Home   69   200   300   400   500   600   700   800   900   1000   1100   1200   1300   1400   1500   1600   1700   1800   1900


Search for text:
Date Range From:
Date Range To:

Names Index

Entries Index

Places Index


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.

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.

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.

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.

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".


Written by Berechiah ben Natronai Krespia ha-Nakdan ( France), it contained over 100 ethical fables some of them his own. Berechaih 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.


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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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".


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.

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.

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.

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 1846 he decided to move to Eretz Israel where Cresson converted in March 1848. 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.


Was printed in the USA by Moses Lopez. The calendar listed Jewish festivals etc from 1805-1858. Lopez was born in Portugal and immigrated with his family to Rhode Island in 1767.

1869 - 1944 BARON ERNST ABRAHAM VON MANSTEIN (Witsburg Germany)

Jewish convert, conductor, artist , educator, and scholar. A descendant of an aristocratic German family, he married Francisca Bezold, also a convert. His brother's adopted son was the Nazi general Erich von Manstein. Manstein tried to emigrate to Eretz Israel a number of times, but was refused permission. During the war, the Germans deported most of the Jews of the town to Terezinstadt, and although he could have stayed, he joined them. After his death his nephew arranged for him to be buried in Witsburg. Ironically he was buried with a Nazi flag in the Christian cemetery. His body was re-interred in the Jewish cemetery in 1960.

1941 December 8, - 1945 January 18, CHELMNO/KULMHOF (Poland)

The first camp to be created specifically as a death camp was opened using the exhaust from mobile vans. Herbert Lange was the first commandant, followed by Hans Bothmann. Approximately 340,000 people were murdered there. Death camps or extermination camps were created for one purpose - to kill Jews and dispose of the bodies as efficiently as possible. The Nazi need to find more direct ways to implement their goal of a "Jew Free" Europe increased as a result of the influx of Jews from the East. In addition to Chelmno, there were five other main death camps: Belzec, Sobibor, Majdanek, Auschwitz, and Treblinka. Other smaller death camps were established near Vilna, Riga, Minsk, Kovno, and Lvov. In 1963, twelve of the camp's SS officers were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 1 to 20 years. Bothmann hanged himself in April 1946 after his arrest. There is no information on the whereabouts of Lange.

© 1996 - 2015. This material is copyrighted and cannot be used without the permission of the author.