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.
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.
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.
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 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 Marrano 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.
1605 ROTTERDAM, HAARLEM (Holland)
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).
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.
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 Marrano colony founded by Queen Elizabeth was expelled on charges of Judaizing.
1609 MEINEKES RIVKE
“The nursemaid of Rebecca” written by Rivke Bas Me’ir 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.