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1150 - 1217 (13 Adar 4978) JUDAH BEN SAMUEL, THE PIOUS (Ha-Chassid)

A Tosafist, known for his books on mysticism and ethics, including Sefer Hassidim (Book of the Pious). He was considered one of the most important scholars of his time. Ben Samuel was a descendent of the Kalonymos family of Italy. He linked talmudic lore from Babylon and Italy to Germany. Among his students was Eleazar b. Judah of Worms (1165). Though a prolific writer in theology and ethics, few of his works survived.

1150 April 12, THOMAS OF MONMOUTH (England)

A local monk, published "The life and miracles of St William of Norwich", in which he accused the Jews of ritual murder. His account based on his visions and " testimonies" was partially inspired by a report on the incident in Inmester (see 416) as well earlier accusations by Apion (first century) Chrysostom ( 198) and Tertullian (198) . This is the earliest "modern" and practical accusation against the Jews. Written almost as if he was a witness to the events, he embellished it even more in subsequent editions until his final version in 1172. Although his book was initially derided, it eventual gained traction and led to the ritual murder trials, and expulsion of the Jews from England.


Holy Roman Emperor. The papacy and the emperor vied for power during his reign. Barbarossa viewed the Jews of his realm as both a duty to protect and a financial resource. The protection he afforded them brought new knowledge and skills from the Middle East into Europe.

1153 INDIA

A letter to the Fustat Nagid Halfon from the captain of his ship described the Jews living in India (approximately 1000) and the strong trade between Jewish merchants in the west and their brethren in India.


Jewish traveler and historian. His book Sefer Hamasot (Book of Travel) recounted his travels throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, India, Ceylon and China. He gave details about each Jewish community: its size, scholars, and economic conditions. Almost everything we know about the Jewish communities of his day came from his book.

1154 - 1184 HENRY II (England)

Henry was first of the Angevin (one of two medieval dynasties originating in France) kings. He both exploited and protected the Jews. During his reign Jews lent large sums of money to various church institutions and financed the building of cathedrals. This did not, however, increase their popularity in church circles.

1157 FREDERICK I (Worms, Germany)

In confirmation of the 1080 "privileges" or charter, introduced the idea that Jews were ad cameram attineant “belonging to our chamber”. It was enacted partly to exclude any competing legal claims by the church or nobles to Jewish property and revenues, and partly to strengthen the relationship of the Jews to the king. This was soon to develop into servi camerae nostre or servi camerae regis which made the Jews the actual property of the king (see 1236).

1158 ABRAHAM IBN EZRA (1089-1164) (England)

Scholar and writer, Ibn Ezra visited England for a series of lectures. During his visit he also wrote his Letter of Shabbat and Yesod Mora, which he dedicated to Joseph ben Jacob of London.

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