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. Eybeshutz 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 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.
1691 May 6, PALMA DE MAJORCA
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."
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 December 24, EVORA (Portugal)
A provincial capital of Portugal, it had been an important center for Marrano 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 SANDOMIERZ (Poland)
Aaron Berek the Parnas (leader) of the Jewish community was accused of ritual murder of a Christian child and executed. This incident became a model for many blood accusations in Poland over the next century.
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)
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.