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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.


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 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).


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.

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.

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."

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