1141 CIVIL WAR BETWEEN MATILDE AND STEPHEN (England)
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.
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 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 to 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 EGENIUS III (Pope)
Offered absolution for any debts owed to Jews to anyone who would join a crusade.
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.
1146 PETER THE VENERABLE (France)
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)
Declared by Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. Radolph 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.
1146 BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX (France)
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.
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.