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1630 - 1703 SAMUEL OPPENHEIMER (Austria)

A financier, he supplied the Austrian army during their various campaigns. In 1692 he was falsely arrested by Bishop Kolbnitsch and had to buy his freedom with 500,000 florins. He was the founder of the Viennese Jewish community, receiving permission to settle there after the expulsion of 1670. He supported Jewish communities, even ransoming Jews from the Turks.

1630 January 15, SANTA ENGRACIA (Lisbon, Portugal)

Simon dias Solis, a young New Christian seen near the local church (on his way to a rendezvous with a young woman) was arrested for allegedly stealing a silver vessel from the church. After his hands were cut off, he was dragged through the streets and then burned. The real culprit, a common (Christian) criminal, admitted to the crime one year later. As a result, Solis' brother, a friar, fled to Amsterdam and reconverted to Judaism.

1630 March 14, PRZEMYSL (Poland)

Moses the Braider, a Jewish merchant, was accused of conspiring to desecrate the host and was burned alive.

1631 PADUA (Italy)

Due to the crowded and unsanitary conditions in the ghetto, 634 out of the 721 inhabitants were infected with various illnesses. Of these 431 died.

1632 July 4, MADRID (Spain)

Two years after Miguel Rodregues was discovered holding Jewish rites and accused of destroying a crucifix, a great Auto da Fe was held in the presence of the King, Queen, and foreign ambassadors. Rodregues, his wife Isabel, and five others were burned alive. Their house was razed and a convent called La Paciencia was built on the site.

1632 November 24, - 1677 BARUCH SPINOZA (Amsterdam, Holland)

As a child, he showed great promise in his religious studies, but as he grew older he decided that there was no place for him in organized religion. The brilliant heretic Van den Ende, who was later burned by the authorities for his beliefs, influenced him. Spinoza delved into Descartes and Bruno, and his radical theories on G-d and mortality brought about his excommunication from the Jewish community. He denied revelation, but not God's existence, although he was against all traditional religion. His later life was marked by poverty for which he never accepted any assistance. Spinoza's great works include his "Ethics" and "Theologico-Politica Tractate". He was buried in an unmarked grave at the church in Spux, Holland.

1633 Vladislav IV ( Poland )

Confirmed the basic privileges of the Jews yet at the same time prohibited any building of new synagogues or cemeteries without a royal license.

1634 July 29, SAMUEL COHEN (Curacao)

Landed together with the Dutch fleet captain Johannes van Walbeeck who captured the island from Spain. Cohen served as the interpreter, and was the first Jew to reach Curacao.


A woman was accused of keeping Jewish customs and refusing to eat meat which was not ritually prepared. She was imprisoned by the Court of High Commission. Though officially Jews were not allowed to settle in England, there were a number of legal cases which show that some Jews did indeed live there.

1636 AMSTERDAM (Holland)

The Ashkenazi community, which had begun to arrive almost 15 years earlier, established their own congregation, appointing Moses B. Jacob Weile of Prague as their rabbi.

1637 - 1683 (9 Tishrei 5444) ABRAHAM ABELE GOMBINER (Poland)

Known for his Magen Avraham on Caro's Shulchan Aruch. Gombiner tried to find a compromise between Caro and Isserles wherever they clashed on Halachic decisions, though for the most part he supported Isserles. He also wrote Zayit Ra'anan on the Yalkut Shimoni and other works.

1638 - 1702 (12 Tevet 5462) JAIR HAYIM BACHARACH (Germany)

Rabbi and Scholar. In 1699 he published his monumental collection of 238 responsa Chavat Yair. (The Tents of Jair) taken from Numbers 32:41. Others say it was in honor of his grandmother Chava, the granddaughter of the Maharal of Prague who was known for her vast talmudic knowledge.

1638 (16 Tevet 5399) BAGHDAD (Persia)

Ottoman Sultan Murad IV conquered Baghdad. The day was celebrated as a day of miracles (Yom Ness). In general, when the Ottomans ruled the city, life for its Jewish residents improved. When the Persian Shiites ruled the city the situation was very difficult to say the least.


In order to support her family she experimented with using oats to make brandy. She was very successful and opened a large distillery. Unfortunately, probably do to the difficulty of the work (heat and alcohol vapors) she fell ill and died of a lung ailment.

1639 SURINAME (South America)

The first Jews settled the area, mainly on sugar plantations. They were Spanish-Portuguese Jews, who were mainly from Holland and Italy in 1651. Another group of about 20 people led by David Nassy arrived in 1664 after having to flee French occupied Cayenne. Under the Treaty of Brenda (1667), the area was given by the British to the Dutch in return for New York. The Jews petitioned to receive the same rights they had under the British. Some left, but others were prevented to do so by the Dutch for economic reasons. Suriname is also known as Dutch Guiana.

1639 January 23, AUTO DA FE (Lima, Peru)

More than eighty New Christians were burned in this Auto Da Fe, including the renown doctor Francisco Maldonna de Silva (Elia Nazareno), after the Inquisition discovered that they were holding regular Jewish services. De Silva spent 12 years in prison, during which time he managed to write two books using a chicken bone and charcoal. Each book was about 100 pages. He succeeded in putting together a rope out of corn husks, but instead of escaping he used it to visit other prisoners, urging them to believe in Judaism.

1639 March 27, ROME (Italy)

A child was forcibly baptized after his father jokingly remarked that he would not mind if the Pope acted as godfather. As a result, two of his children were taken, one a baby, and were carried in a ceremony by the Pope. The Jews rioted and were violently crushed.


A young boy was found murdered and although the suspicion rested on a local vagabond Foma, two Jewish elders, Meyer and Lazar were arrested and tortured. Despite the protests of the local town governor (Starosta), and the lack of any confessions or proof, they were quartered with their bodies hung near the main road. The local Bernardine monks took the remains of the boy and proclaimed him a martyr, encouraging pilgrimages and donations to their church.

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