').

1790 January 27, FRANCE

Active citizenship was extended to the "well born" Sephardic Jews of Bordeaux, who promptly bowed out of the fight for equal rights. They looked upon their poorer brothers in Alsace-Lorraine with contempt.

1791 MENAHEM MENDEL LEFIN (LEVIN) (1749-1826) (Poland)

An early leader of the Haskalah Movement. He published a pamphlet in French promoting the reform of Polish Jewry. Lefin often wrote in Hebrew and even Yiddish. He believed that education was the best way of encouraging emancipation. Though strongly opposed to Hasidism, he nonetheless believed that Jewish tradition was vital for the preservation of Judaism.

1791 - 1864 GIACOMO (Jacob) MEYERBEER (Germany)

Pianist and operatic composer, including Le Huguenots and Le Prophets. Meyerbeer was mainly associated with French Opera. Despite numerous obstacles placed in his way by many people, including Weber, he remained a proud and faithful Jew all his life.

1791 May 3, POLAND

While Austria and Russia fought against the Ottoman Empire and unrest mounted in Poland, King Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski adopted a constitution turning Poland into a constitutional monarchy. The constitution itself did not change anything for the Jews, or even of the old class (feudalist) regime with the nobles rights remaining as they were. It was too little too late. Polish noblemen, who opposed the new constitution, invited Czarina Catherine II to send Russian troops which resulted in the second partition and the canceling of the constitution.

1791 September 27, FRANCE

On the last days of the National Assembly, a declaration was passed granting Jews full rights and citizenship. This is the first time that Jews were declared full citizens in a European country since the Roman Empire. This, after many delays and arguments against it, mainly led by the representative from Alsace Jean-François Rewbell.

1791 December 23, CATHERINE II (Russia)

Created the Pale of Settlement. Jews were squeezed out of the major cities and ports into the area known as White Russia. Even within the Pale, Jews were excluded from certain cities and Crown lands. The driving force behind the creation of the Pale were the merchants in Moscow, who demanded protection against Jewish competition.

1792 (7 Tamuz 5552) OSTROG (Poland)

Russian troops attacked the synagogue, mistaking it for a fortress. No one was hurt. In celebration, a "Purim Ostrog" was declared. A megillah was read on its anniversary.

1792 DEATH OF JOSEPH TEOMIM (Lemberg, Germany)

1792-1862 URIAH P. LEVY (USA)

1793 - 1864 ISAAC NOAH MANNHEIMER (Copenhagen, Denmark-Vienna, Austria)

Preacher, orator, and director of the Reform temple in Vienna. He refused the title of Rabbi and later (1848) was elected a member of the Austrian Reichstag.

1793 (1 Shvat 5553) ROME (Italy)

A tragedy was narrowly averted in the Jewish ghetto after a mob set fire to the ghetto gates. The riot was partially in reaction to the liberalism of the French Revolution and partly in response to a Jewish protest after two Jewish orphans were forcibly baptized. Only a fortunate downpour which put out the fire prevented the ghetto from catching fire. The day was celebrated as holiday by Roman Jews.

1793 JOSEPH MAMAN MAGHRIBI (Tetuan Morocco – Safed - Bukhara)

Arrived in Bukhara. Maman had originally traveled to the area in order to solicit funds after a famine in the Galilee. Maman (1752-1822) also known as Joseph ha - Ma'aravi established schools and replaced the Persian liturgy and customs with Sephardic. He also introduced the Shulchan Aruch code of law which had previously been more or less unknown to them due to their relative isolation from other Jewish communities.

1794 - 1886 LEOPOLD ZUNZ

A friend of Heine and Boerne and an eminent scholar. He sided with Frankel's reformers in a vote for tradition. Zunz founded (along with Krochmal) the Wissenschaft des Judentums (The scientific investigation of Judaism) in 1819. As an author, he pleaded for public (secular) recognition of Jewish literature, "Jewish Science". Zunz wrote a biography on Rashi, traced the development of liturgical literature, wrote Bible criticisms, and discoursed on many other subjects.

1794 - 1925 KAJAR DYNASTY (Persia)

A fanatical Shiite dynasty which continued the policy of declaring non-Moslem's impure and worthy of persecution. Many Jewish communities were either driven out (Tabriz c. 1797) or forcibly converted (Mashhad 1839). Eventually (in the 1860's) European Jews, hearing about their difficulties, began to exert international pressure to alleviate their plight.

1794 June 23, POLAND

With the second partition of Poland, additional territory was added to the Pale which came to include parts of the Ukraine and the city of Kiev.

1794 September 17, THADDEUS (TADEUSZ) KOSCIUSZKO (Poland)

Praised the role played by Jews in his abortive revolt against Russia. Singling out Warsaw's Jews he wrote, "(they showed) to the whole world that when it comes to human rights they do not spare their blood". As part of his revolt he granted Joseph Aronowicz and Berek Joselowicz (see 1765) permission to form a Jewish legion. Five hundred men volunteered to a call to arms issued in Yiddish, and fought in Praga, a suburb of Warsaw.


Russia, under Catherine II, defeated Kosciusco and swallowed what was left of the Ukraine and Lithuania. She then possessed 900,000 Jews. Prussia received Warsaw and its surrounding area while Galicia was given to Austria.

1795 - 1874 (5 Cheshvan 5634) ZEVI HIRSCH KALISHER (Germany-Prussia)

The foremost developer of a nationalistic religious philosophy, which hernexpounded in his Dreishat Zion (The Seeking of Zion). Kalisher was arnstudent of Rabbi Akiva Eger and served as an unpaid rabbi in the townrnof Thorn (now part of Poland). He believed that the return to Zion shouldrnbe brought about by acts, not by waiting for the Messiah (see 1862. Once the Jews returned to Zion, then the Messiah would come. Kalisher was instrumental in encouraging the idea of establishing agriculturalrnsettlements as well as having Jews guarding them.rnrnrn


Due to the partitioning of Poland, he inherited most of the Jews in Eastern Europe. With the help of the nobility, Paul I initiated an investigation into the "problem" of the Jews. According to one of the proposals, Jews should be forced to accept family names, abandon distinctive dress, send all children to public schools after age 12, and be forbidden to participate in city government. The Jewish population of White Russia was to be evenly distributed within White Russia, with the rest transferred to other areas.

1796 ST. THOMAS (West Indies)

The Synagogue Kahal Kodesh Berakha Ve'Shalom was founded. It was later joined by the Gemeilut Hasadim burial society. In 1833 a new edifice was built on its site in 1833 known as Kahal kadosh Berakha Ve'Shalom U'Gemeilut Hasadim . It is still in existence today making it one of the oldest synagogues in the Americas

1796 - 1880 ADOLPH (ISAAC) CREMIEUX (France)

One of the most brilliant Jewish orators and advocates of the Revolution of 1848. On many occasions, he used his influence in the government to help his fellow Jews. He also helped found the Alliance Israelite Universelle. His son, however, converted to Christianity.

1796 April 17, EASTERN POLAND

After falling to Prussia in the third partition of Poland in 1795, the government enacted "The Regulation" which removed a number of regulations regarding occupations and domicile restrictions for Jews. This still left many of the old regulations in place, including that of not being able to marry under the age of 25, and then only upon proof of a fixed income.


And granted equality to its 50,000 Jews.

1797 - 1856 HEINRICH HEINE (Germany)

German lyrical poet and essayist. He converted to Christianity in the hope of obtaining a professorship in German literature, calling it his admission ticket to European culture, but he denounced Eduard Gans as a scoundrel for converting. Heine referred to Judaism as one of the three evil maladies, the other two being poverty and pain. Notwithstanding this, he used his position to defend Jewish rights at times. Although he experienced personal rejection due to his Jewish past and pro-Napoleonism, his works (published in 21 volumes in 1863) achieved universal fame - notably for his wit and sarcasm. His famous Buch der Lieder (1827) included Auf Fluegeln des Gesanges (On Wings of Song), and the Lorelei.


A British clergyman published Scriptural Grounds for expecting the Restoration of the Jews, Jerram (17701853) believed that the Bible supports the restoration of the Jews to their homeland.


Resulted in attacks throughout the community. Some Jews were forced into the Danube and drowned; others had taken refuge in the synagogue, which was set on fire.

1797 April 17, EASTERN POLAND

After falling to Prussia in the third partition of Poland in 1793, the government enacted "The Regulation", which removed a number of regulations regarding occupations and domicile restrictions for Jews. This still left many of the old regulations in place, including the one about not being able to marry under the age of 25, and then only upon proof of a fixed income.

1797 July 10, VENICE (Italy)

Less then two months after the French, under Napoleon, captured the city, the ghetto gates were torn down. A tree of liberty was erected while the local populace danced and celebrated. Then, with the active participation of the newly formed civic guard and some of the local priests, the gates were chopped up and burned. The ghetto was in existence for 281 years and 3 months.

1797 August 28, PADUA (Italy)

Four months after the entry of the French army, the provisional government decreed that "Jews are able to live in every part of the city." Jews enlisted in the National Guard and the main street in the ghetto was changed to Via Libera. Unfortunately, as in most parts of Italy, this newly won freedom only lasted until the arrival of Austrian troops 8 months later.

1798 - 1870 DOV BERESH MEISELS (Poland)

Rabbi, banker, and Polish nationalist. Meisels was a descendent of Moses Isserles and authored Chidushei Mahardam, a commentary on the Sefer ha-Mitzvot of Maimonides. He became rabbi of Cracow and later of Warsaw. Meisels supported Polish (Cracow) independence from Russia and Austria (where he became a member of parliament (see 1861)). These views led to his frequent expulsions and imprisonment by the Czarist authorities (see 1848). Upon his death, the Russian authorities even banned any obituaries for him in the press. His funeral in Warsaw was attended by thousands.

1798 - 1839 EDUARD GANS (Germany)

Jurist and one of the founders (along with Zunz and others) of the Verein fuer Cultur und Wissenschaft der Juden (Society for Jewish Culture and Science). Gans' contribution to jurisprudence was a series of papers concerning the Jews of Rome and Roman Law.

1798 - 1878 JUDAH ALKALAI (Sarajevo-Jerusalem)

Rabbi, author, and precursor of modern political Zionism. Alkalai studied in Jerusalem before returning to a post as Rabbi in Zemun(near Belgrade). At age 76 he returned with his wife to live in Eretz Israel. Alkalai wrote many books Darkhei No'am (Pleasant Ways), Shalom Yerushalayim ( Peace of Jerusalem)(1840), Goral la-Adonai (A Lot for the Lord),(1857) and Minhat Yehuda (offering of Judah) (1843) . In them he discussed the idea of Teshuva (return) both spiritually and physically and was greatly influenced by Judah Bibas. He called on Jews to help finance the purchase of land from the Turks, the establishment of agricultural enterprises and the renewal of Hebrew as a spoken language.

1798 - 1860 WARDER CRESSON (USA -Eretz Israel)

Born a Quaker he came to believe that God's plan was to bring all the Jews to Jerusalem before the "end of days". In 1844, he was appointed the first American consul to Jerusalem but it was retracted before he actually arrived. Despite this he decided to remain, became interested in Judaism and converted in March 1848 taking the name Michael Boaz Israel ben Abraham. When he returned to the USA to tie up his affairs, his wife, and son tried to have him institutionalized. During the trial, at which he was acquitted, over 100 witnesses were called. Cresson divorced his wife and moved to Jerusalem. His goal was to set up a soup kitchen and encourage new methods of agriculture, in order that Jews need not rely on missionaries for any help. He took the name Michael Boaz Israel, married Rachel Moelano, and became a respected member of the Sephardic community. He is buried on the Mount of Olives.

1798 February 15, ROME (Italy)

After the occupation of Rome by General Berthier, the local republicans dethroned the Pope and Jews removed the yellow badge. Two days later, a tree of freedom was planted in front of the synagogue.

1798 July 1, SWITZERLAND

Special taxes on Jews were finally abolished.

1798 September 12, FRANCE

In the wake of the French capture of Mayence (1792), the gates of the ghetto were torn down. The Jews of Mayence remained French citizens until the end of the occupation in 1814.

1799 ITALY

With the uprising of the counter-revolutionary forces against Napoleon, the Jews, who had risen to his banner, were attacked everywhere.