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

73 April, MASADA (Eretz Israel)

Roman General Flavius Silva succeeded in breeching the Judean desert stronghold held by Elazar ben Yair. Of the 960 people who took refuge on Masada, only two women and five children survived. The rest chose suicide rather than slavery.


Convinced the poorer Jews of Cyrene to revolt by promising them as a "prophet" that he would walk them through the desert. The Roman Governor, L. Valerius Catullus, had them executed. At the same time the Governor also murdered a few thousand wealthy Jews and appropriated their property.


(The son of Vespasian). He played an active part in the capture of the Galilee during the Jewish revolt. Upon Vespasian's appointment as ruler of Rome, he was given command of the Roman forces in Eretz-Israel. Titus' name is forever linked to the devastation of the Temple and the brutality of the destruction of Jerusalem. This is based on the writings of Tacitus, a Roman historian. Josephus tried to whitewash Titus and claim that he was against the burning of the Temple. According to talmudic legend Titus challenged God to punish him, where upon God sent in a gnat which ate at his brain causing him terrible headaches until he died. Upon his death he ordered his body to be burned and his ashes scattered so as to prevent the "God of the Jews" from punishing him.

C. 100 - C. 165 JUSTIN MARTYR

Early Christian philosopher, and author of Dialogue with Tryphon, as well as his Apologies. Justin considered Judaism an enemy of Christianity. He professed that the Jews bear the responsibility for the death of Jesus, since they "insulted, shamed and murdered him on the cross." This he believed was part of by a conspiracy by the Jews and Herod , who in turn was guided in his actions by "Satan himself". He also proposed that Jews persecute and kill Christians as soon as they have the power to do so.


Written in Greek, its goal was to deter new Christians from being influenced by Judaism , stressing that Jews no longer share in God's covenant. It is one of the earliest examples of Adversos-Judaeum , theology, which concludes that Jews have been abandoned by God, and thus by the church and all Christians. It was read in churches in the first three centuries, though it was not included as part of the canon.

120 (18 Sivan 3880) RABBI GAMLIEL II

This day marks the Yartzeit of Rabbi Gamliel II. Rabbi Gamliel was the successor to Rabbi Johanan Ben Zakai who had set up the talmudic academy in Yavneh after the war against Rome. Gamliel helped establish a new spiritual leadership and designing the foundation for survival in the Diaspora. He played a key role in keeping the peace between the Jewish community and Rome.

132 - 135 BAR KOCHBA REVOLT (Eretz Israel)

According to the Talmud the revolt was a reaction to the decree of the Roman governor of Judea, Tinneius Rufus, banning circumcision. Others believe it was provoked by the establishment of a temple to Jupiter on the site of the Temple.

134 September 10, (5 Tishrei) RABBI AKIVA WAS IMPRISONED

For teaching Judaism. According to tradition, he was killed on Yom Kippur in the Caesarea stadium . He is one of what came to be known as the ten martyrs “Asarah Haruge Malkut”. Although they did not all live at the same time, they are traditionally believed to have been killed for ignoring the Roman edicts regarding Jewish practices.

135 (9 Av 3895) BETAR (Eretz Israel)

The last major stronghold in Judea fell against overwhelming Roman forces. Simon bar Kochba (bar Kosiba) the leader of the revolt was killed. An estimated half a million Jews perished in this revolt which left over 985 villages and 50 fortresses in ruins. So great were the Roman losses that the emperor in his annual report to the Senate left out the customary: "I and my army are well."

138 - C. 220 (15 Kislev 3980) JUDAH THE PRINCE (Judah HaNasi) (Eretz Israel)

Known simply as Rabbi. He was the first acknowledged Patriarch (Nasi) responsible for both the Sanhedrin and for acting as the political head of the community. For the most part, Patriarchs like Judah the Prince were chosen from descendents of Hillel. The last Hillelite Patriarch was Gamliel VI (b.370- d.425). Judah HaNasi's greatest contribution was collecting and codifying the Mishna.

140 USHA (Eretz Israel)

After the disaster of the Bar Kochba revolt, the Lower Galilee replaced Yabneh as the center of talmudic learning and the Rabbinical Court (Sanhedrin) in Eretz Israel. Among the Tannaim studying there were Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Simeon b. Gamaliel, Rabbi Judah HaNasi and Rabbi Judah b. Ilai. One of their important contributions was Takanot Usha (Ordinances of Usha), which included the following laws:
1. A father must support his daughter until marriage and his son at least until the age of 12.
2. Limiting the amount of charity one can order given away upon his death to a fifth.

170 BETH SHEARIM (Eretz Israel)

Became the new center of learning under Judah HaNasi.


Wrote his "Adversus Iudaeos" (Against the Jews), supposedly portraying an argument between a Jew and Christian. In it (the first of its kind in Latin), the Christian "proves" that they have displaced Judaism, taking over as the "People of God". Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240) wrote another book in 221 ("Against Marcion"), which included much of his anti-Judaic ideas. Chrysostom (see 386) and Pseudo-Gregory of Nyssa (see 390) wrote a number of other texts with similar names (Adversus Iudaeos).

200 - 275 SIMEON BEN LAKISH (Resh Lakish) (Eretz Israel)

Studied under Judah HaNasi and was known for his mental and physical prowess. According to the Talmud, he had once been a gladiator and was brought back to Judaism by Johanan bar Nappaha. He was outspoken and very independent. He viewed the story of Job as a moral creation or parable, and the names of the angels as being of Persian rather than Jewish origin.

203 SEPPHORIS (TZIPORI) (Eretz Israel)

Judah HaNasi moved the seat of learning from Beth Shearim to Seppohris, mainly for health reasons.


(Also called apocryphal Mishnayot) were compiled. They are included in the overall term Talmud (Gemara), which embraces both the Jerusalem Talmud and the more famous Babylonian Talmud.

212 - 297 RAV HUNA (Babylon)

Succeeded Rav as Resh Metivta (director of the academy) at Sura and served for 40 years. He was instrumental in declaring intellectual independence from Eretz Israel. Successful yet modest, he was a philanthropist in all spheres of Jewish life. In addition to serving as the Resh Metivta, who was the spiritual and intellectual ruler, he was also the Exilarch (Greek for "Prince of Captivity" - Resh Galuta, who usually could trace his liniage from King David through Zerubavel). He was received by the Court and was responsible as Chief Justice for criminal and civil matters, including the appointment of judges, police and civil administrators.

219 ABBA ARIKA (RAV) (175-247) (Babylon)

The word "Rav" means master. He was a student of Judah HaNasi and after his death, he opened the Torah academy at Sura, which became one of the pillars of Babylonian Jewry. At its peak, over 1,200 students studied there. The beginning of the third century saw a rise in Jewish activities and a decline in the supremacy of Israel. The decline was due to the constant despoiling of Israel by the weakened Roman army and the rise of another ruler in Palmyra (ancient city of central Syria), who heavily taxed the inhabitants of Israel, reducing them to poverty. This directly affected support for schools of learning, which soon migrated to quieter, more tolerant, and more affluent shores. Rav was noted for improving moral and intellectual positions through his responsa (ordinances), including a ban on marriage without courtship and forbidding fathers to betroth a daughter without her consent. These responsa came in the form of questions. They became a popular way of maintaining contact with dispersed communities and, in various contexts, they still continue today.


An Aramaic inscription from this date makes it one of the oldest known synagogues in existence. The Dura synagogue is famous for his well preserved wall paintings. Of the 58 panels which have survived, most depict specific biblical scenes. It was abandoned after the Sassanid siege in 256.rnrn

247 SAMUEL (Babylon)

Samuel became the acknowledged leader of the Jewish community in Babylon. A friend and colleague of Rav, he lived and taught in Nahardea where he was head of the academy. He was also an astronomer who composed a fixed calendar. He did not publish it, however, out of respect for the Patriarchate in Eretz Israel. In monetary and civil matters his rulings were accepted as binding. He also instructed Jews to adopt the laws of whichever land they dwelt in (Dina d'malchuta Dina), thus preparing them for survival in foreign environments. He served for only seven years.


Became a Bishop. He then wrote a series of biblical proofs entitled Testimoniorum adversus Judaeos, (Testimony Against the Jews). This was basically a compendium of the church's teachings on Judaism. He was greatly influenced by Tertullian (see 198), insisting that the Jews have been forsaken by God because of their rejection of Jesus.


Although some scholars have dated Jewish arrival to the end of the second temple, the first actual proof can be found on an inscription on a tombstone in Adra written as follows: " here lies ... nia daughter of Solomon one year four months and a day, a Jewess". Some use Paul's Letter to the Romans (58 ce), which mentions the need to visit the Jews of Spain, as proof of an earlier date.

279 RAV AMI AND RAV ASSI (Eretz Israel)

Headed the academy of Tiberias at a time when the center of Torah authority was being transferred from Eretz Israel to Babylon. The Judean Amoraim subordinated themselves to their Babylonian colleagues.


The Roman emperor (284-305) visited Eretz Israel as part of his campaign against the Persians. His reign is viewed favorably in the Talmud.


A well known and still respected Syriac Christian poet and theologian .Over 400 of his hymns are still in existence. He wrote a quite a few of anti-Jewish hymns ( e.g. Hymns of the Unleavened Bread, Carmina Nisibena) which were incorporated into the Syriac and Orthodox church. Recognized as a " Doctor of the Church", he called on his fellow Christians to;" Avoid the Jew… Your death and blood is nothing much to him!... he tramps around the ocean and the land to find companions for the road to Hell." The Prayer of Saint Ephrem, is still recited at every service during Lent and other fasting periods in Eastern Christianity. He is also honored with a feast day by the Episcopal Church (USA) on June 10.There was also a pseudo-Ephram fifty years later who continued fulminations against the Jews including ; " He who eats with a Jew, shall not inherit life in the afterworld."

313 EDICT OF TOLERATION (Roman Empire)

The Emperor Constantine and his co-emperor Licinius officially recognized Christianity. This edict authorized the toleration of different religions in the Roman Empire yet gave supremacy to Christianity.


Wrote his Historia Ecclesiastica, , a chronological account Early Christianity. Eusebius (c. 260–c. 339), tried to prove that immediately after rejecting Jesus, the Jews were punished by heaven with many disasters. In his fear that some Christians still sympathize with Judaism, he wrote a Jew is "a liar, even as also is his father the devil" He urged Christians to have nothing to do with Jews ,"For where there is Christianity there cannot be Judaism".

321 December 11, THE RHINE (Germany)

The first evidence of Jews along the Rhine was found in a letter from Emperor Constantine to the prefect of Cologne regarding special taxes. The synagogue originally thought to be dated to the 11th century is now believed by archeologist to have been built 200 years earlier.

325 COUNCIL OF NICEA (present Iznik Turkey)

Officially changed the date of Easter from that of Passover. It also forbade Jews to own Christian slaves or convert pagans to Judaism. (It should be stressed that neither this nor the consequent bans on Jews owning slaves had anything to do with the Church's attitude to slavery. It was solely a matter of not allowing the slaves to be owned by non-Christians.) This began a total separation between early Christianty (most of whose adherents were Jews) and Judaism.


Rabba was forced to flee to a forest after being accused by Shapur II’s ministers that his biannual gatherings (Kalah) were only created to avoid a poll tax. He was later found in the undergrowth, dead. Although extremely poor, Rabba had been appointed to head the academy of Pumbedita after Judah Bar Ezekiel’s (the founder of the academy) death. A position he held for twenty-one years. He endeavored to reconcile contradictions in the Mishna and was known for beginning his lectures with a quip.


Abbaye (278-338) was the nephew of Rabba Bar Nachmani who adopted him when his parents died. Abbaye was admired for his integrity by both Jews and gentiles. His Talmudic debates with Rava (who opened an academy at Mahoza on the Tigris River) became famous and are known as Havayot (Reflections) deAbbaya veRava. They both encouraged elementary education for children. He wrote many popular sayings underlying his belief in the importance that one be “beloved above and well liked below”.

337 - 361 CONSTANTIUS (Constantine II) (Roman Empire)

Son of Constantine the Great. Weaker than his father, he relied on his Church advisors and began a series of anti-Jewish decrees banning Jewish pilgrimages to Jerusalem and the circumcising of Christian or Pagan slaves, and protecting Jewish converts to Christianity.

338 ABBAYA DIED (Babylon)

Upon his death, Rava (R. Abba bar Joseph) became the acknowledged head of both Sura and Pumbedita academies but stayed at Mahoza. Rava's deep analysis of the Mishna became very popular and is considered by some to be the perfect example of talmudic dissertation and elucidation.

339 CONSTANTIUS II`(Roman Empire)

Son of Constantine the Great, declared intermarriage with Jews and the circumcision of heathen or Christian slaves punishable by death. Considering that slaves fueled the economy, this put any Jewish owned businesses into a position where they could not compete – which was one of its goals. He also called synagogues "concliabula" (brothels). This is the first time this term is used.


The first definite evidence of Jewish presence in Bukhara is related in the Babylonian Talmud (Av. Zar. 31b) regarding an amora (Samuel bar Bisna) who lived in the town of Margwan, i.e., Margiana, the medieval Merv (now the region of Mari, the Soviet Turkmen republic). There are some archeological remains which suggest a Jewish presence as early as the first century. The Jews from the area of Tajikistan were later referred to as Bukharim, named for the Emir of Bukhara.

352 - 427 RAV ASHI (Babylon)

First to compile the Babylonian Talmud. He did this orally since it was still considered unlawful to write it down. He renovated the academy at Sura, whose prestige had declined since the death of Rava in 352. Rav Ashi re-established its authority, and served as its head for nearly fifty-two years.

363 EARTHQUAKE (Eretz Israel)

A major earthquake over much of the country heavily damaged the cities of Sepphoris (Zippori) in the Galilee, and Afek (Antipatris) near the Yarkon River in the Sharon plains Sepphoris was rebuilt and continued to flourish until the Arab conquest. Afek never attained its former status.

370 - 425 GAMLIEL VI (Eretz Israel)

The last patriarch and descendant of the House of Hillel, which was founded by the Tanna, Hillel I (d. 10 C.E.). A descendant of King David, Hillel founded a school, Beit Hillel (House of Hillel), which preached tolerance and patience. He was one of the first scholars to devise rules of interpretation for the Torah. When Gamliel died without a male heir, the Emperor, Theodosious II, abolished the position of patriarch, thus ending the last semblance of Jewish national organization in Israel. All Jewish leadership now passed to the Diaspora.

398 Apulia (Puglia) Southern Italy

The existence of numerous Jewish communities was confirmed in a document from Emperor Honorius Flavius, the Western Roman Emperor, and son of Theodosius . Many of the communities in that area, date back to the destruction of the second temple.

399 HONORIUS FLAVIUS (364-423 C.E.)

Confiscated gold and silver which had been collected by the synagogues to be sent to Jerusalem. He defined Judaism as an unworthy superstition (superstitio indigna). He was greatly influenced by St. Ambrose, and his legislation is considered to be a repercussion of the reign of Julian the Apostate.


During a siege on Yathrib (Medina) Abu Karib Asad Kamil (c. 385-420), a Himyarite (Southern Arabian) king became ill. Reportedly he was saved by two Jews in the besieged city and in return agreed to lift the siege and converted to Sadduceean Judaism. He succeeded in conquering much of the Arabian peninsula together with Jewish tribes and pagan allies.


Incited the Greeks to kill or expel the Jews. Cyril (376-44) who was appointed patriarch of Alexandria in 412 forced his way into the synagogue at the head of a mob, expelled the Jews and gave their property to the crowd. The Prefect Orestes, who refused to condone this behavior, was set upon and almost stoned to death. Only one Jew, Adamanlius, agreed to be baptized. Within a few years Jews were allowed to return, but a majority of them returned only after the Mohammedans conquered Egypt.

418 MAGONA ( Minorca- Balearic Islands off Spain's eastern coast)

Severus, the bishop of Minorca, claimed to have forced 540 Jews tornaccept Christianity upon conquering the Island. This is the first we know ofrnJews on this Island as well as the first case of Jews being forced tornconvert or face expulsion. Although in general forced conversions (as later laidrndown by Pope Gregory I) were officially frowned upon, they were consideredrnvalid - and backsliding was usually considered heresy. Harsher "no choice"rnforced conversions began in the 9th century. rnrn


Branded Judaism a corruption and called for the enslavement and severe persecution of Jews until they agreed to convert.

430 VANDALS (a Germanic tribe)

Established a kingdom in North Africa. The Jews there lived peacefully and flourished until the Almohad conquest of the 11th century.


R. Judah HaNasi predicted that the Messiah would come in this year (365 years after the destruction of the Temple). R. Hanina, his student, predicted that the Messiah would come in the year 470 (400 years after the destruction). This, coupled with persecution and natural disasters, resulted in the appearance of false messiahs. This phenomenon became so widespread that most rabbis forbade predictions of the coming of the Messiah, since often people bereft of hope would convert after grave disappointment.


After Eudocia had arranged for Jews to pray at the ruins of the temple for the feast of Tabernacles, the monk Barsauma of Nisibis, and forty of his followers, attacked them, killing many. At their trial, he claimed that he was innocent, and that by a miracle the stones fell from heaven. Although the case was originally brought before the empress, it was later transferred to the governor of Caesarea, who acquitted them. Over the next three years, Barsauma roamed the holy land, attacking and destroying synagogues. In 460 he became the Metropolitan Bishop of Nisibis (present Turkey). He was a favorite of King Firuz/Peroz or Persia.


The Mazdaks named after its founder), also known as the Zandiks, were avowed “communists”, who banned marriage and property ownership. The Sassanids looked somewhat in favor of the Mazdaks since it weakened the nobles. The Zoroastrians, who were fire worshippers, defeated Kavad I, a mazdak , but he soon regained power in his own province. Many Jews were killed by both sides.


King Firuz (Pheroces/Peroz) (r. 457-484) added to the edicts of Jezdegerd II (see 455), by closing synagogues and study houses. He ordered the Exilarch Mar Huna (Mar Zutra's son) executed after he insisted that Jews had a right to defend themselves and their religion. A number of other Jewish scholars were also put to death. . His daughter and a number of his close entourage escaped to Arabia.

499 (13 Kislev 4260) DEATH OF RAVINA II (Bar Huna)

Marks the closing of the Amoraic era and the beginning of the Saboraic era. During the Amoraic era, it was decided to commit the Oral Law (Talmud) into writing, despite protests that only the Bible should be written down, for fear that persecution would cause it to be forgotten. The compilation of the Talmud, begun by Rav Ashi 100 years before, was completed by Ravina II. There are some who believe it was Ravina I (his uncle) who worked with Rav Ashi.


Linked the Amoraic and Geonic periods. Sabara means opinion, hence the opinion makers. The exact dates of this period are in dispute. It probably started with Mar Jose and ended with Mar Isaac. During this time the Talmud was edited and Midrashic literature and liturgical poetry developed. Although the text itself wasn't changed, topics were edited and some, such as sacrifices which were currently not relevant, were de-emphasized. The Saboraim were skillful stylists who produced smoothly flowing presentations.


Was dedicated in the port of Maiuma ( later known as Gaza), by the brothers Menachem and Yeshua , both wood traders The mosaic contained of a picture of king David with a harp. When discovered in excellent condition in 1965, the Egyptians declared it was a church with a picture of Orpheus despite the fact that there was Hebrew lettering. By the time Israeli forces captured Gaza in 1967,the face of David, one on his hands and other parts of the mosaic had been destroyed.


Born around 455 Zur'ah Yusuf Ibn Tuban As'ad Abu Kaleb Dhu Nuwas was known for having curls or side locks (peiyot). Dhu-Nuwas. He was probably defeated by Kaleb King of Axum (Ethiopia), after retaliating against Christian traders for the Byzantine mistreatment of Jews in the area.

519 RAVENNA (Italy)

After the local synagogues were burned down by the local populace, Theodoric the Ostrogoth ordered the town to rebuild them at its own expense.


Mar Zutra had revolted against the fanatic Kavad I (488-531), establishing a Jewish state in Babylon with Mahoza as its capital which lasted seven years. Eventually his army was overcome and he and his grandfather, Mar Hananiah, were beheaded and crucified on the bridge of Mahoza. Many Jewish leaders were forced to flee and their institutions were closed.


Prohibited Jews from appearing in the streets during Easter because "their appearance is an insult to Christianity". Childbert (a Merovinian king) approved the measure so as not to offend Christians. Until the reign of Charlemagne (800), France (Gaul) consisted of small principalities ruled by petty kings. The decree of a king was not valid beyond the borders of his kingdom, so if Jews were banished from one kingdom it did not affect the Jews in another kingdom.

C. 570 - C. 640 EL'AZAR HAKALIR (Tiberias, Eretz Israel)

Poet and mystic. He wrote more than 200 hymns ( Piyutim) . Many of them are still recited today. These include those read for the 9th of (the month of) Av, the book of slichot (recited leading up to the high holy days), and those recited for rain in the fall and dew in the spring. There is some controversy as to his exact identity and time he lived.

576 Easter CLERMONT-FERREND (Gaul)

During a procession, a recent convert to Christianity was doused with rancid oil by a former co-religionist. Though Biship Avitus succeeded in temporarily calming the crowd . Four days later local Christians burned down the synagogue and began attacking Jews. The Bishop offered the Jews a choice baptism or exile, he reported that 500 Jews accepted conversion.The rest fled, mostly to Marseilles. Many of those who ostensibly converted managed to eventually return to practicing Judaism.


Expanded the edicts of the Council of Clermont and included a demand for Jews to respect the Christian clergy. Furthermore, Jews were forced to sell slaves at a lower price than market value if the slave declared his desire to convert.


Adopted Catholicism. Jews were banned from slave ownership, intermarriage and positions of authority. Recared also decreed that children of mixed marriages must be raised as Christians.


Confiscated the Synagogues of the city together with their guest houses. Since there was no provocation for his action, Pope Gregory forced Bishop Victor to make reparations. The building were not returned to the Jewish community since they had already be consecrated as church property. Gregory’s policy regarding synagogues was on one hand not to allow new synagogues to be built, on the other, leaving “the old ones undisturbed”.

613 TIBERIAS (Eretz Israel)

Led by the wealthy Benjamin of Tiberias, and Nehemiah ben Hushiel the Jews gave their assistance to the conquering Persian forces. This included financial help and a force of about 20,000 people. According to many sources, Ben Hushiel was later appointed governor of Jerusalem by the Persians.

624 March, BANU QAYNUQA (Yathrib)

Surrendered to Mohammed after 14 day siege. The Banu Qaynuqa (Kainuka) were traders and goldsmiths. Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy one of the chiefs of the Khazraj tribe which was aligned (for the most part) with Mohammed convinced him to expel them rather then kill them. They were forced to leave their belongings and property behind. Eventually they settled in Dera in present day Syria joining the local Jewish community there. Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy is known to Islamists as a Munafiq (hypocrite).

627 April, MASSACRE OF THE BANU QURAYZA ( Yathrib/Medina)

After Mohammed's conquest of the Banu-Nadir Jewish tribe, he attacked the Banu- Qurayza (Eruzia). During what was known as the Battle of the Trench at Yathrib, the Jewish tribe had refused to take up sides. Mohammed enraged, ordered Sa'd bin Muadh a devoted follower and one of the chiefs of the Banu Aus (a former alley of the Qurayza), to decided on their fate. Bin Muadh had been mortally wounded in the battle and advised Mohammed to order their conversion or death. The next morning all males 6-800) who had attained puberty were taken out and beheaded . Only 3 or 4 agreed to convert. The women and children were sold into slavery or taken as concubines, many of which were redeemed by the Banu Nadir. One woman, Rayhana bint Zayd was taken personally by Mohammed. According to most sources she refused to convert and as such remained his slave. Years later (c. 1830) Husayn-`Ali Nuri, later known as Baha'u'llah cites the story of the massacre as one of his reasons for leaving Islam and founding the Bahai religion.rnrn


An aggadic midrash (written between the 4th and 6th century) appeared predicting that the Messiah would soon appear to free the Jews from their misery.It is extant in two versions a Hebrew one and a Christian (Coptic) one. It also known and the "Apocalypse of Elijah".

641 SOLIN (near Split, present day Croatia)

After an attack by the Mongolian Avars, the Jewish community which had existed for 300 years was destroyed.


The first Exilarch to be recognized by Arab rulers. His birth and much of his life is surrounded by legend. As a token of appreciation, Caliph Ali gave him the daughter of the Persian king Yazdegerd III for a slave. Eventually Bustanai married her.

652 KA‘AB AL-AHBĀR ( Yemen -Syria)

Died. He is the most famous of the Jewish converts to Islam and legend has it that he showed Omar where on the temple mount he should build his mosque. He is said to have told Omar that everything is written in the Torah, and predicted the date of Omar's death. In Moslem literature he is praised by some, and condemned by other as a false convert.

658 - 1000 GEONIC AGE (Babylon)

The task of the Geonim, was to broaden the study of Talmud and emphasize its practical application. The two great academies, Sura and Pumbedita, once again became the center of Jewish intellectual life. They established their influence by inviting questions (shealot) on Jewish law from far flung communities and sending answers (teshuvot). The exact date for the beginning of this period was probably the Arab conquest of Babylonia in 657, with the first Gaon being Mar Isaac, head of the Sura academy. Others believe that it began around 589 C.E. with Ravai of Pumbedita. The last Goan of prominence was, Hai Gaon, who died in 1038. The title Gaon eventually became used to describe someone who had a great knowledge of Torah.

661 - 750 UMAYYAD (Omayyad) DYNASTY (Syria)

Reigned from Damascus, Syria. This repressive rule failed to unite the Arabs and embittered non-Moslems by their harsh persecutions. They Were the first Muslim dynasty, and reigned from Damascus, Syria where they transformed Islam into a major empire. Their repressive rule failed to unite the Arabs partly due to the fact that they were not descended from Mohammed, and partly due to their passing their power dynastically. The Umayyads were the first to rule after the first four Caliphs which were directly linked to Mohammed. Muawiya I was its first Umayyad Caliph.How Jews fared, depended on the Caliph. The Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasid family, who claimed the right of supreme power.


The massacre of local non-Moslem populations by the first Caliphs gave way to a practical accommodation, including Omar's encouragement of the Jews to return to Babylon (Persia).


King Erwig began his reign by enacting 28 anti-Jewish laws. He decreed that all converts must be registered by a parish priest, through whom all travel permits must be obtained. He also ruled that all holidays, Christian and Jewish, must be spent in the presence of a priest to ensure piety and to prevent "backsliding".

C. 680 - C. 752 Aha of Shabha (Babylon- Eretz Israel)

Author of Shi'iltot which was the first book written after the Talmud and attributed to its author. Rav Aha was also known as the Ahai Gaon, though he never served in an official position. His Shi’iltot are a series of lectures on Jewish law, ethics and the bible. It is also unique in that it was written with the laymen in mind.After his pupil Natronai ben Nehemia son-in-law of the Exilarch Ḥasdai I, was appointed Gaon of Pumbedita in his stead, he left Babylon and moved to Eretz Israel (c.750). A number of his colleagues followed him. rnrn

681 January 9, TWELFTH COUNCIL (SYNOD), TOLEDO (Spain)

The Talmud and other Jewish books were burned in Spain. The synod was a local church council whose decrees were not enforced by the entire church.

C. 683 MASARJAWAIH (Basra Persia)

One of the earliest Jewish physicians in Persia, translated the medical treatise' of Aaron of Alexandria from Syriac into Arabic. Making it one of the very first scientific books to be translated in Arabic. He also added some of his own chapters. He is often identified as Rav Mesharshia a student of Rava (see 333).


(Although reports indicate there was no permanent settlement prior to the eleventh century.) These early Jews were mostly traders from northern France. Some may have come to England with the Romans.


King Erwig's successor Egica ,(r.687- 703) forced Jews to return to his treasury all land, slaves and buildings bought from Christians.rnrn


Began to preach a national Messianic movement, much to the anger of Caliph Abd al Malik.

702 DAHRA (Dahiya) AL KAHINA (Southeast Algeria)

Jewish "priestess". She led an alliance of Berber tribes which was defeated by Moslem forces. She was said to have lived 127 years and ruled with her 3 sons over the tribe of Jerava for 65 years.

717 - 720 CALIPH OMAR II (Syria-Eretz Israel)

Did his best to force Jews and Christians to convert to Islam. This was after a period of respite during the Umayyad dynasty. This religious revival was partly due to the Arab failure to capture Constantinople and the feeling that the end of the world was imminent.

720 SERENE (aka Serenus) (Babylon)

A recent convert was discovered to having seduced a local Jewish girl. Offended by the reaction, he decided to take revenge by pretending to be the messiah. He requested that people give him their wealth so that he could prepare a march to the holy land. He also urged that the Talmud be abolished. Caliph Yezid, Omar's successor, arrested this "Messiah" and handed him over to the Jews in Pumbedita for punishment. Natronai ben Nehemia (Gaon) urged the Jewish community to readmit their brethren into the fold. They eventually did so, though they were initially reluctant.


Caliph Omar II, banned Jewish worship on the Temple Mount. Jews were forced to pray outside the walls of the mount or in a covered staircase called "ha-Meara" the Cave, which was near an ancient gate, known today as Warrens gate. The prohibition regarding Jewish worship on the Mount remains in effect today.

732 BATTLE OF TOURS (France)

Marked the greatest infiltration of Moslem rule into Christian Europe and the beginning of its retreat. The Moslems were defeated by Charles Martel of France, grandfather of Charlemagne. This was the beginning of the Carolingian renaissance. Now on the offensive, the Christian forces added Septimania and Catalonia (near the Mediterranean Sea) to their possessions.


Who had been passed over to be the next Exilarch decided leave Sura and eventually settled in Spain. There Natronai ( c.699-c733) began to introduce the Talmud to the local Jews , writing it down from memory. This became the basis for the development of Jewish scholarship in Spain which freed them from having to wait up to two years for an answer to come from Babylon regarding a point of Jewish law. . By the mid 9th century a request was made to the Gaon Paltoi bar Abaye for a corrected and exact version of the Talmud to which he complied. The Spanish edition of the Talmud became known as the most reliable version.


Lasted until the Treaty of Verdun. The Carolingians were the second dynasty of Frankish rulers after the Merovingians. During the height of its rule it encompassed Gaul, and much of Germany and Italy. The Jews were generally well treated, especially under Charlemagne and his grandson, Charles the Bald. Part of this was due to the fact that Christian merchants had difficulties trading due to Arab control of the seas. The Jewish traders known as the “Radhanites” (see 870) provided an alternative to moving goods between the two antagonistic empires . This lasted only until the closure of the China and Caucasus trade routes and the rise of the Italian city state (Venice, Pisa, Genoa and, Amalfi) traders in the 10th century.


The King Bulan converted his people to a vague form of Judaism ("religion of Abraham") after ordering a disputation between the three major monotheistic faiths. Ibn Shaprut, the foreign minister for Abd ar-Rahman of Cordova, corresponded with King Joseph (960). Most of our knowledge of the Khazars is based on these letters. The Khazars were eventually overcome by the Mongols under Genghis Khan. With the spread of Christianity by the Russians, many Khazars were forcibly baptized. The rest fled. Some went into northern Hungary where villages still have names such as Kozar and Kozardie. Tshagataish, the language of the Khazar Jews, is spoken by the few remaining Jewish Krimtchaki of the Crimea. The Khazars' campaign against the Muslims (730-740) succeeded in checking the Muslim advance on the eastern flank of Europe. The Khazars succeeded in defending themselves for 500 years against Muslims, Byzantines and Russians.


Aka Isaac ibn Jacob al-Isfahani. Although he did not claim to be the Messiah, (rather the (Dai) precursor to the Messiah), he began to preach a national Messianic movement, much to the anger of Caliph Marwan II (744 - 750) and Al-Mansur (d. 775). It is likely that the upheaval in the Moslem world prompted his belief that the great war of Gog and Magog was upon them, signifying the end of days. His sect the first in Judaism since destruction of the temple, was known as the Isawiyya (Isawites) and had slight deviations from traditional Judaism. He banned divorce, and instituted additional prayers, but kept the traditional calendar. Although he was killed in his uprising against the Caliph Al -Mansur, his sect continued for about 200 years.

750 - 1258 ABBASID DYNASTY (from Abu Abbas) (Persia)

Expanded intellectual horizons and world trade. The Abbasids gained control from the Umayyads after the assassination of Marwan II in Egypt and moved the control to Baghdad. Eighty members of Marwan II's family were also killed at Antipatris near present day Rosh Haayin. Abd Al(ur)-Rahman, one of the surviving members of the Umayyads, reached Cordova and set up his own Caliphate (see 756). The Abbasids gave more power to the Persians and Turkish tribes, with Caliphs taking upon themselves absolute authority .Although, as with the Umayyad Dynasty, the Jewish position depended on the current ruler, in general, Jews began to play an important role in world trade and banking.


The oldest Hebrew treatise on mathematics, it deals with geometric equations. Some attributed it to the 2nd century Rav Nehemiah, but most scholars believe it originated in the middle of the 8th century, although the author is unknown.

756 - 788 ABD AL-RAHMAN I (Abd Ur-Rahman I) (Spain)

An Umayyad caliph, he made Spain independent of Baghdad. His court was open to poets, scientists, and philosophers. At the same time that the influence of Babylon was waning, Spain was becoming the center of Jewish thought. The Umayyad rule in Spain was to last 250 years and provide peace and stability for its inhabitants.

757 - 761 RAV JUDAH (Yehudai) GAON OF SURA (Babylon)

Also known as Judah the blind. He was one of the leading presenters of the liturgy, or Shliach Tzibbur, and favored the new practice of professional cantorship (hazzanut). He recommended that an ABA (ternary) musical format be used , so that beginning and end of each piece be similar, with some variance in the middle. He also introduced the chanting of Kol Nidre into the synagogue. Yehudai wrote Halachot Ketuot and probably Halachot Pesukot which was the first work on traditional law since the completion of the Talmud.There is a controversy as to whether he also the author or partial author of Sefer Halachot Gedolot, but most believe it was written by Simeon Kayyara, (see 825). He was a vociferous proponent of the acceptance of the Babylonian Talmud rather than the Jerusalem Talmud as the basis for all Halachah.

763 - 766 BAGHDAD (Persia)

Baghdad was built as the capital of the Abbasid by the Caliph Al Mansur (754-775), successor to Al Abbari. The Jewish mathematician and astronomer Masha'allah/Mashallah Ibn Athari(see 640), together with a Persian astronomer Ab-Naubakht/Naubakht Ahvazi, were responsible for planning the city, which by the 13th century had a perimeter of 20 miles, 10,000 streets and a population of almost 2,000,000.

767 ANAN BEN DAVID (Babylon)

Founded the Karaite (Bnai Mikra) sect. He was originally supposed to become the Exilarch, but his younger brother, Hanina, was chosen instead by the incumbent Geonim, Judah the blind and Dudai. Anan left for Eretz Israel where he established a synagogue in Jerusalem. The Karaite sect believed only in literal Biblical translations and not in the Oral law. The Karaites considered themselves mourners of Zion, abstaining from wine and meat, spending much of their time in fasting and prayer, and signing all letters "mourner" (avilai tzion). The Karaite sect divided Judaism into two bitterly opposed camps. Some, including Sa'adia Gaon and Abraham ibn David, wrote treatises refuting and condemning the sect. The Karaites slowly diminished in numbers and influence, with the few remaining mostly living in Lithuania and Volhynia. For the most part they disappeared during the Holocaust. Their greatest opponent - who succeeded in stemming the spread of Karaitism - was Sa'adia ben Joseph (882-942). The power of the Exilarch was weakened as a result of the Anan conflict. From then on the Geonim had the final say on all religious matters.

786 - 809 HARUN EL RASHID (Persia)

An Abbasid Caliph. His rule marked the zenith of Abbasid power. Jews and Christians did not fare well under his rule.

797 ISAAC (of Rachen) (Carolingian Empire-Persia)

An interpreter for Charlemagne, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Harun al Rashid. The other members of the mission died, but he succeeded in carrying out the mission, thus renewing relations between the rulers of the East and West. He is also credited with establishing contact between the rabbis of France and the Geonim.


Obadiah, the leader or Khaqan of the Khazars, adopted rabbinic Judaism two generations after their conversion.

807 HARUN AL RASHID (Persia)

Forced Jews to wear a yellow badge and Christians to wear a blue badge (see 796).

814 - 840 LOUIS THE PIOUS (Carolingian Empire)

Charlemagne's son. He succeeded his father as king. He continued and expanded his father's tolerant policies toward the Jews. Market day was changed from the Sabbath to Sunday and a Jew, Ebeard, was appointed Magister Judeacrum whose function was to protect Jewish rights.

820 ARCHBISHOP AGOBARD (779-840) (Lyon, Carolingian Empire)

"Proved" in essays that Jews were born slaves and accursed. Agobard forcibly converted Jewish children, offering them or their parents no choice in the matter. This is the first time in France that such an act was recorded. (Until this time Jews were offered the choice of either converting or being expelled or killed - but there was a "choice"). He also urged the sons (especially Lothair) of Charlemagne's successor, Louis the Pious, to revolt. After the revolt (833) he was disposed, but was later reinstated by Louis. Six of his anti-Semitic essays have survived; which are systematically aimed at humiliating and eradicating the Jewish community.

825 KARAITES (Babylon)

Developed into sects, each choosing its own interpretation of the Bible. They included the Ukbarites, Tiflisites and Malik al Ramli. These sects split the Karaite movement even further.


Between Daniel, a sympathizer with Karaism, and David ben Judah. The entire Jewish population of Babylon became embroiled. The outcome was that David ben Judah eventually held office as Exilarch until 840.

C. 825 SIMEON KAYYARA (Babylon)

One of the great scholars of the 9th century, wrote Sefer Halachot Gedolot. He is often referred to as the Bahag, an abbreviation of Ba'al Halakhot Gedolot" ("author of the Halachot Gedolot". The work systematically sums up the all codes of law in the Talmud and is the first Rabbinic work to have an introduction. It is known in two editions, one which was popular in Germany and France, and a Spanish edition known as Halachot Gedolot Shel Aspamia.

826 ARCHBISHOP AGOBARD (Lyon, Gaul - Carolingian Empire)

Angered by the high positions and security of the Jews, Agobard issued a series of pamphlets to convince King Louis to attack what he called "Jewish insolence" and to invoke the old anti-Jewish decrees of 465, 535 and 538.


Was considered the real successor to Anan ben David, the founder of the Karaite sect, although he lacked the charisma of his predecessor. He formulated free biblical study and interpretation, and tried to base Karaite law on the Bible. He also sought a less belligerent attitude towards rabbinical authorities and is credited in being the first to use the name Karaites or Bnai Mikra.

839 BODO (Alemah, Carolingian Empire)

A nobleman converted to Judaism, married a Jewess and moved to Sarargossa, Spain. There he tried to influence his family to convert as well. This strengthened the arguments of Archbishop Agobard and others who were trying to convince King Louis the Pious to return to former medieval anti-Jewish policies.

840 - 877 REIGN OF CHARLES THE BALD (Carolingian Empire) (823-877)

He and his Carolingian successors refused (until 987) to agree with the anti-Jewish decrees of Amulo, successor to Agobard, the Archbishop of Lyon. Charles was the son of Louis I the Pious and Judith of Bavaria - and the grandson of Charlemagne. He was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 875.

841 AMULO (Lyon, Carolingian Empire)

Successor to Agobard, he wrote to Emperor Charles the Bald demanding that he ratify anti-Jewish measures in the Diet of Epernay. Although he did not succeed directly, his letter and reasons for actively persecuting the Jews were widely circulated and accepted by the Church as part of its doctrine.

842 - 858 PALTOI BEN ABAYA (Babylon)

Is considered the first Gaon of Pumbedita and is credited with increasing its stature. At the request of the Spanish Jewish community, he sent them a copy of the Talmud with explanations. He is also noted for imposing excommunications (cherum), whereby those deemed to have harmed the Jewish people were no longer considered part of the community. (An excommunicated Jew, for example, is not counted for a minyan (quorum) for prayers, nor is he called to the Torah in the synagogue.) Excommunication was considered the most severe form of "civil-religious" punishment and was rarely used.


Polish legend has it that when various tribes decided to unite, they asked a Jew, Abraham Prochownik, to be their king. He declined in favor of a peasant named Piast, the founder of the Piast dynasty.


Ibn Laid al-Hassan, a Moslem traveler, wrote of riots in Kanfu, China in which Jews were counted among the dead.

853 AL-MUTAVALLIL (Persia)

An Abbasid caliph, he issued a yellow badge edict. He also forbade non-Moslems to ride on horses and converted synagogues and churches into mosques.

853 LUCENA, ANDALUSIA (Southern Spain)

According to Natronai Gaon, "Alisana (Arabic for Lucena) was a Jewish place with no gentiles at all." Lucena ostensibly was founded by Jews hundreds of years earlier. It served as the cultural center of Andalusian Jewry and was known during the era of Moslem rule as an all-Jewish city.

859 - 869 NATRONAI II (Babylon)

Served as Gaon of Sura. He extrapolated the theory of a divine Torah (Bible) given at Mount Sinai without vowel signs, which were later developed as a reading aid. He also began the custom of saying one hundred brachot (blessings) daily, and he completed the order of the daily prayers.

869 AMRAM BEN SHESHNA GAON (d. 875) (Babylon)

Gaon of Sura, Completed, at the request of the Spanish community, the first real Siddur (prayer book), which is the basis for the one in use today. The book concentrated more on service regulations than on liturgical text. Until then, although prayers had been recited since early Mishnaic times, there was no official prayer book that contained all the various liturgical texts.

879 - 929 CHARLES THE SIMPLE (France)

Confiscated Jewish owned vineyards, salt mines, and houses in Narbonne and donated them to the Church. This signaled the end of the period when the Carolingian kings dealt favorably with the Jews. It also marked the slow dissolution of the Carolingian dynasty, making way for the Capetian dynasty (987).

C. 880 ELAZAR IBN SAMUEL HURGA ( Lucea, Spain)

One of the leading scholars of his day. He traveled to Sura (Babylon) to deepen his studies, bringing them a greater understanding of the Latin references in the Talmud.

882 - 942 (26 Iyar 4702) SA'ADIA (Sa'adia Gaon) BEN JOSEPH (Babylon)

Born in Egypt, he moved to Babylon in 928 to head the academy at Sura. He revived the waning influence of the academy and wrote on many subjects, including grammar, halacha and philosophy. As one of the foremost opponents of Karaism, he wrote the exposition Emunot Vedeot, which became very popular. A grave conflict arose between Sa'adia and the Exilarch David ben Zaccai when he refused to endorse a judgment of the Exilarch's court in which Ben Zaccai was an interested party. The issue was not settled for many years and demonstrated Sa'adia's unyielding defense of his principles. He was subsequently expelled and moved to Baghdad. On Purim 937, the opponents were reconciled, and a few years later Sa'adia adopted Ben Zaccai's orphan grandchildren.

888 METZ (France)

A church council forbade Christians and Jews to eat together. Although Jews may have been there since the fourth century, this was the first documented evidence of a Jewish presence in the city.


By Umar ibn Hafsun (c.850-917) who led the anti-Umayyad revolt in Spain . He succeeded in conquering most of the cities in Andalusia except Lucena which was almost exclusively Jewish . Its original name was Eliossana, from the Hebrew Eli Hoshanna " God Save us". Lucena succeed in withstanding the attacks and eventually the rebels gave up. The city was known for its scholars was soon to include Isaac Alfasi who founded a major yeshiva there as well as Isaac ibn Ghiyyat, Isaac (ben Baruch) ibn Albalia, and Joseph ibn Migash.

892 Al-Mu'tadid (Baghdad, Abbasid Empire)

Was appointed Caliph in Baghdad. Netira, a successful Jewish banker, discovered a plot to defraud the Caliph (c.854-902), and became the most influential person in the Babylonian Jewish community. Though his offices he succeeded in preventing anti-Jewish riots organized by Ibn abi al-Bagl. In the controversy between Sa'adia Gaon and David ben Zaccai he supported the former (see 882). His children also continued having great influence, interceding for the Jewish community whenever possible.rnrn


According to legend a certain Prince Leshek gave German Jews written permission to enter Poland. What is known is that German Jews did arrive in the late 9th century prior to the Piast Dynasty (960) and preceding its becoming a Christian country in 966.

906 - 1006 SHERIRA GAON (Pumbedita, Babylon)

Served as Gaon from 968-1004 when he appointed his son Hai Gaon to serve in his stead. Sherira wrote a Biblical commentary as well as one on several tractates of the Talmud. He is famed for his "letters" Igeret Rav Sherira, a history from talmudic times until his own time in which he explains the development of the Talmud.

C. 910 - C. 970 MENAHEM BEN JACOB SARUQ(Saruk) (Spain)

Lexicographer, philologist and poet. His lexicon of the bible (Machberet) became the first Hebrew-language dictionary. His work was vociferously criticized by Dunash ben Labrat. Saruq was so vilified that he lost the patronage of Hasdai ibn Shaprut, for whom he had written the letter to the Khazars. He was defended by his students including Judah ibn David Hayyug, who later correctly defined the Hebrew triliteral (three letter) root system. The biblical commentator Rashi refers to him as a philological authority and often quotes him.rnrn

912 - 970 HASDAI IBN SHAPRUT (Spain)

Physician to Abd Al(ar)-Rahman III and Al Hakam II, Umayyad rulers in Cordova. Hasdai spoke numerous language including Latin, Arabic and the Spanish of the time and also served Abd al Rahman as a diplomat and interpreter. He co -translated Dioscorides' work on botany, from the Greek. In 957 he cured the King of León, Sancho el Craso (Sancho the Fat), of obesity which won him the further appreciation of the Caliph. He used his position to help and protect his fellow Jews, including those in Byzantium. Hasdai made contact with Joseph, King of the Khazars. Together with Moses ben Hanoch, he founded the Talmudic school in Cordova. As the role and importance of Sura academy grew weaker, Hasdai purchased part of the library and had it transferred to Córdoba. The Cordova school's influence was felt in Spain for 350 years.

921 AARON BEN MEIR (Eretz Israel)

Leader and sage. He devised a change in the calendar, and as part of his efforts to reinstate Palestinian control over the calendar, he reinstated the tradition of proclaiming the new moon from the Mount of Olives. This caused confusion regarding the date of Passover. Sa'adia Gaon, aware of what a split would do to Jewish unity in the face of the Karaite division, nevertheless wrote a refutation called the "Book of Seasons". The underlying issue was one of supremacy in Halachic rulings - Babylon or Eretz Israel. Sa'adia won and received the Geonate of Sura in recognition.

930 - 991 YAQUB IBN YUSUF IBN KILLIS ( Baghdad - Egypt)

Financial advisor first under the Ikhshidid dynasty and then under the Fatimid’s. Born into a Jewish family his father took him to Egypt where he proved to have great abilities in the economic sphere. Pressured by Abu al-Misk Kafur (905–968) he converted to Islam, and had a successful career under various rulers. He was often accused of showing favor to Jews.


Emperor Romanus Lecapenus (Lekapenos)(920-944), co-ruler with Constantine VII, commanded that the Jews in the realm be forcibly baptized. Though it resulted in a mass emigration, his decree was never fully realized. This may have been due to the influence of Hasdai ibn Saprut, who used his position to persuade Constantine. Or, as others relate, it may be due to pressure from the king of Khazaria, who threatened to attack if the decree was not called off.

939 - 1038 HAI BEN SHERIRA GAON (Babylon)

Descendant of King David and last of the influential Geonim. Over one-third of the existing responsa (almost one thousand) in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic are from Hai Gaon. He ruled that in the case of conflict, the Babylonian Talmud took precedence over the Jerusalem Talmud.

940 KAIROVAN (Tunisia)

Hananel ben Hushiel and Nissim ben Jacob, native Talmudists, sought to bridge the gap between talmudic teachings and daily life. They accomplished this by using both the Jerusalem and Babylonian versions of the Talmud.


Abu Dulaf, a Moslem traveler, reported visiting a city built of cane with a "large" Jewish population.


Was abolished after seven centuries. The precipitating factor in its demise was dissention with the Moslems. David ben Zaccai is considered the last Exilarch of importance (c. 940), although he is mainly remembered for his struggle with Sa'adia Gaon.


Community leader, rabbi and paytan (liturgical composer). Simeon was a colleague of Rabbenu Gershom and an expert on customs and prayers. Of his many compositions, his Hashem Melech (The Lord is King) is still recited in the morning prayers of Rosh Hashanah. Some of his prayers contain the name Elhanan (his son), who according to tradition was forcibly baptized, became a priest and eventually (according to one version) the Pope. Years later, upon meeting his father who had come to plead against a harsh decree, he returned to Judaism.


Held a debate similar to that held by the Khazars to determine the religion of his kingdom. His decision to convert to Christianity may have been partly to the fact that the Jews lacked political clout. Although Jews had lived in Kiev from probably its actual founding in the 8th century they were not of a significant number. Hilaria, the first native Metropolitan (bishop) feared Jewish influence and wrote a special treatise "Mosaic Law and Truth of Jesus".

C. 950 JUDAH IBN KURAISH (Tiaret, Algeria)

One of the earliest Jewish lexicographers, sent a letter known as the Risalah (Ar. Message) to the Fez community . In it he urged them not to forgo the study of the Aramaic Targum (translation) of the Bible. He also discussed the similarities between various Semitic languages making him one of the very first to do so. Ibn Kuraish was also a liturgical poet, and is said to have written a Biblical Hebrew dictionary, but there are no copies extant.


Physician, and adviser to Abd al-Rahman III, wrote his famous letter to Joseph, king of the Khazars, Hasdai described the Umayyad kingdom in Spain and asked questions about the kingdom of the Khazars. Joseph's replied detailing Khazar history, and its current status.

961 AL HAKIM II ( Spain)

Succeeded his father Abd-al-Rahman III and is not to be confused with Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (985 - 1021) the "Mad caliph". Al Hakim (915-976) made Cordova a center of scientific learning and continued to use the services of Hasdai ibn Shaprut . His death marked the beginning of end of the Umayyad rule and the flourishing Jewish community.

962 OTTO THE GREAT (936-973) (Germany)

Emperor of Germany. As in France under the Carolingian kings, German Jews were generally under the Emperor's protection. The burghers or feudal barons were hostile to them, but in Germany the Emperor, for the most part, controlled the situation. Although favorably treated, Jews were regarded as possessions of the Emperor. Since they were prohibited from owning land, commerce was the only occupation open to them.

964 - 973 SVYATSLAV I (Russia)

Russian prince of Kiev who conquered Itil (Atel), the capital city of the Khazars in 965.

965 July 9, OTTO (Germany)

Gave the Bishop of Magdeburg jurisdiction over all merchants and Jews for taxation purposes. In general, under Otto (912-973) the Jews were not expelled or forcibly converted. They were considered the personal property of the King. In the individual towns, the Jews were offered privileges or charters, usually through a contract whereby they would be protected by the crown, in return for financial fealty. The word privilege (privilegium) is found in many documents related to the position of the Jews under various rulers. The term denotes a "private law", or rule and refers to an individual, group or institution.


Svyatoslav I, ruler of the Kievian Russians, defeated the Khazars and temporarily occupied their capital. Some historians believe that the Khazars then converted to Islam in order to obtain an alliance with their Moslems neighbors, although there is evidence of a continued Khazar kingdom for another 50 years.

966 IBRAHIM IBN YA'QUB (Tortosa, Spain)

Met with Otto I and received permission to travel all through central Europe. Ibn Ya'qub, a geographer and historian, had been sent by the Cordovan caliph Al-Hakam II (961–76) to report on western and central Europe. . Ibn Ya'qub traveled through France, Germany , Bohemia and Poland . He is noted for his detailed account of the lives of the people in the places he visited, including their diets and physical conditions and economic situation. His writings constitute a major contribution to our knowledge of life in those times.

970 PRAGUE (Bohemia)

On a visit to the city, the Spanish Jewish traveler Ibrahim Ibn Ya'kub found Jewish merchants actively involved in trade.

980 CHOCHIN (India)

The Hindu ruler of Malabar, Bhaskara Ravi Varma, granted Rabban Joseph the right for Jews to live in Cochin. Most Jewish life centered around the commercial city of Cranganore until the arrival of the Portuguese in 1523.

985 AL MAGDES (Eretz Israel)

A Jerusalem-born Moslem traveler reported that Christians and Jews outnumber Moslems in Jerusalem.

986 R' NISSIM OF KAIRUAN (Tunisia)

Inquired of R' Sherira Gaon (906-1006) as to the history of the Talmud and how it was composed. R' Sherira's reply to R' Nissim, known as Iggeret Rav Sherira Ga'on, is the foremost source of our knowledge of the history of talmudic times and the growth and compilation of the Mishna-Talmud.


Jewish leader and court appointee. He introduced brocaded silk into Spain and in gratitude was chosen as leader of the Jewish community and minister in charge of taxes by the chief chancellor (to the Umayyad Caliph Hisham II) al-Mansur ibn Abi Amir (aka Almanzor). During the war between the Umayyad’s of Cordova and the Idrissis’ of Maghreb, the Jews were caught in the middle, being heavily taxed and accused of treason by both sides. He later refused to extort money from his fellow Jews whose resources had diminished. As a result he was demoted and imprisoned for a year.

990 - 1053 HANANEL BEN HUSHIEL (Tunisia)

One of the last Geonim. He was actually born in Kairouan and remained there most of his life. He wrote the first complete commentary on the Talmud which is today embedded in the actual Talmud page. Hananel was also one of the first to rationalize the miracles of Agadah (Biblical legends). This is the part of the Oral Law which deals with stories, chronicles and sayings rather than laws. His writings and responsa served as a bridge between the Babylonian academies and North African Jewry.

990 - 1055 SAMUEL IBN NAGHRELA (Granada, Spain)

Known as Samuel ( HaLevi) Hanagid, he was a great diplomat, military adviser, scholar and poet as well as vizier to King Habus al-Muzaffar of Granada ( r.1019-1038). Ibn Naghrela’s poetic works include "Ben Tehillim" (Son of Psalms), "Ben Kohelet" (Son of Ecclesiastes), and "Ben Mishlei" (Son of Proverbs), He is also the author of a Biblical Hebrew dictionary written in Arabic. Samuel Hanagid did everything in his power to encourage Jewish learning including establishing a Yeshiva ( where Maimonides’ father would study) , and making copies of the Talmud available to students who couldn’t afford them.His son, Joseph, succeeded him for eleven years, until he was deposed during an attack on the Jews (see 1066).

990 - 1064 JACOB BEN YAKAR (Germany)

Rabbi and co-founder of the great Yeshiva Academy of Worms, and the principal teacher of Rashi. Many of the Rabbinical leaders who came out of the academies in Mayence and Worms met their death in the First Crusade and little of their works have survived.

C. 990 - 1062 NISSIM BEN JACOB IBN SHAHIN (Kairouan, Tunisia)

Poet, and Halachic scholar aka Rabbenu Nissim. He was also very knowledgeable of philosophy and even Islamic religious literature. He served with Hanannel ben Hushiel and after his death, was appointed the head of the rabbinical academies. His Talmudic commentary Sefer Mafteach Manulei Hatalmud (The book of the Key to the Talmud) on some of the tractates is included on the main pages of many editions. In it he brings down sources for Mishnaic quotes and follows it methodology. and Megillat Setarim (Scroll of Secrets) which deals with questions regarding law, legends , Bible, Talmud, and religious customs. After his father in law lost his son, he composed (originally in Arabic) Hibur Yafe MehaYeshua (An Elegant Composition about Deliverance) comprised of stories from Talmudic, Gaonic, and foreign sources regarding bereavement.

992 TREVES (France)

The Bishop ordered the mass conversion of the Jewish population. Before the edict took effect, the Jews spent the day fasting and an effigy of the Bishop was burned. He died the same day and the decree was averted. The Christians attributed it to magic - the Jews to divine intervention.

1002 - 1070 ISAAC BEN ELIEZER HALEVI (Worms, Germany)

Rabbi, teacher, liturgist - a student of Eliezer ben Isaac. After the death of Jacob ben Yakar, Rashi joined his school.


Al hakim (985-1021) the Fatimid ruler ordered that Jews and Christians follow ghiyār "the law of differentiation" with Jews wearing both a belt and a turban in black as well as a wooden calf necklace. The women were to wear two different colored shoes, one red and one black. These remained in place until 1014. He was considered eccentric and radically inconsistent, and is known in western literature as the “Mad Caliph”. He is said to have burned down part of the Jewish quarter for what he considered a slight to his personage. In the later part of his reign he became more tolerant and allowed forced converts to return to their religion.

1007 ROME (Italy)

The talmudic academy was founded under Jacob Gaon and the three leaders of the community: Moses Ha Nasi, Abraham, and Shabbtai. Jacob Gaon was succeeded by Rabbi Jechiel and then by his son R' Nathan (see 1035) author of the Aruch. R' Nathan traced his family back to the scholars who were brought to Rome by Titus in 73 CE.

1008 CALIPH HAKIM (Egypt)

The sixth Fatimid caliph began his rule. He pressured all non-Moslems, especially Christians, to convert. He is said to have forced Jews to wear a small "golden calf" around their necks. Al-Hakim proclaimed himself God's incarnation, disappeared, and was probably killed during a revolt. His confessor Darazi fled to the Syrian mountains where he proclaimed a new religion - the Druse (Druze). According to the Druze religion there have been ten incarnations of God with Al-Hakim being the last - and they await his second coming.

1010 LIMOGES (France)

Although the Capetian dynasty had been in power in France for twenty-three years, they provided no security for Jews. In Limoges, Bishop Alduin gave them the option of baptism or exile. The Jews sent Jacob bar Yukutiel to petition the Pope. One of his sons was forced to remain behind as a hostage to the bishop, while the rest went with him to Rome. He persuaded the Pope to send an envoy to the area with a papal order "not to kill, injure or rob Jews, nor to deprive them of their religion."


Forbade Jews to marry Christians, own slaves, or work on Sunday. Despite the Council, no overtly anti-Jewish measures were imposed.


Broke out between Arabs and Berbers. This resulted in the first Jewish massacre in Cordova in April 1014, and the subsequent decline of the population and importance of the community. An aristocratic family ruled Cordova, who did not consider Jews indispensable. Consequently, the Jews in Cordova began to suffer harassment. Samuel Hanagid was forced to flee to Malaga.

1013 (10 Iyar 4863) - 1103 ISAAC ALFASI (Fez, Morocco)

Also known as the "RIF", compiled the first codification of Jewish law, entitled Sefer Halachot. It still appears today in every volume of the Talmud. Joseph Caro later used it as a basis for his work. Sefer Halachot was the most important codex until Maimonides' Mishna Torah. Alfasi was 25 years old when Hai Gaon died. He was called Gaon by many authorities and his death marked the very end of the Geonic Period (since 589), although there are others who say that the Geonic Period ended with the death of Hai Gaon (1038). His students included Judah Halevi and Josef ibn Migash.


Was destroyed by Matislav I of Russia. Some of the Khazars converted, and other communities gradually absorbed the rest.

1018 KIEV (Russia)

During the occupation by the Polish king, Boleslav the Bold, the Jews were attacked and robbed by soldiers. This marks one of the earliest reports of a permanent Jewish presence in Kiev.

1020 REGENSBURG (Ratisbon) (Bavaria, Germany)

The oldest Jewish quarter in Germany was established.

1021 - 1069 SOLOMON IBN GABIROL (Avicebron) (Malaga)

Messianic poet and philosopher whose "Naale" and other works are included in the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) liturgy. His book of philosophy, Fountain of Life (Arabic), conceived of the universe as the embodiment of divine will. The famous medieval theological philosophers John Duns Scotus (1265-1308) and Albertus Magnus (1206-1280), not knowing he was Jewish, used his texts. Most Jewish scholars rejected his theories of neo-Platonism and some, including Maimonides, considered them almost Pantheic. His personal life was harsh: orphaned at an early age, he suffered bitter poverty and deprivation.

1028 RABBI ELIEZER BEN ISAAC (the Great) (Mayence, Germany)

Took over the Academy of Mayence after the death of Rabbenu Gershom. Hundreds of students flocked to his school, many of whom became the leaders of the next generation. Two of them, Isaac ben Judah of Mayence and Isaac ben Eliezer Halevi of Worms, were Rashi's teachers. R' Eliezer and his colleague Jacob ben Yakar headed the Yeshiva. He is also the author of Orchot Chayim.


Hisham III (1027–1031) was overthrown . Beset by factionalism, the caliphate crumbled into a number of independent taifas or small principalities. The Umayyads had ruled with stability for 250 years. However, they never recovered from the Berber invasion and the sacking of Cordova twenty years earlier.Due to the general instability, many Jews emigrated to the Castile region especially to Toledo, or to Saragossa in Aragon. Others went to Leon or south to Almeria, and still others left for Egypt. As Jews moved away from established communities it led in many cases in a loosing of ties with the Jewish community, resulting in a rise in assimilation.

1033 December 12, EARTHQUAKES (Eretz Israel)

A series of earthquakes caused major damage to Ramla, Jerico, and Nablus. Jewish farmers, especially in the Sharon Valley, suffered great losses due to an earthquake. When extra taxes were issued to non-Moslem landowners, almost all of the remaining Jews were forced to leave agriculture.

1034 WORMS (Germany)

A Byzantine-style synagogue was built by Jacob ben David and his wife Rachel. It is one of the oldest synagogues still standing today.

1034 DEATH OF SAMUEL BEN CHOFNI (Hofni) (Babylon)

Probably the Last Gaon of Sura.A prodigious writer of 65 titles, his works (all in judeo-arabic) included an introduction to the Talmud with 145 chapters a well as a book of Laws. Thus ended the long line founded by Rav almost 800 years previously. Some historians believe that the Sura geonate moved to Egypt and continued there for another few decades.

1035 - 1106 NATHAN BEN YECHIEL (Rome, Italy)

Author of the Aruch (order), a lexicon of Hebrew. He explained the translations, various interpretations and difficulties surrounding words taken from the entire Bible, Talmud, Midrash and Targums in Hebrew and Aramaic. He was frequently quoted by Rashi (see 1040).

1038 (20 Nissan 4795) DEATH OF HAI GAON (Pumbedita, Babylon)

Marked the end of the Geonic period. It also ended because the spread of rabbinical authority throughout Europe and North Africa meant that there was no longer just one center for Jewish thought. Hai Gaon wrote over 100 responsa as well as a civil law codification of the Talmud. Heskiah succeeded him at the Pumbedita academy, but its prestige and importance were on the wane.


Rabbi poet philosopher, and biblical commentator. He is said to have written more than four hundred poems, as well as hundreds of Piyutim (liturgical poems). His commentary on the Talmud, Sefer ha-Ner (Book of the Lamp), covered at least nine Talmudic tractates, although most are not extant. Among his many pupils were his son Judah, and Moses ibn Ezra. Some believe that Isaac Alfasi was also one of his pupils.

1040 BACHYA IBN PAKUDA (Saragossa, Spain)

Published the first book on Jewish morals and ethics, entitled Chovot Halevavot (Duties of the Heart). In the 19th century his work, among others, became an integral part of the talmudic academy (yeshiva) curriculum. It was considered a tool for introspection and self-evaluation.

1040 - 1105 (29 Tamuz 4865) SOLOMON BEN ISAAC (Troyes, France)

Better known as Rashi. He had studied under the students of Rabbenu Gershom and at the age of 25 became the rabbi in Troyes. Rashi is renowned for his illuminating and succinct commentaries on the Bible and the Talmud, which are still considered indispensable by both Jewish and Christian scholars. Rashi did not hesitate to comment "I don't understand" on Biblical passages which he found perplexing and often paraphrased the words in his native French. His sons-in-law (known as the Tosafists - see 1100) continued with his commentaries, further helping to explain difficult portions of the Talmud. During the First Crusade in 1095-1099, many of Rashi's relatives and friends perished, and some of his manuscripts were destroyed or lost.

1050 - C. 1120 MESHULLAM BEN KALONYMUS (Lucca, Italy - Mainz)

Scholar and poet. He is also known as Meshulan the Great". He wrote a commentary on Ethics of the Fathers, and numerous responsa some of which were dedicated to disproving Karaite teachings. One of these gave permission to keep a fire going on over the Sabbath . Some of his peyutim, including those for the day of atonement are still used today.

1054 FINAL BREAK (Italy, Byzantine Empire)

Between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople. This was facilitated by the Norman conquest of Southern Italy with the backing of the Pope. (Southern Italy had been under the influence of the Eastern Empire.) This also marked the end of Byzantine rule in Italy, which had focused on the Empire rather than on the Pope. Clergy there were also allowed to marry, which gave them closer ties with society.

1055 - 1130 ISAAC BEN ASHER HALEVI (The Rivah) (Germany)

Called the "Father of the German Tosafists". He studied briefly under Rashi, and was the only outstanding German teacher to survive the First Crusade. Upon his death there was no one of standing to take his place and the schools of Worms and the Rhineland were surpassed by those further south. It was said of him that he went over his lessons four times before he would teach them.

1056 - 1147 ALMORAVIDE DYNASTY (Spain)

A Berber Moslem tribe, they were called to Spain by Abbad III of Seville to help fight against the Christians. They soon turned against the Spanish Moors and annexed Moslem Spain, with the exception of Toledo and Saragossa. The Almoravides were unstable at best. Their rule was generally puritanical, and they showed disdain for the Moslem courts in Spain. Many Jews fled to Christian Spain.

1060 - 1135 MEIR BEN SAMUEL (Ramerupt, France)

Rabbi and scholar. Meir was a son-in-law of Rashi and was one of the first Tosafists. Of his sons three are famous: Samuel b. Meir (Rashbam), Isaac b. Meir, and Jacob b. Meir Tam. In addition to his commentary on the Talmud, he edited the Kol Nidrei text into the prayer we recite today.

C. 1065 - 1136 Abraham bar Hiyya aka Savasorda (Spain – France)

Philosopher, astronomer, astrologer, and mathematician. He wrote numerous original works in Hebrew. These include Yesod ha-Tevunah u-Migdal ha-Emunah (The Foundation of Understanding and the Tower of Faith) an encyclopedia of math astronomy, optics and music . Books on astronomy include Sefer Tzurat HaAretz (Sphaera Mundi) (Form of the Earth) , and Hokhmat Ha'Chizayon, (in two parts ) a definitive work on astronomy and the calculation of the calendar. His Chibbur ha-Meshichah ve-ha-Tishboret (Treatise on Measurement and Calculation) (1116) was translated into Latin in 1145 by Plato of Tivoli as Liber Embadorum. It gave the area of a circle and helped introduce trigonometry to the west . He also translated many Arabic mathematical and scientific texts into Hebrew.

1065 FRENCH CHRISTIANS (France-Spain)

Attacked the Saracens in Spain to drive out the infidels (non-believers). On their way to Spain they stopped in a number of towns and killed any Jews they found. This type of "outbreak" became more common during the Crusades, the idea being "why travel to kill the infidel when we have so many near to home? Get them first!"

1065 - 1173 BENJAMIN OF TULDE/TUDELA (Tudela, Spain)

Jewish traveler and historian. Much of our knowledge of this period is derived from his journal, Sefer Ha-massa'ot (Book of Travels), including the story of rn David Alroy, the false Messiah (see 1160).

1066 December 30, GRANADA (Spain)

Joseph ibn Nagrela, son of Samuel ibn Nagrela, was murdered. He had served as vizier to Badis, ruler of the Berbers. There had been constant tension between the Berbers and the Arab population which led to a civil war. Joseph attempted to ease the conflict between the two camps and prevent excesses against the local Arabs. His enemies included Abu Ishak, Berber advisor to the prince, who accused him of trying to cede the city to a neighboring prince. Badis ordered Joseph killed and crucified. In the ensuing massacre of the Jewish population 1,500 families were killed, including Joseph's wife and son. A few years later Jews were readmitted to Granada and resumed high offices.


Jews arrived in increasing numbers from Normandy to settle in London, and then spread in ever widening circles to York, Norwich, Oxford, Bristol, and Lincoln. The documented history of Jewish settlement in England dates from the Norman Conquest, although Jews were said to have arrived there soon after the conquest. They tended to settle in large towns and commercial centers, close to the royal castle for protection against the sheriff.


Benjamin of Tudela (1154) (see also1065) described a group of Jews in Jerusalem who called themselves the Aveli Tzion - Mourners of Zion. The group, wore only black, refused to eat meat or drink wine, and lived mostly in caves. Evidently they began sometime in the 7th century. By the time of the crusades few were left. Other groups also existed in Yemen , Germany and Italy. Some scholars contend that those in Jerusalem were a Karaite sect.


The Seljuk's (a Turkish tribe) made a pact with the Abbasid rulers, whereby they would maintain much of the control of the East. The Seljuk's were strictly orthodox Moslems who believed in strengthening Islamic rule and law, while at the same time humiliating non-Moslems. They often destroyed churches and synagogues. The Crusades were partly a result of their harassment of pilgrims. Soon after the occupation of Jerusalem the talmudic Academy moved to Tyre.

1073 - 1134 DON ALONSO SANCHEZ ”el Batallador” (the Valiant) (Navarra, Spain)

During his 30 year reign he granted the Jews full civil rights.

1080 - C. 1164 ABU'L BARAKAT AL-BAGHDĀDĪ (Baghdad)

Philosopher and physician His Hebrew name was Baruch ben Malka. He works include Kitab al-Mu'tabar ("The Book of What Has Been Established by Personal Reflection") and a commentary on Ecclesiastes. He converted to Islam shortly before his death. Some say for honor, others to save his life after a royal patient died under his care. One of his students was Isaac, the son of the Abraham Ibn Ezra and the son-in-law of Judah Halevi who also converted to Islam but then regretted it and fled to a Christian country where he returned to Judaism.

1084 September 13, SPEYER (Germany)

In an effort to convince Jews to settle in his town the local Bishop Rudiger offered them a legal status superior to what would be offered them elsewhere in Germany. It read, in part: "Desiring to make a city out of our village of Speyer, I have admitted the Jews.....I have thought to multiply one thousand times the honor of our city by gathering the Jews within its walls." He provided them with their own protected area and their own cemetery. In return they paid 3 1/2 pounds silver to the Church and agreed to defend the city. Local rulers were entitled to offer legal "privileges" although for the most part it was in the hands of the emperor. Twelve years later Speyer became one of the first cities ravaged by the Crusades.

1085 - 1174 SAMUEL BEN MEIR (The Rashbam) (France)

Grandson of Rashi. He wrote a commentary of the Bible and Talmud, adhering more closely to the literal translation than did Rashi. In certain sections of the Talmud where Rashi's commentary is unavailable, the Rashbam's is substituted.

1085 TOLEDO (Spain)

Surrendered to Alfonso VI of Castile( 1040-1109) , becoming part of Christian Spain. This was the first important conquest of Moslem Spain known as the Reconquista. His chief counselor was Joseph ben Ferrusel, also known as Cidellus (Little Cid). As his physician and advisor, Joseph was instrumental in helping protect those refugees fleeing Almoravide persecutions. The Jews were invited to Toledo and offered full equality . Many Jews (estimates are as high as 40,000) joined his army wearing yellow and black turbans.

1086 BATTLE OF ZULA (Zallaka) (Spain)

It is reported that 40,000 Jews fought together with King Alfonso VI against the Almoravides. The Moslem armies also had a large amount of Jews serving in them - so much so that the battle was arranged not to fall on the Sabbath. Although the numbers may be exaggerated, they reflect the fact that Jews actually took part in most of the Spanish wars and fought valiantly.

1086 - 1145 JUDAH HALEVI (Spain)

Zionist, poet and physician. The author of the Kuzari, a philosophical dialogue between the King of the Khazars and members of the three great monotheistic religions. Among his 800 poems are eighty love poems, three hundred and fifty Diaspora poems and thirty-five songs of Zion. He also practiced medicine in Christian Toledo and used his influence to benefit Jewish refugees.

1090 February 19, SPEYER (Germany)

Emperor Henry IV renewed to Rabbi Judah b. Kalonymus, the poet, David b. Meshullam, and Rabbi Moses b. Yekuthiel the pledges granted six years earlier by Bishop Ruediger. In addition, the Emperor guaranteed the Jews freedom of trade in his empire as well as his protection. John, bishop of Speyer, also encouraged Jews to move to the city. In return the community paid 3 1/2 pounds silver to the Church and agreed to defend the city in case of attack. Within six years Speyer became one of the first communities on the Rhine to be attacked. After the attacks, R' Moses took upon himself the care and protection of the orphans.

1090 December, GRANADA (Spain)

Was captured by Yusuf ibn Tashfin (1019-1106), leader of the Almoravides. The Jewish community, believed to have sided with the Christians, was destroyed. Many fled, penniless, for Christian Toledo.

1090 - 1170 ELIEZER BEN NATHAN OF MAINZ (RaBaN) (Germany)

Rabbi, commentator and historian. Rabbi Eliezer was known as one of the "elders of Mainz". His major work Even ha-Ezer (Stone of Help) is famous not only for its responsa but for the light it sheds on religious practice in Germany and France. As a historian his Kuntres Gezerot Tatnav (Booklet on the Massacres) of 1096 is one of our best sources for its accounts of the Rhineland massacres at the time of the First Crusade.


Although the Jewish community was quite small, this did not prevent St. Lasislas (1077-1095) from enacting measures to separate Jews as much as possible from Christians. Jews were prohibited from working on Sunday, owning slaves or marrying Christians. Despite this, no overt anti-Semitic measures were imposed.

1095 February 6, HENRY IV (reigned 1056-1106) (Germany)

Issued a charter to the Jews and a decree against forced baptism. He desired to protect the Jews even during the Crusades and granted favorable conditions wherever possible. He also permitted forcibly baptized Jews to return to Judaism - partly because he viewed the Jews as valuable property. The Church criticized his actions.

1095 MOSHE IBN EZRA (Spain)

Was forced by Almohad intolerance to leave Granada. The great poet wandered for 4 decades, mourning the great past of Granada.

1096 Spring, CRUSADERS (France-Germany)

Over one quarter of the Jewish population of Germany and northern France were killed during the First Crusade (1095-1099), mostly during the months of April-June. It was estimated that in Germany, prior to the First Crusade, there were approximately 20,000 Jews. The period of time between Pessach and Shavuot (Passover and Pentecost) is also known as Sefirat Haomer which commemorates the death of Rabbi Akiva's pupils (2nd Century) and was considered a period of mourning. Since most of the massacres took place between these dates, new regulations of national mourning were added. This was also the period of time when the Unetaneh Tokef prayer for Yom Kippur was written by Amnon of Mainz.When warned by messengers about the upcoming riots from France, the Jewish leaders in Mainz replied, "As for ourselves there is no cause for fear…. we have not heard a word… that our lives are threatened”.

1096 April 10, TRIER (Germany)

After being attacked by a mob and threatened with death, Bishop Egelbert offered to save all Jews who were willing to be baptized. Most Jews chose to drown themselves instead.

1096 May 3, EMICHO (Emico), COUNT OF LEININGEN (Germany)

On his way to join the Crusade led by Peter the Hermit, he attacked the synagogue at Speyer. The Jews defended themselves but were systematically slain. Until this time atrocities in Europe were sporadic. From here on in they became organized and frequent, and Jewish martyrdom began in earnest. (It should be remembered that the atrocities committed by the rampaging crusaders were not always supported by the local burghers and bishops. Furthermore, in many countries - especially the Slavic states - the local Christian community suffered from pillages as well. John, bishop of Speyer even called out his army after 11 Jews were killed in a riot, but he was an exception rather than the rule. Approximately 5,000 Jews were murdered in Germany in 1096.)

1096 VISHEHRAD (near Prague) (Bohemia)

500 Jews, together with 1000 soldiers of the Duke, defeated the attacking Crusaders, thus escaping the fate of other Jewish communities.


According to some Jewish commentaries, the Messiah was supposed to arrive in the Hebrew year 4856 - 1095-6. This was derived from Jeremiah 31:6, "Ronu...(sing)...at the head of the nation". "Ronu" in gematria equals 256, i.e. 256 lunar cycles (19 years each). Thus hopes were raised and then cruelly dashed with little done to prevent the oncoming disaster.

1097 EMPEROR HENRY IV (Germany) and WILLIAM II (England-Normandy)

Denying any complicity in forced conversions, they offered the Jews of their realm who had been forcibly baptized the possibility of returning to Judaism. Rashi (the leading Sage and commentator) pleaded for them to be re-admitted by the community.

1098 KING COLEMAN (Hungary)

Tried to protect the Jews against the crusaders passing through part of his country.


After the Crusader attacks on Prague and its environs, Bohemian Jews escape into Poland which had not been ravaged by the crusaders. Duke Bretislav II of Bohemia used the opportunity to steal whatever he could from those fleeing. Bohemian Jews were soon joined by Jews from the Rhine.

1099 July 15, GODFREY DE BOUILLON (Eretz Israel)

Entered Jerusalem, drove all the Jews into the synagogue and set them afire while he marched around the synagogue singing, "Christ, we adore thee". This marked the end of Jerusalem as a Jewish center for centuries, although Jews did return in limited numbers after the Moslem reconquest in 1187. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 Jews were massacred or captured and sold as slaves in Italy.

1100 July 25, HAIFA (Eretz Israel)

Jewish residents joined with the Fatimids of Egypt in defending the city. Tancred, who unsuccessfully attacked Haifa, was reprimanded for his lack of success and told that he made "a mockery of the God of the Christians." Once the city fell, the remaining Jews were massacred by the crusading forces.

1100 - 1328 AGE OF THE TOSAFISTS (France)

The name given to the descendants of Rashi. They added to, and reconciled his works with seeming contradictions in the Talmud, using many cross references to similar topics in other sections of the Talmud. Various schools studied and compiled these works. Each work was named after the school in which it was compiled, e.g. Tosafot Averu for the school of Moses of Evereux, etc.

1100 - 1171 (4 Tamuz 4931) JACOB BEN MEIR (France)

Rabbenu Tam (Rameru, France). Youngest and most famous of the three grandsons of Rashi, and the most renowned of the Tosafists. He also studied Hebrew verse, wrote liturgical prayers and exchanged poems with Ibn Ezra. He convened a council of sages in which 150 Rabbis participated. The council was held in the shadow of the Second Crusade. He lived through and described the Second Crusade and the burning of Jews at Blois, France. His nephew and student, Rabbi Isaac (the Ri), took his place when he died.

1100 MAHZOR VITRY (France)

Was composed by Simha ben Samuel of Vitry(d.1105), one of Rashi's students. His son Samuel married Rashi's granddaughter and he was the grandfather of the famous Tosafists, Isaac of Dampierre (the RI).The mahzor not only includes the prayers, rituals and customs for both daily and holiday prayers, but also laws of the Sabbath, marriage, etc. It became an important reference work.

1106 MARRAKESH (Morocco)

Ali, the son of Yusuf ibn Tashifin, Almoravide leader and founder of the city, decreed the death penalty for any Jews living in the city. At the same time, one of his military leaders and two of his physicians were Jewish.


Yoseph ibn Tashifin, the Almoravide ruler, ordered all Jews to convert or leave Morocco. He based this on limiting Mohammed's "tolerance" of the Jews to 500 years after the Hejira.


Followed the battle of Ucles between Alfonso VI, and the forces of the Muslim Almoravids under Tamim ibn-Yusuf, where the Christians were defeated . Many Jews were killed with houses and synagogues burned. One of those murdered was Solomon ibn Farissol (Ferrizuel), a leader of the Castile community. The incident greatly affected Judah Halevi who wrote a lamentation for him, and changed the focus of his poetry from love and friendship to Jewish honor and Zionism. The king promised to bring the perpetrators to justice, but died before he could do so.

1110 - 1180 ABRAHAM BEN DAVID 'IBN DAUD' (Rabad I) (Spain)

Noted philosopher, physician and historian. He believed in defending Judaism, especially against Karaite thinking, by using reason and rationality and not just faith. Ibn Daud's most well known book is the Sefer HaKabbalah (Book of Tradition), in which he puts forth a historical and philosophical defense of Judaism. He traces the passing of Judaic law and the Torah though the Talmud, beginning with the foundation of Judaism and delving into Spanish Jewish history in great detail. Much of our knowledge of this period is due to his work. He is the source of the medieval story of the "Four Rabbis" (see 945) (R. Moses b. Hanokh, R. Shemariah, R. Hushi'el and one whose name isn't known) who were captured by a Moslem captain and sold into slavery in Spain, Cairo, and Kairouan. When ransomed, they created new centers for the study of Torah in Alexandria, Tunisia and Cordova.

1121 Ibn Tūmart (Morocco)

Declared himself the Mahdi ( the guided one) and founded the Almohad movement . They conquered Morocco and Spain from the Almoravides who had been relatively tolerant. Ibn Tumrat’s (1080 - 1130), uncompromising form of fundamentalism extended to his approach to Judaism and Christianity. He is quoted by Abraham ibn daud (1110-1180) in his Sefer Seder ha - Kabbalah as saying , “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation: that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance." The Almohads ruled between 1121–1269. He offered Christians and Jews the choice of conversion or expulsion. Many Jews converted but continued to practice Judaism in secret.


Leading French talmudist and director of one of the most influential talmudic schools of his day. Known as the Ravad (there was at least one person known as the Ravad before him), he earned the name Baal Hasagot (the Master of Critiques). He composed commentaries on talmudic texts which had been mostly ignored up to his day, as well as the Mishna, Sefrei and Mekhilta. He wrote extensive and definitive halachic commentaries and criticism on Alfasi and Maimonides, the latter of which is used as an accompanied textual commentary in all additions.

1130 - 1269 ALMOHAD (ara. al-Muwahhidun) DYNASTIES (Spain)

A Berber Muslim dynasty which destroyed most of what was left of the Almoravide dynasty by 1147. By 1150 the conquering armies were already in Spain, Algeria and Tunis. Their intolerance led to many Jews fleeing the areas under their control - including the family of Maimonides.

1130 MOSES AL DARI ('False Messiah') (Fez, Morocco)

Traveled from Morocco to the Academy of Yosef Ibn Megas at Lucenna, announcing the arrival of the Messiah and other prophecies. He predicted that the first day of Pesach would be the day of the Messiah's arrival, and many Jews sold their possessions in anticipation. When the Messiah failed to arrive, Al Dari fled to Eretz Israel, where he died.

1132 - 1198 EPHRAIM BEN JACOB OF BONN (Germany)

Rabbi, talmudic commentator, and liturgical poet. His Sefer Zekhirah (Book of Remembrance) consists of both the historical events and liturgical poems relating to the massacres of the second and third crusades. He was also the author of the well-known legend describing the martyrdom of Amnon of Mainz, the composer of U-Netanneh Tokef (Let us tell the mighty) prayer for the High Holy Days which was actually written by Kalonymus Ben Meshullam Of Mainz, (c. 1000).

1135 - 1204 (20 Tevet 4965) MOSES BEN MAIMON (Maimonides) (Cordova, Spain)

Fled from Spain at the age of thirteen after the capture of Cordova by the Al Mohadan fanatics. He became court physician to Saladin of Egypt. He is famed for his "radical" philosophical work on the unity of reason and faith, Guide for the Perplexed, which was heavily criticized in the Jewish world (especially by Franco-German rabbis). Most of the debate, led by Meir ben Todros Abulafia, concerned rational philosophy and its place within faith and belief in God. The anti-Maimonides school, led by Solomon Montpellier and Jonah Gerunda, insisted that all miracles and aggadic interpretations must be taken literally and that any explanation was heresy. They were also concerned that it would be easier to persuade people to give up beliefs based on rational arguments. Maimonides' greatest work was his Mishna Torah, a guide to Jewish traditions and practices ( see 1180), and is referred to simply as the Rambam (his acronym). He was a prodigious correspondent, answering questions from all over the world. His letter to Yemen, Igeret Teiman, written in Arabic, comforted the community during difficult times. In the letter he discussed the relations with Christianity and Islam and encouraged the Jews, from a historical perspective, to be strong.

1144 March 22, FIRST RITUAL MURDER LIBEL (Norwich, England)

The first medieval ritual murder libel - which set the pattern for subsequent accusations in England and France - arose against the background of the Civil War. A 12 year old boy, William, was found dead on Easter Eve and the Jews were accused of killing him in a mock crucifixion. They were not, however, accused of using his blood for the making of matzos (matzot), although this would become a standard feature of later libels.(The idea behind the blood libel was to accuse Jews of killing Christians in order to obtain their blood. In almost all cases it was linked to the baking of matzos for Passover - Christians alleged that blood was an essential ingredient in matzos. It was later presumed by scholars that the boy either died during a cataleptic fit or was killed by a sexual pervert. After Easter a synod convened and summoned the Jews to the Church court. The Jews refused on the grounds that only the king had jurisdiction over them and they feared that they would be subjected to "trial by ordeal". William was regarded as a martyred saint and a shrine was erected in his memory. In spite of this episode there was no immediate violence against the Jews. The origins of the ritual murder accusation go as far back to Apion (first century C.E.) an anti-Jewish Greek propagandist who accused the Jews of preparing a human sacrifice in the Temple, who was saved by King Antiochus Epiphanes. Over the years ritual murder libels continued, (even it in popular literature such as Geoffrey Chaucer's "Prioress' Tale") despite denunciations by various popes. Possession of a saint's shrine bestowed great economic benefits on a town because sacred relics drew pilgrims, who spent money on offerings, board and lodging. For bones to be considered sacred relics they had to be killed by a heretic (i.e. a Jew). Such charges were used as an excuse to murder Jews as late as 1900 (Konitz).

1144 DON GARCIA RAMIREZ “The Monk” (Estella, Spain)

Gave the synagogue of Estella to the Church, (now called Jus del Castillo). Ramirez (1112 – 1150), also transferred the Jewish part of town to his local nobles.

1145 IMAD AD DIN ZANGI (Syria)

The Moslem son of a slave, he conquered Aleppo. He fired the Moslems with the idea of a Jihad (holy war) and defeated Falk of Anjou and John Comnenus of Byzantium. The following year, Zangi marched on Edessa, northeast of Antioch, and conquered it. He then brought in 300 Jewish families instead of the Armenians, who were suspected of having supported the Christians. The fall of Antioch was the signal for the start of the Second Crusade.

1146 SECOND CRUSADE (Germany)

Started led by Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany. Rudolph the Monk incited massacres along the Rhine, including demolishing the town of Wurzberg. (Rationale - it didn't make sense to go all the way to the Holy Land to kill the infidel while leaving them safe and snug at home. This also insured that they had the virtue of fighting an "infidel" without having to face the expense and danger of a long journey, or an armed enemy who could fight back.) An additional factor was the new group of Christian merchants eager to rid themselves of Jewish competition. Since they were forbidden to own land, Jews were forced into money lending - formerly a Church business. The effects of this were felt for centuries and became part of anti-Semitic tradition.


Abd al-Mumim (1094–1163) the leader of the Almohads after the death of Ibn Tumrat killed any Jews who refused to accept Islam. Thousands were said to have died in the Maghreb (Northwest Africa) and Spain.

1147 May 8, RAMERUPT (Rameru, France)

Encouraged by Peter the Hermit, a mob attacked the Jews on the second day of Shavuot (Pentecost). Rabbenu Tam was one of the mob's victims. After being stabbed five times (to match the five wounds of Jesus) he was saved by a passing knight. His house was ransacked, however, and a Torah scroll destroyed.

1147 JUDAH IBN EZRA (Spain)

Was appointed commander of Calatrava, a garrison near the Moslem border by Alfonso VII, in recognition for his help in conquering the fortress.

1148 AL MOHADIN (Almohadin) (Spain-Morocco)

Almohadin fanatics succeeded the Almoravides as rulers of Moslem Spain and Morocco. They offered Christians and Jews the choice of conversion or expulsion. Many Jews converted but continued to practice Judaism in secret.


Count of Barcelona Gave the " lordship over a Jew Santo, to the count of Urgell". This was not unusual since Jews were considered the property of the local ruler. The following year Berebguer(1113-1162)granted a charter Carta de Poblacion for Jews to live in the city of Tortosa and to build 60 houses.

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.


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.

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.

1160 RABBENU TAM (France)

In the shadow of the Second Crusade, Rabbenu Tam called the first Rabbinical Council in Troyes to affirm religious laws. Some of the Council's decisions were: No Jew could summon another to a civil court without his consent, and no person could apply to civil authorities for help to receive an appointed position in the Jewish community.


Promised to lead the Jews and take Jerusalem from the Crusaders. One evening he told the Jews of Baghdad that they were all going to fly to Jerusalem that night and asked them to give him their property. That night much of the Jewish population stood on their roofs waiting to fly. Alroy was killed, according to Benjamin of Tudela, after one "successful" battle, by his father-in-law, who was allegedly bribed and threatened by the governor of Amaida. Alroy's followers called themselves Menahemites and continued to live in the Azerbaijan area. They eventually faded out of existence. Disraeli's novel Alroy (1833) became a well-known, if fictionalized, version of his life.

1160 - 1235 ISAAC THE BLIND (Sagi Nahor) (France)

One of the early Kabbalists (see 1200). Although little is known about him, he was considered by many Kabbalists to be one of its great teachers. He lived in Posquieres and wrote a commentary on Sefer Yezira (the Book of Creation), an ancient text and one of the cornerstones of the Kabbalah. His students, Asher ben David and Azriel ben Menachem, moved to Gerona, which became a center of Kabbalistic study.

1160 - 1226 Joseph ben Judah Aknin ( Barcelona -Fez)

A leading Educator and student of Maimonides, He wrote a number of works on the Talmud, theology, and poetry. In his book Healing of the Ailing Soul (Tibb al-Nufūs), he set out strict standards for teachers. Aside from putting strong emphasis on the moral and behavioral conduct of the teacher , he determined that school curriculum should include reading writing and grammar as well as poetry and music and. Talmud was to be taught at age 15 followed by secular sciences.

1162 GRANADA (Spain)

Jews and Christians joined to overthrow the Almohad regime. The Almohads only permitted converts to Islam to live in the city. Unfortunately the rebellion was not successful.

1164 (1 Adar 4924) DEATH OF ABRAHAM IBN EZRA

(see 1089-1164 ABRAHAM IBN EZRA)

1165 FEZ (Morocco)

The new Almohad ruler declared that all Jews must convert to Islam. Judah ha-Kohen ibn Shushan was burned alive for refusing to convert. Maimonides fled the country, moving to Egypt.


Completed Meor, a commentary on the Mishna. It contained the seeds of Maimonides later philosophical works.

1170 YEMEN

After the fall of the Fatimids, the Shiites tried to force the Jews toconvert. During these persecutions a false messiah arose. The Jewish leadership wrote to Maimonides, asking for his advise. His reply was his famous Igeret Teiman (Epistle to Yemen) which warned about false messiahs.

1171 May 26, BLOIS, (France)

First ritual murder accusation in Continental Europe. Charges were made even though there was no body nor anyone missing. Thirty-one Jews were burned, 17 of them women. One of those killed was Pulcinella (Puncelina), a close favorite of Count Theobald, and whose position attracted a lot of jealously. Bribes were offered but to no avail As they were burning, they chanted the hymn Aleinu (composed in Talmudic times). Rabbenu Tam declared a day of fasting and prayer in England, France and the Rhineland. The Count decided to expel all the Jews left in his county but "allowed" himself to be persuaded to change his mind by a payment of 2000 pounds.


After a number of church inspired riots, he ordered that those attacking the Jews be fined, including Christian “scholars,” and students of the ecclesiastic and monastic colleges. During that time Jews in Poland were farmer’s even landowners. They also administered the mint. Some of the coins have the names of the ruling princes in Hebrew characters.


Completed his Mishna Torah. a guide in fourteen sections to Jewish traditions and practices, which was based on the entire Talmud (both the Babylonian and Jerusalem versions). It is written in the purest Hebrew and is referred to simply as the Rambam (his acronym). There was much criticism at the time; some for his lack of citing sources, which he believed would have made his work too heavy, and others who thought that it may supplant the study of the Talmud. Abraham Ben David Of Posquiures (see 1125) , while a major critic, also praised him and his work. In his chapter Sefer Mada (Hilchot Daiot) he appears to be the first Jewish source to mention chicken soup for its medical properties.


King Henry II enacted the "Assize of Arms", ordering that all weapons in possession of Jews be confiscated on the grounds that Jews, who were supposedly protected by the King, would not have any reason for owning arms. The weapons were turned over to the King's forces. A direct result of this was that there was little they could do to protect themselves when riots broke out less then ten years later.

1182 June 24, PHILIP II (France)

The 17 year old King decreed the total expulsion of Jews from all royal possessions within two months. This was due in part to debts owed to Jewish moneylenders. The debtors were exempted from all payment to the Jews but had to pay a tax of 20% of their debt to the Treasury. This only served to force those Jews who were considered an asset into other French provinces not directly under the King's control. The Synagogue in Paris was converted into the Church of St. Madeleine, while the one in Orleans was changed into the Chapel of St. Sauveur. This expulsion - with the confiscation of land and property - was a strong factor in Jews leaving agriculture as a profession in favor of moveable property and trade.

1184 RUMERAU (France)

Elchanan, the son of the Ri and a noted (if young) Tosafist, was murdered for refusing to convert. The school in Rumerau had been the center of Tosafist learning since the days of Rabbenu Jacob Tam. Many scholars fled after Elchanan's death.

1185 RABBI ISAAC BEN SAMUEL (The Elder, aka the Ri) (France)

Dampierre, France. A nephew of both Rabbenu Tam and the Rashbam and a great-grandson of Rashi. He was appointed head of the school at Rumerau after the death of Rabbenu Tam, where 60 of the most renowned scholars studied. The Ri became one of the greatest Tosafists, renowned for his commentary on the Rif. He ruled that since the penalty for emigration was confiscation of property, no Jew had the right to buy confiscated goods. If such goods were purchased, they had to be returned to their owner.


Rabbinical leader, scholar and physician (aka Avraham Maimuni). He defended his father Maimonides, with his work Milhamot ha-Shem "The Book of the Wars for God") . Maimuni wrote a commentary of the Torah and parts of the Talmud as well as a Responsa Sefer Birkat Avraham.

1188 March 29, FREDERICK BARBAROSSA (Germany)

Was convinced diplomatically and financially by Moses bar Joseph Hakohen of Mayence, to issue a decree declaring "that anyone who wounds a Jew shall have his arm cut off, he who slays a Jew shall die." This decree succeeded in preventing most of the excesses of the previous crusades in the Third Crusade that was soon to follow.

1189 September 3, RICHARD THE LIONHEARTED (England)

Was crowned at Westminster. During Richard's coronation (from which Jews and women, seen as possible sorcerers, were banned), Baldwin, the archbishop of Canterbury, convinced Richard not to accept presents from Jewish dignitaries but to turn them out of the palace. The crowds took this to mean that the king favored persecution of the Jews; a pogrom against the Jews in London took place the same day and the following day. Richard was reluctant to begin his reign by overtly protecting the Jews and therefore did not punish the rioters too severely - which encouraged more riots. The rioting soon spread to such commercial centers as Norwich, (Kings) Lynn, Stamford, Lincoln, Bury St Edmunds, and York, as well as to smaller communities throughout the land. In London, 30 Jews were killed including Rabbi Jacob of Orleans, a pupil of Rabbenu Tam.

1189 September 3, THIRD CRUSADE (England)

Began in England under the patronage of King Richard. England, which had taken no real part in the first two Crusades, decided to sponsor a crusade that was joined by France and Germany. Its goal was to recapture Jerusalem (taken in 1187). However, Frederick Barbarossa was accidentally drowned, Philip II of France gave up, and Richard succeeded only in capturing Acre and Jaffa. The Jews of England were the Crusade's chief victims.

1190 March 22, ENGLAND

King Richard (the Lionhearted), angered by the riots and the loss of crown property (since the Jews were seen as serfs to the crown), renewed a general charter in favor of the Jews that was first issued by Henry II. His chancellor, Longchamp, instituted heavy fines against the Pudsey and Percy families, who had been involved in the 1190 pogrom at York. This enriched the treasury and hurt his political opponents at the same time. Three people who were also accused of destroying Christian property were executed.


King Phillip decided to retake Jerusalem from Saladin in the Third Crusade. Debts to the Jews were cancelled for all those taking up the cross. Many Jews - who were now of dubious financial worth - were driven out of France and their property was confiscated.


King Richard, upon his return to England from the Third Crusade, decreed that "all debts of slain Jews are to be taken into the kings hands." In order to prevent the destruction of writs of debt by mobs (and the financial loss to the crown), he introduced a system of public registration of all deeds in a series of locked chests (the archae) in the main centers of Jewish residence throughout England.

1199 September 15, CONSTITUTIO PRO JUDEIS.: An Edict in Favor of the Jews

Pope Innocent III (1160-1216) one of the more anti - Jewish popes, nevertheless declared n a papal letter, " We decree that no Christian shall use violence to compel the Jews to accept baptism." This was based on the proclamation and policies of Gregory the Great (see 590). In this letter he continued "'Do not wipe out the Jews completely, lest perhaps Christians might be able to forget Thy Law..." Despite this, in his Papal Bull Maiores Ecclesiae (1201) he declared that once one received the sacrament, "Even as he who comes falsely to baptism, receives indeed the stamp of Christianity and can be obliged to observe the Christian faith."

1200 - 1260 MOSES OF COUCY (the Semag) (France)

Author of Sefer Mitzvot Gadol (The Large Book of Precepts). It is arranged according to the six hundred and thirteen precepts of the Bible (mitzvot), affirmative and prohibitive, and includes sources (unlike Maimonides). He was one of the later Tosafists and is frequently quoted by later halachic leaders.

1205 1205 PAPAL BULL ETSI NON DISPLACEAT (Though I Should Not…)

Pope Innocent III, (1161-1215) in a letter to the king of France accused Jews of arrogance, money lending for profit, blasphemy and the signing up of Christian slave among other things. He also claimed Jews were punished with “perpetual servitude” for killing Jesus. The king was advised to put an end to such evil.

1209 July 22, BEZIERS (France)

The Capital of the Albigensians, was attacked by Simon de Montfort, as part of Pope Innocent III's Albigensian Crusade. It was defended by Raymond Roger Trencavel (1185-1209) the viscount of Beziers, who was both sympathetic to them and the Jews. By the end of the siege, 20,000 Christians and 200 Jews had been massacred by troops. Those Jews remaining were removed from office and their children were forcibly baptized. Trencaval died suddenly while imprisoned, either from an acute stomach ailment or poison.

1211 THREE HUNDRED RABBIS (Eretz Israel)

Set sail to Eretz Israel from England and France, many of them compelled by persecutions in both countries. Included among them were Jonathan Cohen of Lunel and Samson ben Abraham of Sens, both leaders of their communities. They succeeded in bringing the Tosafists' method of learning to the Holy Land.


Crusaders crushed the Moslems. Although pockets of Moslems still existed in Spain, for all practical purposes Spain had become completely Christian and the situation of the Jews in Spain began to deteriorate.

1215 November 11, FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL (Pope Innocent III, 1161-1216)

His papacy marked the zenith of papal power. Old anti-Jewish decrees were expanded and Jews were compelled to wear the Yellow Patch - the "Badge of Shame" - to distinguish them from Christians. These decrees were enforced in France, England, Germany and later in Hungary. Jews were also prohibited from holding public office and were prohibited from appearing in public on Easter Sunday and the last three days of Holy Week. The Pope also originated the Doctrine of Transubstantion, in which the wafer (Host) and wine in the Eucharist were believed to become the blood and flesh of Jesus. This led to the infamous Host Desecration libels of the next few centuries.

1215 - 1293 (19 Iyar 5053) RABBI MEIR BEN BARUCH OF ROTHENBURG (Maharam) (Germany)

The last of the Tosafists, he was the leading rabbi in Germany. Convinced that there was no future in Germany, he agreed to lead a large contingent of families to Eretz Israel. While waiting for the other families, he was seized by the Bishop of Basel. The emperor ordered him held in prison as a lesson to any of "his Jews" who might want to leave Germany (thereby causing him a financial loss). He refused to be ransomed, saying that to do so would serve as an impetus for further extortions. He died in a prison near Colmar, and his body was held there until it was ransomed some years later (see 1307).


Representatives of the Jewish communities in Marseilles and Narbonne convened the synod in order to prevent the implementation of some of the decisions of the Fourth Lateran Council. The synod did not have a major impact except on some local levels. Its importance was rather in the fact that different communities united in an effort to defend their position vis a vis the Church.


Was raised by the papal legate and influenced by the Church. While still a minor (until 1232) his affairs were handled by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, whose policy was favorable to the Jews. Henry III squeezed English Jews financially, leaving them practically penniless. Henry considered Jews his private property to do with as he pleased. Earlier English kings borrowed from Jews and sometimes even repaid those loans. Henry III, however, began the policy of imposing tallage (arbitrary taxation in the Jews) and gradually impoverished them. When the Jews requested permission to leave England, Henry refused so as not to endanger his financial reserves.

1218 JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Thirty-one years after Saladin's conquest of Jerusalem there were still few Jews there. Jerusalem did have three synagogues though. One was for Jews from Ashkelon which included the refugees from Jerusalem, one for Jews from North Africa and one for Jews from France. Most of the Jews remained on the coast, especially in Acco (Acre).

1219 THE ALJAMA (Toledo)

The governing board of the local Jewish communities was first mentioned. Since the population was taxed per community, the Aljama was set up to organized individual taxes as well as those on goods and services within the Jewish community. Eventually they were given wide ranging authority which included; the election of judges and court Rabbis, the establishment of schools, and management of communal property. There was even a committee for Berurei Aveirot which was empowered to enforce moral behavior. The Aljama also served as the intermediary between the community and the crown. Often they were headed by a just few families, which led to tension, resentment, and strife within the community, especially in the later years.

1222 OXFORD SYNOD (England)

Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, held a provincial church council at Oxford. It forbade Jews to build new synagogues, own slaves, or mix with Christians. He had been one of the prime movers of the Fourth Lateran Council and was motivated by its anti-Jewish spirit. In reality, the Oxford's synods canons were not widely enforced or even enforceable in practice.


Sanctioned laws against Jews and encouraged disputations between Jewish and Christian theologians (Nicholas Donin,1240) in order to convert more Jews. At the same time that he oppressed the Jews (i.e. canceling all debts owed to them by Christians), he gave gifts and favors to any who converted. He recommended that the best way of winning an argument with a Jew was to drive a sword as far as it would go into his stomach.


Met to implement the anti-Jewish decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council.

1228 BAGHDAD (Persia)

According to a Moslem custom each (non-Moslem) communal leader had his face publicly slapped upon paying the poll tax for his community. The elderly leader of the Jewish community, Ibn Ash-Shuwaikh, asked to be allowed to make the payment at night so as to avoid the shame. His request was refused.

1230 JOHN ASEN II (Czar of the Bulgars) (Eastern Europe)

Defeated Theodore Ducas Angelus of Epirus (N.W. Greece). Theodore, who had initiated many anti-Jewish laws and stolen Jewish property, was given over to two Jews to "put out his eyes". When they, having pity on him, refused to do so, they were thrown off a cliff.


Instituted the papal inquisition. The inquisitional court was set up to look into the large scale heresies (i.e. Cathari and Waldenses) which arose during the 11th and 12th centuries. Until that time, most treatment of heretics was dealt with locally, usually by burning. The name "Inquisition" is derived from the Latin verb "inquiro" (inquire into), and at lest at the beginning, inquisitors traveled from town to town looking into individual cases and pronouncing judgment. According to Gregory's decree any heretic who confessed and repented only received imprisonment with penance. The heretic who persisted received capital punishment. The inquisitors - or judges - of this medieval Inquisition were recruited almost exclusively from the Franciscan and Dominican orders. There were three inquisitions. The first started in 1231. The second, which was against Conversos, started in 1478. It was known as the Spanish Inquisition (also see 1461). The third, which started in 1542, was for the most part was against the protestants, and was known as the Roman inquisition.

1233 MAIMONIDES (France)

Works were burned in Paris. Maimonides' opponents, led by Jonah ben Abraham Gerondi and Solomon ben Abraham of Montpellier, joined with the Dominicans. This alliance was soon regretted when the Dominicans turned on them and demanded the burning of all Jewish books, especially the Talmud.

1235 December 28, RITUAL MURDER CHARGE (Fulda, Germany)

Resulted in a massacre of 32 Jews. The following year, Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen established an investigation at Hagenau to confirm or disprove the charges. After hearing various experts, including Jewish converts to Christianity, he declared that since Jews are prohibited from eating animal blood, they would surely be banned from using human blood. He forbade anyone to accuse Jews of ritual murder", Privilegium e sententia in favorem iudaeorum . Pope Innocent IV also condemned the accusations as unfounded.


After appointing a commission to investigate the truth of "blood accusations", he adopted the Jews' unanimous denial of any such crime.

1235 DEATH OF DAVID KIMHI (The Radak)(France-Spain)

The most famous member of the Kimhi family of translators. He played an important role in the controversy over Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed publicly defending him and his philosophy. Kimhi was himself the author an important grammatical work Mikhlol and of a biblical commentary known as the Radak.

1240 June 25, NICHOLAS DONIN (France)

A renegade Jew under the patronage of Louis IX. He convinced Pope Gregory IX to confiscate the Talmud on the grounds that it was anti-Christian. A debate ensued with Rabbi Yehiel of Paris and three other Rabbis speaking in defense of the Talmud. Rabbi Yehiel wasn't allowed to counterattack or take the offensive in his argument.


Believed to be the age of the Messiah. For this reason, many Jews did not prepare a proper defense against the Crusaders and were helpless against their onslaught.

1240 - 1292 ABRAHAM ABULAFIA (Spain- Comino,Malta)

Kabbalist and pseudo Messiah. As a young man he traveled, searching for the legendary Sambati'on River. He wrote numerous books some of them ( Sefer ha-Geulah, Sefer Chayei ha-Nefesh(,) were on Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed . Others, including Or ha-Sekhel( ("Light of the Intellect"), and Chayei ha-Olam ha-Ba( ("Life of the World to Come") concern meditation as a tool to achieve prophetic understanding. He founded what became known as "Prophetic Kabbalah" which was rejected by all mainstream kabbalists. Abulafia analyzed the Hebrew alphabet and the letters in God's name, calling it Chochmat ha zeruf (Science of letter analyzation). He was strongly opposed by Solomon Aderet who believed he was posing as a messianic pretender.

1240 - 1305 MOSES BEN SHEM TOV LEON (Lyon, France)

Publisher and possibly the author of the Zohar, which he attributed to the second century Tanna, Shimon bar Yochai. Written in Aramaic, it flowed with complex symbolism and mythology. It became the major component of the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), expounding four steps of biblical interpretation: literal, aggadic, philosophical and Raza de Mehmanuta - secret mystery of faith.

1242 June 6, BURNING OF THE TALMUD (Paris, France)

All copies of the Talmud had been confiscated by decree of Pope Gregory IX and King Louis. Declaring that the reason for the stubbornness of the Jews was their study of the Talmud, the Pope called for an investigation of the Talmud that resulted in its condemnation and burning. Twenty-four cartloads of Hebrew manuscripts (ten-twelve thousand volumes) were publicly burned in the Palace de Greve).

1243 August 6, KITZINGEN, BAVERIA (Germany)

Ritual murder accusation. Fifteen Jews were tortured to death. Their corpses lay in the street for a fortnight before they were allowed to be buried.

1244 June 1, AUSTRIAN DUKE FREDERICK II (The Quarrelsome)

The last Babenburg duke. He issued a charter to the Jews granting them freedom from interference in their synagogues and cemeteries, and protection from the kidnapping of their children. Many later charters were based on it, including those in Poland, Hungary, Bohemia and Moravia. It assured freedom of movement within the ducal territories, and the obligation to pay the same tolls as their Christian neighbors.


Pope Innocent IV in a letter to the King Louis IX of France ordered the Talmud to be burned. "Our dear Son, the Chancellor of Paris, and the Doctors, before the clergy and people, publicly burned by fire the aforesaid books (The Talmud) with all their appendices.” Two months later( May 9) he also issued papal bull Impia judeorum perfidia (The Disrespectful, Deceitful Jews). In it he called the Jews a "perfidious" race reaffirming the restrictions on Jews implemented by Pope Gregory IX. The Talmud was banned and Jews were prohibited from hiring Catholics to for manual labor including employing Christian nurses or servants because their faith might become confused.


Conquer Jerusalem. Originating in Persia, they raised the city leaving less than 2,000 people alive. It would remain a small town for the next 300 years


After the body of a two year old girl found in Velress (Vaucluse), France, was used as an excuse for plundering the surrounding area (March 27), Pope Innocent IV (who was semi-retired by Emperor Frederick II) issued the Papal Bull Lacrimabilem Judaeorum against blood libels and sent it throughout Germany and France.


King James I (1208-1276) offered the Jews protection and privileges in many areas of his country, mostly in those re-conquered. This led to a flowering of culture and participation within his realm. One of those who held high office was Judah ben Lavi de la Caballeria, who from 1257 to 1276, was in charge of the administration of the property of the king and judicial matters. A little over 210 years later one of his decedents Alfonso de la Caballeria , a ”new Christian”, served as vice-chancellor of Aragon and a strong supporter of Columbus.

1248 May 15, ODO OF CHATEAUBROUX (France)

"Investigated" the Talmud and had it condemned. This was the second time the Talmud was condemned, despite the appeals of the Jewish community of France.


A noted Provencial Talmudist. His most famous work was entitled Bais Habehria, a commentary on three of the sections of the Talmud; Moed, Nashim and Nezikin as well as a few other tractates. An original thinker, he used the Jerusalem Talmud to clarify parts of the Babylonian Talmud, as well as using all available commentaries. He also wrote a commentary on Proverbs and Psalms, and a work on the laws of writing a Sefer Torah called Kiryat Sefer.


Published his Sefer Hamitzvot Hagadol (The Large Book of Precepts), which classified the law according to the six hundred and thirteen commandments, dividing them into two hundred and sixty-five prohibitions and two hundred and forty-eight precepts. The Semaq was admittedly influenced by Maimonides, whom he quotes quite often. His son-in-law, Isaac ben Joseph of Borbeil, continued his work.

1250 - 1329 (9 Cheshvan 5090) ASHER BEN JEHIEL "The ROSH" (Toledo, Spain)

Rabbinical leader and Talmudic scholar and student to Meir of Rothenberg. He was forced to flee Germany and settled in Toledo Spain in 1305 where he was attained prominence. Rabbenu Asher fought against secular education and the over-philosophizing of his day. His school attracted students from Europe and Russia. Rabbenu Asher was considered strict in his interpretation of Jewish law. His works included Piskei Ha Rosh (Decisions of the Rosh") , a commentary of the Mishna Zerayim and Tehorot, and his ethical Orchot Chayyim (" Way of Life"). He encouraged his pupil, Isaac ben Joseph, to write Yesod Olam (Foundation of the World), a scientific work on astronomy and the calendar.

C. 1250 - 1330 YOM TOV BEN ABRAHAM ISBILI (Ritva)

Talmudist and leader of the Spanish community. His Novellae on the Talmud, Chidushei Ha-Ritva, are still being reprinted and used by Talmud students today.


Ruled Egypt, Syria and parts of North Africa. The Mamluks were former slaves who had been bought by the sultans to serve in their armies. After their revolt, they set up a military feudal aristocracy, bringing a fanatical Moslem rule to areas under their control - and antipathy to Christians and Jews.


The earliest use of what became know as Old Yiddish in South East Germany. Yiddish is based on German but also Hebrew and even Slavic words (depending on the region). The script is written in Hebrew with German prefixes and suffixes. Yiddish was used for almost 1000 years as the main Jewish language of communication, especially within Eastern Europe. Prior to the Holocaust an estimated 11 million people spoke Yiddish.

1253 January 31, HENRY III (England)

Ordered Jewish worship in Synagogues be held quietly so that Christians should not have to hear it when passing by. In addition, he forbade Jews from employing Christian nurses or maids, and prevented other Jews from converting to Christianity.


Louis IX expelled the Jews from France. This signaled the end of the Tosafists period. Most left for Germany and then further east.

1255 August 29, LITTLE SAINT HUGH OF LINCOLN (England)

An infamous ritual murder libel. It was alleged that Jews enticed the boy and while starving him, invited Jews to Lincoln to murder him ritually. (Jews did come to Lincoln at that time to attend a wedding.) His body was cast into a well and a month later "miracles" followed the discovery of his corpse. On the basis of the alleged "confession" by Jopin (Jacob), the secular authorities (for the first time) and the Church sent 91 Jews to the Tower of London. 18 were executed before Richard and the friars stopped the killings. This incident later provided Chaucer with the idea for his Prioress Tale (1387) and the hero of the popular ballad, "Little Sir Hugh". His birthday (August 27) was celebrated until the Reformation.


Was appointed bailiff of Saragossa by James I. His job included collecting taxes and managing state officials. Judah helped the king raise funds for his war against the Moslems, and was eventually appointed bailiff of the province of Valencia. Less than 200 years later partly as a result of the Tortosa disputation (1414) many members of the family were baptized but retained their name. This created a great conflict within the family. By the time of the expulsion there were almost no members who remained Jewish.

1258 February 10, - 1335 Il-khan (Mongol) Dynasty PERSIA

With the fall of Baghdad to the grandson of Genghis Khan, the Mongol dynasty replaced the Abbasids in Persia. The Mongols were for the most part tolerant of Judaism. An Arab writer reported that there were 36,000 Jews and 16 Synagogues in the city on the eve of the Mongolian invasion. Most of the city was destroyed during the siege. It is during this period that Judeo-Persian literature flourished, specifically the poetry of Shahin whose most famous work was Sefer Sharh Shain al Hatorah.

1260 MAMLUKS (Syria)

Defeated the Mongols at the battle of Ain Jalut and brought Syria under Mamluk rule. Old anti-Jewish regulations were again enforced, including those forcing women to wear one red shoe and one black one. The positions of both Jews and Christians began to suffer, eventually leading to the severe weakening of the Jewish community.

1260 SULTAN AL-MALIK AL-THAHIR (AKA Baibars), (Egypt)

One of the Mameluke commanders became sultan of Egypt. He banned Jews and Christians from ascending above the 7th step on the cave of the patriarchs in Hebron - a ban which lasted 700 years. Baibars (1223- 1277), doubled the tribute paid by all non Muslims. He evidently decided to burn all the Jews of Egypt in a ditch but accepted a heavy payment in its stead.

1261 MAGDEBURG (Germany)

Archbishop Robert seized all Jewish property in Magdeburg, and held influential Jews for ransom by foreign relatives. (This was an inspiration for Eichmann, who offered Jews for trucks.)


Instigated by Raymond of Penaforte. Christiani, a converted Jew, compelled King James of Aragon to force a debate between him and Moses ben Nachman (Nachmanides). The Jews, afraid that no matter the outcome they would lose, pleaded with Nachmanides to withdraw, but the King ordered him to continue. Although Pope Clement IV insisted on the outcome, the King was so impressed that he rewarded Nachmanides with a present of 300 maravedis. Pablo was given permission to continue these debates throughout Aragon with the Jews having to pay his expenses.


Granted a model charter protecting the Jews. Coming soon after the expulsion of the Jews from France and their persecution in Germany, it encouraged immigration to Poland.

1264 September 8, "STATUE OF KALISZ" (Statut kaliski) (Poland)

Was issued by Prince Boleslav V The Pious (1221-1279). Boleslav had extended his rule over all of Poland in 1257. The statue served as the basis for the legal position of Jews in Poland and subsequent charters established their position as belonging to the prince's treasury and under his protection. The statue being issued soon after the expulsion of Jews from France and persecution in Germany, encouraged immigration to Poland.

1265 NACHMANIDES (Spain)

Was convicted for publishing his side of the debate with Pablo Christiani. Although Nachmanides was not severely punished by the King, he decided to leave Spain for good and settled in Eretz Israel.

1267 August 15, (9 Elul 5027) NACHMANIDES ARRIVED IN JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Upon his arrival, seven years after the Tatar invasion, Nachmanides found "only two brothers, dyers who bought their dye from the governor and were joined by up to ten Jews in their home on Sabbaths for prayers." He reorganized the Jewish community and founded a yeshiva and synagogue.


Jews were forbidden from becoming tax or toll farmers. According to customary practice, anyone could have bought these rights in a specific area for an agreed upon sum to be paid to the king. Despite this ruling, Jews often found this to be one of the few economic possibilities opened to them. This in turn caused resentment from both the local population and Christian tax farmers who saw them as competition. In general, its goal was to cut off contact as much as possible between Christians and Jews both socially and physically (ghetto).

1269 - 1465 MERINDES DYNASTY (Morocco)

Began when Abu Yusuf the Merinid conquered southern Morocco. The Merindes were a Berber dynasty which replaced the Almohads. In general, the Jews were well treated and enjoyed freedom and affluence during their rule.

1270 - 1343 (12 Tamuz 5103) JACOB BEN ASHER (Germany)

The Baal Haturim. The third son of the "Rosh" (Asher ben Jehiel), he achieved fame as a codifier of Jewish law. His code is constructed in four sections: 1) Orah Hayim - dealing with worship, 2) Yorah Deah - on ritual law, 3) Eben ha-Ezer - laws relating to marriage and divorce, 4) Hoshen Mishpat - on civil law. Unlike Maimonides, he only compiled current laws and his works served as a foundation for Joseph Caro and others. His son, Solomon, died during the Black Plague.

1272 October 7, POPE GREGORY X (590-604)

Condemned the ritual murder libels. In addition, since Jews could not bear witness against Christians, he refused to accept testimony by a Christian against a Jew unless it was confirmed by another Jew.


Torn between his need for funds and pressure from the Church, he adopted a policy of accepting gifts for favors. Rudolph reconfirmed the Old Jewish Charters in Austria and Rutushion and forbade forcible baptism. However, he banned the public appearance of Jews during Holy Week and did little to stop attacks on Jews in Bavaria, Franconia and the Rhineland (1283-87).


Published his Sefer Hamitzvot Hakatan, an abridgement of his father-in-law's work. He was known as the Semak. His father-in-law, R. Jehiel bar Yosef de Paris (Baal Hachotam) feared that the Torah was being forgotten by the masses so he set out all the Halachic and customs applicable in his day in clear and concise language for easy use.


Was murdered along with her servant. Licoricia was a twice widowed money lender, and one of the richest Jews in England. Approximately 10 percent of the Jewish money lenders were women. After her second husband David of Oxford died, his house and its contents were seized by the crown and turned into the Royal Domus Conversum: a house for converts. The murderer was never caught. Henry III confiscated 3000 Ł (over 2 million in today's value) from her estate and used it to rebuild Westminster abbey.

1279 April 19, PEDRO III (Aragon)

Following the pronouncement of Nicholas III's bull of 1278, he ordered all Jews to attend conversion sermons in the synagogues. This soon led to excess’ on the part of local mobs led by church officials. In order to keep order he banned anti - Jewish demonstrations. Pedro (1239-1285 ) on one hand appointed Jews to his administration, yet on the other slowly gave in to the rising tide of religious fanaticism within the church. By 1283 there were new incidents of anti-Jewish legislation throughout the kingdom. With his death, the position of Jews in service to the king was more or less, a thing of the past.

1280 August 26, KING JAMES I OF ARAGON

Under the influence of the Dominican Friar Raymond Martini, he ordered all disparaging statements regarding Jesus and Mary erased from the Talmud. In addition, the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides was condemned to be burned due to references to Jesus in the chapter on the laws of kingship.

1283 April 19, MAINZ (Seventh day of Passover)(Germany)

Ritual murder accusation (blood libel). Thirty six Jews were slain, known as the Harugei Magenza , the murdered of Mainz.

1283 - 1287 ANTI-JEWISH RIOTS (Franconia, the Rhine and Bavaria)

These riots convinced many of the wealthier Jewish families in those areas to consider emigrating to Eretz Israel.

1285 October 12, MUNICH (Germany)

A blood libel resulted in the death of 68 Jewish inhabitants. The one hundred and eighty survivors were burned alive in the synagogue.

1287 April 19, WERNER OF OBERWESEL (Germany)

A 16 year old boy was found dead on the shore of the Rhine.Immediately a ritual murder accusation placed the blame on the Jews. Over the next few months forty men, women and children - were killed by riots as they spread down the Rhineland. Werner himself (despite the order of King Rudolf I to burn the corpse) was buried in a chapel in Oberwesel where he was venerated as a saint. Nearby Bacharach, where his body was found, also erected a chapel. Although Pope John XXIII ordered the “holy” day deleted from diocese of Trier in 1963 it still appears in some German Saint Directories. The “Saint Werner’s Chapel” was renovated in 2001.rn

1288 - 1344 (6 Iyar 5104) LEVI BEN GERSHON RALBAG

Rabbi, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and biblical/talmudic commentator. In his Milchamot Hashem (Wars of the Lord) he elaborated on his own conception of Maimonides' philosophy. He tried to explain miracles through laws of nature. As an astronomer, he influenced Copernicus and is reputed to be the inventor of the "Jacob's Staff", a quadrant used for centuries by navigators. He also wrote a commentary on the Bible and reportedly invented the "camera obscura", which threw images on a screen and was the forerunner of the modern camera.

1290 PARIS (France)

A Jew by the name of Jonathan and his wife, living in the Rue de Billetts, were accused of stabbing the wafer (Host). Blood was said to have flowed unceasingly from the wafer. They were both burned to death at the stake, their house was razed and a chapel was erected on the site. The "Miracle of the Rue de Billetts" is still celebrated in Paris.

1291 March, SAAD AD-DAULA ( Mongol Empire-Persia)

Physician to the Mongolian khan Argun (1284-91. Appointed viser and minister of finance in 1288, he soon uncovered corruption which he duly reported. This earned him the enmity of many Muslims and some of the Mongol generals. In March 1291 while the sultan was gravely ill, they used the opportunity to confiscate all of his property, execute him together with many of his family, selling women and children as slaves. Moslems also attacked local Jewish populations.

1295 July 21, NISSIM BEN AVRAHAM (Castile, Spain)

Known as the prophet of Alvila,ׂ had predicted that the messiah would come on this date. Rabbi Solomon ben Aderet (see 1235) warned people against him but to little avail. Jews fasted and gathered in synagogues, and when nothing happened many converted. Unfortunately the troubles mounting in the Iberian peninsula would encourage other false messiahs looking for a both an explanation and a “solution”.

1296 June 19, BOPPARD AND OBERWESEL (Germany)

A blood libel instigated by Rindfleish, a German knight, resulted in the murder of 40 Jews. Heine's Der Rabbi von Bacherach was based on this massacre. Over the next few years the slaughter of thousands of victims, if not tens of thousands, in 146 communities in southern and central Germany and Austria were attributed to Rindfleish and his mobs. Emperor Albert I was too busy with internal threats to defend the Jews. A few years later he did make a half-hearted attempt at restoring peace, which was mostly ignored.

1298 April 20, ROTTINGEN (Germany)

Rindfleish accused the local Jews of profaning the host. He then incited the Burgher and local populace to join in the killing. Twenty-one Jews were murdered.

1301 EGYPT

Riots broke out, encouraged by the Mamluk rulers. Many Jews and Christians - including all the Jews of Bilbeis - were forcibly converted to Islam.


For anyone under the age of 30 was read out in synagogues on Shabbat ( 4 of Av) throughout southern France and Spain. The decree, which did not include medicine, originated with Abba Mari Ben Moses. It was written by Solomon ben Aderet and signed by thirty three rabbis. He was vociferously opposed by Jacob Machir and Don Profiat Tibbon, (see 1235) who pronounced a counter ban. The expulsion of all French Jews by Philip IV " the Fair" in 1306, for the most part ended the controversy.

1306 July 22, PHILIP THE FAIR (France)

Expelled the ( approximately 100,000) Jews from his lands after arresting all of them (on the day after the 9th of Av) and confiscating their property. Phillip began planning the expulsion six months in advance. All their property and belongings were auctioned with the king receiving the takings. Their debts were also transferred to the King and he received the payments from their Christian debtors. Gradually, they were allowed to drift back. In 1315 his son Louis cancelled the decree but they were expelled again in 1322.

1307 (4 Adar 5067) RABBI MEIR OF ROTHENBERG (Germany)

Was allowed to be buried. He had died in prison more then 10 years earlier, and was finally allowed to be buried after being ransomed by Alexander b. Salomo Wimpfen for a large sum of money. He was buried in Worms. (See 1215)

1310 - C. 1375 NISSIM BEN REUBEN GERONDI (Rabbenu Nissim - the Ran) (Spain)

Talmudist, scholar and physician. He was recognized as one of the most authoritative halachic interpreters of his generation. His halachic commentary on Alfasi is considered a standard text. His commentary on Tractate Nedarim is printed together with the Talmud and is used instead of Rashi which is not extant for that section of the Talmud. The exact date of his death is unknown. It is presumed he died while being held captive in prison.

C. 1320 LUCERNE (Switzerland)

A town proclamation demanded a fine for anyone perpetrating a blood libel against the Jews without notifying the council in advance.

1320 September 6, POPE JOHN XII

Ordered the burning of the Talmud and the expulsion of Jews from the Papal States. A large bribe managed to avert the expulsion order although two years later the Talmud was burned in Rome during the festival of Shavuot (Pentecost). During the riots which ensued, the father-in-law of Immanuel of Rome was killed and local expulsions did take place ( Milan).

1321 August 21, FRANCE

Jews were accused of encouraging lepers to poison Christian wells. This directly led to wide-spread and similar accusations during the Black Plague. This time, five thousand Jews were killed. At Chinon, 160 Jews were burned in a pit on an island outside of town. The king, Philip the Tall, in due course admitted that the Jews were innocent. The island is still known as Ile de Juifs.

1321 CASTILE (Spain)

Henry II forced the Jews to wear the yellow badge.

1328 March 5, NAVARRE (France)

After the death of Charles the Fair (Charles IV), Philip's brother and successor, Pedro Olligoyen, a Franciscan friar, used the Jews as a scapegoat against French rule. Charles was the last of the French Capet dynasty which had inherited Navarre. Local militias tried to defend the Jews but were outnumbered. All Jewish houses were pillaged then destroyed. Approximately 6000 Jews were murdered. There were 20 survivors. Those that took part were fined but the fines were later cancelled.

1334 October 9, CASIMIR III THE GREAT (1310-1370) (Poland)

Re-affirmed the policies of Boleslav regarding protection of the Jews. This document was instrumental in encouraging Jews to begin to flee Germany and move East. In general Casimir protected Jewish interests. Later a myth developed, claiming that it was due to influence of a beautiful Jewish mistress, Esterka of Opoczno. (See 1356)

1334 - 1369 PEDRO (Peter) OF CASTILE (Spain)

Known as "the Cruel", he (r.1350-1369) was in general friendly to the Jews. When he was overthrown by his step-brother, Henry, the Jews were forced to wear the Yellow Badge in penance for their loyalty to Pedro. They also had to renounce their Spanish names, the use of which was considered a privilege.

1336 February 25, ALFONSO XI OF CASTILE (Spain)

Was persuaded by the apostate Abner of Burgos (Alfonso of Valladolid) to ban the prayer Alenu, composed by the Amora Abba Arucha (the Tall, or as he was later called, Rav, c. 247, founder of the academy of Sura). Alfonso alleged that Alenu was anti-Christian. As a result, many Jewish communities excised the sentence from the prayer They bend knee to emptiness and pray to a god who will not answer, which has only been printed again in recent years in some prayer books.The same accusations were made regarding the Birkat ha-Minim part of the Amida or Eighteen Benedictions even though they had been written regarding "the empire of insolence" or Rome .

1336 July 29, ROTTINGEN (Germany)

Led by John Zimberlin, a self proclaimed prophet, a group of peasants known as the Armleder (for their leather straps worn on their arms)or Judenschlaeger ("Jew-killers") attacked Jewish communities in Franconia and the Alsace region. They also destroyed Jewish communities in Bohemia, Moravia and elsewhere along the Rhine. Roughly 1500 Jews were murdered. Eventually, when the Armleder began to attack non-Jews, they were opposed by local Lords.

1337 September 30, DECKENDORF, BAVARIA (Germany)

Host desecration was alleged and violence spread to fifty-one communities, including Bohemia and Austria. Mass pilgrimages to the church were made until 1843 where paintings show Jews in medieval dress desecrating the host "wafers". Under one the words were written "God grant that our Fatherland be forever free from this hellish scum." Only in 1967 were the pictures covered up.

1338 August 19, WOLFSBERG (Austria)

Host desecration riots. The Jews were accused of stealing the Eucharist, making it bleed, and trying to burn it. Over 70 Jews were burned at the stake and the community was destroyed, never to be revived.

1338 COLMAR ( Germany)

Emperor Louis IV “the Bavarian” intervened to protect the Jews of Colmar from Armleder, asking of course for extra taxes which was called the golden penny. He did not interfere with the attacks in nearby Rufach and Sulz whose Jews "belonged” to the Bishop of Strasburg.


One of the leading Hebrew poets of is day aka En Vidas de Gerona. Some of his poetry was later collected and published under the name Sefer Shirim Melitsot U-Khetavim or just Melitsot V''shirim. He also compiled a three part comprehensive dictionary or rhymes called Imre No'ash ("Speeches of a Desperate One") .


Black Plague massacres began in Barcelona and Cervera.In Saragossa 80% of the Jewish population died of the plague.

1348 November 22, RIOTS REACHED BAVARIA AND SWABIA (Germany)

Jews in eighty towns including Augsberg, Munich and Wurzburg were attacked.

1350 - 1414 ISAAC DURAN (Profiat Duran) (Spain)

Scholar, astronomer, physician and philosopher. Though forcibly converted to Christianity, he reverted back to Judaism as soon as possible. After one of his friends was also converted and decided to remain Christian, he wrote two brilliant attacks on Christianity: Al Tehi ka-Avotekha (Be Not Like Your Fathers) and Kelimat ha-Goyim (The Confusion Of The Gentiles). The first was such a successful satire, that some Christian scholars actually thought it was pro-Christian and republished it until they realized the true meaning behind it. His Ma'aseh Efod (The Making of the Ephod) discussed both linguistics and the fundamental nature of Jewish music. He also wrote a historical work Zikaron haShemadot. ( A Record of Persecutions) .

1355 May 7, TOLEDO (Spain)

Henry de Trastamasa, step-brother of Peter the Cruel, invaded Toledo on the pretense of rescuing the Queen Blance from Peter. Twelve hundred Jews were killed. His hatred for his brother, Jews, and his brothers good relationship with Jews, were ostensibly part of his reasons for his attacks against him. Bitter fighting within the Jewish quarter repelled the attack. As a reward for the courage of the Jews and loyalty of his advisor, Samuel ben Meir Halevi (Abulafia), Pedro allowed him to construct a beautiful synagogue (1357) which was later converted into a church under the name of El Tránsito. A few years later despite his service, Abulafia lost favor with the king and he was painfully murdered.(see 1360).

1356 ESTHERKA ( Poland)

Daughter of a Jewish tailor won over Casimir III "The Great" (1310-1370) so completely that many of his pro Jewish enactments are said to be due to her. He installed her in a royal palace near Cracow. She was said to have born him 2 sons and two daughters. The daughters raised as Jews and the sons as Christian. She was killed around 1370 by Casimir's successor, Louis of Hungary during his persecution of the Jews.

1361 - 1444 (30 Adar 5204) SIMEON BEN ZEMAH DURAN (The Rashbaz) (Majorca-Algiers)

Talmudist poet, physician, and community leader. After the death of Isaac bar Sheshet's (1408) Simeon was appointed chief rabbi. Throughout his rulings he believed that that one should be stringent with oneself but lenient with others. He was a prolific author who wrote Novella on many of the tractates of the Talmud, poetry (piyutim), and responsa. His most well known work is Magen Avot a philosophical commentary on the tractate Avot andhis Responsa ”Tashbez” (Teshuvot Shimon ben Zemach) .

1369 March 23, MURDER OF PETER ( Pedro) OF CASTILE

Near Toledo by his half brother Henry, soon to be known as Henry II. Pope Urban V upon hearing the news exclaimed The church must rejoice at the death of .... a favorer of the Jews...”. During his 10 year reign he did his best to persecute and impoverish the Jewish community which included forcing Jews to wear distinctive clothing , and not being allowed to hold public office . This marked the worst anti Jewish policies in Spain since the Visogoths and a harbinger of things to come. In the battle for Toledo some 8000 Jews had been killed, and all of their property sold for the benefit of the new king. Henry ostensibly took the Jews under his "protection" using them to his benefit .

1370 May 22, ALLEGED HOST DESECRATIONS (Brussels, Belgium)

After killing a local wealthy Jew, the perpetrators tried to cover their tracks by accusing the Jews of Host desecration and escaping in the resulting confusion. Twenty Jews were burned to death, many injured, and the rest were banished from the country. A holiday was declared by the local churches.

C. 1375 - C. 1450 SOLOMON BEN REUBEN BONAFED ( Spain)

Poet, philosopher and community Rabbi . Considered the last important Spanish (Hebrew) poet . He attended the dispute at Tortosa, and wrote many poems describing the events and his pain following the mass conversions which took place soon after. His anguish was especially evident in a poem he wrote regarding Vidal Joseph de la Cavalleria. Cavalleria a descendent of Judah de la Cavalleria (see 1257) had represented Saragossa under pressure he converted, which caused great consternation in the entire Spanish Jewish community.


The famous Majorcan cartographer to Pedro IV of Aragon. He sent a map of the world as a gift to Charles VI of France. He is also credited from creating the famous Catalan atlas. Many of the maps of this era - which were known as Portolanos - charted coastlines and oceans (mostly of the Mediterranean area). Many Jews from the island of Majorca - as well as from Alexandria - have their names signed to these early maps.


Following persecutions in the wake of the Black Plague, many Jews fled south to Greece, becoming absorbed into the local Sephardic population. The term "Sephardic Jews" originally refered to those Jews who lived in the Iberian peninsula and followed certain customs. After the expulsion of 1492 the Sephardic community spread throughout the Levant, to Turkey , Greece, and North Africa. Ladino (which is the equivalent of Yiddish) was spoken by some but, was not as widespread as the former among its population.

1380 - 1444 JOSEPH ALBO (Spain)

Philosopher and one of the main defenders of Judaism at the disputation in Tortosa. His philosophy was based on the premise that salvation is the main aim in life. His main work, Ikkarim (Principles), was much criticized because of its similarity to the Christian doctrine of salvation. He also disagreed with Maimonides on the centrality of the Messiah to Judaism.

1383 March 13, PETER IV ( Spain)

As a pretext to exhort funds from the Jews, he demanded an immediate full translation of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah into Catalan on pain of losing his “favor". Loans had to be secured in order to come up with the enormous sum demanded by the king.

1386 - 1456 JOHN OF CAPISTRANO (Giovanni da Capistrano) (Italy)

Nicknamed "Scourge of the Jews". A Franciscan monk, considered it an obligation and a privilege to persecute the Jews. As such, for the next 40 years, he traveled throughout Italy even reaching Bohemia. John of Capistrano acted as an agent of the Church, attacking Jews and heretics and did his best to undermine their positions. He did not hesitate to chastise the pope on occasion for being too lenient. He even convinced the Queen of Naples to cancel any rights given to the Jews and to reinstate all anti-Jewish measure, although this was short-lived.


Based on a Bull of Pope Callixtus II (1120) Sicut Judaeis(Latin: "As the Jews")written during the first crusade, he forbade Christians to harm the Jews, destroy their cemeteries, or forcibly baptize them. The Bull was confirmed many times by different popes but unfortunately did not have a lasting effect.

1390 - 1469 ISRAEL ISSERLIN (aka Maharai) (Austria)

Talmudic authority and Halachist. Known for his responsa Terumat Hadeshen which is considered one of the sources for the Isserles’ Hamapah (see 1520). He also wrote Pesakim u-Ketavim on the laws of marriage.

1391 - 1415 BIRTH OF THE CONVERSOS (Marranos) (Spain)

Between those years as many as 200,000 ( half the Jewish population) chose conversion and became New Christians or Conversos. Of these, many continued to practice Judaism in secret while paying lip service to the Church. They became known by the Christians as Marranos. The Jews never used the term Marrano themselves although some knew of it. Many scholars have speculated that the origins of the word stemmed from Latin, Arabic and even Hebrew, but in fact it was the Spanish term for pig or pork and expression of extreme disgust on the part of the Christians. The Jews referred to themselves as anusim "those who were forced to convert". Eventually, these mass forced conversions led to the establishment of the Inquisition.

1391 July 10, PALMA DE MAJORCA

As news of the Spanish riots reached Majorca, riots broke out all over the island. Despite the efforts of Francisco Sa Garriga, the local viceroy, the entire Jewish community was destroyed and its inhabitants were either converted or murdered. Over 110 families converted, and the remnants fled to North Africa. Although a number of Jews were again invited to reside there the following year, a blood libel 40 years later ended the 800 year old Jewish community.

1391 June 20, ISRAEL BEN JOSEPH AL NEKAWA “Elnekaveh” (Toledo)

An aged poet and scholar was dragged through the streets. He preferred to take his own life rather than convert . He was joined in martyrdom by his brother Solomon and Judah ben Asher II a noted scholar and astronomer (the great grandson of Asher Ben Jehiel (see 1250). Al Nekawa was a noted scholar his chief work on ethics was Menorat ha-Maor (Shining Candelabra) . He believed that social morality as a intrinsic part of Jewish life. His book is especially valued since he quotes from many books which are not extant today.

1392 DAMASCUS (Syria)

Local Jews were accused by the Mamluk ruler of setting fire to the central mosque. Though no real evidence was ever presented, a number of Jewish leaders were arrested, one was burned alive, and the synagogue was converted into a mosque. Two years later the synagogue was restored.

1400 - 1480 ISRAEL BRUNA (Germany)

Rabbi and Halachic scholar, aka Mahari Bruna, the Hebrew acronym for "Our Teacher, the Rabbi, Israel Bruna". He studied under Israel Isserlin, and is known for his work Teshuvot Mahari Bruna which is one of the important Ashkenazi Halachic resources. Bruna was jailed on a trumped up ritual murder charge by an Jewish apostate Hans Vagol, but was declared innocent by both Frederick III, as well King Ladislav of Bohemia. Vagol later admitted to the perjury.

C. 1400 Yomtov Lippmann ben Shlomo MĂĽhlhausen (Bohemia)

Wrote his Sefer ha-Nitsachon (“Book of Victory”) which served as a defense against Christianity. He survived the massacre in Prague (see 1389). Mühlhausen (d.1421) traveled throughout Bohemia trying to strengthen the local communities, as well as their religious knowledge and understanding.

1402 BANI ISRAEEL (western Africa)

In a manuscript known as the Tarikh al-fattash a Jewish tribe is mentioned which ruled in Tirdirma near the Niger River. They were said to have had over 300 wells and 1500 soldiers. They were known as the Jews of the Bilad al-Sudan.

C. 1403 - 1450 MIRIAM LURIA (SPIRA) (Germany)

Teacher and Talmudic scholar. She was the daughter of Solomon Spira (c. 1375–c. 1453) Known as Rabbanit Miriam she taught at a yeshiva in Italy, and gave public lectures on Halachah. It is said that " because of her beauty", she would teach Talmud to some of the most qualified young men from behind a curtain, so that they would not be distracted. Miriam Luria was the grandmother of Solomon Luria ( Maharshal 1510-1573).

1407 October 26, CRACOW ACCUSATIONS (Poland)

One of the first blood libels in Poland. The Jews tried to defend themselves and were forced to take refuge in the Church of St. Anne, which was surrounded and then set afire. Any children left alive were forcibly baptized.

1410 MEIR ALGUADES (Spain)

The chief rabbi and former physician to King Henry III (Castile) was accused by Paul de Santa Maria ( see 1398) of desecrating the host. He was tortured until he "confessed". Then he was killed and the synagogue was converted into a church.

1412 January 2, LAWS OF VALLADOLID (Castile, Spain)

Under the direction of Fra Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419) and Paul of Burgos (de Santa Maria) the government of Castile issued 24 edicts against the Jews, with its goal being to drive them to Christianity. These included a ban on working in handicrafts, trading in wine, flour, meat or bread, carrying arms, shaving, leaving the country, etc. Punishment was 100 lashes and a fine. Ferrer, a Dominican friar, traveled around Castile preaching anti-Jewish sermons, and compelling Jews under duress to convert. In many cases Jews were forced to listen to him preach in synagogues with a Torah in one hand and a cross in the other. He then would often consecrate the synagogue as a church. There was no strong central rule at the time since King, John II, was a child ruled by his mother Catherine and his uncle, Ferdinand I of Aragon. John only took control of the throne in 1418. Ferrer was canonized in 1455.

1413 February 7, TORTOSA DISPUTATION (Aragon, Spain)

Vincent Ferrer , assisted by the apostate Joshua (Ha)Lorki (Geronimo de Santa Fe/ Hieronymus de Sancta Fide), known to the Jews as Hamegadef (the Blasphemer), convinced Pope Benedict XIII to stage a disputation at Tortosa over messianic doctrine . It was presided over by the pope himself and lasted for a period of twenty-one months in sixty-nine sessions. The Jews, led by Vidal Benvenisti, Astruc Halevi and Joseph Albo, were faced with an opening salvo by Benedict in which he made the expected outcome clear. Sante Fe also attacked the Talmud as anti-Christian and urged its banning. Few of the Jews' counter-arguments were officially recorded.


Under Under King Vladislav Yagilu (Jagiello) the "privileges" of the Jews were temporarily reduced.

C. 1413 MOSES BOTAREL (Spain)

Philosopher and false Messiah. Botarel wrote a non kabalistic commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah ( The book of Creation") .He was a self described saint and pious Rabbi. He invited all Rabbis to send him questions which he would answer.


Was enraged by the lack of a greater number of “voluntary” conversions after the Christian "victory" at the Tortosa disputation. Benedict XIII (not to be confused with Pope Benedict XIII (1649-1730), published his Bull Etsi Doctoribus Gentium. In it, he banned owning or studying of the Talmud, the right to bake and sell unleavened bread, and engaging in any vocational or medical professions. He instituted forced Christian sermons (where Jews were forced to listen to conversion sermons each Sunday), and prohibited Jews from leaving the country.

1419 SARAH OF WUERZBURG (Bavaria, Germany)

Received a license from Archbishop Johann II von Nassau (1396-1419) to practice medicine, making her one of the few women allowed to do so. Other Jewish women physicians during this age included Sarah La Migresse, Sara de Saint Gilles and Rebekah Zerlin of Frankfort. For the most part, women were limited to helping other women.

1420 November 25, POPE MARTIN V

Favorably reinstated the old "privileges"/charter of the Jews and ordered that no child under the age of twelve could be forcibly baptized without parental consent.

1420 - 1495 MOSES B. ELIJAH CAPSALI (Crete-Turkey)

Jewish leader and HaRav HaGadol the first “Chief Rabbi” of the Ottoman Empire. The official title Hakham Bashi was only officially instituted in 1836. Capsali was well respected, and had excellent relationships with both Mehmed II (1432 –1481) and his son Bayezid II (1447 –1512). He encouraged Bayezid II to send the Ottoman Navy to Spain in order to help evacuate Spanish Jewish exiles and bring them to the Ottoman empire. His son Elijah (see 1523) also became a respected scholar. them to the Ottoman empire. His son Elijah (see 1523) also became a respected scholar.

1421 March 12, WIENER GESERA (Gezerye) (Vienna, Austria)

A combination of murder libel and host desecration charges brought about the destruction of the entire Jewish community.This was done under the auspices of Archduke Albert V of Austria and was partly due to the revival of the crusader spirit of the Hussite Wars. Many Jews were forcibly baptized others took their own lives. Albert ordered the execution of 92 men and 120 women who were burned at the stake south of the Vienna city. The Jews were placed under an "eternal ban" and the synagogue was demolished.rnrnrn

1423 CONVENTION OF THE SHLAKHTA (Landed Gentry) (Varta Poland)

Led by King Vladislav Yagilu, the Shlakhta which served as a parliament, passed a law forbidding Jews to lend money against any security. In practicality it meant a far greater risk to all Jewish money lenders.

1430 October 3, EXPLUSION OF THE JEWS FROM EGER ( Bohemia)

After complaints by local Christians to King Sigismund of Luxembourg (1368 – 1437) "Holy Roman Emperor", that Jews weren't serving in the army, he gave the town permission to expel them all. The synagogue was turned into a church. Four years later (1434), the town's leaders asked the king to readmit as many Jews as the city's businesses interests could accommodate.


Pope Eugene IV (1383 -1447) issued a bull against forced baptism and disturbance of synagogues and graveyards. The same Pope demanded the complete separation of Jews and Christians (see 1442).

1435 May 5, SPEYER (Germany)

Jews were expelled. One of the refugees was Moses Mentzlav who moved to Italy. His son, Israel Nathan, founded the printing house of Soncino.


Three years after a blood libel the community was forced to either leave or convert. The 200 who were converted became known as chuetas (the word for pork). Legal discrimination against them existed until 1782.

1435 September 25, AIX-EN-PROVENCE (France)

As a result of riots a few years earlier when nine Jews were killed, Jews were forced to wear the "Jewish badge". Nine years later, King Rene of Naples / Duke of Anjou ( 1409-1480), agreed to reduce the size of the badge, and decreed that it need not be worn while traveling.

1437 - 1509 (6 Av 5269) DON ISAAC ABRAVANEL(Abarbanel) (Spain)

Philosopher, financier and scholar. He interceded many times on behalf of his fellow Jews, including trying to stop Ferdinand II from expelling them. In 1492 he was foiled by Torquemada and followed them into exile. His commentaries cover the major and minor Prophets. Consistent with his belief that the Messiah would come in his lifetime, he also wrote three messianic texts called Migdal Yeshu'ot (Tower of Salvation).

1439 - 1494 BERNADINO DA FELTRE (Europe)

A Franciscan monk known for his preaching. He traveled through Europe inciting the public against the Jews. Da Feltre was responsible for a number of blood libels including the one at Trent in 1475. He was beatified after his death.

C. 1440 - 1510 GASPAR DA GAMA (Goa, India - Portugal)

A Jew, whose real name and origins are unknown, though some claim he was originally from Poland. He was captured and sold as a slave in India. While he was serving the ruler of Goa in 1498, the visiting Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama took him prisoner, forced him to convert, and gave him a new name. Using his vast knowledge of languages, Gaspar accompanied many Portuguese voyages, meeting Amerigo Vespucci and Pedro Cabral.

C. 1440 - 1524 DAVID BEN SOLOMON IBN YAHYA (Portugal- Naples- Corfu – Constantinople)

Rabbi, biblical commentator, and grammarian. In 1496 Ibn Yahya was forced to flee Portugal after a death sentence was pass on him by king John (Joao) II ( 1455-1495) for encouraging conversos to return to active Judaism. He fled first to Naples where he served as Rabbi until expelled by the French losing all of his possessions. His works include Leshon Limudim and (probably) Shekel Hakodesh on grammar, Hilkhot Ṭerefot on ritual law, as well as commentaries on Proverbs, Psalms, and Maimonides’ guide for the perplexed.

1444 AVIGNON (France)

A partnership was formed between a gentile goldsmith named Procop and a member of the Jewish community named Davin to form a "publishing house". This was ten years before Gutenberg. Unfortunately, there are no known manuscripts from their partnership, which soon dissolved.


Rabbinical leader and scholar. In the years following the expulsion he focused on the practical Halachic problems that arose on a daily basis. Ibn Habib strived to find ways to ease the sufferings and difficulties of those expelled from Spain, within the realms of Halacha. He is most remembered for his Ein Ya’akov ( Well of Jacob), a compendium of the agadot” (non-legalistic literature) from the Talmud. His emphasis’ reflect the problems facing his generation. Over 100 editions of Ein Ya'akov have been published, and it remains just as popular today as it was 500 years ago.


A dyer, he contracted with a Christian goldsmith from Prague offering to teach him art of dyeing in return for Hebrew letters ready for printing . Unfortunately the agreement did not work out. This was four years before Guttenberg's first printing of a poem in 1450.

1449 January 17, ANTI - CONVERSO RIOTS (Toledo)

In the aftermath, fourteen Jewish conversos were put on trial accused of not having truly converted, and deprived of their public offices. Toledo soon enacted a ban against conversos holding any government office. Although this was only a local ban, it soon gained momentum despite the initial opposition of both the Pope and King who were against the discrimination of baptized Christians.

1450 October 5, EXPULSION OF JEWS (Lower Bavaria)

Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria, successor to Henry of Landshut, who had invited the Jews to live in his area, decided to banish them. He first tried conversion, then had many Jews arrested, then fined them 32,000 florins, and finally expelled them

C. 1450 - 1525 ELIJAH MIZRACHI (HaRe'em) (Ottoman Empire)

Talmudist and Halachist and mathematician. He is best known for his Sefer ha-Mizrachi, a supercommentary highlighting Rashi�s Talmudic and Midrashic sources (see 1040 SOLOMON BEN ISAAC). He served as HaRav HaGadol (Chief Rabbi) from 1497 to 1526. His works on math and astronomy include Sefer ha-Mispar, a commentary Euclid's Elements, and . a commentary to Ptolemy's highly influential Almagest, on motions of the stars and planetary paths.

1452 JOHN CAPISTRANO (Germany)

Convinced the Bavarian Dukes to expel the Jews from their Duchies.

1452 March 21, CUPIENTES JUDAEOS. “Wishing that the Jews”

Pope Paul III issued this Bull laying down some of the fundamental privileges for those Jews who converted to Christianity (Neophytes). In order to qualify they had to break all ties with other Jews including family members, and could only marry a born Christian. The Bull protected their property, offer then tax incentives, and gave them full citizenship. Until then Jews who converted had to give over their wealth to the church.

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.Farrisol composed a prayer book for women in 1471 ( revised in 1480.) In it he proposed a radical change in the morning prayer regarding women (see 1471).rn

1453 May 29, CONSTANTINOPLE (Ottoman Empire)

Fell to the Turks under Mohammed II. Jews were welcomed to settle in the city. Turkey provided a refuge for thousands of Jews who were soon forced to leave the Iberian Peninsula. Prophesies regarding the coming of the messiah began to circulate leading some Jews from Spain to leave to Eretz Israel.

1453 June 2, BRESLAU (Germany)

John of Capistrano led a mock trial of alleged desecrations of the host. The Rabbi hung himself and urged other Jews to commit suicide. Forty-one Jews were burned, their property confiscated, and all children under seven were forcibly baptized.

1453 FRANCONIA (Germany)

Bishop Godfrey of Wurzburg (Duke of Franconia), previously a benefactor of the Jews, was persuaded by John of Capistrano to expel them. When Capistrano arrived at Neustadt, Israel Isserlen offered to follow him to the stake to see by what miracles he could save himself - needless to say, Capistrano turned down the opportunity.

1454 (18 Tamuz 5214) CRETE

After a trial that lasted for two years, the nine leading members of the Jewish community who were accused of host desecration were acquitted by a Venetian court. Although further charges were brought claiming that the Jews had bribed the judges, this view was not accepted and the day was celebrated as a semi-holiday for many years by the Jewish community in Crete.

1455 SYRACUSE (Sicily)

Twenty four Jews from all over Sicily chartered a Spanish boat to take them to Eretz Israel without prior permission from the King, Alfonso V. They were arrested by the kings representative, the archbishop of Palermo. After making a large payment, they were released and permitted to leave. Among them was the poet and astronomer Isaac ben Solomon Alhadib (1396- c.1429). Syracuse was considered a city second in importance only to Palermo.


The Converso son of Diego Arias (treasurer to Henry IV) became Bishop of Segovia. Many new Christians attained high positions in both the government and the Church, which led to resentment and jealously on the part of many "old Christians". This paved the way for the acceptance of the Inquisition. Despite his position, Davila was later persecuted by the Inquisition.

1460 - 1497 ELIJAH DEL MEDIGO (Crete)

A distinguished physician, philosopher, translator and kabbalist. He was respected throughout the Italian courts.At the request of Pico della Mirandola the Italian Renaissance humanist and scholar, he translated many of Averroes, the Andalusian-Arab philosophers commentaries into Latin.

C. 1460 - C. 1523 DON JUDAH ABRAVANEL(Abarbanel)(Spain)

Also called Leone Ebreo, he was the son of Don Isaac. While he was in Italy seeking refuge, his son was forcibly taken into the church in Portugal. He is noted for his Dialogues on Love (Dialoghi d'amore) considered one of the most significant works of Renaissance Neoplatonism and had an effect on later philosophers including Spinoza.

C. 1460 - 1532 ABRAHAM BEN ELIEZER HALEVI (Spain-Eretz Israel)

Scholar and kabbalist aka haZaken to distinguish him from others with that name. He was forced to leave Spain with the expulsion, and spent many years wandering - a fact which had a great impact on him especially regarding the idea of redemption . He reached Jerusalem in 1514 and served as the head of a yeshiva . Ha-Levi wrote numerous books dealing with Kabbalah and the coming of the messiah. They include Masoret ha-Hokhmah ("Tradition of Wisdom"), Ma'amar Perek Helek dealing with Talmudic references. Nevuat ha-Yeled (The Prophecy of the child) Mashreh Kitrin (Untier of Knots) and Iggeret Sod ha-Ge'ullah (The letter about the mystery of redemption") He believed that the age of the Messiah would begin in 1524 ( see 1510).

C. 1460 - 1554 SOLOMON IBN VERGA (Spain-Turkey)

Physician and scholar. His is famed for his Shevet Judah (Staff/ tribe of Judah) a historical chronicle . He relates various persecutions (64 in number), beginning with the destruction of the second temple. Ibn Verga tried to analyze the source of these persecutions, proposing that it is flamed by jealousy, and religious fanaticism both stemming from a lack of education. This said he readily admitted that he was pessimistic as to whether they would do any good. It was first printed in 1550, and translated into Yiddish in 1591, then into Latin, Spanish and German. Although there are questions as to the accuracy of his work, it is considered one of the greatest accomplishments of Hebrew literature during the renaissance rn

1461 August 10, ALFONSO DE ESPINA (Spain)

A Franciscan Bishop, called on king Henry IV of Castile for the immediate establishment of a Spanish inquisition against the Jews. In 1459 De Espina had written Fortalitium fidei in which he condemned both "Judios publicos," public non converted Jews, and "Judios ocultos," secret Jews. He praised as truth all the claims of blood libels, host desecration's and the poisoning of wells. De Espina detailed his plan for the actual implementation of an inquisition. He also called for the total expulsion of all Jews, as the only way for Spain to become a truly Christian country. He is considered by some to be the practical father of the Spanish Inquisition. Henry promised to consider it.

1462 July 12, ANDREW (Anderl) OF RINN (Austria)

Alleged victim of a ritual murder. He was supposedly bought from his Uncle by four Jewish travelers. The cult of Andrew of Rinn was introduced in 1475, but it became popular only in the 17th century. The local church designed panels describing in detail the "martyrdom" of Anderl at the hands of Jews. Each year there was a procession to his grave. In the 1990's, the bishop of Innsbruck (Bishop Stecher) succeeded in replacing the panels after trying to forbid the cult. There are still people who make the pilgrimage.

1465 FEZ (Morocco)

Riots broke out after Sultan Abd al-Haqq asked the Jews of Fez for financial help and appointed Harun (Aaron ben Batash),a local Jew to be his prime minister. During the riots the Sultan was murdered and Aaron was executed by having his throat cut. Most of the city's Jews were killed. Some reports claim that thousands were killed with only 11 left alive.

1466 January, SICILY

King John of Sicily gave formal permission to establish a Jewish University in medicine and law. The idea was not acted upon, and in 1492 the Jews were expelled by order of the Spanish crown.

1468 - 1549 ELIAS (ELIJAH BAHUR) LEVITA (Germany-Italy)

Grammarian and Lexicographer. Levita was renowned in his day for his teaching of Hebrew to Christian scholars. His own works include Dikduk Eliyahu Halevi, Pirkei Eliyah and Masoret Hamasoret. Two additional important compositions were Meturgeman (a dictionary) and Tishbi which is a lexicon of Hebrew used in the Talmud. Although invited to Paris in the name of the king to lecture, he refused, stating that it would make it too difficult for him to continue to live as a religious Jew. Levita is credited with writing the first Hebrew-Yiddish dictionary and being the first to publish a Yiddish translation of the Psalms. With all his accomplishments, he is most famed for his adaption of the epic Bovo d’Antonia (Anglo-Roman romance, "Sir Bevis of Hamton) into Yiddish, also known as the Bovo Buch (1507). It was the first Yiddish non-religious book, and went through 40 re-printings over the next five centuries.rnrn

1469 TOMAS DE TORQUEMADA C. 1420-1498 (Spain)

A Dominican, he became Queen Isabella's confessor. He exerted tremendous influence - especially over the queen - and was instrumental in persuading the king and queen to expel the Jews in 1492. Torquemada - together with Cardinal Mendoza - convinced the pope to establish the Spanish Inquisition. He was appointed Inquisitor General in 1483.

1470 September, VALLIDOLID (Spain)

Conversos were attacked by a mob believing that under Isabella's reign, anti-Jewish riots would be legalized. Don Henry IV of Castile interceded and much damage was averted.

1473 March 14, CORDOVA (Spain)

First massacre of New Christians (Marranos or Conversos). This was partly due to the populace's jealousy of the New Christians holding many important positions in the court and society. After the massacre, a decree was issued prohibiting them from living in Cordova. This process of jealousy, accusations, massacre and decree led to the accusations of heresy and, finally, to the Inquisition.

C. 1474 - 1546 (30 Nissan 5306) JACOB BERAB (Beirav) (Morocco)

Rabbi and Halachic Leader. Berab became Rabbi of Fez at the age of 18 and was considered one of the most influential halachic leaders of North Africa, Syria and Eretz Israel. Berab, under the messianic influence of the era, was a strong proponent of reviving the official Semichah program which would then lead to the forming of a new Sanhedrin (a combination of a supreme court and ruling body)(see 1538). It would have been the first since the destruction of the second temple. However it was never instituted, due to differences with other rabbis and his having to leave Eretz Israel.

1475 February 18, (10 Adar 5235) FIRST DATED COMPLETE HEBREW BOOK (Reggio DernCalabria, Italy)rn

Rashi's commentaries (without the Bible) was printed by Abraham ben Garton. It is believed that the first printed books in Hebrew began a few years earlier.rn

1475 March 23, SIMON OF TRENT (Italy)

One of the more notorious blood libels. A Franciscan monk, Bernardinus of Feltre, came to Trent and began preaching Lent sermons against the Jews. A week before Easter a boy by the name of Simon drowned in the river Adige. The monk charged the Jews with using the body for its blood. The body washed up a few days later near the house of a Jew who brought it to the Bishop Honderbach. 17 Jews were tortured for over two weeks. Some confessed while being tortured and 6 Jews were burned. Two more were strangled. A temporary hiatus was called by Pope Sixtus IV, but after five years the trial was reopened and 5 more Jews were executed. The papal inquest agreed with the trial, Simon was beatified, and all Jews were expelled for 300 years. The trial served as the basis for anti-Semitic writings for hundreds of years. Only in 1965 was Simon debeatified.

C. 1475 - 1542 JACOB BEN DAVID TAM IBN YAHYA ( Portugal-Ottoman empire)

Talmudic scholar, physician and authority on Islamic law. Ibn Yahya was appointed chief Rabbi of Constantinople and also served as a physician to Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–1566). A productive writer, all of his manuscripts were destroyed in a fire. He died a year later. After his death, 213 of his extant responsa were collected under the title Ohale Tam (The Tents of the Pure).

C. 1475 - 1554 BENVENIDA ABRAVANEL (Naples -Ferrara)

International business women, banker , and philanthropist. Daughter of Jacob (d.1528), and niece of Isaac Abravanel (see 1437). She married his son Samuel (1473-1551), a scholar in his own right and financier to Don Pedro de Toledo. Bevenida helped raise the daughter of Don Pedro, Leonora (1522–1562), which later proved a useful connection. When Donna Gracia ( see 1510) proposed the boycott of Ancona for their anti Jewish policies, Abravanel, who had extensive ties at the port, refused. She was also supportive of the controversial David Reuveni (see 1523. Benvenida together with her husband were active in financing Jewish scholarship, redeeming Jewish captives and using their connections to defend other Jews.

1476 SPAIN

The first Jewish book printed in Spain is the Pentateuch with Rashi's commentaries (showing the importance of Rashi's work).

1476 1476 BIBLE CODEX LA COURNA (Spain)

Also knows as the Kennicott bible was completed by Moses ibn Zabara and illustrated by Joseph ibn Hayim. Its rarity lies not only in its early date but the unusual illustrations, which along with animal and floral decorations also include four figures, David, Pinchas, Balam and Jonah.Of the 922 pages 238 are illustrated. It is named for Benjamin Kennicott an 18th century English churchman and Hebrew scholar who acquired the book for Oxford.rnrn

1478 November 1, POPE SIXTUS IV (Spain)

At the request of King Ferdinand V ( aka Ferdinand II of Aragon) and Queen Isabella, he issued a Bull Exigit sincerć devotioni s empowering them to establish to investigate charges of heresy known as the Spanish Inquisition. Unlike the papal inquisition of 1230, this one was totally under royal authority. This tribunal was established ostensibly to root out "backsliding” Jews who had converted, sometimes under duress, to Christianity. Often these Jews - known as New Christians or conversos - succeeded in obtaining high social and political positions which aroused the jealousy on the part of “old Christians”. Thus, although officially religious in nature, the inquisition was a political tool. Specific signs such as no fires on the Sabbath, no eating of pork, washing hands before eating, turning the face towards the wall when dying, etc., were given to root out those who may have continued to secretly practice Judaism. The Spanish inquisition- which spread to all Spanish and later Portuguese (1536) colonies and possessions - was finally disbanded on July 15, 1834. It is estimated that over 300,000 people were tried (not all for Judaizing) and 30,000 executed.

1479 - 1516 FERDINAND AND ISABELLA (Spain)

Ruled a unified Spain. Isabella was the heiress to the crown of Castile, and Ferdinand heir to the crown of Aragon. Five years after their marriage - which ironically is credited to Jewish and Converso courtiers - they began to reign in Castile, and five years later (1479), over both realms. Both of them, desiring the support of the Church, determined that Spain should be unified under one religion. Isabella and Ferdinand's desire to "protect" the Converso's from Jewish influence, and their belief that the Jews were no longer of major economic importance, led to the final expulsion of the Jews from Spain.

C. 1479 - 1589 DAVID BEN SOLOMON IBN ABI ZIMRA (RaDbaz) (Spain- Eretz-Israel))

Rabbinical leader, Talmudist, and Kabbalist. He served as chief Rabbi of Egypt for 40 years. A productive writer he authored more than 3,000 responsa (halakhic decisions). Among his many works are Metzudat David ("The Tower of David"), Dinei Rabba ve-Zutra ("The Great and Small Decisions") and Divrei David ("Words of David"), Shivim Panim la-Torah ("Seventy Faces to the Torah")

1480 ISRAEL NATHAN (Italy)

Founded the Hebrew printing house of Soncino in Soncino, Italy. Their first book, printed in 1483 under the direction of his son, Joshua Solomon, was a volume of the Talmud (Tractate Brachot). A Bible with vowels was printed with over 400 illustrations in 1488. In all, more than 130 Hebrew books were printed by their various presses over the next 70 years.

1480 - 1554 JOSEL (JOSEPH) OF ROSHEIM (Germany)

Shtadlan (Court Jew) of Germany. The Shtadlan's job was to intercede with the authorities on behalf of the Jews. In 1514 he and other Jews were charged with torturing the host but were released. Josel dedicated himself to intervening with various rulers. In 1520 he succeeded in obtaining a letter from Charles V protecting the Jews. He published a defense against the attacks of Martin Luther. Josel succeeded in blocking anti-Jewish legislation and defending Jews against charges of ritual murder countless times.

1481 February 12, FIRST AUTO DA FE (Seville, Spain)

Six Converso (Marrano) men and six women were burned alive for allegedly practicing Judaism.Diego de Suzan a prominent merchant and the others were turned in by his daughter. The Auto da Fe (Act of Faith) combined the Judicial ceremony of the Inquisition with vociferous sermons. An individual could be denounced for having lapsed back into his old religion or committing heresy. Although the Inquisition and the Auto da Fe was used on anyone accused of heresy, its main victims were Jews. The inquisition accused people of backsliding or heresy for actions such as not eating pig (for whatever reason), washing hands before prayer, changing clothes on the Sabbath, etc. Over two thousand Auto da Fes are said to have taken place in the Iberian Peninsula and its colonies. The number of victims in Spain alone is estimated at 39,912, many of whom were burned alive. Some were burned in effigy. Others, convicted posthumously, were dug up and burned - and the property they left was confiscated from their heirs. Approximately 340,000 people, many of them Jews, suffered at the hands of the Inquisition, although the vast majority were given lesser punishments. The last Auto da Fe was held in 1790.


Joseph di Montagna, a traveler from Italy, reported a thriving community of 300 families in Safed.

1482 January, POPE SIXTUS IV

Published his bull Numquam Dubitavimus (He Never Hesitated To…). Sixtus permitted Ferdinand to appoint inquisitors to continue with his investigations and to root out any Jewish practice among converts to Christianity.Yet, Sixtus after receiving complaints from conversos regarding illegal procedures, initially protested that the inquisitors were abusing their powers. Ferdinand forcefully rejected the Popes remonstrations and intervention. The pope’s protest subsided.

1483 October 17, POPE SIXTUS IV (Spain)

Despite his previous protest, Pope Sixtus gave into Ferdinand's pressure (allegedly threatening to withhold military support from his kingdom of Sicily) and extended the authority of the Inquisition to Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia. This consolidated the Inquisition into one central body under Torquemada.

1483 December 19, SONCINO (Italy)

The first tractate of the Talmud (Brachot) was printed by Joshua Soncino. It included Rashi, Tosafot, Piskei Tosafot, and the commentaries of Maimonides and Mordecai b. Hillel.

1483 - 1485 CUIDAD REAL TRIALS (Spain)

Typical of the trials of the Inquisition, many of the prime witnesses were members of the accused's own family. Fernan Falcon voluntarily testified against many people in the community, including his father. The son of Carolina de Zamora, a monk, swore to see her burned. Juan de la Sierra convinced his mother, Leonor Gonzales, to return to Spain from Portugal. Upon her return she was tortured and burned.

1485 September 17, PEDRO ARBUES (Spain)

The infamous inquisitor of Aragon was slain. Appointed by Torquemada, he was zealous in finding lapsed "new Christians" to bring before the Inquisition and have them burned alive. He was murdered in church by a group of Conversos which included the elderly Jaime de Montessa the deputy chief justice, in retaliation for his actions against their families. The perpetrators were caught, had their hands cut off, and were then beheaded and quartered. Other leaders such as Francisco de Santa Fe, the grandson of Joshua Ha-lorki (see 1413) ,committed suicide, or as in the case of Juan de la Sanchez (brother of the treasurer Gabriel Sanchez), fled to France. Arbues was canonized in 1867.


Local Conversos were accused of plotting to assassinate the two newly appointed inquisitors. Under the direction of the mayor, Gomez Manrique , six of them were hung, and local Rabbis were commanded to have their communities report any backsliding of Conversos.

1486 February 12, AUTO DA FE AT TOLEDO (Spain)

The first in that city and one of the most lenient Auto da Fes anywhere. Seven hundred and fifty men and women were paraded through the streets . They were forced to recant, fined 1/5 of their property and permanently forbidden to wear decent clothes or hold office. A similar one on April 12 composed of about 900 people.

1486 April 12, AUTO DA FE AT TOLEDO (Spain)

This time more than 900 people were persecuted and humiliated at the Auto da Fe. Though many suffered on the forced penitential marches, no one was actually killed. The executions would begin only in august of that year.

1486 FIRST PRAYER BOOK (Siddur) Italy)

Was printed in Italy by Soncino. This was the only time that the Siddur was published during the 15th century. For the most part hand-copied manuscripts (of which there were plenty) were used.

1488 OVADIA DI BERTINORO (Italy-Eretz Israel)

Arrived in Eretz Israel. As a scholar in Italy he wrote a commentary on the Mishna. In Israel he started a yeshiva and other benevolent institutions and improved Moslem-Jewish relations. He thus helped pave the way for the integration of the Spanish refugees soon to arrive.


Was printed at Soncino.

1488 - 1575 (13 Nissan 5335) JOSEPH CARO (Safed)

A student of the Ari, he published his code of Jewish laws in 1567 after thirty-two years of work on Rav Jacob ben Asher's Arbah Turim. He called his work the Bet Yoseph (House of Joseph). It is better known as the Shulchan Aruch (Prepared Table) since it made every Jewish law available to everyone. Unfortunately, like Maimonides, he was criticized for placing religious growth in "hibernation". His death marked the end of the Rishonim (first commentators) and the beginning of the period of the Acharonim (last) - which continues to the present time.

1489 - 1578 ISAAC BEN ABRAHAM AKRISH (Naples, Egypt- Constantinople)

Talmudic scholar, traveler. He was employed in Egypt to teach in the household of David ibn Zimra (see 1479). He used his earnings to purchase rare manuscripts and have them copied. Eventually while traveling the Venetian authorities confiscated them, but he managed to retrieve them and moved them to Constantinople. Unfortunately in 1569 a fire destroyed most of his invaluable collection.

1490 December 17, LA GUARDIA BLOOD LIBEL (Spain)

Six conversos and two Jews were accused of killing a child for ritual purposes. Although no child was ever declared missing, they were tortured for over a year by a special inquisition. They were declared guilty on November 14, 1491 of Host Desecration and the taking of the child's heart to use in sorcery. All eight were burned at the stake in the town of Avila and their property confiscated, and used to build the Church and monastery of Santo Tomas of Avila. According to a papal brief (1496) monks descended from Jews were not to be admitted into the church. The child became a saint known as the "Child of La Guardia". Books and plays were written and embellished about him as recently as 1943. The trial was developed and used by the inquisition to demonstrate that the very presence of Jews in the country was a danger to Christianity and was used by the king as a pretext for the soon to be proclaimed edict of expulsion.


By Jacob Pollack (see 1470).

1492 March 31, EDICT OF EXPULSION (Spain)

King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile, signed the Alhambra Decree. Since professing Jews were not under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, the Church leveled a ritual murder accusation against them ( see 1490).Thus both Jews and Conversos were ordered to be expelled of from Spain within three months beginning May the first. Jewish leaders, including Don Isaac Abravanel, offered compensation for its annulment but their appeal was rejected. In his plea to the king he wrote, “On behalf of my people, the people of Israel,…, I declare them blameless and innocent of all crimes declared in this edict of abomination. The crime, the transgression, is for you, not us, to bear". It is estimated that approximately 200,000 Jews (some quote higher numbers) were living in Spain. They were forced to sell all their property and prohibited from taking out any precious metals. Most synagogues were taken over by the church without any compensation. As the borders on the north were only opened for practicing Christians, approximately half of them found temporary sanctuary in Portugal. Another 50,000 fled to friendlier shores (e.g. Turkey) and the rest (approximately 60,000) remained as "Christians". By July 31 no professing Jews were left in Spain.

1492 October 12, LOUIS DE TORRES (Spain-America)

Became the first white man to set foot in the Western Hemisphere landing in San Salvador with Christopher Columbus. De Torres converted to Christianity right before sailing and served as an interpreter for Columbus. He discovered and introduced tobacco into Europe. There is an interesting story relating to Torres who saw a bird he thought to be a peacock and called it a "tuki" (Hebrew for peacock - I Kings X22). Today that bird is known as a turkey. In Spanish one of the names for Turkey is Pavo, which originally referred to a peacock.


Sicily became a province of Aragon in 1412. Approximately 37,000 Jews had to leave Sicily. Despite an invitation during the 18th century, Jews, except in extremely small numbers, never returned.

1493 PRINTING PRESS ( Istanbul)

Within one year of the expulsion from Spain , David & Samuel ibn Nahmias brought in printing press making it the first Hebrew printing press in Istanbul.

1494 June 29, FIRE IN CRACOW (Poland)

A fire broke out in the Jewish quarter, destroying part of the city of Cracow. The Jews were accused of purposely setting the fire and attacked with many of the Jewish residents trying to defend themselves King John Albert I (1459–1501) ordered them to leave the city and move to the "suburb" of Kazimierz, which became the first Polish ghetto. Jews were confined to the ghetto until 1868.

1494 TYRANU / TRNAVA (Hungary)

Riots began after a blood libel with 16 Jews being burned at the stake. Tyranu was one of the oldest Jewish settlements in Hungary/Slovakia being founded before 1350.

1495 December 26, SAVONAROLA (Italy)

Expelled the Medici and the Jews from Florence. The Jews, who had previously served as the Medici's bankers, were replaced by the Monte di Pieta, a public loan bank.

1496 December 5, (23 Tevet 5257) MANUEL OF PORTUGAL

During the first year of his reign he befriended the Jews, but his desire to unite the Iberian Peninsula through marriage to the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella changed all that. Four years after the expulsion of Jews from Spain, he ordered them expelled from Portugal within 11 months (October 31, 1497). As his real desire was not to see the Jews leave, he only opened one port, which first forced most of them to remain behind after the designated date, and then forced them to be baptized.


By Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519), but only after the government of Styria agreed to pay him 38,000 florins to compensate him for his loss of revenue from the Jews. In his justification he wrote that Jews have "repeatedly insulted and desecrated the holy sacrament, tortured and killed Christian children and used their blood …. cheated people, and impoverished and ruined many noble and other families..."

1499 April 21, NEW CHRISTIANS (Portugal)

Were forbidden to leave Portugal, including those who had been forcibly baptized.

1500 - 1558 CHARLES V OF HAPSBURG (Holy Roman Empire)

Was generally protective of the Jews. In 1520 he refrained from demanding the customary coronation tax. In 1530 Charles V reconfirmed the "privileges"/charter he had granted to the Jews and defended them through the encouragement of Josel of Rosheim against Martin Luther.

1500 - 1568 GARCIA DE ORTA (Portugal-India)

Converso scientist and physician. He is known as "the first European writer on tropical medicine and a pioneer in pharmacology." In 1580, more then ten years after his death, he was condemned by the Inquisition and his remains were thrown into the sea.

1500 - 1532 SOLOMON MOLCHO (Diego Peres)

Converso and pseudo messiah. He became so impressed with Reuveni (1524) that he reconverted to Judaism. He predicted correctly an earthquake in Portugal and a flood in Rome. At first Pope Clement VII befriended him, after his predictions came true. He traveled with David Reuveni to Charles V to convince him to let the Jews fight against the Turks (see 1532). Charles V had him killed.

1500 - 1559 (1 Kislev 5319) SOLOMON SHAKNA (Shachne) BEN JOSEPH (Lublin, Poland)

Student of Jacob Pollack. He was called to serve as the Chief Rabbi of Little Poland (1541). He was known as a great talmudist and pilpulist, and helped adapt Caro's Shulchan Aruch to Northern Jewry. He refused to write any halachic work out of fear that it would be taken as a final word.

1502 - 1736 SAFAVID DYNASTIES (Persia)

Under its first Shah Ismail I brought Shia (Shiite) Muslim rule to Persia. All non Muslims are now considered unclean. Jews are forbidden to coming into any physical contact with Muslims.

C. 1502 - 1578 PEDRO NUNES (Portugal)

Influential mathematician and royal, cosmographer. His book De arte atque ratione navigandi - On the art and science of navigation was one of the important contributions of his day. He is considered the inventor of the marine navigational rhumb line (loxodrome) which is a line crossing all meridians of longitude at the same angle. Nunes was not bothered by the inquisition, since he was the teacher of the Inquisitor General Cardinal D. Henrique but in 1620 his grandchildren were questioned.


King of Poland (1501-1506) allowed the Jews to return to Lithuania eight years after he expelled them while serving as grand duke of Lithuania. He also appointed Jacob Pollack as Chief Rabbi (see also 1470).

1505 - 1584 SOLOMON B. MOSES HALEVI AL KABETZ (Turkey-Safed, Eretz Israel)

Kabbalist and author of Lecha Dodi (Come My Beloved), a mystical song still chanted Friday evenings in most synagogues as a greeting to the Sabbath. He is credited by some as establishing the custom of staying awake all night on Shevuot reciting Tikkun Leil Shavu'ot. In addition to many Kabbalistic works (e.g. Amarot Tehorot), he wrote Biblical commentaries (e.g. Ayyelet Ahavim, Divrei Shelomo) and an explanation of the prayers Beit Tefillah.

1506 August 9, PRINCE FEODOR YAROSLAVITCH (Lithuania)

Established the community of Pinsk. At the same time, he reconfirmed the rights given to the Jews by King Alexander Jagello, king of Lithuania/Poland. By the beginning of the 18th century Jews became the majority of the town and remained such until July 4, 1941 when the Germans entered the city. The final "aktion", which took place on Oct. 28, 1942, left alive only 150 artisans, who were killed a few months later.

1509 August 19, FRANKFURT (Germany)

Battle of the Books. Johann Pfefferkorn, an apostate Jew, convinced Maximillan I to destroy all Jewish books, especially the Talmud. A gentile, Johann von Reuchlin, who was a noted humanist, scholar and student of the Zohar, defended the books. The battle was decided in von Reuchlin's favor, and the decree was voided. Such challenging of the Church by Christian scholars - on its own ground - helped bring about the Reformation and the revolt against the Church.

1510 July 19, BRANDENBURG (Germany)

Jews were accused of desecrating the host and stealing church vessels. Joachim the Elector had thirty-eight Jews burned at the stake in the market place along with the real offender (a Christian). Another two accepted Christianity and were mercifully beheaded. Soon after, all the Jews were expelled from the entire electorate of Brandenburg. All the accused were proved completely innocent at the Diet of Frankfurt in 1539, and those that left were permitted to return.


A rabbinical leader and apocalyptic Kabbalist (see 1460) wrote letters proclaiming the year 1524 as the beginning of the arrival of the Messiah. HaLevi, who was originally from Spain, spent many years wandering after the expulsion until he settled in Jerusalem in 1514. There Ha-Levy who was widely respected for his scholarly knowledge, urged people to repent and make themselves ready for the redemption. He believed that the ascension of the Ottoman empire as well as the episode of David Reubeni were signs. Halevi's letters unfortunately paved the way for the acceptance of messianic pretenders such as Molcho (see 1500) and Shabbetai Zevi (see 1626).


The first known printing of a book in Ladino. Ladino is a Judeo-Spanish dialect which spread to the Levant as well as the Ottoman Empire after the expulsion from Spain in 1492. Ladino is printed in Hebrew script similar to Yiddish. The first translation of the bible was a book on Psalms in 1540 published in Constantinople.

C. 1510 - 1569 DONNA GRACIA MENDES NASI (Beatrice de Luna) (Portugal-Italy-Turkey)

Philanthropist and Jewish Leader of Converso extract. She married a banker and merchant, Francisco Mendes, also a Converso, and was widowed with a daughter at age 26. Moving to Antwep to join the banking business with her brother-in-law Diogo Mendes, they established an underground organization to help fleeing Conversos. In Ferrara, she declared her Judaism and took on the name Nasi. She later relocated to Constantinople where she used her wealth for various philanthropies including establishing yeshivot, synagogues, and feeding the poor. When in 1555 the Italian city of rn Ancona burned 25 Conversos, she tried to organize a boycott of the port but was opposed by rabbinical authorities and some merchants including Benvenida Abravanel. She passed on her influence to her son-in-law and nephew, Don Joseph Nasi.

1511 June 6, SICILY

The first Auto da Fe was held. Eight former Spanish converts were accused of practicing Judaism and were executed.

1511 - 1548 BOMBERG PRINTING HOUSE (Venice, Italy) (Daniel Bomberg) (d. c. 1550)

A pioneer printer. Despite his name, Daniel Bomberg was not Jewish. The son of an Antwerpen burgher, Cornelius von Bomberghen, he was shown the possibilities of printing Hebrew books by the apostate Jew, Felice da Prato, who had a printing license from the Pope. Bomberg moved to Vienna where he was able to obtain a similar license. His printing house published a total of more than 200 books, including the first Mikraot Gedolot (see 1517), which combined the Pentateuch with many commentaries on the same page and which is still used today. Bomberg is also credited with the first complete printing of both the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud (see 1523).

1514 - 1578 AZARIAH DE ROSSI (Ferrara, Italy)

Scholar and author of Me'or Enayyim (Light of the Eyes), a book on Jewish history (see 1575). A descendant of one of the first Jewish families in Italy (Min Ha'Adumim), he introduced the scientific method of comparing sources to Jewish study. De Rossi earned the ire of many when he proved that Jossiphon was actually written in the medieval times and was not reliable as a historical work.

1516 JEWISH GHETTO (Venice, Italy)

Was established. It was called the Ghetto Nuovo or the New Foundry. The basis for the ghetto is found in the Cannon of the third Lateran Council (1179), forbidding Jews and Christians to live together. In France it was called the Carriére des Juifs, and in Germany the Judengasse or Judenstadt. The ghetto era was to last almost 300 years, though later also revived by the Nazis.


Under Selim I (1512-20), ("the Grim"), it conquered Syria and Eretz Israel from the Mamluks. The Ottoman reign was to last 400 years. Under it, Jerusalem and Safed became the two major centers of Jewish populations in Eretz Israel. The manufacturing of firearms, which had been brought to the empire by exiled Jews, played a major role in Selim's victory.

1517 - 1583 NICOLAS DE NICOLAY (France)

Soldier, cartographer, and spy. In 1551, he joined the second expedition sent by King Henry II of France (1519 – 1559) to the Ottoman Empire. He returned with over 800 drawings of sites, cities, islands, ports, castles and fashion, and was appointed “Géographe et valet de chambre du roi” (Geographer and Valet to the Chamber of the King). In 1565 he was asked by Catherine de’ Medici, Henry’s widow, to prepare a description of the provinces of the French kingdom. He is also believed to have also made a terrestrial globe.

1519 February 21, RATISBON (Regensburg, Germany)

Upon the death of Maximillian, the Jewish community of approximately 800 (one of the oldest in Germany), was expelled. The synagogue was destroyed and a chapel built in its place. About 5,000 gravestones were taken the Jewish cemetery and used for building.

C. 1520 COUNCIL OF THE (FOUR) LANDS (Vaad/ Kahal) (Poland)

Was set up in Poland, with a separate council established in Lithuania. Its official objective was to help collect Jewish taxes for the government. In reality it had the status of a court and oversaw much of Jewish life. It also tried to serve as the representative of the Jewish communities and ensure that all rights and "privileges" were kept. Very few Jews had any say as to who was elected to serve in the councils, a point which led to much friction. The "Council of the Four Lands" generally consisted of: the provinces of Great Poland (capital: Poznan) and Little (Lesser) Poland (capital: Cracow); "the Lvov Land"; and the province of Volhynia. At times the council may have only included 3 "lands", and at its zenith it included 18 units. The council was abolished by the Polish Sejm in 1764.

C. 1520 - 1572 (18 Iyar 5332 Lag BaOmer) MOSES ISSERLES (The Rama) (Poland)

The son-in-law of Shalom Shakna. He served as Rosh Ha (Head of the) Yeshiva in Cracow. His main work was the adaptation of Caro's Shulchan Aruch to European Jewry, called Mappah Hashulchan (The Tablecloth). An earlier work, Darke Moshe Hakatzar (The Ways of Moses Abridged) was written on the Tur (see 1270). He was also known for the almost 100 responsa he published. Isserles tried to strengthen the stature of many customs, elevating them almost to the level of commandments. On the other hand, he was very lenient when it came to cases of stress or financial loss.

1520 - 1579 (7 Av 5339) DON JOSEPH NASI (Joao Migues, Duke of Naxos) (Portugal-Ottoman Empire[Turkey])

Nephew and son-in-law to Donna Gracia (Beatrice de Lune). After fleeing Portugal, this rich merchant, adventurer and friend of Maximillian re-established himself in Turkey. Once there, both he and Donna Gracia did much to help the fleeing Conversos. As a high member of the Turkish Court, he planned a resettlement of Tiberias. In 1561, the sultan confirmed Donna Gracia's concession and the walls were rebuilt in 1564. He sent out invitations to various communities in Italy but it is not known if any major immigration took place. Unfortunately, he became involved in other political affairs, and fell from favor during the war against Venice.

1520 - 1592 BEZALEL BEN ABRAHAM ASHKENAZI (Eretz Israel)

Talmudist and Jewish leader. As Rabbi of Jerusalem he succeeded in renewing life there, raising money abroad and encouraging immigration to Eretz Israel. He is especially remembered for his collecting of old manuscripts of the Chidushim (Novella) of the Geonim (6th-10th c.) and Rishonim (10th to mid 15th c.) on the Talmud. His indispensable compendium, known today as the Shitah Mekubbezet, has preserved much of these commentaries and is used by most students of Talmud to this day.

1522 - 1570 (22 Tamuz 5330) MOSES CORDOVERO (Ramak) (Safed, Eretz Israel)

Rabbi, philosopher and early Kabbalist. Cordovero was a student of Joseph Caro and a teacher of Isaac Luria. His classic Pardes Rimonim (Orchard of pomegranates) which he completed when he was just 27, developed for the first time a Kabalistic system. Among his other works are Elimah Rabati, also on kabalistic systems, Tefilah L'moshe on Prayers, and Tomer Devorah (Date palm of Deborah) which developed Kabalistic ethical literature.

1522 GIL GONZALEZ DE AVILA (Central America)

A "New Christian", became governor after defeating a local tribe headed by an Indian Chief named Nicarao.

1522 Stephen IV ” Stefanita" (Moldavia)

Prince of Moldavia ruled between 1517 to 1527 . He withdrew all previous rights previously given to Jewish merchants.

1523 ELIJAH CAPSALI (c. 1483-1555) (Crete)

Published Seder Eliyahu Zuta. Capsali was a rabbi and historian and his book deals with the history of the Ottoman Empire, focusing on the persecutions and expulsions from Spain and Portugal. It is a primary resource of that time period.

1524 February 24, (27 Adar 5284) PURIM CAIRO (Egypt)

Celebration of the deliverance from the self-proclaimed Sultan Ahmed Shaitan. The Sultan, upset with being rejected as Grand Vizier, ordered his Jewish coinager, Abraham de Castro, to print his likeness and title of Grand Vizier on coins. When De Castro fled, the Sultan got his revenge by ordering the Jewish community to choose between paying a massive fine or being killed. On the last day before the Sultan's edict would have been enforced, he was assassinated by one of his viziers.

1524 DAVID REUVENI (Italy-Portugal)

Arrived in Rome claiming to be a representative of the Ten Lost Tribes and requesting assistance from Clement VII to fight the Turks. Though he was burned at an Auto da Fe in Portugal in 1552, his effect on his fellow Jews was to raise their self-esteem, knowing that somewhere there existed a strong and independent part of Israel.

C. 1525 - 1609 (18 Elul 5369) JUDAH LOEW BEN BEZALEL (Maharal of Prague) (Bohemia)

Brilliant Talmudist, mathematician and astronomer. He was respected and admired by Emperor Randolph II. A famous legend arose that he made a man of clay and gave him life by putting God's name into him. The story became widely known, giving birth to novels, plays and operatic works. This being, known as the Golem, was said to have served the community until disabled by his master.

1525 - 1593 DAVID DE' POMIS ( Italy )

Physician, philosopher, Rabbi, and linguist. He was forced to move from place to place according to where the current pope allowed Jews to practice medicine. His De Medico Hebraeo Enarratio Apologica, refuted charges made against Jewish physicians by Pope Gregory XIII. He is most renowned for his Tzemach David Offspring of David ),a Hebrew -Aramaic,Latin, and Italian dictionary.

1526 March 30, ANTWERP (Belgium)

Emperor Charles V, ruler of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, issued a general safe-conduct to the Portuguese "New Christians" and Conversos (though not to professing Jews), allowing them to live and work in Antwerp. Although they still had to live under cover, they were safe from the Inquisition which was not recognized and allowed to work in the Southern "Low Countries," though they were under Spanish rule. Only after the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), when Antwerp passed to Austrian rule, were the Jews able to live there openly. Charles was the grandson of Ferdinand V as well as Emperor Maximilian I.

1527 June 16, FLORENCE (Italy)

With the expulsion of the Medici family (as in 1495) the Jews were again ordered to leave. Their actual expulsion was delayed until 1531, when Alessandro de Medici became duke and the order was rescinded.


The first Auto da Fe took place in the New World. One of its first victims was Hernando Alonso. One of Cortes' conquistadors, he was burned at the stake with another "Judaizer". An official Office of the Inquisition would only be set up in 1571.


Was published in the sixteenth century. Sefer HaYirah (Book of Fear), was originally composed by Jonah Gerondi the Hasid in the thirteenth century.

1530 August 12, GERMANY

A charter was granted to the Jews despite the protests of Martin Luther. Josel of Rosheim, the famous shtadlan or interceder, was instrumental in its passing.


Opened the first Hebrew printing house in Cracow. In 1537 they converted to Christianity and petitioned King Sigismund I to force the Jews to buy their books (which the Jews had boycotted since their conversion). (See 1539)


After three years of pressure by local merchants and officials, King Sigismund I agreed to ban Jews from having stores in the market place. The official rationale given by the merchants was that the presence of Jews might lead to "great temptations and even to seduction from the path of the “true faith."


Poet, scholar and traveler. Dahiri traveled for ten years throughout the east including India, Persia, Syria, and Eretz Israel. He provided essential details of Jewish life in Safed and Tiberius. In 1568 upon his return to Yemen he was imprisoned for a short while with other Jews. It was then, that he began his travelogue Sefer Hamusar. Aside from describing the places he visited and the great luminaries he met (Joseph Caro, Moses Cordovero, Moses di Trani), he also provided us with a window into the difficult life of Jews in Yemen. He wrote other works including Tzeida Laderekh ( Provisions For The Way) a commentary on the Pentateuch.


Were arrested by Charles V. Molcho was accused of being a Church renegade and burned at the stake in the first Auto da Fe held in Evora, Portugal on November 7 of that same year. Reuveni was sent to Spain where he was also probably burned at the stake, probably at Badajoz Spain in 1538.

1533 April 5, DUARTE DE PAZ (Portugal)

An emissary of the New Christians of Portugal succeeded in gaining from Pope Clement VII a postponement of the establishing of the Inquisitions against New Christians in Portugal. The pope issued the , Bulla de Perdao, which was essentially a pardon for all past offenses. Unfortunately, the pope died a few years later, and the Inquisition was officially established (1536).

1533 - 1600 ELEAZAR BEN MOSES AZIKRI (Safed, Eretz Israel)

Kabbalist, ascetic scholar and poet. Azikri divided his waking ours into two-thirds writing and one-third silent contemplation. His Sefer Hareidim arranged the commandments according to time and the limbs of the body. His best known poem was Yedid Nefesh (Faithful Friend) which is in all prayer books and recited in most synagogues and homes on Shabbat. Another well-known poem ascribed to him is Bilvavi Yivneh beitcha (In my heart I will build your house).

1534 CRACOW (Poland)

The first book to be printed in Yiddish, a biblical dictionary and concordance Mirkevet HaMishnah Sefer Rebbi Anshel was published. The earliest works in Yiddish, mostly verse and biblical epics, were composed probably 100 years earlier.

1534 - 1572 (5 Av 5332) ISAAC LURIA (HaAri Hakadosh - Sacred Lion) (Egypt-Eretz Israel)

Born in Jerusalem, he moved as a child to Egypt where he became a scholar and began to study Kabbalah. There he spent seven years in isolation on an island on the banks of the Nile, visiting his family only on the Sabbath. He wrote a commentary on Sifra di- Zeniuta, an important section of the Zohar. In 1569 he moved to the "Holy City" of Safed, and became known as the founder of modern Kabbalah. His most famous pupil was Hayim Vital. Joseph Caro also studied Kabbalah with him. The latter was responsible for disseminating his ideas. The Ari was also known as a liturgical poet and many of his songs were published in a manuscript called Har Nof. Some of these hymns (including Yom Ze LeYisrael) are still sung on Shabbat during the meals in many Jewish homes.

1535 - 1612 (3 Adar II 5372) MORDECAI BEN ABRAHAM JAFFE (Prague, Bohemia)

Rabbi, halachist and Jewish leader. Jaffe, a student of Moses Isserles and Solomon Luria, was one of the important codifiers of Jewish Law. He also studied philosophy and astronomy. His work Levushim (Garments), taken from the scroll of Esther 8:15, included opinions as well as the decisions of Beit Joseph. He wrote it from concern that Caro's Shulchan Aruch was too abbreviated. Jaffe was instrumental in setting up the Council of the Four Lands and was the successor of Judah Lowe (The Maharal) to the chief court (Av Bet Din) of Prague.

1536 May 23, PORTUGAL

Pope Paul III, acting upon the petition of King John III, issued a Bull providing for the establishment of an Inquisition based on the Spanish archetype to begin in 1539. In 1544, after numerous bribes, it was again postponed for three years but reestablished permanently in 1547. The last Auto da Fe in Portugal was held in October 1791. Over the years (until 1821) there were more then 40,000 recorded cases tried before the Portuguese Inquisition, with 30,000 condemnations (though many of these were reconciled).

1538 smicha controversy (Safed Eretz-Israel)

Rabbi Jacob Berab basing himself on a Maimonides commentary, decided to reinstitute in the city of Safed the rabbinical ordination known as smicha ( the figurative laying on of hands) which had fallen into disuse around the 4th century. Berab convinced Rabbis Alkevetz, Alsich and Caro, of his position. He was adamantly opposed by Rabbi Levi ibn Habib, the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. Berab was forced to leave the country by the ottomans , who were told that his activities were seditious . Prior to departing he succeed in ordain four Rabbis including Joseph Caro.. Today smicha refers to a test of knowledge. rn

1540 September 20, LISBON (Portugal)

The first Auto da Fe of those forcibly converted to Christianity (Conversos) was held. The Auto da Fe was to play a macabre part of Portuguese life for the next 250 years.

1540 May 12, POPE PAUL III

Published a bull against blood libels, concluding that "those accusing the Jews of drinking the blood of children are blinded by avarice, and only want to rob their money"

1541 - 1613 (8 Elul 5373) DAVID GANS (Prague, Bohemia)

A Jewish historian and scholar noted for his Tsemach David (Spirit of David), printed in 1592. It was based half on Jewish and half on general history and it was translated into other languages, including Latin and Yiddish. Gans was a student of Moses Isserles and Judah Lowe (the Maharal). He wrote in Hebrew on cosmography, Nehmad Ve'Naim (Delightful and Pleasant) and, as a noted astronomer, was in contact with Johannes Kepler.

1543 MARTIN LUTHER (1481-1545) (Germany)

Wrote Concerning the Jews and their Lies. As an ally of anti-Catholic Reuchlin, he wrote a pro-Jewish work in 1520 called Jesus was a Jew. Luther expected the Jews to join his revolution, and when they rejected his views he became bitter. He called for the Jews to be slaves to the serfs, so as not to touch the hand of a German Christian. His attacks were generally not based upon the vicious and virulent anti-Jewish writings of past Christians, i.e. Chrysostom.

1543 - 1620 (1 Iyar 5380) HAYIM VITAL (Damascus, Syria - Safed, Eretz Israel)

A pupil of the Ari, he was respected both in and out of Eretz Israel. Vital was the author of many Kabbalist, talmudic and Biblical works including Etz Chaim (Tree of Life) on Lurian Kabbalah, and Lekutai Torah (Gleanings of Torah). He had sole possession of the Ari's writings, and most of our knowledge of the Ari's life and teachings are from Vital.

1544 April 3, EMPEROR CHARLES V (Holy Roman Empire)

Was convinced by Josel of Rosheim to condemn the ritual murder accusations.

1544 JOSEPH BAR YAKAR (Ichenhausen, Germany)

Translated a Siddur (prayer book) into Yiddish making it one of the oldest extant.rn

1547 July 16, PORTUGAL

An irreversible and independent Inquisition was finally approved by the Bull Meditatio Cordis by Pope Paul III. Offices of the Inquisition were established in Lisbon, Evora, Coimbra, and even in Goa.

1548 - 1617 FRANCISCO SUAREZ (Spain)

Was considered a major Jesuit theologian and philosopher. Suarez advocated the banning of the Talmud and the building of synagogues, as well as forbidding "any familiarity with Jews".

1550 - 1616 SAMUEL PALLACHE (Morocco -Netherlands)

Spy, diplomat, and pirate. Together with his brother Josef they served Muley Zaydan of Morocco(1610) and were close to the Dutch crown prince Maurice. Both had an extensive Jewish education and Samuel even studied for the Rabbinate. Pallache acted as a double agent between the Dutch / Moroccans and Spain. When the Dutch appointed him as a privateer, his crew consisted mostly of Conversos. His is said to have kept kosher on board, didn’t fight on the Sabbath, and gave a 10th of his booty to charity. In 1614 he was forced to dock in England where the Spanish ambassador had him arrested but he was released and sent back to the Hague where he died of illness and in semi poverty.


A French geographer and traveler reached Turkey. He bemoaned that Jews recently banished from Spain, have “taught the Turks inventions … and means of war... artillery, gun powder … and other weapons." Other visitors also commented on the number of Jews who brought their knowledge of weaponry to Turkey.

1553 September 9, (1 Tishrei 5314 Rosh Hashanah) THE TALMUD (Rome, Italy)

Was confiscated and publicly burned in Rome. This burning was held under the auspices of Cardinal Caraffa, later to be Pope Paul IV, with the backing of Pope Julius III. Caraffa, a rabid counter-Reformationist, chose this day specifically so the Jews would feel the grief more strongly. Talmud burning spread through much of Italy.

1554 May 29, POPE JULIUS III

After an appeal by Jews in Catholic countries, the Pope agreed only to allow the burning of the Talmud, but not "harmless rabbinical writings".

1555 July 14, BULL CUM NIMIS ABSURDUM (Rome, Italy)

In his Bull, POPE PAUL IV (1555-1559), the former Cardinal Caraffa, renewed all previous anti-Jewish legislation and installed a ghetto in Rome. Jews were forced to wear a special cap and forbidden to own real estate or practice medicine on Christians. Communities weren't allowed to have more than one synagogue. He ordered Jews to pay an annual amount for every synagogue, "even those that have been demolished," and said: "Jews can only engage themselves in the work of street sweepers and rag pickers". Jews in all the papal states were forced to lock themselves into the confines of the ghettos each night.

1556 SOKHACHEV (Poland)

The Bishop of Chelm accused local Jews of host desecration. Three Jews were condemned and executed. This happened despite a lack of evidence and the order of a retrial by King Sigismund II Augustus.


Granted Jews freedom to emigrate in return for a fee of 250,000 ducats. Many decided to leave.


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. rn

1558 - 1616 (6 Iyar 5376) MEIR BEN GEDALIAH (Maharam of Lublin) (Poland)

Educator, talmudic scholar, and director of the Yeshivot of Cracow, Lvov and Lublin. Many of his pupils became well-known in their own right. His casuistic commentary (Meir Enai Chachamim) is considered one of the important commentaries on the Talmud. After his death, over 140 of the halachic questions posed to him were published under the name Manhir Einai Chachamim.


Published the first Index of Forbidden Books which would lead to burning of the Talmud as well as any other books deemed offensive to Catholic faith or morals.


After the public burning of the Talmud in Rome (see 1553) the center for publishing the Talmud moved to Poland.

1560 - 1640 (20 Adar 5400) JOEL SIRKES (the Bach) (Lublin, Poland)

One of the great Polish talmudic scholars. His halachic commentary on the Tur (1270-1343 Jacob ben Asher - the Baal Haturim) called Bait Chadash (New House) traced each law to its source in the Talmud. Sirkes was critical of those who relied solely on the Shulchan Aruch for halachic decisions rather than the Talmud and the Geonim.

1561 EMPEROR FERDINAND I (Holy Roman Empire}

Took an oath to expel the Jews from Prague. They were saved by Mordechai Zemach, who hurried to Rome and convinced Pope Pius IV to release the Emperor from his oath. While he was gone, many Jews were forced to leave or were attacked by robber barons.

1564 March 24, POPE PIUS IV

Permitted the publication of the Talmud - after censorship and the deletion of the name "Talmud".

1564 July 13, BREST LITVOSK (Lithuania)

Abraham, the son of a wealthy and envied Jewish tax collector, was accused of killing the family's Christian servant for ritual purposes. The accusation was encouraged by the local burghers who resented Jewish competition. He was tortured and executed. King Sigmund Augustus forbade future charges of ritual murder, calling them groundless.

1564 March 22, MANTUA, (Italy)

David Provensalo and his son Abraham asked the Jewish notables to help create a Jewish College. The idea was to allow Jews to learn languages and science and receive a "Jewish education." Although they did establish a talmudic academy, they were opposed by the local Church and did not succeed in opening the College.

C. 1565 - 1630 (11 Nissan 5391) ISAIAH BEN ABRAHAM HA-LEVI HOROWITZ (SheLaH Hakadosh) (Prague, Bohemia-Tiberias, Eretz Israel)

Rabbi, kabbalist, and Jewish leader known as the SheLaH Hakadosh for his major work Shnai Luchot Habrit (Two Tablets of the Covenant) which combines Halacha and Kabbalah as a way of life. He moved to Eretz Israel in 1621 after the death of his wife. In 1625 he was arrested with many other Rabbis and held for ransom by the Pasha. Horowitz served as leader and Ashkenazi Rabbi in Jerusalem. He used his wealth to financially support the community. Horowitz strongly believed that he was privileged to be able to observe the commandments tied to the land of Israel. He was buried next to Maimonides in Tiberias.

1566 April 19, POPE PIUS V (The Papal States, Italy)

Three months into his reign, he rejected the leniencies of his predecessor and re-invoked all the restrictions of Paul IV. These included Jews being forced to wear a special cap as well as the prohibitions against owning real estate ( see 1567) and practicing medicine on Christians. Communities were not allowed to have more than one synagogue and Jews were confined to a cramped ghetto.

1569 January 25, Phillip II (Spain)

Issued the order to set up an inquisition in the New World. Five years later, Mexico was the first in the New world to establish one.


Ordered the Jews of Bologna expelled. He gave the cemetery to the nuns at the convent of St. Peter the Martyr. He commanded them to " Destroy all (Jewish) graves…exhume the cadavers…and move them to where ever they please".

C. 1570 - 1635 ABRAHAM COHEN (ALONSO NUNEZ) DE HERRERA (Portugal- Vienna?)

Philosopher and kabbalist. Herrera was purportedly captured by the English, and freed in a diplomatic exchange between the Sultan of Morocco Ahmad al-Mansur, and Queen Elizabeth I. Once freed he fled to Amsterdam, where he returned to openly practice Judaism. Herrera wrote Sefer Sha'ar ha-shamayim (The Gate of Heaven/ Puerta Del Cielo), a discourse on Kabbalah while in Cadiz on business for the Sultan. It is the first Hebrew work to mention Brazil. Isaac Aboab de Fonseca (1605 –1693), the first practicing rabbi in the New World, translated the work from Spanish to Hebrew.

1570 July 31, (Av ) FLORENCE (Italy)

Duke Cosimo I the Duke of Florence in an effort ( successful) to have Pope Pius V to crown him Grand Duke of Tuscany forced all the Jews of his principality into a ghetto in Florence. This despite that until a few years earlier his rule was considered one of the most liberal in Italy. The following year (December 1571) he did the same to the Jews of the Siena district. At that time roughly 60% of the Jewish community (approx 24,000) had lived in small towns and cities.rnrn

1570 - 1634 JACOB BASSEVI OF TREUENBERG (Verona- Prague)

Court Jew and financier. He and his brother Samuel were instrumental in buying 34 houses and expanding the Jewish quarter of Prague. Bassevi intervened time and again, to help the Jewish communities in Bohemia and Italy He raised the money ( mostly his own), to fund the release of Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller in 1629. After the death of Charles of Lichtenstein, he lost favor and was forced to flee Prague. His property was confiscated by the Emperor Ferdinand II (1578-1637).

1571 October 18, MEXICO

An Inquisition was set up that remained in force until the end of the eighteenth century. During that period, 1,500 persons were convicted of being judaizantes (someone who practices Judaism). Aproximately 200 were either burned at the stake or died before being convicted. A similar number were sentenced to jail terms.


After the Inquisition was convened that year, it was no longer possible for Jews to live in the Low Countries.

1574 February 28, MEXICO

The first official Auto da Fe in the New World was held after the establishment of the Inquisition 5 years earlier. The first unofficial Auto da Fe was actually held in 1528 when the conquistador, Hernando Alonso, was executed.

1575 January 8, AUTO DA FE AT SEVILLE (Spain)

Many Conversos were among the victims of this Auto da Fe.


Finished his major work Reshit Chochmah (The Beginning of Knowledge). De Vidas was a student of Moses Cordovero (see 1522) in Safed. His Reshit Chochmah synthesized ethical and moral teaching with Kabbalah. Written in an easy and understandable style, it became very popular.


Published his Me'or Einayim (Enlightenment to the Eyes). Written after surviving a strong earthquake in Ferrara, it was the first Jewish historical work to base itself on secular as well as Jewish sources, quoting over 100 secular authorities. De Rossi examined talmudic legends with a critical eye and believed that they were not written necessarily as an absolute historical truth. He delved deeply into the chronology of events, comparing Jewish and secular sources. Needless to say his book was controversial. It was severely criticized by Joseph Caro and Judah Loew b. Bezalel of Prague, among others, who believed in the unqualified truth of the talmudic legends. This led to a banning of the book which lasted more then 100 years.

1578 - 1648 (27 Av 5408) JOSHUA HESHEL BEN JOSEPH (Cracow, Poland)

Rabbi and halachist. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he believed that halacha should be determined by facts and that one could arrive at a different ruling than the Shulchan Aruch. His works include the Megeinei Shlomo on the Talmud and the Pnai Yehoshua on the Shulchan Aruch.


Due to the difficulty of importing Jewish books from abroad and the major censorship of the Talmud by pope Pius IV, King Batory granted Kalonymus Ben Mordecai Jaffe the right of printing Jewish books in Lublin. This lead to greater competition between the polish printing houses and those of Venice and Prague.

1579 - 1654 (6 Elul 5414) YOM TOV LIPMANN HELLER (Wallerstein-Cracow, Poland)

Scholar and historian. He served as the rabbi of many communities including Nikolburg, Vienna and Prague. Heller was very active in community affairs, and because of this was once denounced as an author of anti-Christian writings. Although the charges were baseless (he had written about idolaters during the time of the Temple), he was forced to move. He is best known for his commentary on the Mishna called Tosaphot Yom Tov (Supplements of Yom Tov). He later became Rabbi of Cracow.

1580 DOM ANTONIO (Prior of Crato) (Portugal)

Laid claim to the Portuguese throne after Henry II died without leaving an heir. Dom Antonio was the grandson of King Manual, whose son Dom Luiz married a Converso. King Phillip II of Spain quickly annexed Portugal. A French, and later English expedition backed by Converso funds, to take Portugal, ended in failure. Antonio later blamed the Marrano community for his failure and turned against them, especially against Roderigo Lopez (see 1525) accusing him of treason.

1580 - 1651 HAVA BACHRAH (Bacarach) (Prague)

The granddaughter of R. Judah Loew ben Bezalel (the Maharal) of Prague (1525–1609), she was renowned for her knowledge and teaching, especially the Bible with its commentaries and Apocrypha . Her husband Samuel the Rabbi of Worms, was killed during a pogrom in 1615 and she never remarried. Hava's grandson Yair Hayyim Bacharach named his responsa (published in 1699) Havot Yair in acknowledgment of her scholarship .

1580 DAVID ABRABANEL (Netherlands)

Was born. In 1569 His family was massacred by the Spanish as they sailed to the new world but David managed to survive and joined the royal Navy He won fame as a privateer attacking Spanish vessels. He was known as “Captain Davis” and named his ship Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). Abrabanel was purportedly one of the people who discovered Easter Island.


Translated a report regarding the Wiener Gesera (see 1421) into Yiddish. This was an early effort to provide historical literature in Yiddish. It was republished in Cracow in 1609. Other tragedy's such as blood libels also made their way into this branch of literature. rn

1586 October 22, POPE SIXTUS V (Italy)

Gregory's successor. He revoked Gregory's policies allowing Jews to reside in the Papal states and to print the Talmud. These policies were reinstated upon his death and lasted until 1870.

1586 - 1677 (26 Shvat 5427) DAVID BEN SAMUEL HALEVI (Poland)

Called the Taz after his commentary, Turai Zahav (Rows of Gold). This, together with works by the Bach (Joel Sircus 1650), and the Rama (Moses Isserles 1520-1572), formed the most important halachic commentaries upon which most of modern halacha is based.


Was defeated by England. Spain's position was significantly weakened. As a by-product, the Inquisition was less powerful, especially in the Netherlands.

1590 - 1640 URIEL ACOSTA/Da Acosta (Amsterdam, Holland)

A descendant of a Converso family, he was raised as a Christian and became chief treasurer of an abbey. Acosta decided to return to Judaism after studying the Old Testament. He fled to Amsterdam, where he grew disillusioned and attacked Jewish tradition. He was excommunicated, reinstated and excommunicated again. He found the disciplinary penance offered him in the presence of the congregation too difficult and committed suicide.

1590 - 1670 ASNAT BARAZANI MIZRAHI (Mosul, Iraq)

Scholar and teacher. The daughter of Samuel b. Netanel Ha-Levi of Kurdistan a distinguished Rabbi and educator who built a yeshiva in Mosul. As his only child they studied together and soon she became renown for her knowledge. She was know as the Tanna’it the feminine version of Taanai - a rabbinical teacher , rather than “rabbi”. Her marriage contract to Rabbi Jacob Mizrahi stipulated that she did not have to do any housework, and could spend her time studying. After her father's death she became the Rosh Yeshiva ( Academy Director), and was considered one of the leaders of Kurdistan Jewry. She was asked by the community of Baghdad to choose her best student to send to them as the Rabbinical leader. Her decedents continued to play important roles as rabbinical scholars.

1592 ESTHER CHIERA (Ottoman Empire)

Was executed along with one of her sons by the Sultan Murad III's cavalry. Esther, the wife of a Jewish merchant, was known as a Chiera or Kiera, the title given to the women in charge of all relations (including commercial) between the wives in the sultan's royal harem and the outside world. Esther was extremely influential with Safiyeh, the favorite wife of the Sultan. Jealousy on the part of other ministers and the desire of the Sultan for her assets led to their arrest (officially for interfering in a military appointment) and execution, with all their possessions and property going to the Sultan.

1592 LONDON (England)

Synagogue services were held privately in a house owned by Solomon Abenaes (Alvaro Mendes, Duke of Mitylene). He was then in negotiation with the English court over an Anglo-Turkish alliance against Spain. (see 1520)

1592 - 1641 SARA COPIA SULLAM (Italy)

Poet and writer. She spoke Hebrew, Italian, Greek, and Latin. Copia Sullam became friendly with Ansaldo Cebŕ a famed monk and author of L’Ester. He eventually professed his love for her and urged her leave her husband and covert. Despite her admiration for him, she refused him on both counts. In 1621, she was accused of not believing in the immortality of the soul, which is considered heresy. She defended herself in "The Manifesto of Sara Copia Sulam". None of her Christian admirers or friends spoke out for her.

1592 February 28, BULL CUM SAEPE ACCIDERE ( "As often happens")

Was published by Pope Clement VIII. It prohibited Jews in Avignon (which was a papal state) from trading in new goods. This, in order to put them in an economically disadvantaged position.

1593 November 23, BUCHAREST (Romania)

As part of his revolt against the Turks, Prince Michael the Brave ordered the massacre of Jews and Turks. Since most of the local Jews were also Turkish citizens, his murder of the Jews also won support from the local merchants who resented Jewish competition.


Issued papal bull Caeca et Obdurata Hebraeorum perfidia (The blind and obdurate perfidy of the Hebrews) , expelling the Jews from all Papal states except Rome and Ancona, and thus revoking the bull Christiana pietas (1586) of his predecessor Pope Sixtus . The Jews had three months to leave.He also confirming an earlier bull of Pope Paul III Cum Nimis Absurdum ( 1555) which established the Jewish ghetto in Rome.

1598 August, AMSTERDAM (Holland)

The first Jewish (Converso) wedding in Amsterdam was celebrated. Both the groom, Duarte Saravina, and the bride, Maria Nunez, were recent refugees. There is a legend which relates that Maria was originally captured by an English ship but freed on the orders of Queen Elizabeth, who noted her beauty and offered to let her remain in England. Maria refused to give up her Jewish beliefs and made her way with the other passengers to Amsterdam.

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.

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.

1604 - 1657 (20 Kislev 5418) MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL (Holland)

A Converso 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 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.


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).

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.

1610 - 1695 (4 Iyar 5458) JACOB SASPORTAS (Oran, Morocco-Amsterdam, Holland)

Kabbalist and rabbi and a fierce opponent of Shabbetai Zevi. He served as envoy to the Spanish court in Morocco and later became head of the yeshiva in Amsterdam. In his battle against Sabbatianism he produced Tsitsit Novel Zvi in which he collected vast material, including pamphlets and letters, and answered it in detail.

1614 August 24, FRANKFURT (Germany)

The Jews were allowed to leave but without any property. 1,380 Jews left. To the credit of some of the Christian inhabitants, many Jews were given shelter in neighboring small communities.

1615 April 23, FRANCE

Louis XIII decreed that all Jews must leave France within one month on pain of death.

1615 PADUA (Italy)

Despite church protests, non-Catholics were officially allowed to study at the university famed for its medical facilities, though at a far higher fee then regular students. Though it was rare, some Jews succeeded in attending by paying heavily for the right, the first being Benaia di Nigro in 1409. It is estimated that during the 16th and 17th centuries approximately 10% of the student body was Jewish.

1616 March 10, (20 Adar 5376) FRANKFURT (Germany)

Fettmilch (see 1614) was hanged. That day is commemorated as a feast day known as "Purim Winz" (Purim of Vincent)by the Frankfurt community, with the reading of the Megillat Vinz composed by Elhanan b. Abraham Helin.

1616 GRODNO, (Belarus-formerly Poland-Lithuania)

Jesuits arrived and accused the Jews of blood orgies and host desecrations.

C. 1617 - 1687 ISAAC (BALTAZAR) OROBIO DE CASTRO (Spain- Netherlands)

Professor of philosophy and physician. Denounced to the inquisition by a servant, he spent 3 years under torture without admitting to practicing Judaism. Forced to leave Spain, he became a professor of pharmacy in Toulouse. De Castro settled in Amsterdam in 1662 where he took the name Isaac and became active in the Jewish community. He published a number of books defending Judaism against Christianity, and one against Spinoza.

1618 - 1638 THIRTY YEARS WAR (Europe)

Between Catholic and Protestant forces in Europe. The fighting centered around Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands (Ferdinand II of Spain vs. Christian IV of Denmark). In Vienna, Jews suffered during the occupation of Imperial soldiers. Throughout many towns in Germany and Moravia, the Jewish population was expelled, which resulted in thousands of refugees fleeing to Cracow and other Polish cities. After the war, owing to the general destruction and decline of the local populations, France, Moravia, and Germany encouraged foreigners- including Jews - to settle and help rebuild their economies.

1618 - C. 1685 DAVID CONFORTE (Salonika)

Rabbi and literary Historian , known for his Kore Ha-Dorot a record of authors from post-Talmudic times until his own. It included an alphabetical list of Rabbis during the tosafist period ( 1100-1328). Although it is not an original work in itself, its importance lies in his use of many sources which are no longer extant.

1619 - 1720 (10 Shvat 5470) RABBI SHALOM SHABAZI (Elshabizi) (Yemen)

Poet, talmudist, and community leader. Shabazi was born in Southern Yemen where he worked as a weaver. Shabazi is most famous as a poet, with almost half the poems in the Yemenite diwan being his. Approximately 550 of his poems and hymns are still in existence, written in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic. Although he lived in poverty, he was recognized as a spiritual leader and an astute politician, especially during the expulsion of the Jews from Saana in 1679. The local ruler captured his daughter, Shima, but she preferred death to being forced to live with him.

1621 April, SIR HENRY FINCH (England)

Called to restore the Jews to their homeland. Finch (1558-1625), the legal advisor to King James I was arrested after publication of his treatise "The World's Great Restoration", Sir Henry predicted that Jews will once again soon have their own land and a worldwide empire with it. Needless to say, King James was less than enthralled, especially as it implied that the present rulers would have to pay homage to the Jewish king, and forced him to recant any parts which could be construed to not supporting the monarch.

1621 - 1663 (1 Adar I 5422) SHABBETAI BEN MEIR HACOHEN (Vilna, Lithuania)

One of the most well known and important commentators on the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah) in which he explained and clarified rather than criticized Joseph Caro. His work is called Siftei Hacohen (Lips of the Priest) or the Shach for short. A lively competition developed between him and David ben Shmuel Halevy (1586), author of the commentary Turei Zahav (Taz). Each wrote replies and rebuttals to the other's works. Most of the Polish/Lithuanian rabbis ruled according to the Shach while those of Germany went according to David Halevy. He and Yom Tov Heller wrote litanies for those killed by Chmielniki (1648), which he described in his Megillat Eichah (1651). He fled Vilna in 1655 and became a rabbi in Moravia.

1622 November 25, KING CHRISTIAN IV (Denmark)

In a letter to the Amsterdam Jewish council he promised "privileges" to Jews, including freedom of worship for those settling in his country. Denmark became the first of three Scandinavian countries to permit Jews to settle there.

1625 October 23, POPE URBAN VIII

Decreed that Jews should be buried in unmarked graves. Pope Urban VIII (1568-44) also ordered per-existing tombstones to be removed or destroyed.

1625 - 1693 (10 Adar 5453) GERSHON ASHKENAZI (Austria)

Rabbi and preacher. Ashkenazi served as chief Rabbi of Austria until the expulsion of 1670. His responsa, Avodat HaGershuni dealt with a wide range of Halacha. Much of what we know about the Chmielniki massacres are based on this work. A prolific writer, he also composed Tiferet HaGershuni, which was comprised of his sermons on the Torah, and Chidushei HaGershuni on Halacha.

1625 - 1647 ISAAC CASTRO TARTAS (France - Portugal)

Born in France to a Converso family ,he traveled to Amsterdam and then Brazil where he was recognized , arrested, and taken to Lisbon for trial. This despite the fact that he was a Dutch citizen. He was convicted and burnt at the stake on December 15,1647, refusing to recant his belief in Judaism. As the flames were lit, he recited in a loud voice the Shema prayer. His public act served as an inspiration for many other Conversos.

1626 MA'AVAR YABOK (Mantua Italy)

Was published by Aaron Berechiah ben Moses of Modena (d.1639), an Italian Kabbalist. Ma'avar Yabok ( the Yabok River Crossing) was written for the Mantua burial society ( chevra kadisha ), and included customs and prayers that are still in use today. He wrote other works including Me'il tzedaḳah (The Cloak of Righteousness) on worship and Ashmoret haBoḳer (The Watches of the Morning) on prayers to be cited in the morning.

1627 January 12, AMSTERDAM (Holland)

The first Jewish printing press in the Netherlands was set up by Menasseh ben Israel. Its first publication was a prayer book in the Sepharadic tradition.

1628 MOSES COHEN HENRIQUES (Bay of Matanzas Cuba )

A Jewish pirate, he helped the Dutch capture large part of a Spanish treasure fleet. The treasure is estimated to have been worth over 11.5 million guilders (close to 1 billion dollars today). For a while he ran his own pirate island off the coast of South America. When the Portuguese retook the area he escaped. Henriques became an adviser to the pirate Henry Morgan who later as Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica granted him citizenship in Jamaica on November 18, 1681.

1630 March 14, PRZEMYSL (Poland)

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

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.

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.

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.

1641 (22 Tamuz 5478) - 1718 SHABBTAI BEN JOSEPH (BASS) (Kalish - Prague, Bohemia)

Scholar, publisher and printer, he was also fluent on Latin. Known as the father of the Hebrew bibliography, he was the author of Siftei Yeshainim (Lips of the Sleepers) containing over 2000 categorized titles. A biblical commentator and scholar of repute, his Siftei Chachamim ( Lips of the Sages) a concise analysis of Rashi is printed today in most Bibles with commentaries. Shabbtai fought to set up a printing house and finally succeeded in doing so near Breslau. He was jailed numerous times when accused by local Church leaders of printing anti-Christian material. His printing house, founded in 1689, lasted for over 150 years. One of the reasons for his name was the beauty of his voice. He was also known as "The Singer ( Meshorer ), for his part in the choir of the Altneuschul in Prague .

1644 July 25, LOPE DE VERA (Judah the Believer) (Spain)

A brilliant young Christian scholar who was drawn to Judaism by the outrages of the Inquisition. He was arrested in Valladolid for his inclinations toward Judaism. During his five years in prison he resisted all attempts to get him to change his ways. He changed his name to Judah the Believer and even circumcised himself with a bone. On July 25, 1644 he was burned alive for refusing to yield to the Inquisition. He chanted Hebrew prayers during the procession. Even while the flames were burning he was heard reciting the psalm "Unto thee oh Lord do I lift my soul". The Inquisitor Mirezo wrote: "He was the greatest Jewish heretic that I think has been in the church."


A converso Portuguese traveler, arrived in Amsterdam. Montezinos (1604-1648) persuaded Menasseh Ben Israel (see 1604), that he had found one of the Ten Lost Tribes living in the jungles of the "Quito (Pichincha) Province" of Ecuador . This was the impetus that led him to write Mikveh Israel (1648) published in English as The Hope of Israel (1652) which had a great influence on both the British parliament and public.


Began led by Portuguese catholic planters and supported by Portugal. During the war many Jews both Sephardi and Ashkenazi fought on the side of the Dutch. In one case 13 Jewish soldiers were hung and their Jewish captain burned alive by the Portuguese. Approximately 1450 Jews lived in Brazil in 1645, by 1654 less than half remained. 1647-1648 PRIVATEERING AGAINST PORTUGAL Due to the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652 54, the Netherlands did not have a fleet to spare for the war against Portugal in Brazil. The Zeelanders (a Netherland Provence) backed by the Jewish community organized a massive privateer campaign against Portuguese shipping. Though initially very successful (220 ships captured or sunk), the Portuguese began to send heavily armed escorts to protect their ships which lessened their effect.

1647 December 15, ISAAC DE CASTRO TARTAS (Portugal)

Was burned at the stake in Lisbon. Originally born in France, where his parents had found refuge, he decided to travel to Bahia which was under Portuguese control. There he was arrested for ‘judaizing’ and sent to Lisbon for trial. Although a Dutch citizen, he was condemned when he steadfastly refused to accept Christianity. While being burned alive, he cried out the words of Shemah Yisrael... (Here oh Israel...) with such fervor and inner calm, that the local witnesses repeated the words to their friends. The inquisition became so obsessed with this that it banned Christians from repeating the words of Shema. He was twenty-one years old.


Due to the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652 54, the Netherlands did not have a fleet to spare for the war against Portugal in Brazil. The Zeelanders (a Netherlands Provence) backed by the Jewish community organized a massive privateer campaign against Portuguese shipping. Though initially very successful (220 ships captured or sunk), the Portuguese began to send heavily armed escorts to protect their ships which lessened their effect.


Bitterness over forced Catholicism by the Jesuits and the unscrupulous taxes collected (some by Jews) for the nobles set the stage for the Cossack uprising. During the reign of Vladislav IV, the Zaporozhin Cossacks lived in a semi-autonomous kingdom called Sitch. Led by their leader - or Hetman - Chmielniki, they decided to fight to establish an autonomous Ukraine with the Cossack leaders as the new aristocracy. Their victories over the Polish army encouraged the serfs to join them. The Jews were even more hated than the Poles and were massacred in almost every town. In the ten tumultuous years that followed, over seven hundred Jewish communities were destroyed and between 100,000-500,000 Jews lost their lives. This helped give rise to the messianic movement which soon followed.

1648 June 24, TULCZYN (Poland)

An agreement between the 2,000 Jews and 600 Christians of Tulczyn to defend it at all costs succeeded in preventing the Cossacks from capturing the town. Kryvonos, the Cossack leader, contacted the local governor and offered to leave the Poles alone if he gave them the Jews. The Jews found out about the plan and only through the intervention of leader Rabbi Aaron (who feared reprisals) persuaded them not to kill the local leaders. Instead, Rabbi Aaron convinced the governor to take a high ransom and give it to the Cossacks. Kryvonos accepted the ransom, entered the town, killed most of the Jews and then killed the Poles for betraying the Jews. For the most part, during the entire war, the Poles and the Jews were uneasy allies against the Cossacks.


A former Spanish diplomat, he decided after moving to Hamburg to return to Judaism and had himself and his sons circumcised. Despite a vicious denunciation by the Viennese court, the Hamburg senate refused to confiscate his property and wealth. Teixeira founded the international banking house that became known as Teixeira de Mattos. In 1655 he was appointed by Sweden as its local diplomatic and financial minister. Teixeira was active in the Jewish community and helped build the new Sephardic synagogue in Hamburg.

1649 April 11, MEXICO

The largest Auto da Fe in the New World was held with 109 victims. All but one of them were accused of Judaizing. It was the largest number of Jews ever convicted in the New World. Thirteen were burned alive and 57 in effigy. Of the thirteen, twelve "repented" and so were garroted before being burned. Tomas Trevino, whose mother and wife had also been killed by the Inquisition, refused. For the most part this ended the prominence of crypto-Jews in Mexico.

1649 JOHN CASIMIR (Poland)

Ascended the Polish throne and negotiated a truce with Chmielniki. One of the Provisions included the expulsion of all Jews in Cossack lands. However, Casimir did allow forcibly converted Jews to return to Judaism.


Dedicated the Latin edition of his book The Hope of Israel to the English Parliament. Menasseh asserted in his book that the American Indians were the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes.


First wave of immigration. The Jewish population rose to ten thousand.


The first group of Jews led by Joao de Yllan from Portugal tried to settle on this island, which was captured by the Dutch in 1634 from the Spanish. The effort failed due to the difficult agricultural conditions, and special restrictions placed by the West India company regarding trade and the use of slaves on plantations. The next attempt in March 1659 succeeded with a group of around 50 Jews led by Isaac Da Costa. A cemetery was set up, and in 1732 a synagogue was built which they named "Mikve Yisrael". Isaac was the nephew of Uriel Acosta/Da Costa (see 1590).

1652 December 1, MANUEL FERNANDES VILLAREAL (Portugal)

One of the foremost diplomats and men of letters of his day, he was garroted by the Inquisition. Villareal, who served as the council general in Paris, was a friend of Cardinal Richelieu and an author of some reknown. On a visit to Lisbon he was arrested and accused of practicing Judaism, which he did not deny.


A Protestant pastor, he wrote the first complete history of the Jews. This later served as a basis for the works of Jost and Graetz.


Published Yeven Metzolah (Pit of Mire) based on eyewitness accounts of the Chmielniki pogroms. It was translated into many languages, including English ("Abyss of Despair", 1950).

1654 January 26, PORTUGAL

With the capture of Pernambuco (Recife) from the Dutch, Portugal retook Peru and Brazil. The Jews, having fought on the side of the Dutch, fled by the hundreds to North America, especially to New Amsterdam.

1654 June 29, CUENCA (Spain)

57 Conversos were taken to the Auto da Fe; ten were burned to death. One of them, Balthasar Lopez, announced as he was taken to the stake "I don't believe in Christ even if you bind me." He had returned recently from Bayonne to persuade his nephew to return to Judaism when he was captured by the Inquisition.

1654 CZAR ALEXIS (Russia)

Joined with Charles X of Sweden and Chmielniki to attack White Russia and Lithuania. The Cossack region was annexed by the Moscovite Empire.

1654 - 1696 MOSES IBN HABIB (Salonika- Eretz-Israel)

Rabbi and Halachist. In 1689 Ibn Habib (Chaviv) became the Rishon LeZion (Sephardic chief Rabbi of Israel), and the head of a major yeshiva in Jerusalem. His Halachic expertise lay in the area of marriage and divorce. His major works, Get Pashut and Ezrat Nashim, relate to the problem of agunot . Agunot refers to a Jewish woman who is "chained" to her marriage, either because her husband is missing (on a voyage, or after a battle), or one who husband refuses to grant her a divorce. His works still serve as a cornerstone in relating to these laws. In addition, he wrote Shammot ba-Aretz, dealing with the Talmud.

1655 April 26, ENGLAND

Menasseh ben Israel was invited to London by Oliver Cromwell to negotiate the resettlement of the Jews. William Prynne succeeded in officially postponing the resettlement for a couple of years. Cromwell's change of heart was partly due to the rise of Puritanism, which emphasized literal application of the Old Testament.

1655 April 26, THE WEST INDIA COMPANY (North American Colonies)

Refused to accept Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant's request to ban the settling of Jews in New Amsterdam. In their letter, they relate to the "large amounts of capital which the Jews have invested in the shares of this company" therefore "these people (Portuguese Jews) may travel and trade...live and remain there provided the poor shall not become a burden to the company or the community."

1655 August 8, RUSSIA

The Russians took Vilna. As part of the peace settlement between Chmielniki and Czar Alexis, the east bank of the Dnieper became part of the kingdom of Moscow. The Jews of Vilna were once again subject to expulsion and murder.

1655 LUBLIN (Poland)

A force comprised of Cossacks and Russians led by Peter Ivanovich offered to leave the city alone if it surrendered and paid a heavy fine. The Jews, knowing what would happen to them, paid local people to hide them. The local leaders agreed to the offer, only once they were allowed in, the local inhabitants told the Cossacks where the Jews were hiding. Two thousand were slaughtered.

1656 March 24, ENGLAND

After the outbreak of the English-Spanish war, Jews living in England petitioned Cromwell to be allowed to stay in England, insisting that they were Conversos, not Spaniards. Although Cromwell chose not to reply officially, he permitted the community to establish a Jewish Cemetery, and to have protection during prayers. His unwritten agreement was conditioned on there being no public Jewish worship. This is considered by many to mark the official end of the expulsion of the Jews from England.

1656 May 16, ENGLAND

Antonio Robles, a successful Converso merchant, had his goods confiscated at the outbreak of the war with Spain. Robles contended that he was a Portuguese "of the Hebrew nation" and not Spanish - and therefore his property should be returned to him. In this landmark case the Council decided in his favor, strengthening the position of the community and opening the door for allowing Jews to live in England as Jews.

1656 July 27, SPINOZA (Holland)

Was excommunicated in Amsterdam. Spinoza had been accused - together with Juan de Prado - of denying the being of Angels, the immortality of the soul and that the Torah was given by God. De Prado apologized but Spinoza refused to do so. The council forbade anyone to communicate with him in any fashion or to read any of his books.

1656 October 4, LECZYCA (Lenshitz, Poland)

During what was known as the Russo-Swedish wars, Jews from the surrounding area took refuge behind the city walls. The Polish army attacked after the local garrison fled to the castle, leaving the Jews to the mercy of the attacking forces. Between 2-3000 Jews were murdered and hundreds of Torah scrolls were destroyed, many of which had been brought to the city by the refugees.

1658 February 23, MARYLAND (North American Colonies)

Jacob Lumbrozo, a doctor and the first Jew known to have settled in the colony, was arrested under the Toleration Act of 1649 (act concerning religion). This act imposed the death penalty for anyone denying the basic tenants of Christianity. Though Lumbrozo was saved by a general amnesty, proclaimed by Richard Cromwell it was not until the "Jew Bill" passed in 1826 that Jews could hold public office without submitting to a Christian oath.rnrn

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).


The Dutch West India Company granted a charter to David Cohen Nassi for a Jewish settlement. The charter allowed for "freedom of conscience, public worship, synagogue, and school". This lasted only until the Dutch cession to the French in 1664. Though the French promised to continue the Dutch policy, they soon (1671) outlawed all public worship of Judaism.

1660 - 1718 (11 Iyar 5478) ZEVI ASHKENAZI, MANAH ZEVI (Moravia)

Fled Vilna on the arrival of the Cossacks. He left Buda in 1686 after his wife and sons were killed during the siege. Arriving in Sarajevo, he became the rabbi and started a school in Alfona. Zevi served as rabbi in Amsterdam, London and Lemberg, and was an opponent of Shabbetai Zevi. His son, Yaakov Emden, later became a famous scholar and was involved in a controversy over Shabbetai Zevi with Jonathan Eybeshutz.

1660 - 1742 EZRA HA-BAVLI (Iraq)

Rabbi and Hebrew poet. Ha-Bavli had a extraordinary knowledge of the Bible, and Talmud. He was renowned for his Tokhaḥot Musar(Moralistic Reproofs) an ethical guide and Netivot Shalom ( Paths of Peace), which included moral rebukes, sermons, and interpretations of the bible.

1660 September, CAYENNE ISLAND (present French Guyana)

A boat with Jews from Amsterdam and Brazil tried to land. The Dutch governor Jan Classen Langedijk refused them permission. This despite that a charter had been signed between the West India Company David Nassy on September 12 1659, allowing for the establishment of a Jewish community. The governor also tried to extort money making false claims against the group. Only following the intervention of the local population (including the Indians), did he relent. One of their most successful products was vanilla extract. The capture of the island by the French just 4 years later, spelled the end of the prospering community.

1663 December 13, MATTATHIAS CALAHORA (Poland)

A renowned physician and scholar, had been accused by Friar Servatius of being the author of an anti Christian pamphlet found in a Dominican church and written in German. The Cracow court condemned him to death. His lips were cut off , his tongue cut out, and then burned alive. His ashes were dispersed to prevent him from having a proper Jewish burial. Despite this, enough of his remains were found for a burial to take place. He did not know any German.


The Sephardi community drew up regulations for Jewish communal organizations. They were known as the Ascamot or Agreement. The original document was written in Portuguese. One of the regulations against the founding of another synagogue was later to cause controversy.

1665 May 31, SHABBETAI ZEVI (Ottoman Empire)

Under the coaching of Nathan of Gaza, he proclaimed himself the Messiah.

1665 August 17, SURINAM

The small colony, recently occupied by the English, gave full rights to the Jews (mostly Spanish and Portuguese refugees) to practice Judaism and run their own affairs. This remarkably liberal charter was transferred over to the Dutch when they conquered the colony as a means of encouraging the Jews to remain.

1666 September 14, SHABBETAI ZEVI (Ottoman Empire)

The Sultan, aware that by killing Shabbetai Zevi would turn him into a martyr, "convinced" Zevi that converting to Islam was in his best interest. On this day, he was brought before the Sultan where be took off his Jewish head dress and replaced it with Turkish turban. The repercussions of his conversion sent shock waves throughout the Jewish world and were to be felt for many years. Some of his followers claimed that it wasn't really him who converted. Others professed that, by going to Islam to redeem them as well, he had proved that he was the Messiah.

1666 December 9, EXCOMMUNICATION OF NATHAN OF GAZA (Constantinople)

Shabbetai Zevi's foremost "prophet" was excommunicated by the rabbinical council in Constantinople.

1668 October 23, BARBADOS

The local British colonists passed "Jewish laws,” Theses determined where Jews could live and what commerce they could engage in, including a ban on retail trading.. Jews were forbidden from owning more than one slave, or employing Christians which prevented them from running a plantation. The Laws remained in effect until 1802.

1670 February 28, VIENNA (Austria)

Leopold I ordered Jews to be expelled within a few months. Although Leopold was reluctant to lose the large amount of taxes (50,000 Florins) paid by the Jews, he was persuaded to do so by Margaret, the daughter of, Phillip IV, the Spanish Regent and a strong follower of the Jesuits. (see 1630, Samuel Oppenheimer). Margaret blamed the death of her firstborn on the tolerance shown to the Jews.The last Jews left on the 9th of Av.

1671 May 21, FREDERICK WILLIAM "THE HOHENZOLLERN" (The Great Elector) (Germany)

Became the Margrave of Brandenburg. On September 10 of that year, he re-admitted 50 wealthy Jewish families from Austria to the capital, Berlin. Although they were permitted to live and trade where they wished, they had to pay a protection tax of 8 Thalers per person per year and a gold florin for every wedding and funeral. In addition, Jews were not allowed to sell their houses to other Jews, and were permitted to have prayer rooms, but no synagogues.

1672 September 23, SATANOW (Poland)

One of the few Polish towns to have escaped harm was captured by the Cossacks.

1673 February 11, ENGLAND

According to the Conventicle Act of 1664, any prayer meeting of more the five persons that was not according to the Book of Common Prayer would be considered seditious. The act had been originally designed as a device against the Puritans, but soon Jews were prosecuted as well. The Jews requested from the King to either be allowed freedom of worship or to be allowed to leave the country with their possessions. Charles II ordered the Attorney General to desist from prosecuting the "offenders".

1678 YEMEN

Iman-Ahmed he Hassan offered Jews the choice of either converting or being expelled to a hot barren land near Aden known as Mawza. The iman also closed all synagogues and prohibited public prayer by Jews. They were allowed to return one year later, though it is estimated that 2/3 of them did not survive the year. Upon their return, they found their homes occupied by Moslems. Many of the smaller communities disappeared and were not rebuilt. Among the exiles was Shalem (Shalom) Shabazi, who wrote over 550 historical, ethical and religious poems. He is considered the greatest Yemenite Jewish poet.

1679 JOSEPH ATHIAS (Amsterdam)

Published a Yiddish translation of the Bible. He began his printing house in 1658.

1680 June 30, MADRID (Spain)

An Auto da Fe was held in honor of the marriage of Carlos II to Louis Marie d'Orleans. It lasted 14 hours and was the last time that a "royal" Auto was held. The king himself set light to the quemadero (burning place). His successor, Philip V, refused the "honor".

1680 - 1756 (14 Shvat 5516) JACOB JOSHUA FALK (Cracow-Galicia-Eastern Europe)

Known by the name of his most popular novellae work, Penai Yehoshua (Face of Joshua) on the Talmud (not to be confused with Joshua Heshel Ben Joseph's Pnai Yehosuah on the Shulchan Aruch 1578). After the death of his wife and family in a fire, he decided to apply himself totally to his studies and accepted the post of rabbi in Lemberg. There he fought against the influence of Sabbatianism. He also wrote Sefer Minchat Ani on the Talmud, and Klal Gadol, which deals with the idea of a majority in halachic issues.


A Jewish guide book written in Yiddish, was published by Shabbtai Ben Joseph Bass (see 1641). It included currency rates, weights and measures, as well as distances between cities, and special prayers for the traveler.rn

1682 May 10, LISBON (Portugal)

The largest Judaizing trial was held in Lisbon: 117 persons were judged within three days. One penitent included Anna Rodriguez of Chaves, who was 97.

1683 July 14, UHERSKY BROD (Moravia - Eastern Europe)

Hungarian rebels known as Kuruc attacked the town, killing most of its Jewish inhabitants. Many of the Jews were recent refugees expelled from Vienna in 1670. One of the victims was the Rabbi and Kabbalist, Nathan Nata Hannover, who had survived the Chmielniki attacks. He was the author of Yeven MeZulah, which dealt with Chmielnicki's massacres and Sha'arei Ziyyon, a collection of prayers for Tikun Hazot. The survivors fled to Hungary.

1684 August 20, PADUA (Italy)

Attack on the ghetto. During the war between Venice and Turkey, the Jews were accused of praying for the Turks during their attack on Buda (today: Budapest, Hungary). In actuality, it was the 9th of Av and all the Jews were in the synagogue mourning the destruction of the Temple. Soon after, the attack on the ghetto began. When the gates were opened to allow for an emissary to the Duke to leave, the crowd rushed in. As soon as the authorities heard about the disturbances, an order to forcibly curb them was given. The day of the order (10 Elul) became a day of thanksgiving, or Purim Buda.

C. 1685 - 1732 JACOB CULI (Eretz Israel-Turkey)

Rabbi and commentator. In addition to his own writings Culi helped edit and publish the writing of the Chief Rabbi of Constantinople, Judah Rosanes (Parashat Derakhim), as well as the works of his grandfather, Moses ibn Habib. Yet his real fame lies in his easy-to-read commentary on the Bible that was originally written in Ladino, Me-Am Lo'ez. This enormously popular commentary brought to the masses, who didn't understand Hebrew, the Midrashic anecdotes and folklore behind each Torah portion. Although he only published a small amount of it in his lifetime, others took up his notes and completed the work after his death. It was later translated into Hebrew and even into English.

1685 CODE NOIR (Martinique)

Instigated by the French Jesuit governor Count de Blenac The “Black Code” was signed by King Louis XIV. According to the code, all Jews had to leave French held territories within three months or forfeit their property.

1686 JUDAH BEN ELEAZAR (Riba) (Persia)

Published Hovot Yehudah (Duties of Judah) dealing with faith and philosophy. Ben Eleazar was a physician, philosopher and astronomer, He was evidently forced to “convert” to Islam along with most of the community during the reign of Shah Abbas the second of the Safavid dynasty (1656-1662). Upon the Shah’s death, they were permitted to return to publicly practicing Judaism. He also produced works on astronomy and medicine.

1687 December 5, JACOB AND DAVID ROBLES ( New York City)

Petitioned for the granting of a “letter of denization” (rights of a settler) which would allow them both an exemption of imported property tax, and the ability to own and farm land.

1689 June 22, PRAGUE (Bohemia)

The Jewish quarter was destroyed by French troops who shelled the area. In one synagogue the roof caved in, killing the 100 people who had sought refuge there. Most of the population was taken in by their Christian neighbors until new shelters were built.


Fighting erupted between the English and French along the northern border of New York. One of the first Jews known to have fought under the British flag was Joseph Isacks. Isacks, a butcher from New York, was an active member of the synagogue until his death at age 78.

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. He was proficient in several languages, wrote poetry, and promoted the study of Hebrew and science. Eybeshutz ostensibly 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.


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."


Was published. The first Haggadah to include copper engravings and a map. The illustrator and cartographer was Abraham ben Jacob Hagar (1393-1714 ) who converted to Judaism. His map of the land of Israel in the Haggadah one of the earliest printed maps of the holy land. Hagar is also said to have made the engravings for Hurowitz's Sheni Luchot Habrit (1565).

1696 December 24, EVORA (Portugal)

A provincial capital of Portugal, it had been an important center for Converso 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.

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.

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 RITUAL MURDER LIBEL (Sandomierz, Poland)

Aaron Berek the Parnas (leader) of the Jewish community was accused of the ritual murder of a Christian child by Father Stefan Żuchowski. After being dismissed by the lower courts it was brought to the Lublin Supreme Court where the accusation was upheld and Berek was executed. This incident became a model for many blood accusations in Poland over the next century. After the execution a Christian women confessed that she had thrown the body of her illegitimate child into his courtyard.

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)


Was fought between a coalition of Russia, Denmark-Norway and Saxony-Poland (from 1715 also Prussia and Hanover) vs. Sweden. Czar Peter I and King Augustus II eventually defeated Charles II of Sweden and Stanislaus Leszczynski (the Pretender). Jews were forced by both sides to pay heavy taxes, especially in the cities occupied by the Swedes. In Poznan (1704), Jews were forced to defend the city by catching firebombs with their hands.

C. 1700 - 1766 (7 Sivan 5520 second day of Shavuot) ISRAEL BEN ELIEZER (THE BAAL SHEM TOV) (Medzibezh, Poland-Lithuania)

Founder of the Hasidic movement. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by the Jewish community and spent much of his time alone in the nearby forests. After he married, he moved to the Carpathian Mountains and then to a small town where his wife set up an inn. At age 36, he revealed himself to the community as a healer and a comforter. He received the name "Baal Shem Tov" (Master of the Good Name) and was simply called the "Besht". His major philosophy consisted of worshipping G-d with joy and believing that simple prayers, when uttered in earnest, were more important that extreme intellectualization. The Besht believed that Tzaddikim, or righteous ones, were sent by G-d to guide the people. Though he left no writings of his own, he was immortalized by the often miraculous and magnified stories of his life told by his closest followers. The Baal Shem Tov did not have any children. His closest pupils set up "courts" and established Hassidic dynasties with different variances but in all adhering to the principles of Hassidism he laid down.

1703 August 28, ALEINU PRAYER BANNED (Brandenberg, Germany)

The Aleinu prayer was prohibited in much of Germany. The Aleinu, composed by Rav, one of the great Talmudists (d. 247), had been part of the ritual prayer for almost 1500 years. It served as a focal point for anti-Jewish attacks. Although the wording "For they bow down to emptiness and vanity and to a God that cannot save" was taken from Isaiah (45:20) and referred to idol worshipers, some Christian leaders claimed it was an attack on Christianity. The prayer was eventually entirely eradicated from the Ashkenazi siddur and only reprinted recently.

1704 ELLUS BAT MORDECAI (Slutsk ,Belarus)

Translated into Yiddish Maavor Yarbuk ( Crossing the Yarbuk), a kabalistic work on burial rituals written by Aaron Berechiah ben Moses ( see 1626). She was a well educated translator. She also translated a prayer book Shomrim Laboker ( Dawn Watch).


After a plague which impoverished much of the Jewish community, the local ruler decided that the plague was the fault of the Jews and ordered their expulsion and the confiscation of the synagogues. Only the payment of a huge bribe saved the community from expulsion, but it left them destitute.

1707 PETER THE GREAT (Russia)

Conquered Vilna and the Grodno province. Jews were forced to pay a fine for "not supporting" the Russians. When Karl XII "The Great" of Sweden liberated it from the Russians, the Jews again had to pay a heavy fine for not having supported the Swedes.

1707 - 1747 (26 Iyar 5507) MOSES HAYYIM LUZZATTO (Padua, Italy)

A great poet, dramatist, and above all, mystic. He became an unfortunate victim of the reaction to Sabbatianism. Under pressure from local Italian Jewish Authorities he was forced to deliver most of his writings to his teacher Isaiah Bassan and refrain from teaching Kabbala. Much of these were eventually destroyed . Luzzatto (known as the Ramchal) moved to the relative freedom of Amsterdam for a number of years and tragically died soon after his arrival in Eretz Israel. His most lasting achievements were his use of Hebrew in secular poetry and his ethical work, Mesilat Yesharim (Path of Righteous). Luzzatto also wrote two Hebrew dramas, Migdal Oz (Tower of Strength) and La-Yesharim (Praise to the Righteous) and a collection of 150 hymns.rn

1709 LIBLIKE TEFILLEH … ( Delightful Prayer..)

A unique prayer book was published by Aron ben Samuel of Hergerhausen. It consisted not only of translated prayers, but included many of his own creation, all in Yiddish. His book was banned as heresy by many. Aron ben Samuel, is considered to be the first to use or coin the phrase muter-loshn or mamaloshen, to describe Yiddish.rn

1710 - 1772 (19 Kislev 5532) RABBI DOV BER (the Maggid) OF MEZHIRECH (Poland)

The Besht's (Baal Shem Tov)most brilliant disciple, he provided his teachings with a firmer foundation. He was the first of the Hasidic Rebbes who held court and gave personal advice. People began to feel that the importance of the Rebbe had more to do with his family background than with his scholarship. Sons were thus able to inherit both the title and the Hasidim (followers) of their fathers. (see 1766)

1710 April 5, THE FIRST BLOOD ACCUSATION IN MOLDAVIA ( present day Romania)

Jews of the town of Targu NeamČ› (Naimtz) were accused by a baptized Jew (who actually planted the body in a Jewish courtyard) of having killed a Christian child for "ritual purposes". Five Jews were murdered , others wounded or arrested, and all the Jewish houses sacked. Only after an appeal was made to Prince Nicholas Mavrocordatos, was there an investigation which lead to the freeing of all those imprisoned. rn

1712 - 1778 JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU (Geneva, Switzerland)

One of the leaders of the Romanticists, which was a reaction to the philosophy of Rationalism. He was profoundly influenced by Spinoza (1632-77).

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

1713 - 1793 (17 5553) RABBI EZEKIEL LANDAU (Prague, Bohemia)

Brilliant talmudist and halachic authority. Landau was also unusual in that he endorsed the idea of learning math and science, and supported the traditionalist element within the Haskalah Movement. Landau helped to establish the first Jewish school in Prague. His Magnum Opus is called the Nodeh B'Yehuda, which is still very popular today. It contains eight hundred and fifty-five responsa divided into two volumes.

1713 April 11, GIBRALTAR

Was ceded to Great Britain by Spain under the Treaties of Utrecht. One clause in the treaty read, "no leave shall be given under any pretence whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar." Although in 1717 the Jews were expelled, they were readmitted permanently the following year. The new Jewish population consisted of both English citizens and Moroccan immigrants.

1715 March 12, BAVARIA (Germany)

Elector Max Emanuel ordered the expulsion of the few Jews still living in Bavaria.

1720 April 7, MADRID (Spain)

In one of the last major Auto da Fe's in Spain, twenty families were accused of meeting in a private synagogue. Five Conversos were burned alive. Over the next seven years, there were 868 cases throughout Spain. Of those cases, 75 people accused of Judaizing were taken to the Auto da Fe. (see 1752)

1720 - 1777 (10 Shvat 5537) SHALOM SHARABI (Ha-Reshash or Ha-Shemesh) (Yemen-Eretz Israel)

Jerusalem Rabbi and Kabbalist. Sharabi became head of the famous Bet El Kabbalist Yeshiva ( see 1737), succeeding Gedaliah Hayon (its founder) in 1751. His prayer book, Nehar Shalom, includes the mystical meditations on prayers and on mitzvoth (commandments). He also wrote Rehovot ha-Nahar, a commentary on Lurian Kabbalah and Emet ve-Shalom, on Hayyim Vital's Etz Hayim.

1720 - 1786 (19 Iyar 5546) ZERAH BEN MEIR EIDLITZ (Prague)

Rabbi, preacher, and mathematician. Eidlitz, a student of Jonathan Eybeshutz, was renowned for his sermons, some of which were preserved in his Or la-Yesharim. He wrote a textbook on math in both English and Hebrew called Melekhet Mahashev. Wealthy at first, he used his funds to support others. Eventually he lost all his resources but refused to accept any charity for himself.

1720 - 1797 (19 Tishrei 5558 3rd day Chol Hamoed Succot) ELIJAH BEN SOLOMON ZALMAN (the Vilna Gaon)

The greatest talmudic mind of his time. He had mastered the Bible and started on the Talmud at the age of six. Though he preferred to live in seclusion, his reputation grew until he was known as the unofficial spiritual head of Eastern European Jewry. Feeling that the Hasidim leaned toward Sabbetianism and that they were dangerously anti-intellectual, he issued a ban and excommunicated its followers. The group which opposed the Hasidim became known as the Mitnagdim (Misnagdim) or the opponents. As a scholar, he pointed the way to a systematic study of the Torah in its entirety, not just those sections relevant to practical life. He wrote over 70 commentaries on all aspects of Jewish life.

C. 1720 - C. 1805 YAHYA SALIH (Yemen)

Scholar, Rabbi and Halachic authority. Salih refused to take a salary and earned his living as a scribe (he was also a famous scribe). He is considerd the greatest Yeminate scholar, authoring numberous books on Jewish law. Among them are Meil Katan on the Shnai Luchot Habrit (ShLaH) of Horowitz (1565), Zevach Todah on the Shulchan Aruch and Peullat Tzadik, his most famous, which contains 762 responsa.

1722 MOSES FRANKFURTER ( Amsterdam)

Published Nefesh Yehudah a Yiddish translation and commentary on Isaac Aboab's Menorat ha-Ma'or( see 1400). Frankfurter (1672-1762) a dayan, printer, and scholar in his own right was criticized for writing in Yiddish rather than only in Hebrew. He defended himself by using the Talmud and the Zohar as examples of spreading Jewish knowledge in the " language of the common man". Frankfurter also edited a new edition of the Mikrot Gedolot on the Pentateuch with several new commentaries including his own, Keheliat Moshe ( the Congregation of Moses). He also wrote a commentary on the Mikhilta ,Ze Yenachameinu ( This Will Be Our Consolation),and other works.rn


Shaar Hashamayim (Gate of Heaven) was built by Isaac Netto a merchant and Rabbi, on land granted by the governor.

1724 - 1806 (11 Adar 5566) HAYIM JOSEPH DAVID AZULAI (the Chidah)

Halachist, kabbalist, emissary, and bibliographer. Azulai traveled as an emissary of the Jewish community in Eretz Israel, especially Hebron. He visited Italy, Germany, Holland, France and England. While on his travels, he visited numerous libraries, noting their contents. His is renowned for his halachic commentary on the Shulchan Aruch (Berkei Yosef) and Machzik Beracha. In addition, he kept notes on all his travels, including ideas that came to him as well as people he met. In a controversial decision, he advocated women studying the Mishnah - if they were self motivated (Tuv Ayin, no. 4) . Azulai also collected Jewish folk stories which he published in his Zichron Maasiyyot V'Nissim.

1724 JEWISH CENSUS BOHEMIA / Moravia (Czech lands)

30,000 Jews lived in Bohemia and 20,000 in Moravia. Prague had a Jewish population of between 11-13,000 people (almost 30% of the city) making it the largest Ashkenazi city in Europe. The largest Sephardic population was in Thessalonica which had approximately 18,000 Jews.

1725 - 1805 NAPHTALI HERZ WESSELY (Germany)

Poet, contributor to the HaMeassef and leader of the Haskalah (Enlightenment - Reformers) Movement.

1725 - 1812 ARYE LEIB OF SHPOLA ( Ukraine)

Early Hassidic leader, aka the Grandfather (Zaide) of Shpola. .He was considered to be a faith healer, and was known for his warm personality. He had a simple approach to worship, which clashed with others including Nachman of Brestlav and Baruch of Medzibezh.

1727 - 1792 (4 Iyar 5552) JOSEPH TEOMIM (Galicia-Germany)

Rabbi, halachic authority, and teacher. Teomim composed the Pri Migadim (Sweet Fruits), one of the most comprehensive commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch. Originally intended as a super-commentary on the Shach and Taz (on the Shulchan Aruch), he actually solved problems raised by himself. His work, accepted by all Orthodox Jews (Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Hasidic), is based on a systematic analysis of previous commentators (Rishonim) upon whom the commentators based themselves. At the same time he emphasized that his decisions are not to be taken as definitive halacha. He was an authority on grammar as well as the Talmud, and understood rudimentary logic. He also authored a commentary on the Torah entitled Rav Peninim (Many Pearls). In addition he wrote Porat Yosef and Rosh Yosef novellae to various talmudic tractates.

1729 January 22, - 1781 GOTTHOLD LESSING (Germany)

Poet, philosopher and playwright. Although a strong believing Christian, he advocated religious tolerance. His plays portrayed the Jews as decent, admirable people (Die Juden, 1749). His last play was Nathan the Wise (see 1804).

1729 September 26, - 1786 MOSES MENDELSSOHN (Dessau, Germany)

Born into an orthodox Jewish family, he was influenced by Rabbi David Hershel Frankel, whose knowledge of philosophy and Talmud was vast. At fourteen, he left on foot for Berlin, together with Frankel. There he met Gotthold Lessing, who introduced him to German literature and helped him publish his philosophical Dialogues. In 1783, Mendelssohn and his pupil, Naphtali Wessely, translated the Pentateuch into German. He served as the subject of Lessing's play Nathan the Wise and was the founder of Ha Me'assef, a Hebrew magazine. Believing in Jewish-Christian friendship, he tried to awaken secular interests in his fellow Jews and make them less alien to the Christian world. This backfired, as many of his own grandchildren converted to Christianity.

1730 - 1805 PINHAS HOROWITZ (Ba'al ha-Hafla'ah) (Poland-Germany)

Rabbi and scholar. Despite his hasidic leanings Horowitz was appointed the rabbi of Frankfurt (see 1772). There he was widely respected for his piety and his vast knowledge. His title "Ba'al ha-Hafla'ah" (author of the Sefer Hafla'ah) was based on his classical works of halachic pilpul in three volumes. Among his students was Moses Sofer (see 1762).

1733 (11 Av 5493) BAGHDAD (Persia)

Persians, trying to reoccupy Baghdad, were defeated by the Ottomans. This day is celebrated as a holiday like the day in 1638.


Oppenheimer, the finance minister (see 1698), was arrested after the sudden death of Prince Karl of Wurttemberg. He was offered a pardon if he agreed to be baptized. Although not a practicing Jew, he refused and was placed in a cage in the center of Stuttgart declaring: "I will die as a Jew. I am suffering violence and injustice." He died while shouting "Shema Yisrael."

1738 July 15, ST. PETERSBURG (Russia)

Baruch Laibov and Alexander Voznitzin were burned alive with the consent of Empress Anna Johanova. Voznitzin, a naval captain, was guilty of the crime of converting to Judaism. Laibov was guilty of helping him.

1738 ESTHER BRANDEAU ( New France )

A young Jewish woman traveled to Quebec disguised as a boy. Since Jews were prohibited from settling in New France, she was told she must convert. After a year or so of refusal, she was forcibly repatriated back to France(fall 1739). It would be another 22 years before Jews would be allowed to settle in New France.

1739 October 19, PORTUGAL

Antonio Jose da Silva, a well-known dramatist, was burned at the stake for alleged heresy. Da Silva, whose parents had also been persecuted by the Inquisition, was arrested numerous times and tortured. Although the King himself was inclined to leniency, he was burned while one of his plays was being performed in a popular theater in Lisbon.

1739 July, BARBADOS

The local synagogue, Semach David, “Offshoot of David,” was destroyed in by rioters after a non Jew was accused of theft at a wedding.

1740 - 1804 (17 Tevet 5565) JACOB WOLF KRANZ OF DUBNO (the Dubno Maggid) (Ukraine)

Scholar, preacher and author. He was renowned for his brilliant composition and use of homiletics. It is told that when the Vilna Gaon was very ill, he sent for the Dubno Maggid to read his interpretations and parables at his bedside. He settled in Vilna at the request of the Vilna Gaon. His parables on the Pentateuch were published in Ohel Yakov (Tent of Jacob).

1740 - 1809 (25 Tishrei 5770) LEVI YITZCHAK OF BERDICHEV (Russia)

A great Hasidic Rebbe, leader and scholar. He studied under Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezhirech, and became one of his close friends. Levi Yitzchak stressed the joy in serving God, emphasizing the idea of connecting to God through fervent prayer. He always accentuated the good and the positive that was in people. Levi Yitzchak composed Hasidic music and was immortalized by his vivaciously optimistic parables.

C. 1740 - 1812 BARUCH SCHICK (Shklover)

Rabbi, physician, and scientist. He began by serving as a dayan in Minsk but went to England to study medicine. Schick was asked by the Vilna Gaon to translate Euclid into Hebrew. Among his works are Kenei Midah (Criteria) on geometry, Derech Yesharah ( The Straight Path) on medicine, and Amudei Shamayim ( Pillars of Heaven) a scientific commentary on Maimonides. He believed in the importance of revitalizing Hebrew as a tool for scientific education.


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.

1743 February 23, - 1812 September 19, MAYER AMSCHEL ROTHSCHILD (Frankfurt. Germany)

Founder of the most famous Jewish banking and philanthropic dynasty. The Rothschild house influenced the economic and even political history of Europe for almost 200 years. As a young man, Rothschild met William Landgrave and joined his brokerage business in Hesse-Cassel. He slowly built his own banking business throughout Europe and left it to his five sons. He originally studied for the Rabbinate and remained religious until his death.

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.

1744 December 18, PRAGUE (Bohemia)

Empress Maria Theresa ordered the expulsion of all the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia. Due in part, to the protests of the governments of England and Holland, the decree was dropped everywhere but in Prague.

1745 May 15, EMPRESS MARIA THERESA (Prague, Bohemia)

After many appeals and petitions, she revoked her decree banishing all Jews from Moravia and Bohemia, allowing Jews to live there for an unlimited time. Only the Jews in Prague itself were still under the order. They were soon permitted to return on a restricted basis.

1745 - 1813 (24 Tevet 5573) SHNEUR ZALMAN (Lyady/Liadi, Russia)

Founded an intellectualized form of Hasidism called Habad (Chabad). The name is derived from the initials Chachma (wisdom), Binah (understanding) and Daat (knowledge). His intention was to bridge the gap between the Mitnagdim and the Hasidim, combining intellectualism and mysticism. His Lekutei Amarim (Collected Sayings) became known as the Tanya and is one of the important study texts of the Habad (Chabad) Hasidim.

1747 April 17, RITUAL MURDER TRIAL OPENED (Zaslav/Izyaslav, Ukraine)

April 17, 1747 RITUAL MURDER TRIAL OPENED (Zaslav/Izyaslav, Ukraine) A dead body had been found in the melting snow the same time that a celebration was being held in the local synagogue. Those present, including the members of the Jewish community and the innkeeper, were arrested and brought to trial . Eight of the accused were tortured and impaled alive two others succeeded in escaping and were pronounced guilty in absentia.

1748 - 1820 (4 Tishrei 5581) ABRAHAM DANZIG (Vilna, Lithuania)

Condensed Caro's Shulchan Aruch into an everyday guide. The guide is divided into two sections; Chayei Adam (Life of Man), i.e. prayers and Sabbath based on the Orah Chaim and Chochmat Adam (Wisdom of Man), dealing with dietary laws based on the Yoreh Deah.

1749 (7 Sivan 5509) COUNT VALENTINE POTOCKI (Lithuania)

Was burned at the stake in Vilna. The Count, along with his friend Zeremba, had met an old Jew in a tavern and promised to convert if he could convince them of the pre-eminence of Judaism. Potocki converted and eventually settled in Vilna. Zeremba, hearing that his friend converted, did likewise and moved to Eretz Israel. Potocki's presence in Vilna became known and he was put on trial for heresy. He refused to recant and was burned at the stake. His ashes were collected and buried in Vilna. On his tomb is written "Abraham Ger Zedek" (a righteous proselyte). The Jews of Vilna would visit his grave and say Kaddish.

1751 December 15, PROBE TE MEMINISSE

Pope Benedict XIV stressed the necessity to control the Jews and encourage conversion. He delineated the situations where a child (even under the age of seven) can be baptized without parental agreement. At seven year of age, he is considered having attained the age of reason (see 1683). Although Benedict decreed that forced baptisms were illegal, nonetheless they would be binding, and any "backsliding" would be considered heresy.


Went public after R. Jacob Emden declared that an amulet ascribed to Rabbi Jonathan Eybeshutz, must have been written by a believer in Shabbetai Zevi. The amulets were written 15 years earlier, for some expectant mothers, and ostensibly contained hints at the name of Shabbetai Zevi. The controversy divided the Jewish communities, and involved Rabbis Yechezkel Landau, Jacob Joshua Falk, and even to some degree the young Eliyahu of Vilna (the Vilna Gaon). Landau and Falk believed in his guilt, while the Gaon was more circumspect. The controversy, which involved Christian scholars and foreign governments, was widely reported in the press. Eventually in order to prevent a schism in the Jewish community, a ban was placed on anyone commenting on the controversy. Till this day the issue has not been resolved.

1753 May 26, ZHITOMIR (Russia)

Under the influence of Bishop Solik of Kiev the castle court sentenced 33 Jews to death for the "ritual murder" of a Christian child. The entire evidence was based on the "confessions" of the innkeeper and his wife which had been made after being tortured (although they later retracted their statements). Thirteen of those Jews were released upon converting. Many others, including the local rabbi, were quartered alive. One couple converted on the spot and were granted a beheading.


One of the leading Talmudist of his generation. His works include Biur Mordecai (The Commentary of Mordecai), Magen Avot (Shield of the Fathers), Har ha-Mor (Mountain of Myrrh), Parashat Mordecai (The Explanations of Mordecai), and Tekhelet Mordecai (Mordecai's Purple Garment) Although a vociferous opponent of the reform movement, he was in favor of a secular education for rabbinical students, once they passed the age of 18.

1754 - 1800 SOLOMON MAIMON (Silesia-Lithuania)

Inspired by Maimonides' Moreh Nevuchim (Guide to the Perplexed), he adopted the name Maimon, abandoned religion, embraced philosophy, and embarked on the life of a wanderer. During his lifetime, he met with some of the greatest minds of his day, including Moses Mendelssohn. Among his works are a critique on Kant and a commentary on Maimonides entitled Givat Hamoreh (Hill of the Teacher). He correctly predicted that "the Christians won't say Mass and the Jews won't say Kaddish at my grave." His autobiography (Lebensgeschichte) provided important insights into 18th Century Polish Jewry, particularly the Hasidic Movement.

1755 January 15, LISBON (Portugal)

Jeronimo Jose Ramos, a merchant from Braganza, was the last known Jew to be burned alive for secretly practicing Judaism. He had escaped the previous Auto da Fe in September of 1752.

1755 February 22, BEATIFICATION OF ANDREW OF RINN aka Andreas Oxner (Germany)

Pope Benedict XIV issued his bull of Beatus Andreas which beatified Andreas Oxner who in 1462 was allegedly murdered by Jews in a ritual murder in Rinn near Innsbruck. This helped spread the anti-Semitic legends and performances which were based on the writings of Hippolytus Guarinoni ( 1651) . They were performed until 1954. Although the cult of the "Child of Judenstein" was proscribed in 1985, yearly pilgrimages are still made to the site.rnrn

1757 February 18, AVIGNON (France)

A local townsman, walking through the ghetto on a dark night, stumbled and fell into a well near the synagogue. Fortunately, he was not hurt. The day was declared a local holiday for generations. The rationale for this was that had the townsman drowned so close to the synagogue, the Jewish community would have been accused of complicity in his death.


Jacob Frank, a follower of the false Messiah Shabbetai Zevi, had begun his own movement which emphasized the Kabbalah and denigrated the Talmud. His practices, some of which were sexual in nature, were condemned by the local Rabbinate. In revenge, he arranged a dispute in Lvov (June 20) between himself and the local Jewish leaders. Bishop Nicholas Dembowski, who presided over the disputation, ruled in favor of Frank and ordered all copies of the Talmud found to be dragged through the streets and burned. Around 1000 copies of the Talmud were destroyed. Within a few years, many of Frank's followers converted to Christianity.

1758 JACOB ZELIG (Poland)

After a series of blood libels, he was sent to Rome by the Jewish community to convince Pope Benedict XIV to publish a bull against the accusations. Cardinal Ganganelli (Clement XIV) who received, it wrote an unequivocal condemnation of the libels and asked the Holy See to intervene in Poland to stop the accusations.

1759 QUEBEC (Canada - New France)

With the British conquest of Quebec, Jews were allowed to settle there. Two of the first Jews were Aaron Hart and Samuel Jacobs. Jacobs arrived within a month of the British conquest. Abraham Gradis was thought to have been the first Jew to live in Quebec while under French rule, although in reality, he had never set foot there. It was actually his firm which played an important role in helping the French colonial empire in North America.

1759 - 1841 (25 Tamuz 5601) MOSES BEN ZVI TEITELBAUM (Hungary)

Hasidic rabbi, scholar and founder to the dynasty of Hasidic rabbis in Hungary and Galicia. Teitelbaum, a student of the Seer of Lublin, was one of the first to spread Hasidism to Hungary. His two most famous works are the Hasidic classic Yismach Moshe (Moses Rejoices) and Heshiv Moshe (Moses Responds), a responsa.

1760 December 14, BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS (England)

Was founded. It is the oldest Jewish communal organization in Great Britain. All Jews, whether Ashkenazi or Sephardi (and later the Reform) could elect their deputies, who would in turn represent the entire community. Membership was originally based on synagogues, but much later other organizations were added.

1761 - 1837 (13 Tishrei 5598) AKIVA EGER (EIGER) (Posen, Germany)

Renowned halachic and talmudic scholar, Eger was one of the leading talmudists in the first half of the nineteenth century and a strong opponent of the Reform movement. His devotion to the sick, at risk to his own life during a cholera epidemic, earned him the recognition of Frederick William III of Prussia.

1761 March 4, JEWS EXPELLED FROM LUBECK (Germany)

At the behest of the guilds. The following year only one Jew was allowed to live in Lubeck, and this only after paying a heavy fee. As far back as the 16th century (except for a few years during Napoleons time (1810), Jewish residence was for the most part prohibited. This didn’t change until the revolution of 1848.

1762 December 4, CATHERINE II (1729-1796) (Russia)

Issued a proclamation allowing all foreigners to travel and to settle in Russia - “Kromye Zhydov ("except the Jews"), Within 8 years Russia acquired hundreds of thousands of Jews due to the partition of Poland.


Semé the young son of the local Rabbi Elijah Crémieu, was forcibly baptized. Despite appeals to Pope Clement XIII, he was not returned to his family. Carpentras is known for having the oldest active synagogue France.


The last King of Poland, with the backing of the Polish Sejm, abolished the Council of the Four Lands and imposed a poll tax (see 1520).

1764 - 1847 HENRIETTA HERZ (Germany)

One of Mendelssohn's brightest followers. Her home became the meeting place (salon) of the most distinguished intellectuals. She was baptized after her mother's death.


Led by Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Peremyshlyany (b. 1728). He was accompanied by Nahman of Horodenka the paternal grandfather of Nahman of Breslav. This is the first organized Hasidic Aliyah, and began a period of a immigration which would expand to over 300 people over the next number of years.


Aka Rayz beshraybung was published by Abraham Levi (1702- 1785). The travelogue written in Yiddish highlighted his visits to Poland Italy , Austria, Hungary, and Germany. He described the way of life and population of each city he visited.rn

1765 October 27, PORTUGAL

The last "public" Auto da Fe (Act of Faith) was held. The latest recorded Auto da Fe in Portugal was held in 1791 and the last in Valencia, Spain was held in 1826.

1765 - 1809 BEREK JOSELEWICZ (Poland)

Colonel of the Polish armed forces. Joselewicz joined Kosciuszko in the Polish uprising and the Napoleonic Wars. He believed in the importance of having Jews take part in the revolution. Together with Joseph Aronowicz, they received permission from Kosciuszko to establish a Jewish Unit. His famous call in Yiddish for support elicited hundreds of volunteers. Five hundred were eventually accepted, many of whom died in the insurrection.He died in a Calvary charge in the war against Austria near the city of Kotzk.

1766 - 1828 AARON BEN MOSES HA-LEVI (Horwitz) OF STRASHELYE. ( Lithuania)

Rabbi and Hassidic leader .Although a dedicated follower of Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745), he broke with his son Dov Ber (the Mittler Rebbe) over ecstatic expression during prayer. He was the author of Sha'are Abodah (The Gates of Worship) and favored unrestricted enthusiasm as opposed to Dov Ber who believed that enthusiasm should rely on contemplation and understanding . Although his son Hayyim Raphael tried to continue with his legacy, after his death most of his Hassidim returned to the main Chabad movement.

1772 FRANKFURT (Germany)

Rabbi Pinhas Halevi Horowitz was appointed Rabbi in Frankfurt despite his Hasidic leanings. He held the position until his death in 1805.

1772 - 1811 (18 Tishrei 5571) NAHMAN BRESLOV “Bratslaver” (Medzhybizh –Uman, Ukraine

Simply known as Rebbi Nachman. He was the great-grandson of the Besht (the Baal Shem Tov). Nahman forged new , if controversial ideas regarding Hasidut. He strongly believed in the principle of the Tzaddik Hador (holy person of the generation) and Hibodedut (self-seclusion) in prayer. He also promoted the importance of confession to the Rebbe, but seems to have dropped it near the end of his life. He was against the developing dynastic concept in the Hasidic world. Nahman was opposed even within the Hasidic world, mainly by Rabbi Aryeh Leib of Shpola (1725–1812) aka the "Shpoler Zeide". None of his sons survived him. His works included Likutey Moharan (Collected Teachings of Our Teacher), Tikkun HaKlali (General Remedy), and Sippurei Ma'asiyot (Tales of Rabbi Nachman). Many of his works were edited by his disciple Nathan Sternhartz, who also wrote his biography Chayey Moharan.

1772 - 1824 DAVID RICARDO (England)

Founded Political Economy as a science. His chief work was Principles of Politics and Taxation. Ricardo's theories provided the scientific basis for the rule of free trade.

1772 - 1837 CHARLES FOURIER (France)

Catholic anti-Semite; he vented his hatred for the Jews at every available moment.

1775 April 5, POPE PIUS VI (1775-98)

Partly in reaction to success of the reformation, he issued the Editto Sopra Gli Ebrei. The proclamation of Pope Pius VI reinstated all former anti-Jewish legislation. The 44 clauses included prohibitions against possessing talmudic writings and erection of grave stones. They also forbade Jews from passing the night outside the ghetto under pain of death. The regulations were in effect until the arrival of Napoleon's army 25 years later.

1775 - 1854 JUDAH TOURO (USA)

Merchant-philanthropist. Judah Touro moved to New Orleans at the age of 22 and became a successful trader. He enlisted in the War of 1812 under Andrew Jackson and was wounded in the defense of New Orleans. Touro never married but left large funds (estimated $500,000) for various philanthropic purposes. Some of them included completing the Bunker Hill monument, enclosing the Jewish Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island, and numerous almshouses and Jewish congregations in New Orleans and other cities. His funds joined with Montefiore's to help build the first housing complex outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem, Mishkenot Shananim.


This document provided the basis for religious tolerance in most other countries. While there were less than 2,500 Jews within the colonies, approximately 600 Jews participated in the revolution including 24 officers and the great-grandfather of Supreme Court Justice Cardozo. Isaac Franks, David Salisbury Franks and Solomon Bush all attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. One company in South Carolina had so many Jews that it was called the "Jews Company".

1778 JUEDISCHE FREISCHULE "Jewish Free School" (Germany)

Was established by Isaac Daniel Itzig and his brother in law, David Friedlander(1750-1834). The school, which omitted Talmud and limited Hebrew studies, concentrated on math, German, French, and commercial courses. After 1806, non-Jewish students were accepted, and they soon became one-third of the student body. (Since Juedische Freischule was the the first Haskalah school established, many use this date to mark the beginning of the Haskalah (Enlightenment) Movement, whose initial aim was to "modernize" Judaism by opening it to European culture and specifically to a philosophy of rationality which was spreading throughout Europe. Jews were encouraged to adopt the manners, dress, and language of their host country. In the beginning there were Orthodox leaders who supported some of the educational aims of the movement. When it became apparent that the movement was leading to an anti-halachic and assimilationist direction, the Orthodox establishment banned the movement, and established its own educational response to it through Samson Rafael Hirsch and others.

1780 JACOB JOSEPH(Polyonnye, Poland)

Rabbi and author, he published the first Hasidic book, Toldoth Yaakov Yoseph , which put forth the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. He was the developer of the Hasidic doctrine of the Tzaddik, as the Holy One, the soul of the Hasidic body.

1780 - 1852 Judah Bibas- Rabbi and “Dreamer of Zion” ( Gibraltar-Hebron)

Born in Gibraltar he later headed a Yeshiva there. He was appointed Rabbi of Corfu in 1832 where he reformed its educational system. Bibas also had a doctorate from Livorno Italy. He became a strong supporter of the “Teshuva” movement which believed that inner repentance had to be coupled with returning to Eretz Israel. During his travel around of Europe (1839-40) promoting his ideas, he met Judah Alkelai (1798-1878) of Sarajevo, who from then on considered himself Bibas’ student. He settled in Hebron in 1852 near the end of his life and is quoted as saying “ Jews must learn science and arms(weapons) so they can wrest the land of Palestine from the Turks”.

1781 March 6, GEORGIA (USA)

Governor James Wright ordered the Jews of the Georgia to leave, accusing them of being disloyal to his majesty by supporting the revolution. The order was never carried out.

C. 1782 - 1854 MOSES ELIAS LEVY (USA)

Pioneer in Florida. Levy was a plantation developer who was rumored to have been the first to introduce the growing of sugar cane there. Levy fought against the idea of slavery and proposed that a Jewish agricultural school be developed to replace slavery. He also tried to encourage Jewish settlement of the area. Levy was not successful in either managing his farms or giving over his Jewish ideals to his children, both of whom converted. One of them, David Levy-Yulee, became the first senator of Florida.

1783 - 1869 (1 Tamuz 5529) SOLOMON BEN JUDAH KLUGER (MARSHAK) (Brody)

Talmudist and halachist. He studied under the Dubno Maggid and was known for his responsa. It is said that he wrote 375 books, although "only" 174 are known.

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".rn


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.

1784 FIRST JEWISH PUBLIC SCHOOL (Altofen, Austria)

Was opened by Naphtali Wessely. Wessley advocated combining both Torah haAdam (human knowledge) and Torat Elokim (Divine knowledge) in one curriculum.

1784 - 1885 (16 Av 5645) SIR MOSES MONTEFIORE (Italy-England)

Sheriff of London and leading Jewish figure. Wealthy in his own right, he married into the Rothschild family and was extremely successful in his financial ventures. He retired at an early age (1824) and devoted his life to serving Jewish causes. He is noted for his numerous visits to Eretz Israel, contributions to many philanthropies, and intercessions into Jewish affairs. One of his greatest successes was his interference in the Damascus Affair (see 1840). He is credited with founding numerous agricultural settlements in Eretz Israel and the first Jewish quarter outside the old city walls (Mishkenot Shaananim). He added the top levels to the Kotel (Western Wall) to prevent Arabs from throwing garbage and stones on Jews praying at the Wall, and he rebuilt Rachel's tomb.

1785 - 1840 NACHMAN KROCHMAL (Galicia)

Tried to formulate a philosophy of Jewish history. He wrote the Guide for the Perplexed in Our Times. He endeavored to explain a Jewish philosophy of history using the mission theory. Together with Leopold Zunz he was part of the Wissenschaft des Judentums(The scientific investigation of Judaism/Hohmat Israel) movement which endeavored to study Judaism through modern methods of research.

1785 - 1851 July 19, MORDECHAI MANUEL NOAH (Philadelphia, USA)

Author, journalist, and diplomat, he became the United State's consul to Tunis. Noah dwelled upon the problem of a haven for Jewish refugees. He wrote about the importance of a revived Jewish homeland. In 1825, he decided to acquire Grand Island as a Jewish city of refuge. The plan and the city faded. After he failed to keep his position in the elections for Sheriff of New York, he was appointed Grand Sachem of Tammany Hall by Martin Van Buren. In 1837 he came to the conclusion that the best solution was for the Jews to have their own homeland in Eretz Israel.

1786 - 1837 LUDWIG BOERNE (Germany)

Political essayist. He believed that freedom for mankind and freedom of the Jews were bound together. Though he was later baptized, he still fought for Jewish rights. His famous Letters from Paris called for an end to injustice in Germany. Boerne, along with Heine, are considered major influences in German literature.

1786 - 1866 JOSEPH ZUNDEL SALANT (Lithuania-Eretz Israel)

"Spiritual Father" of the Mussar (ethical) Movement established by Israel Lipkin Salanter (see 1810). Although an exemplary student of Hayim Volozhiner and Akiva Eger, he refused to accept a rabbinical position, preferring to work for a few hours a day earning his living as a shopkeeper and spending the rest of his day studying. He moved to Jerusalem in 1837 and there again in his humility he refused any official position, opening a vinegar factory instead.

1788 - 1860 ISAAC BAER LEVINSOHN (Russia)

Called "the Russian Mendelssohn". He became a notable Yiddish satirist and Haskalah leader. In his Bet Yehudah (1837), he formulated a philosophy and described Jewish contributions to civilization in an effort to promote Judeo-Christian understanding.


On order of King Louis XVI, Chretien Guillaume De Malesherbes began to prepare a memorandum including recommendations regarding the situation of the Jews . His conclusions helped pave the way to their eventual freedom. Malesherbes believed that their emancipation and the weakening of the Jewish community, would lead to their conversion.

1790 January 27, FRANCE

Active citizenship was extended to the "well born" Sephardic Jews of Bordeaux, who promptly bowed out of the fight for equal rights. They looked upon their poorer brothers in Alsace-Lorraine with contempt.

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.


Hebrew poet, she was related to Moses Hayyim Luzzatto . Morpurgo was well educated and had studied the Talmud and the Zohar, as well as math and Italian literature. Her poetry published in the Hebrew journal Kokhavei Yitzhak ('Stars of Isaac'), established her as the first woman to have written modern Hebrew poetry . Some of her works were published in 1890 under the title Ugav Rahel ('Rachel’s Harp').

1791 MENAHEM MENDEL LEFIN (LEVIN) (1749-1826) (Poland)

An early leader of the Haskalah Movement. He published a pamphlet in French promoting the reform of Polish Jewry. Lefin often wrote in Hebrew and even Yiddish. He believed that education was the best way of encouraging emancipation. Though strongly opposed to Hasidism, he nonetheless believed that Jewish tradition was vital for the preservation of Judaism.

1792 DEATH OF JOSEPH TEOMIM (Lemberg, Germany)

1792-1862 URIAH P. LEVY (USA)

1793 (1 Shvat 5553) ROME (Italy)

A tragedy was narrowly averted in the Jewish ghetto after a mob set fire to the ghetto gates. The riot was partially in reaction to the liberalism of the French Revolution and partly in response to a Jewish protest after two Jewish orphans were forcibly baptized. Only a fortunate downpour which put out the fire prevented the ghetto from catching fire. The day was celebrated as holiday by Roman Jews.

1793 - 1864 ISAAC NOAH MANNHEIMER (Copenhagen, Denmark-Vienna, Austria)

Preacher, orator, and director of the Reform temple in Vienna. He refused the title of Rabbi and later (1848) was elected a member of the Austrian Reichstag.

1794 June 23, POLAND

With the second partition of Poland, additional territory was added to the Pale which came to include parts of the Ukraine and the city of Kiev.

1794 - 1886 LEOPOLD ZUNZ

A friend of Heine and Boerne and an eminent scholar. He sided with Frankel's reformers in a vote for tradition. Zunz founded (along with Krochmal) the Wissenschaft des Judentums (The scientific investigation of Judaism) in 1819. As an author, he pleaded for public (secular) recognition of Jewish literature, "Jewish Science". Zunz wrote a biography on Rashi, traced the development of liturgical literature, wrote Bible criticisms, and discoursed on many other subjects.

1795 - 1874 (5 Cheshvan 5634) ZEVI HIRSCH KALISHER (Germany-Prussia)

The foremost developer of a nationalistic religious philosophy, which hernexpounded in his Dreishat Zion (The Seeking of Zion). Kalisher was arnstudent of Rabbi Akiva Eger and served as an unpaid rabbi in the townrnof Thorn (now part of Poland). He believed that the return to Zion shouldrnbe brought about by acts, not by waiting for the Messiah (see 1862. Once the Jews returned to Zion, then the Messiah would come. Kalisher was instrumental in encouraging the idea of establishing agriculturalrnsettlements as well as having Jews guarding them.rnrnrn


And granted equality to its 50,000 Jews.

1798 February 15, ROME (Italy)

After the occupation of Rome by General Berthier, the local republicans dethroned the Pope and Jews removed the yellow badge. Two days later, a tree of freedom was planted in front of the synagogue.

1798 - 1839 EDUARD GANS (Germany)

Jurist and one of the founders (along with Zunz and others) of the Verein fuer Cultur und Wissenschaft der Juden (Society for Jewish Culture and Science). Gans' contribution to jurisprudence was a series of papers concerning the Jews of Rome and Roman Law.

1798 - 1870 DOV BERESH MEISELS (Poland)

Rabbi, banker, and Polish nationalist. Meisels was a descendent of Moses Isserles and authored Chidushei Mahardam, a commentary on the Sefer ha-Mitzvot of Maimonides. He became rabbi of Cracow and later of Warsaw. Meisels supported Polish (Cracow) independence from Russia and Austria (where he became a member of parliament (see 1861)). These views led to his frequent expulsions and imprisonment by the Czarist authorities (see 1848). Upon his death, the Russian authorities even banned any obituaries for him in the press. His funeral in Warsaw was attended by thousands.

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.


This marked the greatest extent of Napoleon's conquest of Eretz Israel. The next day the French reached Acre. It was sucessfully defended by both British warships and local towns people, including the Jewish inhabitants. By June, Napoleon gave up and returned to Egypt.


Was proposed by David Friedlander as a compromise to help integrate into Christian society. Friedlander ( 1750-1884) was a successful banker, and considered to be the successor to Moses Mendelssohn. He proposed that Jews join the Lutheran church on a moral and ethical basis, without accepting the belief of Jesus as the messiah.


Founded a store and cotton gin on the bluffs near the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers in Alabama. In 1805, the Indians burned it down and cut off his left ear for allegedly cavorting with a chief's squaw. He returned in 1814 to rebuild what was later to become the city of Montgomery.

1801 BUCHAREST (Romania)

A blood libel led to the death and wounding of 128 Jews.

1801 - 1875 ZECHARIA FRANKEL (Germany)

"Father of Conservative Judaism". As a moderate reformer, he objected to the changing of tradition. His views became known as "Historical Judaism". Frankel advocated an evolving Judaism which would only permit changes which were not in variance with the spirit of historical Judaism. As such he was against transferring all the prayers to the vernacular. As resident of the Breslau Seminary from 1854 until his death, he published many works, including a treatise on the Septuagint. His works include an examination of the Jewish oath Die Eidesleistung bei den Juden, an introduction to the MishnaDarkhei ha-Mishnah and an introduction to the Jerusalem Talmud Mevo ha-Yerushalmi.

1802 HAYYIM VOLOZHINER (Belorus, Russia)

Founded the Volozhin Yeshiva. Rav Hayyim introduced in his school the hevruta style of study whereby one learns with a colleague rather then by oneself. Volozhin soon gained a reputation as one of the greatest Jewish centers of learning in the world. With its strict entrance exams and insistance on a high level of consistency, the school soon became the model for other schools of its kind, e.g. Mir (1815), Radun (1869), Telz (1875) and Navaredok (1896).

1802 - 1867 SOLOMON MUNK (Germany-France)

Historian and orientalist. He was a friend of Zunz and wrote a translation and criticism of Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed, tracing his sources back to the original sources of Maimonides. His works also included his famous History of Eretz Israel in which he traced events from the Crusaders until the present time.

1804 NATHAN THE WISE (Germany)

A play by Gotthold Lessing (see 1729) was produced in Germany. Lessing was said to have used his friend, Moses Mendelssohn, as his role model. The play preached toleration.

1804 - 1881 BENJAMIN DISRAELI (Earl of Beaconsfeld) (England)

Despite his father's conversion to the Anglican faith and his own baptism at the age of thirteen, he never lost his pride in being part of the Jewish people. He was elected as a conservative member of Parliament in 1837. Soon after, he founded the Young England movement with other young Tories. He was a favorite of Queen Victoria and became Prime Minister of England, leading the Tory Party in 1868. In 1875, he helped England acquire the Suez Canal and had Queen Victoria proclaimed Empress of India. In two of his novels, Alroy and Tancred, he described the Jewish desire for independence in their own land.

1804 - 1851 KARL GUSTAV JACOBI (Germany)

Mathematician, known especially for his contributions in the fields of algebra, and rational mechanics, as well as his theory of elliptic functions. In 1824 he converted to Christianity in order to obtain a position as professor of mathematics at Konigsberg, and later at the University of Berlin.

1805 - 1855 ZEVI HIRSCH CHAJES (Brody-Lemberg, Germany)

One of the foremost Galician talmudic scholars. His work, Mevo Hatalmud (Introduction to the Talmud), is a valuable work, although it is more a commentary than an introduction.

1805 - 1888 HANNAH RACHEL VERBERMACHER aka Maiden of Ludomir (Volhynia "Ukraine").

Female Hassidic leader. Her father, Monesh, a wealthy merchant , was a follower of Rabbi Mordechai Twersky, (1770-1837)(the "Maggid of Chernobyl"). She refused to marry and began keeping commandments not incumbent on women, including praying with a tallit and phylacteries . Hannah became known as a scholar and holy person. She established her own Shtibel (the Gornshtibel) acting much in the same way as any Hassidic Rebbe. The traditional Hassidic community took exception and through Rabbi Twersky pressured her to cease her actions and marry. The marriage was very short lived, and Hannah immigrated to Jerusalem. There she again established a following , including Moslem women, and gave popular Shabbat lectures. Refusing to accept donations from abroad, she maintained her independence all her life.

1806 July 26, NAPOLEON (France)

Formed the Conference of Notables to deal with the relationship of the Jews and the French State. It consisted of 112 deputies from all parts of the French empire. At the assembly, which was led by the financier Abraham Furtado and Rabbi Joseph David Sinzheim, the delegates were confronted with a questionnaire on polygamy, usury, loyalty, and intermarriage. Pleased with their answers, Napoleon decided to re-establish the Sanhedrin under his careful direction, with representatives from all congregations. Even though the assembly was to be held on the Sabbath (some claim this was a loyalty litmus test), they decided to attend and not risk the wrath of the Emperor.

1806 - 1860 SAMUEL HOLDHEIM (Poland-Germany)

Radical Reform leader. Holdheim totally divorced Judaism from nationalism and changed the Sabbath to Sunday. In his book Ueber die Autonomie der Rabbinen und das Prinzip der juedischen Ehe he laid down his ideology, which included a separation of religious or ethical Judaism from nationalism. He was thus not against mixed marriages which he considered nationalist in content. He was helped by Abraham Geiger and vigorously opposed by Samson Rafael Hirsch.

1807 February 9, PARIS (France)

First meeting of the Napoleonic Sanhedrin under the leadership of the Assembly of Jewish Notables. It opened amid great pomp and celebration under the direction of the financier Abraham Furtado. The Sanhedrin was modeled on the ancient tribunal in Jerusalem and consisted of 71 members; 46 Rabbis and 25 laymen. Rabbi David Sinzheim of Strasbourg was its president.

1807 May 14, BADEN (Germany)

Judaism was recognized as a tolerated religion. Although their rights improved, especially for the Schutzjuden (protected Jews), full emancipation would only be granted over 50 years later (see 1862).

1807 - 1867 ABRAHAM MAPU (Slobodka, Lithuania)

First modern Hebrew novelist and one of the leaders of the Haskalah Movement in Eastern Europe. His most famous book was called Ahavat Zion (Love of Zion) which described the longing of the Jewish people for a better life. The book quickly went though 16 editions and was translated into nine languages. Aside from four novels, he also wrote three textbooks, all of which showed his creative talents.

1807 - 1879 (1 Shvat 5640) MOSES SCHICK (Maharam Shick) (Slovakia-Austria)

Rabbi, Halachist and Jewish leader. Schick was a student of Moses Sofer. He established a Yeshiva at Hust, Hungary which attracted many students. Although he was a vigorous opponent of the Reform movement, he believed that sermons could be preached in any language. Schick was also a strong supporter of the Old Yishuv in Jerusalem. He composed almost 1000 responsa and is remembered for his works Maharam Schick, and Derashot.

1808 - 1810 THE DISCIPLES OF THE VILNA GAON (Eretz Israel)

Began to settle in Eretz Israel with the arrival of the first group led his pupil, R. Menachem Mendel of Shklov (d. 1827). In all there were three groups of the Gaon’s students which immigrated to Eretz Israel. Most would initially settle in Safed. This would prevent conflict with the Jerusalem Sephardic community, suspicious that they would be competition for funds raised for Jerusalem inhabitants. It would also avoid confrontation with Arabs who held promissory notes on the Synagogue of Judah HeHasid, and saw all Ashkenazi immigrants an heir to those notes. In addition the Galilee allowed them to purchase land(1811) giving them an opportunity to keep the laws (mitzvot) of the land of Israel. They would form the basis of the Ashkenazi communities of Jerusalem and Safed setting up what was known as the Kollel Perushim. Many of the descendents of the disciples are leading figures in modern Israeli society. The Gaon himself had also set forth with his pupils, but for an unknown reason returned to Vilna where he died soon after.

1808 - C. 1860 NATHANIEL ISAACS (South Africa)

Explorer. While on a rescue mission in 1825 he was shipwrecked in Port Natal. Isaacs served as the spokesman for those who were shipwrecked with the Zulu king, Tchaka, who regularly used torture and execution as a method of rule. Isaacs succeeded in gaining the King's trust, even leading a war party for Tchaka's benefit. In the process he was named Tamboosa (brave warrior) by the king. He spent the next seven years teaching the Zulus to raise cattle and sugar cane, while encouraging trade with the British. He urged the British to annex the territory. He left after seven years at the age of 24.

1808 - 1888 (27 Tevet 5658) SAMSON RAPHAEL HIRSCH (Germany)

Father of traditional Jewish orthodoxy in the " modern" world. As rabbi of Frankfurt, he formulated his philosophy which stressed that tradition could satisfy modern society without losing orthodoxy. His vast works include his philosophical Horeb and Nineteen Letters of Ben Uziel, and his commentaries on the Bible, the Psalms and the Siddur. He was a staunch opponent of the Reform movement in Germany.

1809 August 8, HILLEL RIVLIN (1758–1838) (Eretz Israel)

Arrived at the head of the third group of 70 pupils of the Vilna Gaon. Most, under Hayim b. Tobiah and Israel of Shklov settled in Safed. Others settled in Jerusalem with Rivlin, where they began to revitalize the Ashkenazi community.

1809 - 1847 FELIX MENDELSSOHN (Bartholdy, Germany)

Grandson of Moses Mendelssohn, he was raised as a Protestant and became a world-renowned composer. His works include five symphonies and a great number of violin and piano concertos, and oratories (Elijah, St. Paul).

1809 - 1879 (1 Tishrei 5640) MEIR LEIBUSH MALBIM (Chief Rabbi of Bucharest) (Romania)

Rabbi and commentator. His commentary on the Bible, showing the close relationship between the Oral and the Written Law, is widely used today. He also authored Hatorah V'Hamitzva, Ayelet Hashachar and other works. Malbim fought vociferously against the Reform movement, which had been making strong inroads in German Jewry, to the extent that he was briefly imprisoned. In Vilna, Moghilof, and Koenigsberg he was declared persona non grata by the local people.


AKA 'The London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews'. This evangelical society’s main aim ( though meeting with little success) was to convert Jews to Protestant Christianity. In addition, they believed in the importance of restoring the Jewish people to the land of Israel. Known today as the CMJ (Church's Ministry Among Jewish People) they have constantly taken a pro Israel position.

1810 July 17, FIRST REFORM SERVICE (Germany)

Was organized by Israel Jacobson in Seesen, Germany. Five years later, he began Reform services in his home in Berlin where he introduced prayers in German.

1810 - 1874 ABRAHAM GEIGER (Germany)

Author and Bible critic, he helped to inspire the Jewish Reform movement. He was elected Rabbi of Breslau in 1840 and was one of the founders of theJuedisch-Theologisches Seminar in Breslau, the first reform rabbinical seminary in Central Europe. He eventually refused to preach to the Breslau reform congregation, feeling that they had gone too far with their reforms. Geiger viewed Judaism as a religion divorced from national aspirations, so much so that he was against Jewish political solidarity during the Damascus Affair. Although he considered circumcision "barbaric" he was against its elimination in the same way that he was against changing the Shabbat to Sunday. His works include Das Judenthum und seine Geschichte (Judaism and its History) as well as studies on Maimonides, the Karaites, and the influence of Judaism on Islam.

1810 - 1883 (25 Shvat 5643) ISRAEL LIPKIN (SALANTER) (Lithuania)

Scholar and founder of the Mussar or moralist movement, which stressed humility, as well as moral and ethical teachings. He was influenced by Joseph Salant (1786-1866) who is the spiritual Father of the Mussar movement and considered him his ideal. After serving for a time in Vilna as mashgiach (spiritual guide), he realized success in his ethical sermons to the degree that he established his own school. The Yeshiva Knesset Yisroel at Slobodka was founded on Salanter's principles. Similar schools were soon opened at Telshe, Lomza, and Slutsk. Although these teachings were designed to compliment the intellectual study of the Talmud and to encourage students' moral self-examination, many rabbinical leaders became concerned that it would lead to a neglect of talmudic study. Once, during a cholera epidemic, he commanded his congregation to eat on Yom Kippur, setting an example by eating at the pulpit. He worked tirelessly to combat the disease, even on the Sabbath. Salanter was known for lecturing on Judaism to Koenigsburg University students. He advocated vocational training for Jewish youth. He was also in favor of translating the Talmud into Hebrew . Salanter left no major works, but his many articles were published in collections such as Imrei Binah (Sayings of Wisdom), Or Yisrael (Light of Israel), and Even Yisrael (Rock of Israel).

1810 - 1904 HAYYIM SELAG SLONINSKI (Bialystok, Poland)

Known as "Hazas". Orthodox mathematician and science writer. His works included Kochva d'Shavit on astronomy, Toldot ha-Shamayim on the calendar and Yesodai Hochmat Hashiur (Founding of the Science of Calculation). He founded Ha'Zefira, a Hebrew newspaper on science. His writings were accepted even by Orthodox Jews.

1811 - 1884 JUDAH BENJAMIN (USA)

"Brains of the Confederacy". He served as a senator in the United States Senate from 1852 until the Civil War. Jefferson Davis appointed him Secretary of State of the Confederacy. After the war, he fled to England where he joined the English Bar.


Chancellor Karl August von Hardenburg with the approval of king Frederick William III (1770-1840) announced the full rights being extended to Jews of the Prussian Monarchy. Jews were still not allowed to be appointed to judicial and administrative offices. One of the other directives was that Jews now had to adopt family names. This directly led to the publishing of David Friedlander’s call for a radical change in synagogue service, including substituting German for Hebrew, and deleting most references of the destruction of out “ancient homeland”. “Prussia is out fatherland and German is out mother-tongue (Muttersprache)”

1812 December 4, ARGENTINA

Though the Inquisition would only officially be abolished the following year, President Bernardino Rivadavia (1780-1845) called for freedom of immigration and promised the preservation of Jews' basic human rights.

1812 January 21, - 1875 MOSES HESS (Germany)

Author, socialist, and forerunner of the Zionist movement. In his book Rome and Jerusalem (1862), he based German anti-Semitism on race and nationhood and advised Jews to accept the fact and revive their own state in Eretz Israel. Hess, a socialist, orginally worked with Marx and Engels but grew disillusioned with the idea that a "progressive society would eradicate anti-Semitism".

1812 June 18, WAR OF 1812

Was declared by Congress. During the war, John Ordroneaux, a naval commander, sank five British ships in one battle and was raised to the rank of commodore. In 1814, at the Battle of Fort McHenry, there were 30 Jews in the garrison. Its defense inspired the composition of the "Star Spangled Banner". Another Jew, Captain Mordecai Myers, became a hero when he saved more then 200 men, as well as most of the supplies from sinking boats. He later became one of the first Jews to settle in western New York.

1813 March 24, ARGENTINA

The Inquisition was officially abolished. Two months later, the Assembly passed regulations allowing freedom to practice religion in one's home.

1813 - 1893 ISAAC MEIR DICK (Lithuania)

First Yiddish author to use humor rather than satire. He also wrote in Hebrew and many of his characters were later adopted by Sholem Aleichem and I.L. Peretz. In all, he wrote over 300 stories, and a two volume collection of his Yiddish humor was published.

1814 July 21, PORTUGAL

King Ferdinand VII re-established the Inquisition six years after it was abolished by Joseph Boneparte.


The earliest Hasidic Yiddish works were published. The books Shivchei Ha Besht (In praise of the Baal Shem Tov) and Stories of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav were published in the same year.

1815 - 1871 (19 Tevet 5631) ABRAHAM SAMUEL BENJAMIN (The Ktav Sofer) (Hungary)

Rabbi, educator, and Orthodox leader of Hungarian Jewry. He was the son of Moses Sofer and took his father's place upon his death in 1839. His responsa and clarifications on the Torah were published under the title Ktav Sofer.

1815 - 1905 ISAAC HIRSCH WEISS (Moravia)

Scholar and writer. Weiss taught at the Vienna Beit Hamidrash and believed in a combination of tradition and secular culture. His most famous work was Dor Dor ve-Dorshav, in which he traces the history and development of the Oral Law from its inception until the expulsion from Spain.

1816 MUNICH (Bavaria, Germany)

Jews were allowed to bury their dead within the city limits. Until this time, all the Jewish dead had to be transported to Kriegshaber for burial. This marked the beginning of the official Jewish presence in Munich.

1816 - 1841 EDWARD DAVIS ("Teddy the Jewboy") (Australia)

Australian Highwayman. Davis was born in London and deported to Australia in 1832 for stealing five shillings. After his arrival in Australia he escaped and organized a gang of runaway convicts known as the Teddy and the Jewboy gang. Davis was considered a kind of "Robin Hood" for his help to the poor, polite language, and refusal to engage in violence. Although Davis only used force in self-defense, his luck failed him when in December 1840, one of his men killed a shopkeeper. Davis and five of his men were caught and convicted. He was accompanied by the hazzan of the Sydney Synagogue when he was hung. His brother John was at the same time police chief in Penrith and his nephew became speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. Many former deportees formed the basis for the Australian Jewish community.

1816 - 1907 MORITZ STEINSCHNEIDER (Hungary)

Teacher and scholar known as the "Father of modern Jewish bibliography". A prodigious author in his own right, he showed how classical Greek knowledge was transmitted through Hebrew and Arabic to Western Europe. He cataloged all the Jewish writers in Arabic, along with their bibliographies and biographies. As a teacher, he counted among his students Judah Magnes, Ignaz Goldziher, Solomon Schechter and Hayyim Brody.

1816 - 1909 (29 Av 5669) SAMUEL SALANT (Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem) (Eretz Israel)

The son-in-law of Joseph Salant. He arrived in Jerusalem in 1841 and proceeded to become one of the most influential figures in Eretz Israel. During his time as chief rabbi, the population of Jerusalem grew from 5000 to 30,000 Jews. Salant was behind the establishing of educational facilities which would include instruction of Arabic and Hebrew. He was one of the founders of Bikur Holim (Cholim) hospital and encouraged people to move into the "new" neighborhoods outside the old city walls.

1816 - 1888 JUDAH LEIB EGER ( Poland )

Hasidic leader grandson of Akiva Eger who was a renown Mitnagid ( opposed to the Hassidic movement). His works included Totah Emet ( Torah of truth), and Imri Emet (Saying of Truth). He was criticized by many for his affected method of prayer which included loud weeping.

1817 - 1893 (28 Av 5453) NAPHTALI ZEVI YEHUDA BERLIN (the Netziv) (Belorus, Russia)

Head of the Volozhin Yeshiva, which grew to over 400 students during his time. He was both a scholar and an organizer, and the yeshiva reached its zenith under his guidance. His works include Emek Davar, a commentary on the Torah, and Emek Hanatziv, a commentary on the Sifri. He was among the first religious leaders to encourage weekly study of the Torah portion. He joined the Hovevei Zion movement, which urged Orthodox Jews to support settlement in Eretz Israel. In 1892 the Russian government closed his yeshiva, and he felt that his place was with his community despite his great desire to go to Eretz Israel. His health rapidly deteriorated and he died shortly after.

1817 - 1896 ADAM GIMBEL (USA)

A poor immigrant from Bavaria, he built a retail empire including Saks Fifth Avenue and, of course, Gimbels.

1817 - 1896 (21 Adar 5656) ISAAC ELCHANAN SPECTOR (Kovno, Russia)

Considered the leading Russian rabbinic scholar of his day. Spector, who was active in many aspects of Jewish life, was a supporter of the Hovevei Zion movement, declaring it a mitzvah (religious duty) to settle in Eretz Israel. He fought for the right of Jewish soldiers to obtain kosher food and against a ban on ritual slaughter proposed by the Russian government. His considerable responsa were published in three parts: Beer Yitzchok, Nachal Yitzchok, and En Yitzchok (the Well, Stream, and Spring of Isaac).

1817 - 1889 MORDECAI ELIASBERG (Lithuania-Latvia)

Rabbi and leader in the Hovevei Zion movement. He took a unusual position regarding the “Haskalah” supporting their drive for equal rights and vocational training, as long as it did not weaken religion. He wrote 24 works including his responsa Terumat Yad (Donation of a Hand) and Shvil ha-Zahav (The Golden Path), which discussed the importance of settling the land of Israel In the controversial discussion in 1889 regarding the sabbatical year, he proposed that agricultural work continue.

1818 October 18, HAMBURG (Germany)

Dedication of the Reform Temple, the first temple established specifically for that purpose. A year later, the temple composed a new prayer book, deleting any mention of the Messiah and the return to the Holy Land.

1818 JOHN ADAMS (1735-1826) (USA)

Statesman and President. In a letter to Mordecai Manuel Noah, he wrote: "I wish your nation may be admitted to all the privileges of citizens in every country of the world." Regarding the re-establishment of a Jewish state, he wrote in the same year: "I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation."

1818 - 1864 ISRAEL JOSEPH BENJAMIN (Benjamin II)

Traveler and explorer. Benjamin fashioned himself after Benjamin of Tudela (1154) and undertook to find the 10 lost tribes. His travels took him throughout the Far East as well as North Africa. His exploits and information on the Jewish communities he visited were published as Sefer Masei Yisrael (The Book of the Travels of Israel).

1818 May 5, - 1883 KARL MARX (Father of Communism)(Germany)

Converted to Protestantism as a child. He embraced Lutheran anti-Judaism and charged that the basis for Judaism is greed and that social emancipation could only be accomplished by freeing society from commercialism, which was associated with Jews. Although many Jews embraced Communism as a panacea, many fled to the haven of socialism or capitalism. Still, the Capitalists call the Jews Communists and vice versa. Marx's theories were published under the title Das Kapital in 1867.

1819 August 2, GERMAN POGROMS

Began in Lubeck, and Bremen. They soon spread to Bamberg, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Mannheim, and Hamburg. Most of the riots were the consequence of rising nationalism (see 1817), the defeat of the French, and the anti-liberalism that resulted from it all.

1819 November 27, FOUNDING OF THE VEREIN FUER CULTUR UND WISSENSCHAFT DER JUDEN, (The Society for Culture and Science of Judaism) (Germany)

Set up by Leopold Zunz and Eduard Gans. It delved into Jewish history, culture, and literature using scientific methods of criticism and assessment. The Society lasted less then five years. Gans and many others converted to Christianity.

1819 - 1900 ISAAC MEYER WISE (USA)

Emigrating to New York in 1846, he later settled in Cincinnati where he became the head of the American Reform movement. He was responsible for the founding of the Hebrew Union College and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

1820 March 9, SPAIN

A royal decree officially abolished the Spanish Inquisition, though in reality it was actually only brought to an end on July 15, 1834.

1820 GRODNO (Poland)

Ritual murder libel was provoked by the Jesuits.


The Jewish population of the United States rose from 10,000 to 250,000. (From 1830-1870 mostly German Jews arrived.)

1820 - 1899 (5 Av 5659) AZRIEL HILDESHEIMER (Germany)

Rabbi, educator, and leader of Orthodox Jewry. Hildesheimer was one of the few Orthodox rabbis to have both a secular and religious education. After studying Semitics, philosophy, and history he received his doctorate in 1846 from the University of Halle. He served as a Rabbi in Eisenstadt where he was criticized for establishing a school which also taught secular subjects. Though a strong opponent of the Reform movement, Hildesheimer tried to find common ground between the Reform and Orthodox movements in Hungary but eventually gave up in frustration. Moving to Berlin he became Rabbi of congregation Adass Jisroel and founded the first rabbinical seminary in Germany where he implemented the philosophies of his friend, Samson Rafael Hirsch. Hildesheimer was an active supporter of Jewish life in Eretz Israel and helped improve educational standards there as well as establishing an orphanage in 1879. He was the author of numerous responsa as well as a new edition of Halachot Gedolot, a halachic code belonging to the Geonic period.

1821 December 24, - 1891 LEON (YEHUDA) PINSKER (Russia)

Renowned physician and early Zionist. Pinsker's conduct during the cholera epidemic of 1848 earned him respect and admiration. His ideas on Zionism were set out in his pamphlet "Auto-Emancipation" (see 1887), which was the first textbook analysis of Modern Zionism. Pinsker believed in the purchasing of land and immigration of Jews as a first step in solving the problem of anti-Semitism.

1821 April, ATTACK ON ACRE

By the brothers of Hayyim Farhi. Farhi had been murdered by Abdullah Pasha the Ottoman governor. Farhi's brothers Salomon, Raphael, and Moise, received permission from the grand mufti Sheikh ur-Islam to punish Abdullah . They conquered most of the Galilee, and laid siege to Acre for 14 months without success. After one of the brothers Salomon was poisoned by Abdullah, they gave up and returned to Damascus.

1822 - 1886 JACOB SAPHIR (Vilna -Jerusalem)

Scholar, linguist, traveler, fundraiser and author. Saphir who wrote Hebrew and Arabic fluently, was also familiar with Latin. He served as an emissary of the Perushim community of Jerusalem raising funds for the building of the Hurvah synagogue. He was one of the first to see and realize the importance of the Cairo Geneizah. Saphir traveled to Yemen where he spent a long time researching and documenting the Jewish community, before traveling to India, Australia and Ceylon. He described his travels in Even Sapir (“Sapphire”) also published as Sefer Maasah Teiman (“Travels to Yemen”). His Iggeret Teman sheinit (“The second Epistle to Yemen”) was instrumental in stopping the career of the false messiah and con man Judah ben Shalom.


Owed more than 21% of its public debt to Jews.

1823 - 1892 ERNEST RENAN (France)

French philosopher, historian and Semitic Philologist. Some have considered him the "Father of anti-Semitic anthropology" for his description of Jews as selfish exploiters trying to entrap "honest Christians", and his belief that the Semites were " an incomplete race. " . This being said he did not belief that Jewish people constitute a biological racial entity.

1823 - 1897 SABATO MORAIS (Italy-USA)

Hazzan, rabbi and reformist. He broke with the Pittsburgh Platform (see 1885) and formed his own more traditional branch of Judaism. He was a professor of Bible at Maimonides College in Philadelphia and one of the founders of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

1823 CZAR ALEXANDER I (Russia)

Banned Jews from leasing farming lands and even living in small villages. Alexander, afraid the Jews would have undo influence on local peasants, decided to force them to move to larger cities where it would be easier to keep an eye on them.


Alexander I, after an initial period of liberalism, reverted to the anti-Jewish position of his predecessors. He began with forbidding Jews to have Christian servants and culminated just before his death with banishing all Jews from larger villages in the Mohilev and Vitbesk districts.

1824 - 1898 (19 Sivan 5658) SAMUEL MOHILEVER (Russia)

talmudic scholar and one of the leading Orthodox rabbis of Eastern Europe. A graduate from the famous Volozhin Yeshiva, he was conversant in math, engineering, and a number of languages. Mohilever encouraged Baron Edmond de Rothschild to support the resettling of Russian families in Eretz Israel and was a mediator between the settlers and Rothschild in various disagreements which arose. He was the founder of Mizrachi, a religious Zionist organization, and one of the founders of the Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion, 1881).

1824 - 1904 KALONYMUS ZE'EV WISSOTZKY (Russia)

Merchant and philanthropist. Wissotzky was one of the earliest supporters of the Zionist movement. He established a successful tea house which still bears his name. Upon his death, he left his share of the business (one million Rubles) to charity, part of which went to found the Technion in Haifa.

1824 DAVID D’BETH HILLEL (Lithuania- Eretz Israel- India)

A Jewish scholar, set out on a voyage, to discover and report on unknown Jewish communities of the East and the “Lost Tribes of Israel.” He left Safed where he had settled with followers of the Vilna Gaon around 1815. His book was entitled Travels from Jerusalem through Arabia, Kurdistan, Part of Persia and India to Madras 1824–32. He traveled though Syria, Kurdistan, Persia and India, studying the socio- economics, geography, and languages of Jews in far flung communities. He died on a second voyage to India in 1846.

1825 - 1864 FERDINAND LASSALLE (Germany)

Builder of the German Labor movement and Social Democracy. He rejected Marx in favor of reform and universal suffrage, fighting for the right of all to vote. Those who were against his new ideas called Lassalle "The terrible Jew". He was killed in a duel over a woman.

1826 July 26, LAST KNOWN AUTO DA FE (Valencia, Spain)

A poor school master was executed for adhering to Judaism. The Auto da Fe ceremony, accompanied by vitriolic sermons, had served to announce the punishments of those who were deemed guilty by the Inquisition of "backsliding". Often, but not always, those deemed guilty were burned at the stake (quemadero). It is estimated that approximately 30,000 people lost their lives, with hundreds of thousand receiving lesser punishments during the almost 350 years that the Inquisition was in existence.

1826 August 20, POPE LEO XII

Prohibited Jews from leaving the Rome ghetto without a written permit from the Criminal Tribunal. Jews meeting Christians while outside the ghetto were forbidden from speaking to them in a "familiar way".He also rebuilt the ghetto in Ancona, which had been demolished by Napoleon.

1827 September 7, CANTONIST EDICT OF NICHOLAS I (Russia)

Czar Nicholas I proclaimed his Statute of Conscription and Military Service which allowed Jewish youths between 12 and 18 to be forcibly conscripted into the army and forced to serve for 25 years. Although drafting of 18 year old's for 25 years or service had been in effect since the 17th century, this statute made military service compulsory. A quota was placed on the Jewish community. Often children were simply kidnapped, which was usually done via an agent called a "Khapper" (grabber in Yiddish), who often disregarded the official minimum age of 12 and took children as young as 8 in order to fill their quota. One of Nicholas' goals was to estrange as many children as possible from the Jewish religion, and he encouraged them to change their names and accept baptism. Approximately 70,000 Jewish soldiers converted to Christianity during the 19th century.

1829 ISAAC JOST (Germany) (1793-1860)

Published the first history of the Jews by a Jew since Josephus, preceding Graetz by almost 50 years. As an educator and histographer, his approach was purely rationalistic, based on modern research and reflected his position of support for the Reform movement. Jost began his history with the Maccabees and ended in the nineteenth century.

1829 October 14, - 1884 EDWARD LASKER (Germany)

One of the first German Jews to enter politics. A defender of his people, he introduced the law which gave the Orthodox the right to establish their own school system.


The Jewish oath was abolished in France.

1830 October 18, SEARCHING FOR THE TEN TRIBES (Safed)

Israel of Shklov officially delegates Baruch ben Samuel of Pinsk to search for the lost ten tribes. He seems to have received support from leading Rabbis in Europe, including the Gaon of Pinsk and Rabbi Akiva Eger. He was financed by among others, Zvi Hersh Lehren (1784-1853 head of the clerks organization of the holy land ( pekidim v'amarkalim ) in Amsterdam. Baruch was murdered by Yemini Iman Yahya on January 12 1834.


Was the first “constitution” in the Danubian provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia (pre- Romania). All Jews were required to register with local authorities, and to indicate their professions in order that “those Jews who [cannot] demonstrate their usefulness [could] be expelled…”

1832 - 1924 ARMIN VAMBERY (Hungary)

Linguist and Oriental traveler. In order to travel thoughout Persia, Armenia and Turkestan he took the name Rashid Effendi, assumed and successfully maintained the guise of a Sunni dervish, and traveled to places which no westerner had ever visited before. His book "Travels in Central Asia" became very popular. Vambery was a strong supporter of British expansionism and also served as foreign consultant to the Sultan of Turkey. In that position, although not a Zionist, he introduced Theodore Herzl to the Sultan in 1901.

C. 1834 - 1904 JOSEF HAYYIM Al-Hakham (Baghdad, Persia)

Jewish leader, Halachist and Chief Rabbi of Baghdad aka Ben Ish Ḥai. Joseph Hayyim is still renown today as one of the premier Halachists of the Sephardic community. He authored about 60 books on all aspects of Judaism; specifically halacha (" Rav Pe'alim") and aggadah ("Ben Yehoyada and Benayahou") (the part of the Talmud which does not deal with religious law). His major work was Ben Ish Chai ("Son of Man (who) Lives"), which discusses the weekly portion of the Torah mixed with practical halacha and Kabbalah.

1835 DAVID SALOMON (1797-1873) (England)

Was the first Jew to be elected Sheriff of London. He was a successful banker who led the fight for Jewish equality in England. In 1855 he became Lord Mayor of London.

1835 - 1909 CESARE LOMBROSO (Italy)

Father of modern criminology. His major work was entitled "Crime, Its Causes and Conditions". He also posited the theories that genius is a form of insanity and that criminal tendencies are hereditary. Lombroso later became interested in Zionism.

1835 - 1917 MENDELE MOCHER SFORIM (Shalom Jacob Abramowitz) (Russia)

Distinguished author and Haskalist (advocate of the Enlightenment Movement). His work focused on the life and problems of the Jewish masses in Russia. Although an unabashed champion of the simple Jew, he strongly criticized jewish life in the small towns and ghetto. At the same time he had no patience for what he saw as the trend in the Haskala for assimilation. Though he wrote in both Hebrew and Yiddish, he was renowned as the forerunner of populist Yiddish literature.

1837 January 1, GALILEE EARTHQUAKE (Eretz Israel)

Registering approximately 6.5 (in today's terms) killed an estimated two thousand Jews perished mainly in Safed and Tiberius . Numerous monuments and archaeological sites were damaged. The Alsheich synagogue and the southern wall (containing the torah scrolls) of the Abuhav Synagogue were not affected. This together with the attacks the following year (see 1838), led many of the residents chose to resettle to Jerusalem and Hebron rather than rebuild. This led to the Jews becoming the largest ethnic population in Jerusalem within a decade.

1837 - 1888 SAMUEL POLIAKOFF (Russia)

Railroad Baron. He built over 2500 Km of railroads as well as founding several banks. Though he refused to hire any Jews, he did, at the end of his life, play an active role in founding ORT and helped build the synagogue in St. Petersburg.

1837 - 1907 BLAZER, ISAAC BEN MOSES ( Lithuania- Eretz -Israel)

Rabbi, educator, and leader of the mussar movement. While a student of Rabbi Israel Salanter, the founder of the movement, he worked a a painter, until Rabbi Salanter pressured him to stop. Blazer was appointed the Chief Rabbi of St. Petersburg at age 25, and was therefore also known as Rav Itzele Peterburger. He joined Rabbi Finkel (see 1849) in heading the Slobodka yeshiva. He settled in Jerusalem in 1904 and although he was very active in communal affairs, he refused to take a salary, except as a simple clerk. He published Pri Yitzchat (" Fruit of Isaac" ) a responsa , and Salanter's letters in Or Yisrael ("The Light of Israel").


Was published by Isaac Leeser in the USA.

1838 July 18, POPE GREGORY XVI

Criticized the lack of measures against Jews in recent years."The unfortunate political events… have produced ... the failure to observe Apostolic Constitutions and the other Edicts regarding the Jews."


Upon orders of the British police, the Yemenite residents decided to leave the village. Three days later, they were evacuated "for their own protection". Although the British administration promised that they would return as soon as the riots ended, they did not keep their promise.

1839 - 1915 (11 Elul 5675) ISAAC JACOB REINES (Belarus-Lithuania)

Founder of the Mizrachi Religious Zionist Movement. He founded an experimental yeshiva in which rabbis were trained to expound the Talmud and preach in Russian. The government closed it four years later. He became the rabbi in Lida and joined the Zionist movement in 1898. Reines was a strong backer of Herzl, even supporting his Uganda plan. His Mizrachi Movement was the first official religious Zionist party.

1840 August 28, SULTAN ABDUL MAJID/ABDULMECID I (Ottoman Empire)

Under pressure from the Montefiore delegation and world opinion, released the survivors of the Damascus blood libel after almost 6 months of imprisonment and torture.

1840 March 28, - 1861 FREDERICK WILLIAM IV (1795-1861) (Prussia, Germany)

Elected emperor of Prussia. Frederick William was decidedly not an advocate of Jewish civil liberties and believed that they should only have rights within their own community.

1840 CLAUDE MONTEFIORE (London, England)

Founded an extremist Reform movement called Liberal Judaism. He supported the attempt by Oswald John Simons to establish a Jewish church. Montefiore considered Judaism to be a purely spiritual movement and opposed any form of Jewish nationalism, including Zionism.

1840 - 1898 (17 Iyar 5658) HERMAN ZVI SCHAPIRA (Lithuania-Germany)

Rabbi, mathematician and Zionist leader. The Russian pogroms of 1881 convinced him that a more activist role was necessary and he was among the first members of the Hovevei Zion movement, and, while a professor at Heidelburg, devoted much of his time to the Zionist ideal. He proposed two revolutionary ideas. One, put forth at the first Zionist congress, was to establish a "general Jewish fund", which would buy up large parcels of land in Eretz Israel and lease them out for agricultural purposes, an idea which led to the establishment of the Jewish National Fund in 1901. His second idea, put forth in an article (1882), was the promotion of a plan to found the first Hebrew University in Eretz Israel.

1840 July 12, - 1908 ABRAHAM GOLDFADEN (Russia)

"Father of Modern Jewish Theater". Goldfaden began his career by writing songs and was surprised to find them well received by the public. He composed dozens of songs, over 60 plays, and over 30 operas - all in Yiddish. Some of his plays were translated into Hebrew (Kuni Lemel) and are still produced today. After witnessing local pogroms, he decried assimilation as a solution and became a strong supporter of the Zionist cause. In his last play, Ben Ami, his hero leaves Russia after a pogrom and becomes a pioneer in Eretz Israel.

1840 July 25, ABRAHAM RICE (Reiss) (Germany-USA)

Became the first ordained orthodox Rabbi to land in America. Rice (c. 1800 – 1862). He trained in Germany and received ordination from Rabbi Abraham Bing at the Wurzburg Yeshiva. Rice settled in Baltimore and served at CongregationNidchei Yisroel. Conflicts arose regarding the congregants keeping of Shabbat etc which led to his leaving his position and founding his own congregation. Near the end of his life he was asked to return but he died soon after.


Judah Alkalai (1798-1878) in his pamphlet Kol Korei asserted that according to the Zohar, the messiah could possibly come around the Jewish year 5600 -1840. This was echoed in Persia by Matthais ben Samuel Mizrahi in his booklet Kol Mevaser. The idea had been brewing over the past few decades, beginning with the conquests of Napoleon. It was fanned by the various uprisings in Europe, the anti-Jewish edicts in Russia, the takeover of the holy land by Muhammad Ali, and cholera epidemic of 1832. The belief also spread to North Africa particularly Tunis and Morocco although some, notably Moshe ben Jacob Turgerman, argued that the concept was a dangerous error. In Europe there was divergences of opinion some (Menashe of Ilia) called it a “ fools belief”, others including Aviezer of Ticktin, a student of the Vilna Gaon, among the Mitnagdim and R. Arye Leib of Shpola among the Hassidim supported the notion.

1840 October 27, SULTAN ABDULMECID I (Ottoman empire)

Issued his Firman (royal decree) against blood libels. This was a consequence of both the notoriety of the Damascus blood libel, and his desire for acceptance into the European community. It stated in part " We cannot permit the Jewish nation, whose innocence for the crime….is evident, to be worried … as a consequence of accusations which have not the least foundation in truth...". Some historians claim than the mother of Sultan Abdulmecid I (1823-1861), Besma Allem, was of Georgian Jewish origin.

1841 VILNA (Lithuania)

Mordecai Aaron Guenzburg, together with the Hebrew writer Solomon Salkind, founded the first modern Jewish school in Lithuania. Guenzburg (1795-1846) attacked the Heder system of education. Although considered a Maskil (part of the "enlightenment movement"), he was a traditionalist who believed in the Torah. Guenzburg fought against both what he perceived as Orthodox extremism as well as the German Haskalah Movement. He served as the schools headmaster until his death.

1842 January 27, LONDON (England)

First English Reform synagogue was founded. It was known as the West London Synagogue for British Jews.


America's first Reform synagogue was established in Baltimore, Maryland.

1842 - 1885 PERETZ SMOLENSKIN (Russia-Austria)

Hebrew novelist laureate of the Haskalah. He started the monthly periodical Ha-Shachar (the Dawn) and is accredited with six novels including "The Wanderer in Life's Paths". Though he was not religious he was strongly nationalistic and opposed religious reform, fearing that it would weaken national feeling.

1842 - 1925 JOSEPH BREUER (Austria)

Physician and Nerophyscist. His treatment of Bertha Pappenheim (see 1859), known under the pseudonym Anna O. led him to develop the idea of using catharsis (the “talking cure”) to help patients with what was called at the time " hysteria". Thus paving the way for the development of psychoanalysis. His protégé was Sigmund Freund.


The Pale was further narrowed, displacing approximately 150,000 Jews. Sir Moses Montefiore traveled to Moscow in an unsuccessful attempt to intercede.

1843 - 1910 MOSES LOEB LILIENBLUM (Lithuania)

Haskalist, nationalist, and author. His early works denounced Orthodoxy for not replacing their "ancient texts" with new ideas. After the 1881-2 Russian riots, he joined Pinsker in calling for settlements in Eretz Israel. Lilienblum was opposed to any dilution of Zionism, such as Ahad Ha'am's cultural Zionism.

1843 September 29, POPE GREGORY XVI

Denied Klemens von Metternich’s (1773-1879) chief minister of the Austrian Empire appeal for Tolerance Towards Jews. The Pope replied that the restrictions placed on Jews have a sacred origin and cannot possibly be lightened. “the Jews are forbidden such ownership ( property) by the sacred Canons as a Nation of deicides and blasphemers of Christ,”

1843 - 1926 MEIR SIMCHA OF DVINSK (Lithuania)

Rabbi and Talmudist . Knowm for his work Ohr Somayach ( Light of Joy") on Maimonides, and Meshech Chochma ("The Price of Wisdom" on the Pentateuch . Although a mitnaged ,he was on very friendly terms with the hasidic counterpart in his town, Rabbi Yosef Rosen, known as the Rogatchover Gaon. During WWI he refused to leave the town as long as there were any Jews still present, and supported the idea of religious Zionism.


First rabbinical conference between the Orthodox and Reform movements was held.

1844 - 1910 KARL LUEGER (Austria)

Founder of an anti-Semitic Austrian Catholic party, the Christian Social Party (in 1893). He became mayor of Vienna in 1897 (see 1897) and was a strong supporter of Christian Socialism. When asked why some of his friends are Jews he replied “ I decide who is a Jew”. Although later praised by Hitler. in Mein Kamph, in reality during his administration, the Jews of Vienna did not suffer more than anywhere else in Europe at the time

1845 July 1, DAVID YULEE (1810-1866) (Florida, USA)

Became the first Jew elected to the Senate, where he served until 1861. He resigned at the beginning of the American Civil War to become a member of the Confederate Congress.

1845 August 19, - 1934 EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD "Hanadiv Hayaduah" (France)

Philanthropist and art expert. Known as the "Builder of Modern Eretz Israel". Rothschild's interest began as early as the mid-1870's after viewing a play by Alexandre Dumas, La Femme de Claude. This play promoted the return of the Jews to their homeland. But it was only after being approached by Rabbi Samuel Mohilever that he became active in supporting the new settlements of Zichron Yaakov and Rishon Lezion and helped establish Ekron and Rosh Pina. Rothschild at first did not wish to use his name and so the soubriquet "Hanadiv Hayaduah" (The well-known benefactor) was used instead. Although later there was tension between the settlers and Rothschild's managers, he single-handedly helped maintain the early efforts of the Zionist movement. Rothschild established PICA, the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, which acquired land and established industries. It is estimated that he spent over 50 Million dollars in supporting the settlements, as well as another half a million to help develop an electrical power station.

1845 DR. DAVID CAMDEN DE LEON (1816-1872) (USA)

Was known as a hero of the Mexican War. De Leon served as a doctor under General Zachary Taylor and took charge of the troops after all the other officers were killed. He succeeded in not only saving the troops but encouraging them to counter-attack. For his action, he won a Congressional Citation and earned the nickname of the "Fighting Doctor." He was selected in 1861 by Confederate President Jefferson Davis as the Surgeon General of the Confederacy.

1845 - 1916 Aryeh Leib Frumkin (Lithuania -Eretz Israel)

Rabbi, scholar and Zionist pioneer. He wrote Toledot chakhmei Yerushalayim ("History Of The Sages Of Jerusalem"), and Seder Rav Amram a commentary on the 9th century gaon whose prayer book ( sidur) is the oldest known . His book Massa Even Shemu'el described what life was like in his time (see 1871). In 1878 became one of founders of the settlement of Petach Tikva.

1846 June 24, HUNGARY

The residence tax was officially abolished. In order to have it cancelled the Jews had to pay a one time fee of 1,200,000 florins.

1846 August 18, AUSTRIA

The Jewish Oath was abolished in Austria. Originally established by Charlemagne, a Jew taking an oath in a Christian court against a Christian was forced to stand on the skin of a dead animal, or be surrounded by thorns and call down the curses of Korach or Naaman if he were not telling the truth. In Romania it was only repealed in the 20th century.

1847 - 1915 (12 Kislev 5676) SOLOMON SCHECHTER (Romania-USA)

Author, scholar and leader of the American Conservative movement. Born into a Habad-Hassidic family, he studied in Berlin and lectured on Talmud at Cambridge University in England. Schechter won fame for his work in editing and publishing documents recovered from the Cairo Genezah (the synagogue repository for sacred books and articles that are old or torn). He later headed the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and in 1913 established the United Synagogue of America. Schechter is considered to have developed much of the theory and ideology of Conservative Judaism, which was founded as a compromise between the Orthodox and Reform movements (see 1913). His works include "Studies in Judaism", "Midreshet Hagadol to Genesis" and "Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology".

1848 March 20, BERLIN (Germany)

Riots and street fighting killed 20 Jews. Anti-Jewish riots spread to Bavaria, Baden, Hamburg, and many other cities.

1848 April 6, GERMANY

In every part of Germany, excluding Bavaria, Jews were granted civil rights. As a result, Gabriel Riesser (a Jew and an advocate for Jewish emancipation) was elected vice-president of the Frankfurt Vor Parliament, and became a member of the National Assembly. It must be noted that for the most part, these freedoms existed only on paper and were not enforced.

1848 April 17, ITALY

The gates of the Roman ghetto were pulled down. Although Pope Pius IX was in favor of considering the removal of the ghetto gates, a popular leader named Ciceruacchio led a group who tore down the gates Passover eve. The Jews in the ghetto at first thought they were being attacked and hid in their houses.

1848 September, SWITZERLAND

Under the new constitution of Switzerland, democratic rights were guaranteed - but only for those of Christian faith. It took another 18 years until full equality was granted to all (See January 14,1866).

1848 December 31, DOV BERISH MEISELS (Austria)

Was elected to the Austrian Parliament. He was also elected to the Municipality of Cracow in the same year. A vociferous supporter of Jewish rights, he aligned himself with radicals because "Juden haben keine rechte" (Jews have no rights).


Founded the Hebrew Education Society which later led to the Sunday school system.

1849 - 1932 (19 Adar 5693) JOSEPH HAYYIM SONNENFELD (Slovakia-Eretz Israel)

One of the foremost leaders of "the "old Yishuv" in Jerusalem. The term "Old Yishuv" refers to those Jews who lived in Eretz Israel prior to the Zionist movement. He was instrumental in establishing (along with Yehoshuah Leib Diskin) schools and orphanages. Sonnenfeld was a dynamic rabbinical leader who preached separation between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox communities. At the same time, he was a strong supporter of the resettlement of Eretz Israel and the use of Hebrew as the official language. His scholarly works include responsa on the Shulchan Aruch as well as on the Talmud.

1850 RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883) (Germany)

Published his first anti-Semitic article Das Judentum in der Musik. The composer attacked the Jews, denying the existence of Jewish cultural creativity. He accused all Jews of being money hungry and condemned them as the "demon causing mankind's downfall" (Untergang). Wagner proposed that they be either assimilated or removed from cultural life. He was a strong supporter of political anti-Semitism. Wagner's daughter married the English/French anti-Semite, Houston Stewart Chamberlain.

1850 - 1921 IGNAZ GOLDZIHER (Hungary)

Islamic scholar. He described in detail the various Islamic sects and the history of Islamic oral tradition (hadith). After the Balfour Declaration he was asked by the Zionists to act as a mediator to help bring about an understanding with the Arabs. He refused.

1851 May 20, - 1929 EMILE BERLINER (Germany-USA)

Inventor and Zionist. He wrote convincingly on the compatibility between Orthodox Judaism and the world of science. He invented the "loose contact telephone transmitter", which was purchased by Bell. Berlinger established the largest telephone company in Europe. He also invented the microphone and the disc record, based on Edison's cylinder inversion.


Charles Louis Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was a tyrant who also tried to grant liberal reforms. Though elected to the presidency, he also established himself as a dictator. During the Mortara Case (1858), he joined the protest against the actions of the Church.

1852 - 1915 ISAAC LEIBUSH PERETZ (Poland)

A distinguished figure in both Hebrew and Yiddish literature. His writings are generally considered to lean toward Romanticism. In 1887, after ten years of silence he switched from Hebrew to Yiddish, writing poetry and editing journals. Peretz became a socialist criticizing both Hebrew and Zionism, which he referred to as "Diaspora nationalism". Many of his stories relate to Hassidic tales.

1852 - 1931 ALBERT ABRAHAM MICHELSON ( Poland - USA)

Physicist known for his work on measuring the speed of light. His theories provided Einstein with the basis for developing his Theory of Relativity.. Michelson was the first (along with Francis G. Pease) to measure the diameter of a star other than the Sun (Betelgeuse). In 1869 he received a special appointment to the naval academy in Annapolis by President U. S. Grant. He received a Nobel Prize in physics in 1907 being the first American to win that prize. His books include The Velocity of Light and Studies in Optics.


A merchant who discovered the uses of petroleum. He built a distillery which caught fire, leaving him impoverished. He ended up selling liquor to peasants.

1853 - 1918 (21 Av 5678) HAYYIM SOLOVEICHIK (Rav Chayim Brisker) (Russia)

Rabbi of Brest-Litvosk. He served as head of the Volozhin Yeshiva and was author of Reb Chayim Al Harambam on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah. A great scholar and brilliant talmudist, he evolved new trends in analytical talmudic study. As its undisputed leader, R. Hayyim spent much of his time organizing and helping the community. After the 1895 fire he did much to help rebuild the town. Though stringent in his personal observance, he was often lenient in his decisions for others.

1853 KEREM AVRAHAM ("Abraham's Vineyard")

Was purchased by James Finn (1806-1872) the British council in Jerusalem . Its purpose was to train Jews in agriculture and other trades so as to become financial independent of the Halukah system. Today it is a neighborhood in the center of Jerusalem, near Geulah.

1854 M. DAVIDSON (Germany)

Built and drove the first electric automobile.

1854 - 1917 PAUL EHRLICH (Germany)

First expounded the theory of immunity which led to the development of serums. Ehrlich enabled people to study blood cells by injecting dyes. He won the Nobel Prize (1908) for his development of the "606" treatment for syphilis. Ehrlich was also a noted Zionist.


Appointed as Rabbi of the Har Sinai Congregation in Baltimore. A noted German reformist, he was more radical than Isaac Mayer Wise, yet was against intermarriage. Due to his anti-slavery views he was forced to flee during the Civil War. In 1866 was appointed rabbi in New York at Congregation Adath Jeshurun.


Alexander became Czar after his father's death during the Crimean war. Although by no means a liberal, the disaster of the war and comparisons with the West prompted him to make certain changes which included revoking serfdom, establishing local councils (Zemstovs) and reforming the legal system in 1864). Alexander's rise to the throne gave hope to the Jewish population after the harsh policies of Nicholas I. Although he refused to do away with the Pale, he did abolish the forced abduction of Jews into the army and allowed Jewish merchants (for the first time) to temporarily live in Moscow.


Son-in-law of Richard Wagner, the composer and anti-Semite. He was a proponent of the superiority of the Teutonic race. Chamberlain was the author of "Foundation of the Nineteenth Century" which Julius Streicher, the Nazi founder of Der Stuermer, called "the greatest book since the gospel".

1856 JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Population consisted of 4,000 Sephardim (Orientals) and 1,700 Ashkenazim (Europeans).

1856 - 1914 DAVID WOLFFSOHN (Lithuania-Germany)

Second president of the World Zionist Organization. He met Herzl in 1896 and formed a symbiotic relationship. He is credited with providing the business aspect to the Zionist movement. He is also recognized by some with the suggestion to use a blue and white talit (prayer shawl) for a flag and the Skekel as a membership fee.

1856 August 5, - 1927 ASHER GINSBERG (Ahad Ha'am - "one of the people") (Russia-Eretz Israel)

Essayist, philosopher, and founder of Cultural Zionism as opposed to Herzlian Zionism (which advocated diplomacy and mass immigration). He viewed Eretz Israel as a "spiritual center" to be slowly built through cultural and historical devotion rather than settlement activity. He was editor of the Hebrew periodical Hasheloach until 1903.

1856 - 1922 AARON DAVID (A.D.) GORDON (Russia-Eretz Israel)

A Hebrew writer and philosopher of the "religion of labor", he was considered to be the ideological pillar of the kibbutz movement. Born in 1856 in Russia, he only came to Eretz Israel at the age of 48. Neither his age or health impeded his drive to work in agriculture. He helped found Kibbutz Degania in 1909. Gordon's philosophy included a call for a return to nature. He believed that the self-improvement of each individual rather than external changes (i.e. Marxism) were the means to change Jewish destiny.

1856 - 1929 LOUIS MARSHALL (USA)

Constitutional lawyer and Jewish leader. He defended Jewish and minority rights and, although he was not a Zionist, he supported the Balfour Declaration.

1856 May 6, - 1939 SIGMUND FREUD, 'Father of Psychoanalysis' (Vienna, Austria)

Developed revolutionary techniques of psychoanalysis, including the idea that dreams represented the disguised fulfillment of subconscious desires. Freud formulated new theories of childhood development (such as the Oedipus complex). Though not a practicing Jew (he considered formal religion a neurosis), he encountered anti-Semitism many times and defended his Jewishness with dignity. His many works include The Ego and the Id, The Interpretation of Dreams, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, and Moses and Monotheism (on the foundation and characteristics of Judaism). His students included Jung, Adler, and Frenezi.

1856 - 1941 LOUIS BRANDEIS (USA)

Liberal jurist and lawyer, he was known as "the people's attorney". He opposed monopolies and fought for higher wages and freedom of speech. In 1916 Woodrow Wilson nominated him to the position of Supreme Court Justice. Brandeis was an ardent Zionist, and in 1939 he resigned to devote himself to the Zionist cause. Although he disagreed with Weizmann regarding what he considered to be the economic and organizational inefficiency of the World Zionist Organization, he continued to be involved with the establishment of the Palestine Economic Corporation and the Palestine Endowment Fund. Brandeis fought the Peel Partition Plan of 1937, maintaining that the Jews had a right to all of Mandated Palestine. Kibbutz Ein Hashofet was named in his honor.


The school had been established a month earlier by Eliza Herz n’ee Laemel and the poet Ludwig August Frankl (1810-1894), making it the first Jewish school in Jerusalem to combine religious and secular study. A ban against any school which would include secular subjects was issued by the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Jerusalem. One of the co-signatories was Rabbi Samuel Salant. Other Rabbis, including Yehiel Michal Pines (1849-1913) and David Friedman of Karlin (1823-1917) as well as members of the Sephardic community, declared the ban invalid, and demanded it be rescinded. In actually, it was reinforced later on by Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin (1818–1898) to include all Ashkenazi Jews anywhere in the land of Israel.

1857 September, TUNISIA

Under a direct threat from Napoleon III's troops, Muhammad al-Sadiq-Bey (1857-82) proclaimed the Pacte Fondamental which gave equal rights to Jews. It was enforced following the execution of a Jew, Batto Sfez, for allegedly blaspheming Islam. By 1864 the new constitution was abolished by the Bey due to pressure from the population.

1857 - 1894 HENRICH HERTZ (Germany)

Pioneer in the science of electricity, demonstrating the presence of electro-magnetic waves of slow frequency. They are popularly known today by his name, "Hertz Waves".


As head of the Chrischona Mission. Frutiger a Swiss businessman and banker hoped to invest and use his profits for the mission. Frutiger (1836-1899) eventually opened a bank “Bankhaus J. Frutiger & Co”. Together with Shalom Konstrum and Joseph Navon, he established the Mahane Yehuda neighborhood in 1887 and Abu Tor a few years later. He helped finance many other projects, including Mea Shearim, and the Jerusalem Jaffa railroad.

1858 MOSCOW (Russia)

The Jewish population of the entire Moscow district consisted of only 340 men and 104 women. Most of the men were former Cantonists, forcibly conscripted for 25 years (see 1827).

1858 - 1925 MORDECAI SPECTOR (Russia-America)

Yiddish satirist and contributor to Sholem Aleichem's "Folksblatt". After moving to America he became a frequent contributor to the American Yiddish press.

1858 - 1935 ANDRE-GUSTAV CITROEN (France)

"The Henry Ford of France". After taking over the Mors automobile plant in 1908, he became one of the largest producers of cars.

1859 March 2, - 1916 SHOLEM (ALEICHEM) RABINOWITZ (Kiev, Russia)

Famed Yiddish novelist, he wrote in Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew. The characters he created, such as Tevye the Milkman for example, are vivid and memorable. Stempeyu, his first Yiddish novel, helped establish his credentials as the "Yiddish Mark Twain". Sholem Aleichem wrote happy children's tales as well as romances. His pseudonym was originally used to disguise his writings so that his father would not know who wrote them. His father, one of the Maskilim, praised Hebrew and condemned Yiddish.

1859 - 1936 NAHUM SOKOLOW (Poland-England)

Articulate and versatile essayist and publicist. During the 1930s he headed the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization. He was also editor of Hatsefirah and published a history of Zionism, which mainly dealt with the period from 1917-1920. His Hebrew translation of Herzl's Altneuland was entitled Tel Aviv, which subsequently became the name of the first new Jewish city in Eretz Israel. Sokolow collaborated with Weizmann in London to negotiate the Balfour Declaration and its acceptance by Britain's allies.

1859 - 1941 HENRI BERGSON (France)

Mystic philosopher. He disavowed platonic doctrine and championed intuition rather than strict rationalization, as well as the optimistic place of man in nature. His greatest works are "Creative Evolution", "Time and Free Will, and Two Sources of Morality and Religion. He won the Nobel Prize in 1928.

1860 May 17, ALLIANCE ISRAELITE UNIVERSELLE (Kol Yisrael Haverim) (France)

Was launched by a group of French Jews under the direction of Adolphe Cremieux. It was designed to defend Jewish rights and to establish modern Jewish educational facilities throughout the world. The Alliance is considered to be the first modern Jewish organization. It became the prototype of other organizations of its kind. The catalyst for its creation was the Damascus Affair in 1840, the Mortara Case in 1858, and the growing need to protect Jews on an international basis. The Franco-Prussian War diminished its universality and separate organizations were formed in Germany and England.

1860 November 3, JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

The first neighborhood outside the old city wall was dedicated. The site was purchased by Sir Moses Montefiore five years earlier and was known as Mishkenot Sha'ananim. Although there was initial resistance to leaving the "security" of the Old City walls, it soon led to the establishment of dozens of new neighborhoods.

1860 May, - 1904 THEODORE HERZL (Hungary-Austria-France)

Founder of political Zionism. Born in Budapest, his education was German with little Jewish influence. He became a correspondent and later editor of the Neue Freie Presse in Vienna. For a while he toyed with the idea of converting and felt that mass conversion might solve the problem of anti-Semitism. He was in Paris during the Dreyfus trial, which inspired his idea of a Jewish national homeland. He had never read Hess or Pinsker, but developed the idea of Zionism entirely on his own. Herzl wrote "The Jewish State" in three weeks and then launched his Zionist program. He served as the physical and spiritual head of the World Zionist Organization until his death soon after the Uganda scheme failed to win support. During his life, he met with as many heads of state as possible in order to win support for a national homeland.

1860 - 1911 GUSTAV MAHLER (Bohemia-Austria-USA)

Major modern Jewish composer of nine symphonies. His eighth, "Symphony of a Thousand", requires one thousand performers. Mahler was forced to convert to Christianity as a prerequisite to accepting the post of director of the Vienna Court Opera. His most important song cycles are Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (1884) and Kindertotenlieder (1900-02). During the last 4 years of his life he conducted the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic.


The grand-nephew of Daniel Mendoza. He achieved unprecedented honor (for a Jew) in England. Starting as a lawyer rather late in life, he was soon renowned for his abilities and was later appointed Lord Chief Judge, as well as Attorney General and Queens Council. Although not active in Jewish affairs, he stated in 1915, "The Jews ought to have a place" and a government of their own."

1860 - 1941 SIMON DUBNOW (Russia)

The most prominent Jewish historian of recent times. He wrote two separate histories: "History of the Jews" and "History of the Jews of Russia and Poland". He believed that the Jews had a cultural autonomy within other nations, and therefore should all speak Yiddish as a common language. Dubnow also encouraged Sholem Aleichem in his writing. Dubnov was killed in Riga in December 1941, allegedly by a Gestapo officer who had at one time been a student of his.

1860 December 21, - 1945 HENRIETTA SZOLD (USA)

Founder of Hadassah (the American Women's Zionist Organization), which was named after the Hebrew name of Queen Esther. She served as its president until 1926. In 1893 she worked as the secretary of the Jewish Publication Society and translated a number of publications. She was a devoted Zionist and a member of the Zionist Executive.

1860 - 1925 HUGO PREUSS (Germany)

Jurist and liberal politician. He was originally denied a professorship because of his Jewish background, but in spite of this he eventually became Minister of the Interior (see 1921) and headed the committee responsible for drafting the Weimar Constitution.

1860 November 3, MISHKENOT SHA'ANANIM (Jerusalem, Eretz Israel)

The first neighborhood outside the Old City's walls was dedicated. The site was purchased by Sir Moses Montefiore, five years earlier, with $60,000 from the estate of Judah Touro which was left for Montefiore to use at his discretion. Although there was initial resistance to leaving the "security" of the Old City's walls, it soon led to the establishment of dozens of new neighborhoods.

1860 February 21, URIAH P. LEVY (1792-1862)

Is appointed Commodore of the Eastern Mediterranean fleet. Levy a naval officer, found himself facing many anti-Semitic obstacles in his career, and was eventually forced to turn to a court of inquiry in his argument against the navy. The court ruled in his favor, and he was appointed Commodore in the U.S. Navy, a post which he held until his death. He is also remembered for his fight to abolish capital punishment within the navy.


David Camden De Leon, known as "the Fighting Doctor", was appointed as the first surgeon general of the Confederate Army.


Was started by Israel Lipkin Salanter. It dealt with rabbinical law and religious problems.

1861 DOV BERISH MEISELS (Warsaw, Poland)

Petitioned and led demonstrations against Russian oppression in Poland. Together with Marcus Jastrow (a Reform leader soon to emigrate to America) and Christian leaders, he organized a mass funeral for those slain by the Russians.


Jews fought heroically on both sides. 10-12,000 Jews fought for the Confederates and 15-20,000 for the Union, including 9 generals, 21 colonels, 40 majors, and 205 captains. The majority, including Isaac Meyer Wise, sided with the North for moral reasons.

1861 - 1893 SHUKR BEN SALIM KUHAYL I (Sana'a, Yemen)

Was also known as Mari (Master) Shukr Kuhayl I. During a particularly difficult period for Jews in Yemen, this poor preacher, announced himself as the messenger of the Messiah. He soon upgraded his claim to that of the Messiah himself, and won many adherents in Yemen. Shukr was killed and decapitated in 1865 by local Arabs. Prior to his death he promised to reappear and a few years late was succeeded by Judah ben shalom ( see 1867)

1862 MOSES HESS (1812-75) (Germany)

Wrote "Rome and Jerusalem". After his belief in the panacea of socialism waned, he came to the conclusion that anti-Semitism would not be cured by assimilation. Instead, he held that Jews should build their own nation and society in an independent Eretz Israel.


Published an appeal for the establishment of agricultural colonies in Eretz Israel in a pamphlet called Drishat Zion (Seeking Zion).

1863 - 1920 S. ANSKY (Solomon Rapoport) (Russia)

Yiddish short story writer, playwright, and folklorist. His fame stems from his play "The Dybbuk". During World War I he helped set up self-defense forces in Kiev.

1863 - 1926 MAXIM VINAVER (Russia)

Jewish leader, lawyer, and spokesman for the Jewish "Block" in the Duma.

1863 - 1940 (5 Av 5700) HAYYIM OZER GRODZENSKI (Poland)

Appointed Rabbi in Vilna at the age of twenty-four. He spent much of his time trying to alleviate the plight of the poor, the yeshivot, and the constant refugees. An early leader of the Agudas Yisroel Movement, he was embroiled in many controversies over liberalism and the Zionist movement, and always maintained a strictly conservative view. His Responsa Achiezer was published in three volumes and established him as a leading Torah authority.

1863 - 1940 CYRUS ADLER (USA)

American rabbi, scholar, and educator. Adler succeeded Solomon Schechter as president of the Jewish Theological Seminary and later became president of Dropsie College in Philadelphia. He was one of the founders of the American Jewish Historical society, the United Synagogue of America, and the American Jewish Committee.

1863 - 1941 MENACHEM MENDEL USSISHKIN (Russia-Eretz Israel)

Zionist leader. He served as Hebrew Secretary at the First Zionist Congress and bitterly opposed the Uganda plan. His views were expressed in a pamphlet, "Our Program", which advocated group settlement based on labour. Ussishkin was President of the Jewsh National Fund for eighteen years, and he was the force behind large land acquisitions in Emek Hefer and in the Jezreel and Bet Shean valleys. He was one of the few Zionist leaders to actually settle in Israel.

1864 February 14, - 1926 ISRAEL ZANGWILL (England)

Celebrated portrayer of the humorous as well as the tragic side of Jewish life in England. As a member of the World Zionist Organization during the Uganda affair, he led a secessionist group to form the Jewish Territorial Organization (J.T.O.). The group did not oppose but also did not insist on Eretz Israel as a national homeland.


Grandson of Isaac Meir (the founder of the Gur Hassidic dynasty and author of Chiddushai Harim). He was one of the foremost leaders of Polish Jewry and founder of the Agudist religious movement. Though he was not a Zionist, he visited Eretz Israel six times. In 1940 he escaped the Nazis and made his way to Eretz Israel.

1864 May 16, - 1937 NATHAN BIRNBAUM (Mathias Acher) (Austria)

Philosopher and early Zionist leader. Although Birnbaum left orthodoxy at a young age, his direction moved into Jewish Nationalism rather than assimilation. He formed Kadimah, a nationalist students organization in 1882 and became one of Herzl's strong supporters. Three years later, he founded and edited the first Jewish nationalist journal in German, Selbstemanzipation, where the term Zionism was first used in a modern sense. He left active Zionist affairs in 1903 over a disagreement on the negation of the Diaspora, and advocated Diaspora nationalism and Yiddish along with Zionism. In the aftermath of WWI he became active in religious organizations becoming the general secretary of Agudat Israel (1919). He wrote numerous articles delineating his religious philosophy of trying to "create the new Jew, based in the Torah, near to nature and to God".

1865 April 14, PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865) (USA)

Was assassinated. Lincoln was the first President to deal with national Jewish problems, including the appointment of Jewish Chaplains in the U.S. Army and his involvement with the expulsion order of Ulysses S. Grant. (see 1862)

1865 - 1941 PAUL HYMAN (Belgium)

Premier of Belgium and the first president of the League of Nations. His father wrote the Belgian National Anthem.

1865 - 1935 (3 Elul 5635) ABRAHAM ISAAC KOOK (Eretz Israel)

Proponent of a religious national philosophy. Rav Kook was appointed the first Chief Rabbi of Israel. He tried to broaden the outlook of the yeshivot to cope with modern ideas and train spiritual leaders. His mystical leanings helped him embrace even the non-religious pioneers and earned him the respect of the entire Zionist world. Rav Kook set up his own yeshiva, which later became known as Mercaz Harav. He was an outspoken critic of the British Mandatory government and a staunch defender of the Revisionist movement during the infamous Arlozoroff affair, once he became convinced of their innocence. His many works in philosophy and halacha include Iggeret Hareaya, Orot Hateshuva, Shabbat Haaretz, Daat Kohen, and Mishpat Kohen.

1866 January 14, SWITZERLAND

Jewish rights were ratified. Switzerland was the scene of some of the worst massacres during the Black Plague and a hotbed of anti-Jewish edicts. This legislation was only passed after the United States, Britain, and France refused to sign treaties until their anti-Jewish cantons were repealed.


An act was passed which replaced the oath of admission to Parliament, paving the way for Jews to be admitted to both houses.

1866 - 1939 BARUCH DOV LEIBOVITZ (Lithuania)

Dean of the Kamienice Yeshiva. He favored strict talmudic study with only thirty minutes daily devoted to the study of Mussar (ethics).


Was issued by Carol I of Romania (1839-1914). In article 6 he proposed that "religion is no obstacle to citizenship" and continued "with regard to the Jews, a special law will have to be framed". The next day anti- Jewish roots ensued and the Bucharest Synagogue destroyed. Article 6 was then canceled and substituted with article 7 which stated "only such aliens as are of the Christian faith may obtain citizenship".

1866 - 1956 MURAD BEH FARAG ( Egypt)

Jewish scholar and poet. In 1923 he co-authored the first Egyptian constitution. Although a strong Egyptian patriot as portrayed in his poem 'My Homeland Egypt, Place of my Birth', he also believed in the right for the Jews to have a state of their own.

1867 JUDAH BEN SHALOM ( Yemen)

False Messiah. He claimed that he was the incarnate of Shukr ben Salim Kuhayl I and called himself Shukr ben Salim Kuhayl II. He actually “ remarried” the first Shukr’s wife, yet unlike the first Shukr he established a large court , and amassed a small fortune by demanding tithes from various communities. He was strongly condemned by Jacob Saphir the author of Even Sapir (see 1822)

1868 - 1941 EMANUEL LASKER (Germany-England)

A mathematician by profession, he was the foremost chess champion of his day. In 1892 he won his first major tournament in London. In 1894 he defeated Wilhelm Steinitz for the championship which he defended against Frank Marshall, David Janowski, and others. He held the championship until 1921 when he was defeated by Capablanca with ten draws and four losses. Lasker wrote two classic books on chess: "Common Sense in Chess" (1896) and "Lasker's Manual of Chess."


After the war of 1866 Prussia increased its territory to include Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, Saxony, etc. Under the initiative of the Liberal Party, full rights were extended to Jews, including serving in public positions. By April 16, 1871, this became Imperial Law and was extended to the entire empire. Although later reaction revoked most of this freedom, discrimination never returned to the level existing in the Middle Ages - until the rise of Hitler.

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.

1870 February 15, MIKVEH ISRAEL (Eretz Israel)

The first Israeli agricultural school was established by Charles Netter, head of the Alliance Israelites Universelle. He was supported by the Anglo-Jewish Association and Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Mikveh Israel later became an important education center for Youth Aliyah.


Published by J.K. Buchner, it became the first Yiddish weekly published in the United States. The language itself was more of a German-Yiddish and the paper was conservative rather than socialist in direction.

1870 October 24, ALGIERS

Under the leadership of Adolphe Cremieux, France granted Algerian Jews French citizenship. Up to this date they could only be naturalized individually. Approximately 35,000 Jews took advantage of this right.


Were granted a baronetcy by the archduke of Hesse-Darmstadt. The title was later made hereditary by Czar Alexander II. The Guenzburgs were noted for their financial institutions in Russia which helped develop railroads and mines. The family was instrumental in trying to ease the plight of Jews in the Pale.

1870 NAPOLEON III (France)

Resigned his throne and Adolphe Cremieux, a great defender of individual liberty, helped start a provisional government.

1870 - 1953 HILAIRE BELLOC (England)

French born British poet. Considered the most prolific spokesman for English Catholicism, he wrote 150 books. In his book The Jews (1922) he argued that the existence of the Jewish people "presents a permanent problem of the gravest character," and was a threat to the " white race". He generated the idea that Jews were only interested in money, yet he condemned Nazi anti-Semitism.


Cardozo belonged to an old Sephardic family and served as Justice of the New York Supreme Court for many years. A tough liberal by nature, he was appointed to the Supreme Court by conservative Herbert Hoover in 1932. The Cardozo College of Law at Yeshiva University was named after him.


Was established in London. It was based on the principles of the Alliance Israelite Universelle. It was soon imitated in Germany in the form of the Lifaverein der Dutchen Juden.

1871 AUGUST ROHLING (Austria)

Arch anti-Semite, he published his Talmud Jude in which he claimed Jews were encouraged to cheat and attack Christians. It was often quoted in the ritual murder trial in Tiza-Eszlar (1882). He was the author of other anti-Semitic literature and was largely responsible for the outbreak of blood libels at the end of the century. In 1883 Rohling lost a libel suit against a Viennese Rabbi who accused him of not having the ability to even read the Talmud. Though Rohling was dismissed from his position at the University, his book continued to gain widespread popularity.

1871 - 1922 MARCEL PROUST (France)

French writer. His mother was Jewish but he was raised in the Catholic faith. His most famous work was the seven part A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. Proust persuaded Anatole France to defend Dreyfus.

1872 April 22, BAVARIA (Germany)

Jews were granted civil rights as part of the constitution of the German Reich of 1871, though some of the special "Jewish taxes" were only abolished in 1880.

1872 May 6, SCHOOL FOR JEWISH LEARNING (Berlin, Germany)

A center for the scientific study of Judaism and a liberal rabbinical seminary was established. Also known as the Juedische Hochschule, it was formed by Ludwig Philipsson. He engaged such personalities as Abraham Geiger, David Cassel (history), and Israel Lewy (Talmud critic) as teachers.

1872 - 1950 LEON BLUM (France)

Socialist, author, and critic. An activist in the socialist party, he led a coalition to win in 1936. The Vichy government arrested him in 1940 and he spent the rest of the war in an Austrian prison.


Of the Reform Movement was launched in Cincinnati under the leadership of Dr. Isaac Meyer Wise.

1873 July 12, PERSIA

Shah Nasr-ed-Din and Adolphe Cremieux met to discuss the problems of oppressive social and economic discrimination against the Jews. The Shah agreed to encourage Jewish schools, and work to improve the Jewish condition. Unfortunately, despite his intentions, the government did little to prevent attacks against the Jewish population or to rescind many of the anti-Jewish regulations.

1873 January 9, - 1934 CHAYIM NAHMAN BIALIK (Eretz Israel)

Poet laureate of the Jewish national movement from his debut in 1892 (El Ha-Tsippor - To the Bird) until his death. Bialik wrote both essays and poetry in which he voiced the hopes, joys, and woes of his people. He believed that unfortunately only persecution would move people to accept Zionist aspirations. After the 1903 massacre in Kishinev, Bilalik was asked to visit the site. Afterwards he wrote Beit Ha-hareigah (In the City of Slaughter) where he condemned the cowardice of the local Jews. This served as a catalyst for the organizing of local Jewish defense units. Two of his greatest poems are Metei Midbar (Dead of the Desert) and Megillat Ha'esh (Scroll of Fire). Bialik also translated Don Quixote and William Tell into Hebrew and was president of the Hebrew Language Council.

1873 - 1956 LEO BAECK (Germany-England)

Leading theologian of the Reform movement. He believed in melding modern thought with Jewish ethics. Although the Nazis permitted him to leave in 1938, he chose to remain with his congregation and spent 5 years in Theresienstadt.

1874 - 1943 GERSHON SIROTA (Ukraine - Poland)

Hazzan. Born in Podolia, Sirota served as the cantor in the Great Synagogue, ("Tlomackie Shul") in Warsaw. Sirota was considered one of the most accomplished tenors of his day with an outstanding range. Aside from the thousands who used to come hear him in the synagogue, he made numerous concert tours in Europe and the United States. In 1903, he was invited to make 12 records, the earliest of all liturgical music. He was the only one of the great hazzanim not to leave Europe before WWII. He and his family died in the Warsaw ghetto.


Rabbi, Zionist leader, and champion of liberal causes. Wise, who was ordained at age 19, became a leading advocate for the Zionist cause. Wise served as president of the American Zionist Organization and chairman of the United Palestine Appeal. As one of the founders of the World Jewish Congress he was among the first to warn about the dangers of Nazism. Wise promoted the freedom of Rabbis to deliver sermons of their choice - "free pulpit" - and not be dependent on the approval of the board of trustees. In 1907 he founded the Free Synagogue in New York and later the Jewish Institute of Religion (see 1922).

1874 September 13, - 1951 ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (Austria-USA)

Composer and developer of the Atonal System, which was badly received at first. His works include Guirrelieder and Five Orchestral Pieces. Though born into an Orthodox family in Vienna, he was influenced by Mahler and converted to Christianity in 1898. In response to the anti-Semitic atmosphere in Germany he returned to Judaism in 1933 in a formal religious ceremony and soon after left for the United States. While in the States, he was active in helping German Jewish refugees. Schoenberg also became a staunch Zionist and, if not for his health, would have taken the position of Director of the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.

1874 November 27, - 1952 CHAIM WEIZMANN (Belarus-England-Eretz Israel)

Statesman and scientist. Herzl inspired him, but their many clashes led him to pursue his scientific career with Zionism as a sideline. In 1905 he moved to England where he made many useful contacts. These enabled him to take part in negotiations for the Balfour Declaration. Weizmann later became the head of the World Zionist Organization and was appointed the first president of Israel in 1948. Towards the end of his career he was no longer trusted and was considered to be too pro-British. He was sent on the eve of Independence to negotiate with Truman on the subject of partition. His autobiography is entitled Trial and Error.


Was opened with the goal of training rabbis to serve in Reform temples. Founded by Isaac Meir Wise, it is the third oldest modern rabbinical college in the world.

1875 - 1937 MAURICE RAVEL (France)

Considered the greatest composer since Debussy. He wrote operas, ballets, orchestral and chamber music, and piano pieces. His works include the famous Bolero and Rapsodie Espagnole.

1875 - 1942 (11 Tamuz 5702) ELCHANAN WASSERMAN (Poland)

Jewish leader and talmudic scholar. An outstanding teacher, Wasserman joined the Kollel of the Chafetz Hayim (see 1838) and was considered his spiritual heir. His Yeshiva at Baranovitch was considered one of the most famous in Eastern Europe. Wasserman was one of the main leaders of Agudat Israel in Europe. A brilliant organizer and instructor, he established a grade system for rabbinical studies. He supported and contributed works to the Mussar movement. He was caught with a number of other rabbis while visiting Kovno by the Nazis and executed. His last words were: "The fire which consumes our bodies...will be that which the people of Israel will arise to a new life. His works include Ikvita D'mashicha, Ohel Torah, and Shiurei Rav Elchanan. He was a frequent contributor to the journal Sharei Tzion.

1875 - 1943 SAUL TCHERNICHOWSKY (Russia-Eretz Israel)

Hebrew Zionist poet and considered one of the fathers of modern Hebrew poetry. He was noted for his secular humanistic tendencies in modern Jewish nationalism. Tchernichowsky, who studied medicine, served as an army surgeon during World War I and later as a medical inspector of schools in Eretz Israel. He added much to the Hebrew terminology in botany and anatomy. He also edited a dictionary of Hebrew medical terms (1931) Sefer ha-Munnahim L'Refu'ah U'Le-Madda'ei ha-Teva (The Book of Medical and Scientific Terms) and settled in Erez Israel. He was fluent in many languages including Latin and Greek and he translated into Hebrew Homer's Iliad and the Odyssey as well as Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare's Twelfth night and Macbeth.


Abraham Goldfaden established the Yiddish theater.

1876 - 1909 SULTAN ABDUL HAMID II (Ottoman Empire)

Considered to be a benefactor to Turkish Jews, including Jewish refugees from Romanian persecutions. On the other hand, he disregarded his own constitution and was considered a tyrant when it came to anything which he felt would weaken his authority and rule, which also included Zionism.

1876 - 1943 ARTHUR RUPPIN (Eretz Israel)

Zionist, sociologist and father of modern Jewish demography. He founded what was later known as the Israel Land Development Authority (ILDC) which was dedicated to expanding settlement and agriculture. He also helped design new urban quarters in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Kfar Ruppin in the Beit Shean Valley was named after him.

1876 - 1962 BRUNO WALTER (SCHLESINGER) (Germany-USA)

German conductor, he was forced to leave when the Nazis took power. Walter served as conductor of the New York Philharmonic and was considered one of the greatest interpreters of Mozart and Mahler.

1877 - 1948 JUDAH MAGNES (USA-Eretz Israel)

Rabbi and Jewish leader. Though ordained as a Reform rabbi, Magnes was a traditionalist and became close to Solomon Schechter. He was instrumental in helping establish the American Jewish Committee together with his brother-in-law Louis Marshall. Magnes was a strong Zionist who believed in Jewish defense while accepting the unique role of Zionism as proposed by Ahad Ha'am. In 1922 he immigrated to Eretz Israel and helped establish the Hebrew University where he served as chancellor from 1925-35 and first president (1935-48) until his death.

1878 - 1942 (21 Av 5712) JANUS KORCZAK (Henryk Goldschmidt) (Poland)

Doctor, educator, and director of the Jewish Orphanage of Warsaw. Korczak was a pioneer in modern education and child care. He instituted a children's court run by children in his orphanage, insisting that children have rights and must be treated with respect. During the war he refused to wear the yellow star or "accept" the Nazi invasion. Despite the offer of his Polish friends to help him flee the ghetto, he refused to leave "his orphans", preferring to share their fate in Treblinka.

1878 - 1953 (15 Cheshvan 5714) AVRAHAM YESHAYAHU KARELITZ (Chazon Ish) (Vilna, Eretz Israel)

Talmudist, halachist, and author of more than 40 books. Most of his works deal with the application of Halacha (Jewish Law) to modern life in a Jewish state. Despite the fact that he never held an official position, his influence on Halacha in modern society is well-nigh incalculable. After immigrating to Israel he devoted himself to the establishment of yeshivot, and was also instrumental in the founding of a city dedicated to strict Orthodoxy - Bnei Brak.

1878 March 28, - 1963 HERBERT HENRY LEHMAN (USA)

Politician, banker, philanthropist. Lehman began his career in the War Department under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was then assistant secretary of the Navy. He won the Distinguished Service Medal in World War I as an advisor to the Secretary of War. He continued with Roosevelt acting as lieutenant governor of New York in 1928, and then as governor for 5 terms starting in 1932. Lehman headed the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), and later served one term as senator. He was active in the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and although not a Zionist, supported the establishment of a Jewish state after the Second World War.

1878 February 8, - 1965 MARTIN BUBER (Galicia-Eretz Israel)

Considered by many to be the most prominent philosopher of the twentieth century. As a child, he lived with his grandfather and came into contact with Hasidism, which was later reflected in his work. Most of his philosophies revolve around the I-It and I-Thou relationships of people to G-d and objects. Buber was also concerned with the "Historic" soul of the Jew. He fled in 1938 from Germany to Eretz Israel where he served as a professor in the Hebrew University. His numerous books cover many aspects of Judaism, philosophy, and existentialism.

1878 NAPHTALI HERZ IMBER (1856-1909)(Jassy, Romania)

Wrote a poem Tikvatenu ("Our Hope"). That same year Samuel Cohen, set it to the music of a Moldavian-Rumanian folk song, Carul cu Boi ("Cart and Oxen"). By 1905 it had become the unofficial anthem of the Zionist congress. Hatikvah became the official anthem at the 18th Zionist Congress in Prague in 1933.

1878 - 1967 CLAUDE BLOCH (USA)

Admiral and commander-in-chief of the United States Fleet(1938-1940. Bloch was a graduate of the Naval Academy and fought in both the Spanish-American War where he was decorated and in the Chinese expedition to suppress the Boxer rebellion. Bloch became a Rear Admiral in 1923 and in 1927 he commanded the battleship California. In 1938 Bloch was made commander-in-chief of the United States Fleet and served as the Commander of the Shore Installation at Pearl Harbor. Bloch retired a year later (he was 64). He continued to serve on the Naval Board until 1946.


Adolph Stoecker, a German theologian and anti-Semitic leader, founded the "Christian Social Workers Party" (later known as the CSP). Orginaly designed to fight against Social Democracy, it soon became synonymous with anti- Jewish demagogy. His Christian Socialist Workingmen's Union was a front for boycotting and/or bypassing Jewish businesses in favor of those belonging to the Teutonic race. Thus, a Jew became qualified to be a Jew not by his religion (which left him the option of conversion) but by his race, which not even the baptismal waters could cure. Stoecker can also be "accredited" with making anti-Semitism a national issue.

1879 KUTAIS (Georgia)

Jews were accused of murdering a Christian girl for ritual purposes. In this, one of the last ritual murder cases, the defense council tried to prove that local Monks were behind the accusations and presented a social analysis of ritual murder cases.

1879 - 1923 VLADIMIR MEDEM (Russia)

A Russian Bundist. He advocated the treatment of the Jews as a nationality (like the Poles) based on socialism. Though he was baptized in infancy, he returned to Judaism and was one of the founders of the Bund.

1879 - 1940 LEON TROTSKY (BRONSTEIN) (Russia)

Trotsky was the son of a Jewish Odessian farmer. Believing there was no future for the Jewish people as a people, he became a contemporary of Lenin, helping him with his publication of Iskra (Spark). He was exiled and arrested many times before the Revolution. Trotsky played an important role in the Communist government and only after Lenin's death did Stalin expel him from the party. He was exiled in 1928 first to Turkey then Norway and finally to Mexico. Trotsky was assassinated on August 21, 1940 by a friend, presumably on Stalin's orders. Trotzky did not accept the concept of Jewish identity and was violently opposed to Zionism.

1879 March 14, - 1955 ALBERT EINSTEIN (Ulm, Germany-USA)

Discovered the Theory of Relativity and a theory of photo-effect, which helped pave the way for television. He was a leading anti-war activist during World War I and again after World War II. Together with his rise to fame came his awareness of anti-Semitism, and he emigrated to the United States in 1933 after Hitler's rise to power. Einstein was an outspoken advocate of Zionism and visited Eretz Israel in 1922. His theories helped other physicists to develop the atomic bomb. A pacifist by nature, his comment upon hearing the news of Hiroshima was "Oi Vey." In 1952 he was offered the presidency of Israel as successor to Weizmann, but he declined.

1880 THEODOR MOMMSEN (1817-1903) (Germany)

Signed a declaration of German notables against anti-Semitism. A German scholar and historian, Mommsen was one of the few German Christian intellectuals to speak out against the new wave of anti-Semitism.

1880 RUSSIA - ORT (Russian initials for Obstchestuo Resemes lenovo Truda)

The Society for the Encouragement of Handicraft was established by Baron Horace de Guenzburg. Its goal was to organize vocational programs for poor Jews throughout the world.

1880 - 1920 JOSEPH TRUMPELDOR (Odessa,Ukraine-Eretz Israel)

First Jewish commissioned officer in the Czarist army. He lost his arm while fighting at Port Arthur in the Russo-Japanese War and became the highest decorated Jewish soldier in Russia. Trumpeldor emigrated to Eretz Israel in 1911 where he met Vladimir Jabotinsky. Together they formed the Zion Mule Corps (the Jewish Legion) in 1917 to fight with the British. He returned to Riga, and with the support of Kerensky, tried to form a Jewish army to fight its way through the Balkans to Eretz Israel. He died while defending Tel Hai, a settlement near the Lebanese border.

1880 October 5, - 1939 VLADIMIR JABOTINSKY (Odessa,Ukraine-Eretz Israel)

Founder of the New Zionist Organization (1935), the Haganah (1920), the Jewish Legion (1917), Betar (Brit Trumpeldor) (1923), Revisionist Party (1925), and the Irgun (1937). Until he joined the World Zionist Organization, Jabotinsky was considered by Tolstoy and Pushkin to be one of Russia's most promising writers. He was soon recognized as a distinguished statesman, linguist (he wrote in over seven languages, translating Poe and Dante into Hebrew) and orator par excellence. In 1935 he split with the World Zionist Organization, accusing them of procrastinating and developing defeatist policies. He believed in 90% immigration and 10% politics, as well as the use of Hebrew only as a state language (the Establishment considered him unrealistic). In the 1930's he organized an aviation and navy school in Europe, while at the same time calling for the complete evacuation of Eastern Europe. One of the last of the hundreds of pamphlets he wrote was entitled The Eleventh Hour (1939) and it called for the immediate resettlement of 600,000 Polish Jews. He was branded an alarmist. He died of a heart attack while visiting Camp Betar in Hunter, New York.

1880 - 1957 SHOLOM ASCH (Poland-Israel)

Renowned Hebrew and Yiddish novelist. Most of his books, including Motke Ganef (Motke the Thief), reflect social realism rather than romanticism.

1880 - 1959 ERNEST BLOCH (Switzerland-USA)

Although Bloch was not formally traditional, his music is suffused with Jewish themes. In Bloch's words: "This it is which I seek to feel within me and to translate in my music - the sacred race - emotion that lies dormant in our souls." His well-known works include the Shelemo, Baal Shem, America (an epic rhapsody) Symphony in C Sharp Minor and Avodat HaKodesh (Sacred Service for the Sabbath).

1881 April 28, (Easter) KHERSON, ELIZABETHGRAD (Russia)

A tavern dispute on blood libels spawned massive outbreaks against the Jews (in which soldiers often joined) in Kiev (May 12) and Odessa (May 15). In all, over a 223 pogroms occurred in Russia over the next two years. Ignatyev, the Minister of the Interior, insisted that the Jews caused the pogroms. General Drenbien refused to endanger his troops "for a few Jews".

1881 SAMUEL GOMPERS (1850-1924) (London-USA)

A Sephardic Jew, he founded the Federation of Unions, the forerunner of the American Federation of Labor. During the first four years he refused a salary and sold cigars to support his family. He later accepted one hundred dollars a month as a stipend.

1881 - 1917 BER BOROCHOV (Ukraine)

Developed the Poale Zion (Zionist Labor Party). Its ideology was a synthesis between Jewish Nationalism and Marxism. He is best summed up in his own words: "Our ultimate aim is Socialism. Our immediate aim is Zionism. The class struggle is the means to achieve both aims."

1881 October 6, JUDAH LEIB LEVIN

Urged in the Hamgid magazine for Jews to go to America rather than Eretz Israel . “It is a country settled by enlightened people... the holy land where we would be slaves to the sultan." Levin (1844-1925) known as Yehalel, was a well known Hebrew poet and socialist. This debate was of vital importance at this time. Within 10 years almost 200,000 people would leave Russia approximately 75% of them would go to the United States.

1882 January 21, BILU MOVEMENT (Ukraine-Eretz Israel)

As a result of the pogroms of the previous year, the Russian students at the University of Khrakov formed their own pioneering Zionist group called BILU, for Beit Ya'akov Lekhu Ve-nelkha (House of Jacob Let Us Rise and Go) (Isaiah 2:5). Led by Israel Belkind, it called for active colonialization of Eretz Israel. The BILU aspired to both a political-economic, as well as spiritual-national revival ("de retablir la situation").

1882 April 1, TIZA-ESZLAR (Hungary)

A blood libel began when a servant girl went missing. Although not the slightest evidence was found that Jews were even remotely involved, the young son of the janitor of the synagogue was interrogated - whereby he described full details of the "murder." The Jews were then accused of having the girl kidnapped for ritual murder purposes. Fifteen people were brought to trial despite the protests of Lajos Kossuth (non-Jewish leader of the Hungarian Independence Movement) and the fact that the girl's body was found in the river. A year later all of them were acquitted.


Based on the "findings" of Count Ignatyev's commissions, the May or "Temporary" Laws were issued. Jews were banished from all rural areas and towns of less than ten thousand people, even within the Pale. Strict quotas were placed on the number of Jews allowed into higher education. As formulated by Konstantin Pobedonostev, the Russian statesman and anti-Semite, they were designed to "cause one-third of the Jews to emigrate, one-third to accept baptism, and one-third to starve". These laws remained in quasi-effect until 1914 and provided the impetus for migration to America as well as expanded interest in the settlement of Eretz Israel.

1882 July 31, RISHON LEZION - THE FIRST ALIYAH(Eretz Israel)

Was founded by a group of 10 families. Later that year, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, in response to the Russian pogroms and a plea by Rabbi Samuel Mohilever, agreed to help the new Moshava. The settlement marked the beginning of the first Aliyah (going up) to Eretz Israel, and the beginning of Rothschild's deep involvement with settlement activities.The first Aliyah which lasted until 1904 came in three waves 1882-1884 comprising of Romanian and Russian Jews, 1890-91 from Russia and 1900-1903 from Russia and Eastern Europe. Most of the immigrants came due to harsh persecution and pogroms, economic disasters, the influence of the Hovevei Zion and the fact that there was in place a mass emigration movement throughout eastern Europe - although mostly to the United States. Around 30-40,000 Jews arrived during these periods bringing the Jewish population to 55,000.

1882 October 17, LEON PINSKER (Poland)

Published his Auto-Emancipation as a result of the Russian pogroms of the previous year. Pinsker advocated establishing a homeland as a cure for anti-Semitism. Eretz Israel was not his original suggestion, and only later did he join the fledgling Zionist movement.

1882 SLOBODKA YESHIVAH (Lithuania-Eretz Israel)

Was founded by one of the leaders of the Mussar movement, R. Nathan Zevi Finkel. Though important in its own right, it expanded greatly after the Yeshiva of Volozhin was closed by the Czar in 1892. The Yeshiva grew to 300 students before the end of the century and to over 500 by 1920. After difficulties with the Lithuanian government in 1924, it opened a branch in Hebron. The Arab massacre in 1929 forced it to move again, this time to Jerusalem where it took the name the Hebron yeshiva. The original yeshiva reopened in Bnei Brak after World War II.

1882 - 1928 ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN "The Brain" (USA)

Gambler and criminal mastermind known as The Czar of the Underworld, Rothstein began his career as a traveling salesman. He was accredited with being the designer of the synthesis between big business and organized crime. Rothstein had his hands in everything, including allegedly fixing the outcome of the 1919 World Series. He was also the archetype for the underworld boss. His students were a Who's Who of crime, including Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano. Rothstein was killed over a gambling debt, but although he was dying, he refused to name his murderer.


United States Supreme Court judge, Harvard Professor of Law, and founder of the Civil Liberties Union. Frankfurter was known as a liberal and close associate of Brandeis as well as an early supporter of the Zionist movement.He is also remembered for his role in the Sacco and Vanzetti case.

1882 March 29, (Easter) BALTA (Ukraine)

During a local pogrom, the Jews succeeded in defending themselves until local police and soldiers disarmed and arrested many of them. During the night around 5,000 peasants arrived in the city. The local priest, Radzionovsky, with the help of some of the militia, held the crowed back for an hour until the arrival of the heads of the army garrison and the district police who directly ordered the soldiers to step aside. Forty Jews were killed, 20 women raped, 170 wounded, and 1,250 dwellings destroyed, leaving fifteen thousand Jews in total poverty.


Politician, member of congress, and mayor of NYC. Although he did not overtly express his being Jewish, he was one of Hitler's earliest and fiercest opponents in the USA (see 1933). In1934, he supported the boycott of all German goods. His sister Gemma la Guardia Gluck born in the USA, was in Budapest with her husband Herman when rounded up by the NAZI's and taken to Ravensbruk as a political prisoner. Her husband Herman, did not survive.

1883 July 4, - 1924 FRANZ KAFKA (Germany)

Author who combined psychological analysis and moral philosophy in his brilliant works, i.e. The Trial, The Castle, and America. His metaphysical thinking was reflected in his belief in the "indestructible" in men who are always "guilty". Kafka became one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He had little contact with Judaism and considered temple services "boring", yet as he grew older he began to take an interest in Zionism tried to learn Hebrew and even considered the idea of emigrating to Eretz Israel. None of Kafka's novels was printed during his lifetime. In spite of his instructions to destroy his manuscripts after his death, his friend Max Brod published them.

1883 - 1936 LEV KAMENEV (Rosenfeld) (Russia)

Revolutionary writer and Soviet leader. A colleague of Lenin's, he co-edited revolutionary journals. Prior to the Revolution, Kamenev lead the movement in Tiflis, Georgia, and supposedly introduced Stalin to Lenin. Kamenev married Trotsky's sister, who asked him to edit his Party newspaper Pravda. After Lenin's death, he formed a triumvirate together with Stalin and Zinoviev which forced Trotsky into exile. Later, realizing Stalin's true direction of becoming a dictator, he began to oppose him. This cost him his power and eventually his life. Kamenev was executed in 1936 after a show trial.

1883 - 1944 AARON ABRAHAM KABAK (Russia-Eretz Israel)

An outstanding early Hebrew novelist. Kabak authored many novels and short stories which were very popular. His historical trilogy on Solomon Molcho is considered the first historical novel in Hebrew.

1883 February 4, COUNT K.I. PAHLEN (Russia)

Was commissioned by Alexander III to "Study of the Current Laws Concerning the Jews" . His report, issued on May 24, 1888, recommended by a majority opinion "changing the system of laws and restrictions for a system of graduated laws of freedom and equality". They counted around 650 special laws concerning the Jews." The czar decided to accept the minority report by Count Dimitri Tolstoy, to continue the policy of preventing Jews from leaving certain areas and even instituted a quota for Jews at universities and secondary schools.

1884 November 6 - 8, HOVEVEI ZION (HIBBAT ZION)(Lovers of Zion) (Germany)

Was founded in Kattowitz, Germany (which is now known as Katowice, Poland). Thirty-six delegates met in the first Pre-Herzl Zionist Conference. Rabbi Mohilever was elected president and Leon Pinsker was elected chairman. Under their guidance they tried to secure financial help (from Baron Edmond de Rothschild and others) for the new Jewish settlements to organize educational courses as well as counsel them about religious guidelines. They are considered the forerunner and foundation of the modern Zionist movement. This movement was mostly active in Russia and Romania, but it had branches throughout Europe and even some in the USA. Due in part to their precarious position within Eastern Europe, the Hovevei Zion did not deal with Zionism as a political movement.

1884 LADINO (Bulgaria)

The first Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) newspaper La Alborada (Dawn) was published in Bulgaria


William Hechler (1845 -1931) an Anglican minister, had traveled to Eastern Europe two years earlier to investigate anti-Semitism. There he met with Leon Pinsker who introduced him to modern Zionism. In Hechler's pamphlet, he called for the Jews to return to Eretz Israel. Hechler attended the first Zionist congress and formed a strong relationship with Herzl. He made great efforts to encourage close ties between the grand duke of Baden and Herzl and even tried to arrange a meeting between Herzl and the czar. His house was also a museum which included Montefiore's carriage, which he donated to the Eretz Israel museum upon his death.


The first group of Yemenite Jews moved into small huts and caves in a small village on the slopes facing the city of David. Due to their dark complexion, different pronunciation of Hebrew and dissimilar customs, the Jewish community initially treated them with suspicion, As such; the first people to help them were Christian missionaries. Later, they were aided by Rabbi Israel Dov Fromkin, who established the Ezrat Nidachim (Help for the Remote), society. By 1891, there were 45 permanent stone houses, and a synagogue (Beit Knesset Ohel Shlomo). After the riots of 36-38 the residents war evacuated (see August 1938).

1885 November 16 - 18, PITTSBURGH PLATFORM (USA)

A council on Reform Judaism which rejected the Messianic concept and the return to Eretz Israel. The platform took Reform further than the English Reform movement in that it also rejected dietary laws, some Mosaic legislation, and the Talmud. The platform was adopted four years later by the Reform Rabbinical organization, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). Many rabbis resented the extremes to which Reform had gone and formed their own groups (i.e. Sabato Morais, 1823) which led to the creation of the Conservative movement.

1885 - 1962 NIELS BOHR (Denmark)

Physicist and Nobel laureate. Developed the theory on the nature of the atom. During the Nazi occupation, he was rescued and taken to Sweden. The Allies were under pressure to take him to London so that he could work on the atom bomb project. Bohr refused to leave until he had a firm promise from King Gustav of Sweden to give sanctuary to any Danish Jew reaching his shore. Only once the agreement was made public did he agree to leave for London.


Was founded at theVolozhin Yeshiva ( Etz Hayyim), with the quiet support of Rabbi Berlin. The society which had 50 members in its first year, was kept secret so as not to upset the czarist government ,and was dedicated to encouraging the rebuilding of the land of Israel. When the Russian police closed it, a new society was formed, Netzach Yisrael (1891). Among the founders was Chayim Nachman Bialik.

1886 March 15, YESHIVA ETZ CHAIM (USA)

Was founded in New York. It was the first American yeshiva to include the study of Talmud.

1886 EDUARD DRUMONT (France)

Published his notorious anti-Semitic harangue La France Juive in which he attributed all of France's ills to the Jews. His writings helped provoke and maintain the Dreyfus Affair.


Was founded in New York by Dr. Sabato Morais. The goal of the Jewish Theological Seminary was the training of rabbis and teachers in traditional Judaism. It is generally considered to lean more towards Conservatism than Orthodoxy.

1886 December 25, - 1929 FRANZ ROSENZWEIG (Germany)

Born into an assimilated Jewish family, he decided to convert to Christianity by first discovering Judaism. He never converted, but became a practicing Jew and renowned philosopher. His book, Star of Redemption, centered on the part that tradition should play in the life of a Jew and the role of Judaism in the world. Later in life he became paralyzed but continued to dictate his works to his wife. He helped create the Free Jewish House of Study in Frankfurt, and collaborated with Buber on a new translation of the Bible.

1886 - 1969 (9 Nissan 5729) ARYEH LEVIN ("Father of the Prisoners") (Eretz Israel)

Known as Reb Aryeh, he was ordained by Rabbis Chaim Berlin and Samuel Salant. He devoted himself to volunteer work at the leper hospital and the prison in Jerusalem, as well as working in a yeshiva. He considered visiting and helping those jailed by the British Mandatory Government his special mission. Reb Aryeh consistently refused all honors, choosing to live in near poverty in the Mishkenot section of Jerusalem.

1886 October 16, - 1973 DAVID BEN GURION (Poland-Eretz Israel)

Came to Eretz Israel as David Green in 1906. He joined the Jewish legion, rose in the ranks of the Zionist Labor Party, and created the Histadrut or Labor Confederation. Ben Gurion formulated the official Zionist policies during the Second World War and became Israel's first Prime Minister. He founded his own party (MAPAI) and joined with the religious parties and the general Zionist party to form a coalition. He served on and off until 1963 as Minister of Defense and Prime Minister. He played an important part in the Israeli victory in 1956. After 1963 he retired to a kibbutz (Sde Boker) in the Negev, which he called on the younger generation to settle.

1886 - 1937 SIMON DIMANSTEIN (Russia)

Communist leader. Dimanstein received rabbinical ordination by Haim Ozer Grodzenski but became active in the revolutionary movement. After the revolution, he became minister of Labor in Lithuania. He edited Der Emess, an anti-religious, anti-Zionist, and anti-Bundist periodical. He became head of the Institute for National Minorities and was a strong proponent of Jewish settlement in Birobidzhan. His early closeness to Joseph Stalin didn't prevent his execution during the purges of 1937.


The educational and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism. It was opened under the leadership of Sabato Morais. Morais, a rabbi of Congregation Mikve Israel in Philadelphia, sought to train rabbis who would help preserve Jewish traditions which he felt were being eroded by the "reformers" and their Pittsburgh Platform. In 1902, under Solomon Schechter, the Seminary was reorganized and the name changed to JTS.


Although Jews were forcibly conscripted into the army, they were banned from all military schools. This was soon followed by Jews being prohibited from joining the army medical corps and military bands. At the same time, Jewish communities were severely fined if the quota of Jewish conscripts wasn't reached. In addition, new education restrictions were instituted: no more than ten percent of Jews in the Pale and five percent outside the Pale were allowed to attend University.

1887 - 1976 RENE SAMUEL CASSIN (France)

French jurist and Nobel Laureate. Cassin served as a legal advisor to the League of Nations and served with General Charles de Gaulle during World War II. With the founding of the United Nations Cassin was the chief architect of the Declaration of Human Rights and served as president of the European court of Human Rights. His work earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. Cassin was also active in helping rebuild the Jewish communities in France and North Africa after the war.

1887 - 1970 MORRIS COHEN ("Two Gun Cohen") (Canada)

General, marksman, and gunrunner to the Chinese army. He served in World War I and later, due to his personal friendship with the local Chinese community in Canada, as Sun Yat Sen's personal bodyguard, saving his life a number of times. Chaing Kai-Shek appointed him a general in the Kuomintang Army. He trained the Chinese army against Japan. Cohen was captured by the Japanese and tortured. He was only released after the end of the war. He was one of the few people who tried to reconcile the two Chinese factions (nationalist and communist) and was always welcomed by both governments.

1887 June 7, - 1990 MARC CHAGALL (Vitebsk, Russia-France)

Artist, famous for his folkist fairy-tale cubist paintings of Eastern Europe. He helped establish the Russian Yiddish state theater. Later he went to live in Paris, where he was friendly with Modigliani and Soutine. Chagall designed the stained glass windows of the Hadassah Hospital synagogue in Jerusalem. His works are also displayed at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, the Paris Opera, the United Nations, the Cathedral at Metz, and the Knesset.

1887 - 1946 SIDNEY HILLMAN (Lithuania - USA)

Although originally trained for the rabbinate, Hillman became active at a very early-stage in the trade union movement (the Bund) in Lithuania. After spending time in jail for illegal activities, he immigrated first to England and then to the United States. There he helped establish the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA). As its president, he was responsible for a 44 hour work week and unemployment insurance. In 1935, he helped establish the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Hillman was a strong Zionist and joined the Jewish Agency in 1929. During WWII he was Roosevelt's chief labor advisor.


A German orientalist and anti-Semite, wrote the essay "Jews and Indo-Germanics. “One would have to have a heart of steel to not feel sympathy for the poor Germans, and, by the same token, to not hate the Jews,… (or) those who…advocate for the Jews, or are too cowardly to crush these vermin". He laid the foundation for Stoecker (see 1879) and Nazi ideology.


Its purpose was and is to publish books of Jewish interest in English. Among its hundreds of publications are Graetz's, Dubnow's and Baron's History of the Jews, and Ginsburg's Legends of the Jews. Other important authors included Israel Zangwill, Leo Baeck, Cecil Roth, Jacob R. Marcus, and Louis Finkelstein. They have also published the American Jewish Yearbook for nearly 100 years (1899).


Established in New York by Morris Helquit as a Jewish union. Its official correspondence was carried out in Yiddish.

1888 - 1959 (19 Tamuz 5719) ISAAC HALEVI HERZOG (Eretz Israel)

Rabbi Herzog, who also held a doctorate in literature, served as the Chief Rabbi in the Irish Free State. He succeeded Rabbi Kook as Chief Rabbi in Eretz Israel in 1936, a post he held for 22 years. Herzog was respected by all walks of Israeli life. After the Holocaust, he spent 6 months in Europe searching for Jewish children who had been hidden in monasteries. His writings include Divrei Yitzchak on the Talmud, Heichal Yitzchak on responsa and Main Institutions of Jewish Law. His son Chaim became Israel's sixth President.


Jews were officially allowed to live in three cities: Helsinki, Turku, and Vyborg. Although there were already about 1,000 Jews in Finland, until this date all Jews were temporary residents and had to renew their permits every three months. They were only permitted to deal in second-hand clothes and were forbidden to leave their city of residence.


First began. Although Jews had been living in Argentina since the beginning of the 17th century they only received rights in 1853. To a great extent this was achieved through the efforts of Baron de Hirsch's Jewish Colonial Association (JCA). A census taken two years earlier showed 366 Jews in Buenos Aires.

1889 POLNO (Poland)

A young Jew named Hilsner was imprisoned on a ritual murder charge. Although there wasn't any real incriminating evidence, he was kept in jail until after the Revolution in 1918.

1889 - 1919 JACOB SVERDLOFF (Russia)

Communist organizer and leader. An early communist activist, he was exiled to a prison camp on an island near the Artic circle. Sverdloff tried to escape 5 times, the last time in a small boat which capsized during a storm. After the Revolution, Stalin recognized his organizational capabilities and appointed him the first secretary of the Central Committee. Sverdloff worked closely with both Stalin and Lenin, ensuring that the Bolshevik faction would be the strongest. In his honor the city Yekaterinburg was renamed Sverdlovsk.

1889 - 1944 I.J. SINGER (Poland-USA)

Older brother of Isaac Bashevis Singer. He is known for his naturalistic and realistic styles of writing including Yoshe Kalb, The Brothers Ashkenazi and East of Eden.

1890 February 22, MENAHEM USSISHKIN (Russia-Eretz Israel)

One of the founders of the Odessa Committee. The Committee was dedicated to the practical exponent of the Hovevei Zion in establishing agricultural settlements in Eretz Israel. Ussishkin later served as president of the Jewish National Fund. He was one of the few Zionist leaders who actually settled in Eretz Israel.

1890 April 1, ZIONISM

Nathan Birnbaum (1864-1937) in his journal Selbstemanzipation (Self Emancipation) coined the term "Zionism". Birnbaum's idea was to change the philanthropic approach of the time towards the return of Jews to Eretz Israel to a more activist or political one. Although the idea of a return to Zion had been a foundation of Jewish thought and belief since biblical times, it only became a practical political movement at this time. This was later adopted as the Basel Program by the First Zionist Congress under Herzl (see 1897).

1890 - 1948 SOLOMON MIKHOELS (Russia)

Leading Russian and Yiddish actor famed for his roles as Tevye and King Lear.

1890 - 1952 YITZCHAK SADEH (Russia-Eretz Israel)

A military leader, Sadeh was decorated in the Czarist army in World War I. In the wake of the Arab rebellion of 1936, Sadeh - who had helped set up the labor brigade in the 1920's - proposed moving from a policy of defending settlements to seeking out Arab units in the open. He became the first commander of the Plugot Sadeh (Field Units) of the Haganah which became known as the Palmach. Yigal Alon described him as a great lover "of country, women, and the implacable logic of history".

1890 - 1917 SARAH AARONSOHN (Eretz Israel)

Jewish patriot and heroine. In 1915 she witnessed the Turkish massacre of Armenians, an experience which may have triggered her joining her brother Aaron in NILI's (see 1915) spy operations against the Turks. In 1917 on a visit to Egypt she was warned by the British not to return to Eretz Israel, but she refused to comply. Upon her arrival, she warned the members of NILI to disband but remained at home in Zichron Yaakov so as to allay any suspicion. She was arrested by the Turkish military authorities on October l of the same year. After three days of torture, and fearing that she may reveal information, she managed to shoot and kill herself.

1891 March 28 - 29, (Passover) JEWS EXPELLED FROM MOSCOW (Russia)

Grand Duke Sergei, the Czar's brother who had just become governor of Moscow, ordered the expulsion of all Jews from the city. Permission to remain was only given to those who would convert or to women who were willing to become prostitutes. In addition, a few thousand former cantonists who were registered and wealthy merchants were allowed to continue residing in Moscow. In January 1892, in middle of a deep cold spell, the Jewish quarter was surrounded and Jews who had until then avoided expulsion were hunted by the police and firemen. In all, approximately 14,000 Jewish families were expelled to the Pale.

1891 August 28, WOODBINE (New Jersey, USA)

Was established as an agricultural community with funding from Baron de Hirsch and his Baron de Hirsch Fund. The fund was dedicated to promoting rural Jewish communities in the United States and joined with the ICA (Jewish Colonial Association) in 1900. An agriculture school was established there in 1894. It became quickly apparent that it would be almost impossible to make a living only through agriculture, and light industry was also brought in. Other communities were established in New Jersey, including Vineland, Toms River, and Farmingdale, as well as many others throughout the USA. All were part of the efforts to absorb new Jewish immigrants in rural areas, as well as teach them the language and a trade.

1891 September 11, JEWISH COLONIAL ASSOCIATION (France-England)

Was officially established by Baron de Hirsch. Other shareholders included, among others, Rothschild, Cassel, and Goldsmid. De Hirsh himself donated two million pounds and incorporated the Association in London. His plan was to promote migration of Russian and European Jews and settle them in agricultural areas in countries around the world.

1891 - 1982 ZVI JUDAH KOOK (Eretz Israel)

Rabbi and religious Zionist leader. Rav Zvi Judah was the son of Abraham Isaac Kook. He succeeded his father as the head of Yeshivat Mercaz Harav. His lectures dealing with the "Love of the Land of Israel" drew large crowds. Rav Kook was instrumental in encouraging his students to settle in all parts of the land of Israel. His halachic decisions within the field of modern events were published as L'Netivot Yisrael.

1892 January, CZARIST GOVERNMENT (Russia)

Closed the Volozhin Yeshiva after Rabbi Berlin (see 1817) refused to agree to the new Russian decrees. These included, reducing the number of students, prohibiting night time study, and limiting study to ten hours per day of which six would be dedication to secular studies. . The Rabbi and his family were exiled. Although the Yeshiva eventual reopened, it never attained its former glory. The last 50 students and the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Hayyim Wolkin, were murdered by the Nazis at Ponar.

1892 ELHANAN LEWINSKY (1857-1910) (Russia)

A Hebrew writer who published a utopian view of the Zionist dream, A Journey to the Land of Israel in the Year 2040. Lewinsky combined his job as the representative of Carmel wines with that of a Zionist leader traveling throughout Russia. He was a prolific journalist who made use of humor and Jewish legends in his writing.

1892 October 20, EDUARD SCHNITZER (Emin Pasha) (1840-1892) (Austria-Africa)

Was assassinated. He had taken on the Turkish name Emin Pasha and traveled throughout Africa as an explorer, linguist, adventurer, administrator, and especially as a doctor. He spent much of his time in Khartoum (in the Sudan) while serving as a governor under General Gordon. Pasha was a tireless fighter against the slave trade which was still rampant. He had returned to Central Africa on a semi-political voyage for Germany when he was murdered by slave traders.

1892 DAVID SCHWARTZ (Hungary)

Invented the dirigible airship. Since he died before he made his flight, his widow sold the patents to Count Zeppelin, who received the credit.

1892 KAISER WILHELM II (1859-1941) (Germany)

Fired Adolph Stoecker for excessive socialism, but not for his anti-Semitism. Stoecker's Christian Socialist Party fell along with him, although anti-Semitism continued to be considered respectable.

1892 - 1982 DAVID DUBINSKY (Belarus - USA)

Pioneering labor leader. Dubinsky, like Sidney Hillman, was arrested for organizing a Bakers' Union in Lodz but managed to escape to teh USA in 1910. Arriving in New York, he rose from being an apprentice in Cutters' Local 10 to becoming president of the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) from 1932-1966. Dubinsky was active in the Jewish Labor Committee and a supporter the Histadrut, Israel's General Federation of Labor.

1893 BUKHARA (Russia)

After the "May laws" were issued, many Jews decided to leave for Israel. The Bukharim set up their own community in Jerusalem.

1893 JUSTINAS PRANAITIS (St. Petersburg, Russia)

"Proved" that Jews used the blood of Christian children in the baking of matzos. In 1911 he was the "expert" witness in the Beilis trial.


Was created by German Jews to protect immigrant girls from white slave traders. Founded by Hannah Solomon, it also established educational, social, and cultural services for women. It was the first national women's Jewish organization in the United States.

1893 - 1950 HAROLD JOSEPH LASKI (England)

Political scientist and socialist leader in England. A prolific writer and lecturer, his works include: Grammar of Politics, Democracy in Crisis and The American Democracy. He favored assimilation until World War II, when he became an outspoken Zionist.

1893 - 1965 MARGARETE SOMMER (Germany)

Catholic social worker. During the Holocaust, she helped protect Jews from deportation to death camps and hide them whenever possible. She was also a leader in the Catholic resistance circle of Berlin. In August 1942 she composed a report which was sent to Rome, regarding the deportation of Jews and the conditions in concentration camps. Sommer together with Konrad Preysing, the German prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, made a major effort to get the Catholic Church to speak out and even drafted a statement for the Fulda Conference in 1943. The declaration would have condemned German atrocities, but they were stymied by Cardinal Adolf Bertram who chaired the conference. Yad Vashem recognized Margarete Sommer as Righteous Among the Nations.

1894 DREYFUS AFFAIR (France)

Began in France. Alfred Dreyfus, an Alsatian captain, was accused of passing military secrets to the Germans. Dreyfus was not religious or even acknowledged as a Jew, yet he became the pawn of anti-Semitic and anti-Republic forces. The entire country became divided between Dreyfusards and anti-Dreyfusards. The subsequent trial and its anti-Semitic overtones served as an impetus for many Jews (i.e. Herzl) to become aware of their own Jewishness.

1894 - 1917 NICHOLAS II (Russia)

Last of the Russian Czars. Nicholas was extremely anti-semitic. He continued Alexander III's policies against the Jews and carried them one step further by commissioning Sergei Nilus, a monk, to write something which would arouse hatred of the Jews. The result of this was the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion (see 1905). A weak ruler, he was influenced by everyone around him: Mescherski (editor of a Slavophilist newspaper), Pobednostav and especially his wife, Princess Alix (Alexandra Fedorovna.)

1894 - 1943 HAYYIM SOUTINE (Russia-France)

Artist known for his passionate and often disturbing use of color and form. Soutine was befriended by Modigliani who introduced him to art dealers. At the outbreak of the war, he refused to leave France and died of ulcers brought on by his constantly having to move and remain in hiding.

1894 June 3, - 1951 ARTHUR SZYK (Poland-USA)

A war cartoonist, he was also famous for his traditional and modern Jewish and secular characters using a technique of miniaturization. He became associated with Jabotinsky's Revisionists and the Irgun underground organization.

1894 - 1981 URI TZVI GREENBERG (Galicia - Eretz Israel)

Nationalist poet and journalist. In 1923 he called on Jews to leave Europe, predicting its destruction. After the 1929 riots in Eretz Isreal, he became one of the founders of the Brit HaBiriyonim (The Strongmen's union) which was the activist division of the Revisionist Movement ( see 1925). He also served in the Knesset as a member of the Herut Party.

1894 - 1940 ISAAC BABEL (Ukraine)

Writer, journalist, and playwright. Babel was fluent in French, Russian, Ukrainian and Yiddish. Maxim Gorky published some of his first stories. His writings included Red Cavalry, Collected Stories, Odessa tales Shabos-Nakhamu and The Lonely Years. His plays included Zaket (Sunset) and Maria - the latter was banned. He often wrote about Jewish life, war, and corruption. In 1939 Babel was arrested and beaten until he confessed, incriminating his friends Solomon Mikholes and Ilya Ehrenburg. Though he immediately recanted, he was tried and executed for treason. Babel was rehabilitated in 1954 but his many confiscated and unfinished manuscripts were never returned.

1895 January 5, DREYFUS AFFAIR (France)

Dreyfus was tried and found guilt of treason. He was publicly degraded and sent to Devil's Island. Later on evidence was produced which proved that Major Esterhazy and Colonel Henry, Dreyfus' chief accusers, had forged the evidence, yet a new trial was not begun until 1899.

1895 - 1982 NAHUM GOLDMANN (Lithuania-Germany-USA)

Jewish and Zionist leader. Goldmann was very involved early on in Zionist activities. After World War II he choose not to live in Israel, a move for which he was much criticized. Despite his personal separation of Zionism from living in Israel, he served in senior positions in the World Zionist Organization. Goldmann was a key player in the reparation agreements between Germany and Israel. He was active in the World Jewish Congress serving as its president until 1977. He was also was instrumental in the publication of the Encyclopedia Judaica.

1895 - 1986 (13 Adar 5746) MOSES FEINSTEIN (Russia-USA)

Rabbi, halachist and leader of American Orthodox Jewry. Born in Uzda, Belarus, he was the Rabbi of Luban until he left for the United States in 1937. He was head of the Mesivta (Yeshiva) Tiferes Yerushalayim in New York. Rabbi Feinstein became the world-renowned leader in the applications of Halacha to modern technology and current issues. His responsa Igrot Moshe are accepted as the final word by most of the Orthodox Ashkenazi community.


Among the 6 Jews who won medals (8 gold), were two cousins on the German gymnastics team, Alfred and Gustav (Felix) Flatow. Alfred won three gold medals Gustav two. During WWW II they fled to the Netherlands. They were eventually deported to Theresienstadt where they both died, Gustav of starvation..

1896 February 14, HERZL (Vienna, Austria)

Published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State). This was basically a revision of his Address to the Rothschilds. In it Herzl envisioned a Jewish state as the only solution to the "Jewish Question". This could be attained in two stages, firstly the establishment of a political base and then mass aliyah (immigration). Many Western European Jews rejected his thesis, but it had the effect of pushing him into the spotlight and thereafter he was regarded the leader of the Zionist movement.


A Yiddish newspaper was established by Abraham Cahan. The paper soon emerged as the leading labor daily in New York.

1896 NOVARDOK (Belarus)

Rabbi Joseph Hurwitz established a yeshiva devoted to Kabbalah, asceticism and the training of teachers.

1896 - 1981 DAVID WECHSLER (USA)

Psychologist. Wechsler served as Chief Psychologist at Bellevue hospital in New York and produced a standard intelligence test which is named after him. His tests tracks performance by age and helps diagnose brain abnormalities.


Was opened as an Orthodox rabbinical seminary. It later expanded into Yeshiva University, with both Jewish and secular studies, a medical school (Einstein), and a graduate school (Ferkauf).

1897 October 7, FIRST CONFERENCE OF THE BUND (Jewish Workers Union) (Vilna,Lithuania)

It was the first Jewish Socialist party in Eastern Europe. At first decidedly anti-Zionist and pro-Yiddishist, it was organized as a union of Russian Jewish socialist groups. The Bund exerted a great influence on Jews in Europe and America.


Roman Dmowski, Jan Poplawski, and Sigismund Balicki founded the Endeks (National Democrats) which vowed to refuse Jews citizenship and expel them. They planned to have a "national state, not a state of nationals".

1897 VIENNA (Austria)

Franz Joseph confirmed the election of Karl Lueger as Mayor of Vienna (after refusing to do so three times). Lueger's party, the anti-Semitic Christian Social Party, was the first to come to power using anti-Semitism as a platform.

1897 August 29, FIRST ZIONIST CONGRESS (Basel, Switzerland)

Was convened by Theodore Herzl and Max Nordau. It was represented by a hundred and ninety-seven delegates. Herzl put forth his Basel Program, whose aim was "the establishment of a Jewish Homeland in Eretz Israel secured by public law". The congress endorsed the founding of the Zionist Organization later known as the World Zionist Organization, along with other permanent institutions. It also endorsed the Zionist congress as a national assembly representing the entire Jewish people. The congress transformed the Zionist movement into an official political movement.

1898 January 13, EMILE ZOLA (France)

Acting on behalf of Dreyfus, he issued his famous "J'Accuse" letter in Clemenceau's paper L'Aurore condemning the French establishment in the Dreyfus Affair.


Fifteen Jews serving on the battleship the USS Maine were killed when it sank. Five thousand Jews served in the American Army, a ratio of 20% more than the general population including 30 army and 20 naval officers. The first person of Colonel Roosevelt's Rough Riders to reach the top of San Juan Hill was also a Jew - Irving Peixotto and the first to be killed was Jacob Wilbusky.

1898 October 1, KIEV (Ukraine)

A decree by the Russian Czar (Nicholas II) explicitly barred Jews from living in major Russian cities. The action followed laws issued the previous May (the "May laws"), restricting Jewish settlement to the Pale of Settlement. In Kiev, alone, some 7000 Jews were forced to relocate.

1898 October 28, KAISER WILLIAM II (Germany)

Visited Eretz Israel and met with Herzl. Herzl was disappointed by the lack of commitment on the part of the Kaiser. Much of this was due to the opposition to the Zionist enterprise of German liberal Jews, bankers, and his foreign minister, Bernhard von Buelow.

1898 - 1948 SERGEI EISENSTEIN (Russia)

Russian film director. An architect by training, he joined the Russian Revolution. His first film was in 1924 Strike but it was his next film which propelled him into film history with The Battleship Potemkin. He was constantly having to fight Soviet politics, often having parts of his films re-edited (October), or even withheld (Ivan the Terrible) if it did not meet Stalin's approval. His classic films included The General Line, Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible.

1898 - 1978 GOLDA MEIR (MEYERSON) (Russia-USA-Eretz Israel)

Fourth Prime Minister of Israel. Born in Russia, her earliest memories were of the pogroms. Her family moved to Milwaukee and in 1921 she moved from there to Israel and worked at various jobs on a kibbutz and in the Histadrut. She became Ambassador to Russia in 1948 and Foreign Minister in 1956. In 1970, after the death of Levi Eshkol, she was appointed Prime Minister and served until after the Yom Kippur War when, accused of unpreparedness, she resigned.


Was established. The OU, as it became known, is the largest organization of Orthodox synagogues in the U.S.A. Today it is known for kashrut supervision on thousands of products in North America. It plays an important role in informal Jewish education through its student organization Yavneh and its National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) groups. It also sponsores the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists.


The Papal Nuncio in Vienna, reported back to the Vatican regarding anti-Semitic pogroms occurring in Galicia. In his report he blamed the Jews for the violence: "… it cannot be denied that Jews and Jewish property are being exposed to ferocious reprisals.…[T]he main cause is none other than the Jews themselves. With their usury and their dishonest business dealings, they have created anti-Semitism themselves."rn

1899 April 1, HILSNER AFFAIR (Polna,Bohemia)

A young seamstress was found murdered in a forest, her throat cut. Leopold Hilsner, a 23 year old semi illiterate tramp, was seen near the site and accused of the murder despite the lack of incriminating evidence. It soon developed into a ritual murder accusation and Hislner was sentenced to death. Through the efforts of Tomas Masaryk (later the first President of Czechoslovakia) an appeal was made to the Supreme Court. Masaryk also published a pamphlet against ritual murder accusations. Hilsner was again sentenced to death but it was commuted to life imprisonment. He was pardoned by Karl (Charles)I of Austria on March 24, 1918.

1899 September 9, DREYFUS' SECOND TRIAL (France)

Dreyfus was again convicted of treason but due to "extenuating circumstances" he was sentenced to "only" five more years of imprisonment. On the advice of his lawyer, Waldeck-Rousseau, Dreyfus withdrew his appeal and was granted a "pardon" by the president of the republic.

1899 JEWISH COLONIAL TRUST (England-Eretz Israel)

The financial arm of the World Zionist Organization was set up in England by Herzl. Its goal was to encourage Jewish settlement and projects which would "advance the Zionist cause". One of its subsidiaries, the Anglo-Palestine Company, later became Bank Leumi. Other investment helped create the Israel Electric Cooperation and Bank Hapoalim.


The famed Russian poet (1743 – 1816) had been appointed by czar Paul I to investigate the famine in white Russia. In his report Opinion, he placed most of the blame on the "mercenary trades" of Jews.


Asked Pope Leo XIII to denounce ritual murder accusations. Monsignor Rafael Merry del Val of the Holy Office ( formally the inquisition) who was appointed to reply wrote in part, " … the temerity of the powerful Jews of London, who, in their unchallenged rule in Europe have reached the point of such lunacy that they would pretend to be defended by the Holy See."

1900 March 15, KONITZ (Germany)

A blood libel occurred after the death of a local student. Wolf Israelski was accused and arrested, while Count Plucker promoted riots against the Jews. After Israelski was proven innocent, two others, Moritz Lewy and Rosenthal, were arrested on the same charge. Rosenthal and Lewy were acquitted, but Lewy was sentenced to four years for denying he knew the victim. All the evidence was based on the testimony of a petty thief, Masloff, who later received only one year for perjury.

1900 March, CYPRUS

Davis (David) Trietsch, a German writer and Zionist leader, brought 11 families from Galicia to Cyprus. This as an experiment to see if Cyprus could serve as a temporary safe haven until Jews could be settled in Eretz Israel. Trietsch, (1870–1935) conceived of the idea in 1896, a year before the first Zionist congress, but only began to act on it in 1899.Unfortuatly, due to poor planning the project failed. In 1903 when the debate regarding a temporary home for Jews arose, Trietsch began quiet negotiations with the British. The opposition of the Greek Orthodox Church to any Jewish settlement on the island brought an end to his idea.

1901 May 17, HERZL (Ottoman Empire)

Met with the Sultan of Turkey to discuss the establishment of a Jewish state and the obtaining of a charter. Herzl failed in both attempts.

1901 December 30, (19 Tevet 5662) JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael) (Switzerland-Eretz Israel)

Was created at the 5th Zionist Congress in Basel. Conceived of by Dr. H. Schapira, it was dedicated to purchasing and reclaiming land in order to create a national homeland. The land was bought and leased to settlers for a period of forty-nine years. This was in accordance with Jewish law in which land is leased only until Jubilee (forty-nine years) and then returned to its original owner. Today the JNF is actively involved in afforestation, water reserves, and the environment, as well as education.

1902 March 5, MIZRACHI MOVEMENT (Vilna,Lithuania)

Was set up by Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines as a religious Zionist organization based on the Basel Program and commitment to the Torah. Mizrachi (the acronym of Merkaz Ruchani (Spiritual Center)) is both an ideological and an educational movement. Its slogan "Eretz Israel for the people of Israel according to the Torah of Israel" expressed the idea that the Torah is the spiritual heart of Zionism. There were bitter debates regarding the inclusion of cultural activities in addition to practical political Zionism. Within a year over 200 branches were established in Russia, and within two years the Mizrachi World Organization was established. The Mizrachi workers movement "Hapo'el Hamizrachi" tried to organize and unify the early religious pioneers. Mizrachi has a youth movement - Bnei Akiva - and two women's organizations - Emunah and AMIT.


A German bureaucrat who became the Russian Minister of Interior. During that same year he suppressed a peasant's revolt.

1902 - 1914 ERETZ ISRAEL

Twenty-nine settlements were started by the World Zionist Organization.

1902 - 1994 (3 Tamuz 5754) MENACHEM MENDEL SCHNEERSOHN (Russia-USA)

Rabbi and Hasidic leader of the Habad - Lubavitch movement. Although he was not a direct descendent, he was chosen by Rabbi Jacob Joseph Schneersohn, his father-in-law, as his designated successor. After leaving Russia, Schneersohn pursued a degree at the Sorbonne in philosophy and electrical engineering. He arrived in the USA in 1941 and worked for a few years as an electrical engineer for the U.S. Navy. After the war Schneersohn headed the Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch - the educational arm of the Habad movement. With his father-in-law's death in 1950 he was officially appointed as his successor. Under the direction of "the Rebbe" (as he was popularly known), Habad became a world-wide movement that sent its emissaries to remote corners of the world. Having no heirs, Habad was left without a spiritual leader after his passing.

1903 April 19, KISHINEV (Bessarabia)

Riots broke out after a Christian child, Michael Ribalenko, was found murdered (Feb. 16). Although it was clear that the boy had been killed by a relative, the government chose to call it a ritual murder plot by the Jews. The mobs were incited by Pavolachi Krusheven, the editor of the anti-Semitic newspaper Bessarabetz, and the vice governor, Ustrugov. Vyacheslav Von Plehve, the Minister of Interior, supposedly gave orders not to stop the rioters. During three days of rioting, forty-seven Jews were killed, ninety-two severely wounded, five hundred slightly wounded and over seven hundred houses were destroyed. Despite a world-wide outcry, only two men were sentenced to seven and five years and twenty-two were sentenced for one or two years. This pogrom was instrumental in convincing tens of thousands of Russian Jews to leave Russia for the West and for Eretz Israel. The child's real murderer was later found.


Wrote the poem In the City of Slaughter. In this poem Bialik chastised the Jews for not defending themselves in the massacre of Kishinev. Herzl was also affected by Kishinev and he decided to visit Russia and give consideration to the Uganda Plan. In America, groundwork was laid for the American Jewish Committee and American Jewry was cast into international prominence.

1903 August 26, PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION (Russia)

An abbreviated version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion appeared in the Russian language paper Znamia (The Banner). The full version appeared two years later.

1903 September 1, GOMEL/HOMEL (Russia)

Von Plehve, the Russian Minister of the Interior who helped promote the Kishinev pogroms, instigated another pogrom. In spite of a vigorous defense, twelve Jews were killed and two hundred and fifty homes were destroyed. Thirty-six of the defenders were prosecuted, together with the perpetrators of the pogrom.

1903 - 1993 JOSEPH DOV SOLOVEITCHIK, "the Rav" (Poland-USA)

Rabbi, philosopher and scholar. Beginning as a young talmudic scholar, he received his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Berlin. He immigrated to the USA with his wife Tonya who had a doctorate in education. Soloveitchik founded the first Jewish day school in New England and in 1941 succeeded his father as professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University. He was offered but declined to become the Chief Rabbi in Israel (1959). Though reluctant at first to publish his writings, he had a profound affect on Orthodox Jewry. Among his books and essays are Ish ha-Halacha (The man of Halacha), The Lonely Man of Faith, Al ha-Teshuvah (On Repentance), and Be-Sod ha-Yachad (Aloneness and Togetherness).

1903 July, - August, SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (London)

Rise of Lenin's group known as the Iskra (The Spark), named after their newspaper published in Switzerland. Vladimir Lenin headed the Bolsheviks (majority) while George Plekhanov headed the Mensheviks (Minority). Although Lenin was not to have a majority until 1917, he refused to relinquish the name. The Mensheviks included many Jews including Julius Martov, Raphael Abramowitz(Rein), and Fyodor Ilyich Dan (Gurvich). The two groups argued over organization and tactics with the Menshevicks believing it best to cooperate with liberals and wished to have a more "open" party. In general there were more Jews in the Mensheviks which better reflected Jewish liberalism and intellectuality. The congress refused to allow the Jewish delegates to participate in the revolutionary work while remaining an independent ethnic group which lead to the Bund seceding from the Social Democratic Party.

1903 - 1952 JAKOB ROSENFELD aka General Luo (Lemberg - Tel Aviv)

Physician and health minister in the Communist army's provisional government. Rosenfeld a Viennese doctor, fled Germany in 1939, being released after spending time in Dachau and Buchenwald. He found passage to china , where he joined the Chinese communists as a field doctor. He remained as part of the People's Liberation Army until 1949 when he returned to Europe to search for relatives. Unable to get a visa to return to china, he immigrated to Israel.

1904 July 15, VYACHESLAV VON PLEHVE (Russia)

The Russian Minister of Interior, was assassinated. Von Plehve was responsible for the Kishinev massacres in which forty-seven Jews were killed, ninety-two severely wounded or crippled, and five hundred slightly wounded. His assassin was a member of the socialist revolutionary movement which had also suffered because of his policies. Czar Nicholas was frightened into making a few concessions. Unfortunately, he did not make enough to meet public demand.

1904 August, HEHALUTZ (HeChalutz) (Pioneer movement)

A loosely formed movement that received its initial push from Menahem Ussishkin who called on Jewish youth to come settle in Eretz Israel. The movement developed at different times in different countries and included various Zionist youth movements. Joseph Trumpeldor joined the Russian movement in 1918. A year later "The 105" group (named for the 105 members) arrived from Poland. By the beginning of World War II they had a combined membership of around 100,000 people.

1904 - 1986 JACOB JAVITS (USA)

U.S. Senator. Beginning in the garment industry, he also worked as a janitor and a salesman until he was able to receive his law degree. During the Second World War, he attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Directly after the war Javits was elected to congress for eight years, and in 1956 he was elected to the senate. Javits served for 24 years and was one of the most respected senators of his day.

1904 July 14, - 1991 ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER ( Poland-USA)

Yiddish novelist and journalist brother of I.J. Singer. Upon his immigration to the USA in 1935 he became a writer for the Forward. His first serial, The Family Moskat, gave him recognition as a respected writer. His other novels include The Magician of Lublin and The Slave. His Gimple the Fool and Other Stories and The Spinoza of Market Street showed his ability to write short stories as well. Singer won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978, the first prize ever awarded for Yiddish Literature.

1904 January 25, HERZL MEETS POPE PIUS X

And tried to convince him to support the vision of Zionism without any success. The pope totally rejected the idea that Jerusalem will be in Jewish hands .

1904 - 1914 SECOND ALIYAH (Eretz Isreal)

With the fresh outbreak of mass pogroms in Eastern Europe, a second wave of immigration to Eretz Israel began. Unlike the First Aliyah, which believed in private agricultural enterprise, these formed the basis for the communal life and the foundation of the Kibbutz and Moshav movements. Approximately 35,000 new immigrants arrived bringing the population to about 90,000 before the outbreak of WWI. At the same time (between 1881 and 1914) 2.5 million Jews emigrated from Eastern Europe.


The Black Hundreds and other bands alleged that the Jews were responsible for their defeats in the Russian Japanese war and other Russian ills. In Odessa, the commander of the cadet school General Deryugin told his soldiers "Your on your way to massacre the Jews, You have my blessing for your work." In spite of many attempts at self defense, hundreds were killed, and thousands were wounded in more then fifty areas throughout Russia. In over 50 major pogroms over 40,000 homes and shops were destroyed, giving new impetus to immigration to both the West and Eretz Israel, with over 200,000 Jews leaving in one year.

1905 October 22, JAFFA (Eretz Israel)

The first Hebrew high school was opened in Jaffa. Its goal was to provide its student with both a Jewish and secular education totally in Hebrew. It was later named after Herzl and called the Gymnasia Herzliya. It moved to Tel Aviv (1909).

1905 November, ZIONIST LABOR PARTY (Poale Zion) (Russia)

Was formed in Minsk in an effort to combine Zionism and Socialism. Its first leader was Ber Borochov.


Published Essence of Judaism. In it Baeck, stressed the ethical and spiritual aspects of Judaism. (see 1873)

1905 MAXIM GORKY (1868-1936) (Russia)

A Christian author and one of the founders of Soviet literature, he wrote letters of protest against the Black Hundreds in particular and anti-Semitism in general. Leo Tolstoy, one of Russia's greatest writers, joined him in defending the Jews.


Published the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his book Velikoe e Malom (The Great in the Small). The protocols deal with an alleged "secret" plot by the wise Jews to enslave the Christian world. In reality (as revealed by the London Times in 1921), the book was a plagiarized version of a lampoon on Napoleon by Maurice Jely published in 1864. Despite this, the book has been reprinted in almost every language. In Germany it was treated as the Gospel and British troops carried it into Eretz Israel in 1947. It was circulated in Poland (1966) and an Arab version appeared in 1967.

1905 - 1944 ENZO SERENI

Italian Zionist Pioneer who helped found Kibbutz Givat Brenner. During World War II he joined the British Army. He was instrumental in organizing parachute drops from the Yishuv to behind German lines. Sereni insisted that he be allowed to participate in those drops as well. He was dropped in the wrong area, captured by the Germans, and shot at Dachau. Kibbutz Netzer Sereni was named after him.

1905 - 1983 ARTHUR KOESTLER (Hungary-USA)

Author and journalist. Koestler studied engineering and joined the Zionist movement, even working for a short time for the Revisionist party. His book, Thieves of the Night, documents the Arab-Jewish conflict, while Promise and Fulfillment: Palestine, 1917-49 surveys the era of the Mandate and the creation of the State. Koestler flirted with communism but left the party after Stalin's purges and wrote probably his most famous work, Darkness at Noon.

1905 ELIEZER LIPA JOFFE (1882-1944) (Russia-USA)

Founded Ha-Ikkar HaTzair ("Young Farmer") as well as the American branch of HeHalutz. They provided agricultural training with their goals to encourage its members to move to Eretz Israel. Joffe was also one of the originators of the idea of Moshav Ovdim "workers' cooperative settlement" This was different than a kibbutz in that families had their own farms and lived in their own houses although there were cooperative purchasing and marketing. The first such settlement was Nahalal (1921). Joffe also was founder of Tnuva, the agricultural marketing cooperative (1928).


Maxim Vinaver, a renowned lawyer and one of the founders of the "Constitutional Democratic Party" (Cadets), was elected its chairman. During its two years of existence, the Society organized Jewish participation in the first and second Dumas. They forcefully condemned government complicity in the pogroms of 1905. At their last convention in 1906, there was a heavy debate between Vladimir Jabotinsky (speaking for the Zionists) and Simon Dubnow who were in favor of a Jewish national group in the Duma and Vinaver who was opposed


Was formed. It was headed by Judge Mayer Sulzberger, a leader in the fight for liberal immigration laws. Its aims included the protection of civil and religious rights of Jews all over the world. Among its founders were Dr. Cyrus Adler, Louis Marshall and Jacob H. Schiff.

1906 March 9, RUSSIA

Founding of the Jewish Socialists Workers Party (a break off from Poale Zion) known as the Sejmists. It based itself on the ideology of Chaim Zhitlowsky and was comprised of liberal socialists and constitutionalists. The Sejmists were far less radical than the Bund in regard to Marxist philosophy. They believed in Jewish Autonomy in the Diaspora and considered themselves part of the international socialist movement. In 1909 it reunited with Poale Zion.

1906 July 12, DREYFUS WAS ACQUITTED (France)

On all counts by the Court of Appeals. After refusing compensation, he was promoted to Major. Dreyfus competently commanded an ammunition column in World War I. He died in 1935.

1906 - 1963 CLIFFORD ODETS (USA)

Playwright of the Depression. He used the theater to vent his protest against social conditions. His plays included Waiting for Lefty, Awake and Sing (a compassionate depiction of American Jewry), and Golden Boy.


Was established in Philadelphia. Dr. Cyrus Adler was appointed its first president.

1907 September 29, BAR GIORA (Eretz Israel)

A Palestinian Jewish self-defense organization was formed to protect the settlements in Sejera (the lower Galilee area) from raiders. Two years later it was reorganized and broadened into HaShomer (the Watchman) by Israel Shochat. HaShomer was eventually transformed into the Haganah. Despite opposition from local Jews and the Baron's overseers, they persevered with the idea of Jews taking responsibility for their own defense.


Was founded by Rabbi Stephen Wise as a reaction to the refusal of his congregation in Oregon to allow him free rein on the pulpit. Wise was against set dues for members and believed that the synagogue should also be used to criticize social problems.

1907 LENA HIMMELSTEIN (1881-1951) (USA)

A dress designer was asked by a customer to design a maternity dress so that she would not have to remain in seclusion during her pregnancy. The success of the dress opened an entire industry to development. Lena, known by first married name, Bryant, went on to establish well over 100 Lane Bryant stores in the United States.

1907 STOLYPIN (Russia)

The new Minister of Interior, he convinced the Czar to establish a second Duma which had far less power. Soon afterwards Stolypin strengthened the anti-Semitic Union of the Russian People and the Black Hundreds.

1907 - 1982 PIERRE MENDES-FRANCE (France)

Lawyer and politician, he was descended from a well-known Sephardic family. He joined the Radical Socialist Party in 1927 and was elected to the National Assembly. He became Prime Minister in 1954, ending the war in Indo-China. He was replaced a year later and was soundly defeated by the Gaullists in 1968. Mendes was known as the "Roosevelt of France" for his "fireside chat" manner. He was a staunch supporter of Israel and the Zionist movement.


Was established. Later known as the Israel Land Development Authority (ILDC), the authority was in charge of purchasing and cultivating land for the Jewish National Fund and for private individuals. Its first Chairman was Otto Warburg and its first director Arthur Ruppin. The company was instrumental in establishing settlements such as Nahalal, Tel Yosef, Ein Harod, and the first kibbutz, Degania. Many of its purchases were in the Sharon Plain, and the Hula valley. They also played a major role in developing Tel Aviv and the Hadar Carmel section of Haifa.

1909 April 4, HASHOMER (Eretz Israel)

The Association of Jewish watchmen was founded in order to protect Jewish settlements. Many of its members were recent arrivals from Russia who had organized self-defense organizations in Russia during the pogroms five years earlier. Its founders included Itzhak ben Zvi, Israel Giladi, Israel Shochat and Alexander Zeid. The Shomerim were excellent horsemen. spoke Arabic and wore a combination of Arab and Circassian garb. Within a few years they took over the defense of all Jewish villages. HaShomer was active until 1920 when it was absorbed into the Haganah.

1909 April 11, TEL AVIV (Eretz Israel)

The first modern Jewish city, it was founded on the sand dunes north of Jaffa with the building of 60 houses. The actual name "Tel Aviv" was given only the next year (Hill of Spring) and was taken from a Babylonian city (Ezekiel 3:15) and used by Nahum Sokolow as the title for his translation of Herzl's book Altneuland.

1909 December, DEGANIA (Eretz Israel)

The first kibbutz or collective colony was founded in Eretz Israel. Aaron David Gordon (1856-1922), one of its founders, was considered to be the "Apostle" of the kibbutz movement. Each colony was independent and democratically governed. Membership was voluntary and all earnings and expenses were shared.

1909 VICTOR BRENNER (1871-1924)(Lithuania-USA)

Medalist and sculptor, he engraved the Lincoln penny still used today.


A Jew hunt was organized (one of many) to find Jews living outside the Pale. Ten were found in the city and 74 more in the neighboring woods. All were forced back into the Pale.


Clarinetist and band leader. Goodman grew up in the Chicago ghetto, one of twelve children of an immigrant tailor who had fled anti-Semitism in Russia. He took his first lessons on the clarinet in his local synagogue. Goodman's band took off on August 23, 1935 when he played compositions arranged by Fletcher Henderson giving birth to a new style of jazz music - "swing." Goodman became known as the "King of Swing" and was the first to include black and white musicians in the same band. Goodman was one of the most recorded artists in history playing both jazz and classical music.


The first Yiddish school was founded.

1911 June 22, - 1913 BEILIS TRIAL (Russia)

Took place after a Christian boy was found dead near a brick factory in which Mendel Beilis worked. He was accused of ritual murder by the government. The only evidence was the word of a drunken couple who claimed they saw a man with a black beard walking with the child. The Russian government actively took up the case after the assassination of Stolypin by a Jewish revolutionist. Professor Sikowsky,(Sikorsky), an eminent Professor of Psychology, "proved" that Jews use Christian blood for ritual purposes. Beilis's lawyers, Margolin and Grusenberg, fought the government for two years until diplomatic pressure forced the Russians to drop the charges. Beilis then settled in the United States, where he died after a long illness in 1934.

1911 - 1943 MIRE GOLA (Galicia, Poland)

Underground fighter and member of the communist Polish Workers Party (P.P.R). Gola who had traveled widely, urged all of her comrades to take up armed struggle, stating that time was against them. She participated in many attacks against German targets. In March 1943 she was captured and although tortured, refused to give away any information. On the way to be executed she tried to escape, but was shot and killed.

1912 March 7, HADASSAH (New York, USA)

The Women's Zionist Organization of America was founded by Henrietta Szold. The name Hadassah is another name for Esther and was chosen since the meeting was held close to the Purim holiday. Their main goals included promoting Zionist ideals in the United States and improving health conditions in Eretz Israel.

1912 April 11, Technikum (Technion) (Haifa, Eretz Israel)

Was founded with the help of Paul Nathan of the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden ("Relief Organization of German Jews") and Jacob Schiff. The Technikum Institute of Technology, later to be known as the Technion,was struck the following year (see 1913), by both teachers and students when they tried to institute German as the school's language instead of Hebrew. Due to both the strike and the approaching war the school did not actually begin classes until 1924.


Was formed as the World Organization of Orthodox Jewry at Kattowitz, Poland. Jacob Rosenheim was its first president. It took three years of negotiation to get the organization off the ground. Its goal was to preserve a traditional community while using the Torah as a basis for all political and communal decisions. In addition to establishing education systems, they set up a labor movement (Poale Agudat Israel) and a supreme Torah authority, the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah. The founders succeeded in combining the German (S.R. Hirsh), the Polish-Lithuanian, and the Hungarian sectors of Orthodox Jewry.


Solomon Schechter, president of the Jewish Theological Seminary, founded the United Synagogue of America, the association of Conservative synagogues in the United States and Canada. In 1957 it organized the World Council of Synagogues with membership in 22 countries.

1913 April 27, LEO FRANK (USA)

The only white man to be convicted on the testimony of a Negro until the 1960's, he was convicted of murdering Mary Phagan. Though there was little evidence against him, Tom Watson, the editor of the Jeffersonian, used the fact that Frank was a Jew to convict him before the public. Later (see 1915) Georgia Governor John Slaton, believing that the trial had been unfair, commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.

1913 October 28, MENDEL BEILIS

After two years in prison Beilis was acquitted of all charges.


Of the B'nai B'rith was formed in Chicago. It soon became one of the leading organizations for protecting Jewish rights in the United States.


Echoing official Communist policy, he denounced Zionism as counter-revolutionary.


The "Battle of the Languages" was fought as the opening of the Technion, also then known as the Technikum, approached. Although the majority of the governing board voted for German, mass protests were held with major figures, including Ben Yehuda, threatening a boycott if Hebrew wasn't used as the language of instruction. This battle also gave impetus for the establishment of Hebrew as the official language of Eretz Israel in all spheres.

1913 August 16, - 1991 MENACHEM BEGIN (Russia-Eretz Israel)

Commander of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, (National Military Organization) statesman and prime minister. He emerged as one of the leaders of the Revisionist Movement between the wars and commanded Betar (Brit Trumpeldor). In 1939 he escaped from Vilna and was arrested by the Russians and sentenced to eight years in a labor camp. He was released in 1941 and made his way to Israel where he became commander of the underground resistance group, Etzel. He led the opposition Herut Party until 1977, when he became prime minister. In 1978 he signed a treaty with Egypt (the largest Arab country) which returned the Sinai to Egypt in return for peace. Begin also wrote two books, White Nights, about imprisonment in Russia, and The Revolt, the story of the Irgun.


Was formed by Father Andrej Hlinka, and after his death, headed by Father Josef Tiso. The conservative party was against the idea of a Czechoslovakian republic, and demanded Slovakian independence. It had a decidedly religious anti liberalism, and anti-Semitic bend. After 1935 it became more overtly anti-Semitic, and its youth groups participated in many anti- Jewish riots., including the one Bratislava in April 1936. One of its leaders Karol Sidor a devote Catholic, became the Slovakian ambassador to the Vatican, and called for the expulsion of all Jews. It partnered with the Nazi Germany issuing its own anti-Jewish laws.


Was established by Jacob H. Schiff, Louis Marshall, and Felix Warburg. It soon combined (November 27) with the Central Relief Committee founded by Orthodox leaders and the People's Relief Committee representing labor into one organization - the American Joint Distribution Committee. It campaigned and distributed funds wherever Jews were in need, especially in Eastern Europe. It is popularly known as the "Joint" or "JDC." During the First World War they spent almost $15,000,000 on relief efforts.


During the entire war, Yiddish was declared an illegal language, and wounded veterans were immediately shipped back to the Pale. Although around 500,000 Jews served in the army, they were branded by the government as cowards, traitors and spies.

1914 - 1944 November 20, HAVIVA REIK (Slovakia-Eretz Israel)

One of the four volunteers who parachuted into Slovakia to help the uprising against the Nazis. Reik was born in a Slovakia and made aliyah in 1939 where she joing kibbutz Ma'anit. She volunteered for the Palmach and when it was formed the parachutist unit. Despite British refusal to send her on the mission she succeeded in reaching Banska Bystresis in September 1944 where she helped Jewish refugees. When it fell, they moved into the mountains with other Jewish partisans. She was captured and later executed by the Nazis on November 20, 1944. Kibbutz Lahavot Haviva and the Givat Haviva venter are dedicated to her memory.

1915 March, GRAND DUKE SERGEI (Russia)

The Russian Commander-in-Chief began to expel all the Jews in the Pale on the pretext that they could not be trusted with the advancing Germans. Kovna, Lithuania, and Kurland were most affected. Over 500,000 Jews were forcibly evacuated, sometimes on forced marches. Until the arrival of the Germans, who prevented any more expulsions, over 100,000 died of starvation, disease and exposure.

1915 March 22, ERETZ ISRAEL

The majority of the Palestine Refugees' Committee, under the encouragement of Joseph Trumpeldor and Vladimir Jabotinsky, endorsed a resolution calling for the formation of a "Jewish Legion", and proposed to England its utilization in Palestine. Within a few days about 500 enlisted.

1915 April, ERETZ ISRAEL - NILI (Hebrew initials for Netzah Israel Lo Yeshaker)

Was organized by Avshalom Feinberg and Aaron Aaronsohn to spy against the Turks for the British. Based in Zichron Yaakov and locally run by Aaronsohn's sister Sarah, they passed messages regarding Turkish troop maneuvers around the Haifa area. In 1917 the Turks broke the spy ring. Sarah was arrested October 1, and after being tortured for three days, managed to commit suicide. Most of the other members were captured and killed.

1915 April 17, THE ZION MULE CORPS

Left for Gallipoli from Egypt. Commanded by Colonel Henry Patterson and organized by Trumpeldor and Jabotinsky, they were a Jewish auxiliary unit of the British Army. The British were not interested in giving them the ability to fight, so they were assigned to provide provisions to the front lines. Although later that same year they were forced to retreat in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign, they performed with distinction and later became the nucleus for the Jewish Legion (1917).

1915 July 5, RUSSIA

Hebrew and Yiddish publications were banned.

1915 August 17, LEO FRANK (USA)

A southern Jew falsely accused of murdering 14-year-old Mary Phagen was taken out of prison and hung by a lynch mob. A few months earlier, his death sentence had been commuted to life in prison by Governor John Slaton, who believed that Frank had not had a fair trial. In 1925, Jim Conlay, a negro who had been his accuser in court, was found guilty of her murder and of perjury.(see 1913)


Reached an agreement with Sharif Hussein ibn Ali of the Hashemi family, trading a revolt against Turkey for Arab independence everywhere except Eretz Israel. This agreement, which directly contradicted the Sykes-Picot Treaty, was like the Balfour Declaration: vague and ambiguous.

1915 May 20, - 1981 MOSHE DAYAN (Eretz Israel)

Was born in Kibbutz Degania. As a teenager he joined the Haganah. He lost an eye in an attack on Lebanon with an Australian Division. He rose in the ranks of the Israeli army, becoming Minister of Defense in 1967. He resigned after the Yom Kippur War because he was criticized for Israel's lack of preparedness. In 1977 he joined the Begin government.

1915 October 22, - 2012 YITZHAK SHAMIR (Poland-Israel)

Underground leader and politician. Upon immigrating to Israel, he joined the Irgun but with its split moved over to Avraham Stern's Lehi. Following Stern's murder by the British, Shamir became one of the three pillars running the Lehi organization along with Nathan Yellin-Mor and Dr. Israel Eldad (Scheib). After a number of years in the Mossad, he went into business and then politics becoming prime minister in 1983.

1915 June 10, - 1992 SAUL BELLOW (Canada-USA)

Novelist and Nobel laureate. In 1965, Mr. Bellow was awarded the International Literary Prize for Herzog, becoming the first American to receive the prize. His book, Humbolt’s Gift won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 and Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. Many of Bellow’s novels have Jewish themes to them, among them, The Victim, Adventures of Augie March, and To Jerusalem and Back. He also edited Great Jewish Short Stories.

1915 December, YAVNEH GYMNASIUM (Kovno)

Was founded by Dr. Joseph Carlebach with the support of the German occupation forces. It included both a girls and boys school. Within 3 years had more than 250 students and by 1930 the Yavneh system had almost 100 schools and seminaries throughout Lithuania. All the schools were closed in 1940, when the Russians occupied the country. Carelbach (b.1883) was murdered with his wife and younger children in 1942.

1915 February 18, FRANK ALEXANDER DE PASS (England)

Became the first Jew and the first officer of the Indian Army to be awarded the Victoria Cross. De Pass who was of Sephardic decent served as a lieutenant in the Indian Army. On November 24, 1914 he had rescued a wounded man while under heavy fire. He died in action the next day.

1916 BISHOP OF NANCY (France)

Suggested that belief in Dreyfus' innocence was equivalent to apostasy.

1917 February 3, IRAQ

British troops occupied Baghdad. After suffering heavily from forced conscription, torture and extortion by the Turkish ruled government, local Jews celebrated their freedom by declaring it a holiday (Yom Ness). Their freedom lasted until 1929, when the British granted independence to Iraq and all Zionist activity was prohibited.


Broke out in Petrograd. After three years of ruinous war the old regime collapsed. By March, a provisional government under Alexander Kerensky was set up. During the ensuing revolution the Jews were caught in the middle. Much of the conflict centered around the south and west, where over 3 million Jews lived. It is estimated that over 2000 pogroms took place, especially in the Ukraine, leading to the death of 100,000-200,000 Jews within the next 3 years.


The next day the Pale of Settlement was abolished.

1917 March 28, TEL AVIV-JAFFA (Eretz Israel)

As the war front came closer, the Turkish Governor of Jaffa ordered all Jews to leave the city, including Tel Aviv.


Long championed by Jabotinsky and based on the Zion Mule Corps. The 38th Battalion was commanded by Colonel Henry Patterson. A second battalion (the 39th) commanded by Colonel Eleazar Margolin was also formed. Although at first against the idea, most of the leadership of the Yishuv, including Ben Gurion and Ben Zvi, joined after the Balfour Declaration. Over 2,700 men volunteered for the Legion. Many of them saw action in Transjordan in the fall of 1918.

1917 November 7, RUSSIA

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Leon Trotsky ousted Kerensky and took over the government.

1917 December 11, GENERAL ALLENBY ENTERED JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

General Allenby, head of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (of the British army) entered Jerusalem, forcing the Turks to retreat. Allenby, while "understanding" the aspirations of Zionism, had strong reservations regarding the British policy of establishing a Jewish national homeland.

1917 August 23, EDWIN SAMUEL MONTAGU (Britain)

A member of the British cabinet, while discussing the idea of what was to be known as the Balfour Declaration stated," Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen…" Montague (1879-1924) was the second Jew to serve in a British Cabinet. A strong anti- Zionist, he told Prime Minister Lloyd George. "All my life I have been trying to get out of the ghetto. You want to force me back there". He was also responsible for changing part of the declaration.

1918 March 3, BREST-LITOVSK TREATY (Russia-Germany)

Signed between Russia and Germany, formally took Russia out of World War I. Russia had an interest in seceding from the war, and the price she paid was to relinquish control of the Ukrainian "bread basket" to Germany. The removal of the Russian influence in the Ukraine gave rise to nationalistic aspirations. The following year, while Simon Petlyura was commander of the army and national leader, mass anti-Jewish riots and violence broke out throughout the Ukraine.

1918 April 1, CHAIM WEIZMANN

Arrived in Eretz Israel to assist the British Mandate. Weizmann headed the Zionist commission (Vaad HaTzirim) that was mandated by the British Government to be the liaison between the Military administration and the Yishuv. It was also empowered to coordinate relief efforts and make recommendations regarding the future development of the country

1918 October 8, HABIMAH THEATER (Russia-Eretz Israel)

Was founded by Nahum Zemach. Based on the methods of the famous Russian theater director Konstantin Stanislavski, the Habimah Theater opened in Moscow. The production of Anski's The Dybbuk, with the help of actor Menahem Gnessin and the actress Hannah Rovina, brought it fame. One of the staunchest friends of the theater group was Maxim Gorky. In 1931 the company moved to Eretz Israel, where they eventually became the National Theater.

1918 December, LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Was established in an effort to prevent further wars. The League of Nations was instrumental in giving international backing for the "British Mandate" in Palestine and the Balfour Declaration. After the 29 Arab riots in 1929, the League criticized the British government for not doing enough to prevent or suppress the Arabs, and called into question the effectiveness of the Mandate.

1918 - 1988 ABBA KOVNER (Lithuania-Eretz Israel)

Resistance leader and poet. Kovner organized the United Partisan Movement in 1941, maintaining that Jews should not "go like sheep to the slaughter". He fought as a partisan leader until the end of the war. After liberation he was instrumental in establishing Beriha, which smuggled survivors to Eretz Israel and carried out revenge operations against Nazis and their collaborators. In Israel he joined a kibbutz and became a well known poet. He won the Israel prize for literature in 1970. Kovner helped establish the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv and the Moreshet Holocaust Institute.

1918 August 25, - 1990 LEONARD BERNSTEIN (USA)

Composer and conductor. Bernstein was the first American-born musician to conduct the New York Philharmonic. Although he composed a number of symphonies (many with Jewish themes), he is most remembered for the musical, West Side Story. Bernstein was also a gifted teacher and created "Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts" which were broadcast on television to rave reviews and popularity.

1919 January 12, PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE (France)

Was convened. The American Jewish Congress was represented by Louis Marshall (President of the American Jewish Committee), Rabbi Stephen Wise and Judge Julian Mack, President of the Congress. In France they joined with other world Jewish organizations to form the Comite des Delegation Juives with Julian Mack and then Louis Marshal as chairmen. Dr. Leo Motzkin, Zionist and publicist, was appointed secretary. They succeeded in passing a plan ensuring the right for minorities to establish their own schools and speak their own languages, while retaining full citizenship.

1919 March 3, EMIR FAISAL

Wrote a letter to Felix Frankfurter expressing his support for the Zionist cause. "We Arabs...look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist Movement....We will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome."

1919 April 5, PINSK (Poland)

35 well-known Jews were executed. They were taken from a legitimate business meeting of the Jewish Cooperative and accused of being Jewish Bolshevists. Others also arrested were told to dig their own graves and then released.

1919 August, GENERAL DENIKIN (Russia)

Commander of the White Russian Army and supported by the United States, he attempted to overthrow the Bolsheviks. He temporarily succeeded in stopping both Petlura and the Bolsheviks. Like Petlura, he identified the Jews with communism and proceeded to carry out his own pogroms, allowing his troops to perpetrate over 213 pogroms, and killing upwards of five thousand Jews.

1919 December 18, THIRD ALIYAH (Eretz Israel)

The SS Ruslam reached Jaffa from Odessa with 671 people aboard. The ship was loaded with doctors, artists, and academics and had been called Israel's Mayflower. It arrived during the period of what is known as the third Aliyah, which lasted four years. Approximately 50% of the 35,000 immigrants were from Russia and 35% from Poland. The idealism of the third aliyah helped establish the Kibbutz movement, the Histadrut and the Labor Battalions "Gedudei Avodah". The third Aliyah ended as a major economic crisis developed creating unemployment and emigration.


Was founded in New York. It was composed of Orthodox, Conservative and Reform representatives. Cases were tried in which both parties agreed to abide by the decision of the court. There were no extensive legal technicalities and a common ground was found between litigants.

1919 KURT EISNER (Germany)

A communist Jew who headed the Bavarian government was assassinated.


At a Mizrachi convention, it was decided to build the Tachkemoni Rabbinical Seminary, setting aside 20 of the 48 hours per week for secular subjects. This became a precursor for modern religious education. Among the supervisors were Rabbi Moses Soloveichik and Dr. Moses Adler.

1919 HUGO PREUSS (d. 1925) (Germany)

Professor of law and leader of the Berlin Jewish community, he became Minister of the Interior and drafted the Weimar Constitution.

1919 - 1933 WEIMAR REPUBLIC (Germany)

Provided Jews with full equality yet ironically it gave birth to the greatest catastrophe to the Jews since the destruction of the Second Temple. The republic was divided by communists, national socialists, and monarchists all pulling in different directions. The runaway inflation, the defeat of Germany in World War I, and unemployment were all blamed on the Jews. During the republic over 430 anti-Semitic associations and societies were founded, as well as hundreds (700) of anti-Semitic newspapers, magazines and periodicals. By the end of 1920 the Protocols of the Elders of Zion had sold over 120,000 copies.


Was signed between Chayim Weizmann and Emir Faisal ( 1885-1933). The agreement included a call to " work together to encourage immigration of Jews… while protecting the rights of the Arab peasants … agreed borders... and a commitment to carry into effect the Balfour Declaration of 1917, calling for a Jewish national home in Palestine." An addendum was attached by Faisel " Provided the Arabs obtain their independence But if the slightest modification …shall be made, I shall not be then bound by a single word of the present Agreement'. Unfortunately the British and the French went back on their word having signed the then secret Sykes–Picot Agreement dividing the Middle East between themselves, thus paving the way for the ongoing conflict.

1919 January 7, SEMANA TRAGICA / WEEK OF TRAGEDY ( Argentina)

After a general strike, the police and army were called in. The wealthy class, many of whom belonged to the white guard (Guardia Blanca) , blamed Jews, especially recent Jewish Russian immigrants, for the unrest. A pogrom ensued leaving many dead and wounded.

1919 September 23, LORD GEORGE NATHANIAL CURZON ( London)

Meeting with Feisal, he showed him the correspondence between his father Hussein and the British government, emphatically explaining that Palestine was excluded from any agreement In November, Hussein acknowledged that neither he nor his successors, would have any claims over the land. This, despite pressure from Palestinian activists, who insisted that it was part of Syria. Lord Curzon (1851-1925) served as a member of the inner cabinet in WWI and later as foreign secretary ,and despite the above was decidedly anti-Zionist.

1920 January 10, LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Was established in an effort to promote cooperation between countries and hopefully prevent further wars. The League of Nations lasted until 1946, although it had little power during its last ten years. The league also dealt with issues regarding anti-Semitism in Germany, the use of the numerus clauses in Hungarian Universities, and the expulsion of Jewish refugees in Austria. On July 24, 1922, the council confirmed the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate for Palestine.

1920 January, ENGLAND

The Jewish Peril, an English translation of the "Protocols", was published. During the same year it was also printed in Poland and France and reprinted in newspapers.

1920 March 1, TEL HAI (Eretz Israel)

A Jewish village in the Galilee was attacked by Arabs. Joseph Trumpeldor and seven men under his command were killed in the ensuing battle.

1920 March 26, SHABELSKY-BORK (Germany)

A supporter of the "Protocols", he tried to assassinate Pavel Milyukov (former leader of the Cadets, who fled Russia in 1918) at a meeting of Russian refugees. Instead, he killed Vladimir Nabokov and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison. After serving for a short time, he was released and befriended by Alfred Rosenberg, the "Nazi philosopher".

1920 April 4 - 5, JERUSALEM (Eretz Israel)

Anti-Jewish riots. Five Jews were killed and two hundred and eleven wounded. Vladimir Jabotinsky and others were arrested for organizing a self-defense league.


Assigned the British government the Mandate over Palestine, directing her to establish a national home for the Jewish people as presented in the Balfour Declaration. As part of their mandate the British were instructed to recognize "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." In addition, Britain was to "facilitate Jewish immigration" and "close settlement by Jews on the land." The civil administration was established on July 1, 1920 with Sir Herbert Samuel as the first high commissioner.

1920 May 20, HENRY FORD (USA)

Ford's newspaper, Dearborn Independent, with a circulation of seven hundred thousand, "discussed" the Jewish problem.

1920 June 15, HAGANAH (Eretz Israel)

Self-Defense Force was formed during a meeting of the Ahdut Avodah party. It was designed to take the place of the Ha-Shomer Ha-Tzair movement, and was dedicated to havlagah, or self-defense. The original idea had been proposed by Israel Shochat eight years earlier. With the onset of the British Mandate the Zionist leaders had thought there would not be a need for a self-defense organization. The Arab attacks earlier that year proved them wrong. Eliyahu Golomb was its first commander.

1920 July 11, WIZO (Women's International Zionist Organization)

Was founded in London. Rebecca Sieff was nominated as the first president of WIZO. Its activities include professional and vocational training for women, education of children and youth, shelters for battered women, as well as help for new immigrants. WIZO is recognized by the UN as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) It is also a member of the World Zionist Organization and of the World Jewish Congress.

1920 July 27, KEREN HAYESOD (Eretz Israel Foundation Fund) (England-Eretz Israel)

Was created in London at the London Zionist Conference for education, absorption and the development of rural settlements in Eretz Israel. Chaim Weizmann was elected president of the World Zionist Organization.

1920 December 12, HISTADRUT HAOVDIM (General Labor Federation) (Eretz Israel)

Was founded in Eretz Israel. Its founder, Berl Katznelson, was a disciple of Borochov. He combined various labor groups to form a federation. In reality the federation became one major union which was divided into trade sections. The Histadrut had its own workers' bank, Bank Hapoalim, as well as an Agricultural Audit Union, and a wholesale purchasing organization, Hamashbir Hamerkazi. Tnuva was its agricultural marketing cooperative, Hamashbir Hamerkazi, its wholesale consumer cooperative and department store, and Solel Boneh its contracting organization. It even had its own insurance company, Hassneh, and sick fund. The Histadrut was forced to make major reforms and cutbacks in the 1990's because of the changed economic climate and economy of the state of Israel.


Jozef Pilsudski, the Polish statesmen and later first marshal, aligned himself with Petlura and decided to attack Russia in the midst of the Russian Civil Wars. During this attack, which reached as far as Kiev, the armies assaulted the Jewish quarters in each town. Although Pilsudski himself was not considered anti-Semitic, he only acted to stop them after foreign pressure was applied. Approximately thirty thousand Jews were systematically killed before Allied pressure slowed them down. This linked the idea of Polish nationalism with pograms in the mind of the Jews.

1920 RED ARMY (Russia)

Founded by Leon Trotsky, pushed all counter-revolutionary forces out of Russia.


Published The Rising Tide of Color, a racist book describing the "under men" and calling for the development of a pure race while at the same time pronouncing anyone not of "superior stock" an enemy. His book ran to fourteen editions, and a later book, The Revolt Against Civilization, was equally successful. In 1939 he traveled to Germany where he expressed admiration for their eugenics court.

1920 - 1922 GERMANY

The International Jew, an anti-Semitic book, was translated into German and ran through sixteen editions. It was subsidized by Henry Ford.

1921 February 23, ERETZ ISRAEL

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and Rabbi Ya'akov Meir were elected the first two chief rabbis. (The Sephardic chief rabbi retained the title of Rishon le-Zion.)

1921 May 2, JAFFA (Eretz Israel)

Arabs rioted, killing forty Jews and wounding two hundred others. The riots soon spread to Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva, Kfar Saba, Hadera, and Rehovot. Though casualties were "relatively" light, the British decided to immediately suspend Jewish immigration and appease the Arabs by "redefining" the borders of the Balfour Declaration.

1921 September 11, NAHALAL (Eretz Israel)

The first moshav was established in the Jezreel Valley.


Expelled seventy-three thousand out of the hundred thousand Galician Jewish refugees. The remainder were either too sick or too old to leave.

1921 THEODOR FRITSCH (Germany) (1852-1933)

"The Nestor (The elder statesman) of German anti-Semitism", he produced his own version of "Protocols" which he claimed was translated from Hebrew. The first publication of his Hammer Publishing House was Antisemiten-Katechismus - a catalogue of Jewish misdeeds.Fritsch's who was a fervent believer in the supremacy of the Aryan race, tried (unsuccessfully at the time) to unite all the anti-Semitic political parties in Germany.

1921 ITALY

Giovanni Pressiosi published an Italian version of the "Protocols".


Translated the "Protocols" directly from the Russian. It ran through sixteen editions in one year.


Central Yiddish School Organization (CYSHO) was established by the Bund and Poale Zion. It opposed Jewish religious life.

1921 - 1944 November 7, HANNAH SZENES (Senesh) (Eretz Israel-Hungary)

Poet and freedom fighter. Born in Hungary, she immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1939 and joined kibbutz Sedot Yam. Her poem Halikha LeKesariya ("A Walk to Caesarea") is famous today as Eli Eli ( My God My God). In 1942 a call went out for volunteers for a special mission against Germany. She joined 32 other young Jews who were trained by the British to infiltrate behind enemy lines. While in Yugoslavia she wrote her famous poem wrote the poem Ashrei ha-Gafrur ("Blessed is the Match"). She was captured in June 1944 and executed November 7, 1944 . Six other parachutists lost their lives during their missions. Her diary and many of her poems were published after her tragic death. She was reburied in 1950 on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.

1922 May 28, BNEI AKIVA (Eretz Israel)

The "Sons of Akiva", the youth movement of Ha-Po'el ha-Mizrachi, was founded. The basis for the movement was the idea of Torah va-Avodah ("Torah and Labor"), religion and pioneering. The spiritual leader of the movement was Chief Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook. One of its goals was to train its members in agriculture and crafts leading Bnei Akiva to form its own kibbutzim within the structure of Kibbutz Hadati, the religious kibbutz movement.


Confirmed the Palestine Mandate, citing the Balfour Declaration in the preamble and recognizing "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine".

1922 September 21, USA

The United States Congress and President Harding approved the Balfour Declaration.

1922 HAYIM HELLER (1878-1960, 14 Nisan 5760) (Germany)

Established a new type of yeshiva in Berlin which combined traditional studies with Biblical and talmudic research (Bet ha-Midrash ha-Elyon). Among his students were Samuel Bialobocki and J. B. Soloveitchik.


Was founded by Stephen Wise in New York for the purpose of training rabbis without a "partisan stamp".

1922 March 1, - 1995 YITZHAK RABIN (Israel)

Military leader and politician. Rabin began his long army career in the Palmach at its onset in 1940 and rose within 7 years to be its deputy commander. He commanded the Harel Brigade during the War of Independence and served in different positions in the army until becoming chief of staff at the beginning of 1964. After the victory of the Six Day War, he retired becoming Israel's ambassador to the United States. Rabin became prime minister after Golda Meir's resignation and served until March 1977 when he had to resign over a scandal regarding his wife's illegal bank account. Rabin once again became prime minister in 1992 and oversaw the Oslo Agreement with the Palestinian Authority. He was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a student on November 4, 1995.

1923 FELIX SALTEN (1869-1945) (Austria)

Wrote a novel about a deer in the forest called Bambi. Salten, an Austrian novelist and critic, worked at the Neue Freie Presse and was was a friend of Herzl.

1923 - 2004 RICHARD AVEDON (USA)

Commercial and fashion photographer. His portraits of celebrities portrayed a different and original spin using unconventional lights and unusual backgrounds.


The Joint agreed to donate funds to help the Russian government resettle Jews in the Ukraine. Fewer than fifteen thousand were actually resettled.

1924 - 2014 LAUREN BACALL (Betty Joan Perske) (USA)

"The Look" as Warner Brothers billed her,rnmade her film debut starring opposite her husband-to-be, Humphrey Bogart in "To Have and Have Not" (1944). Over the next half century she performed in over 35 films. When her movie career cooled somewhat, she turned to Broadway, winning awards for her roles in Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981). Although Bacall was never known by moviegoers as a "Jewish actress", according to her autobiography, she always felt proud of her Jewish heritage, which was rooted primarily in her love for her first-generation Jewish immigrant family.rn

1925 April 1, HEBREW UNIVERSITY (Eretz Israel)

Was opened in Jerusalem by Lord Balfour on Mount Scopus. Its first Chancellor was Dr. Judah Magnes. The idea for the university had been proposed as far back as the Kattowitz Conference in 1884 by Herman Schapira. Chaim Weizmann served as chairman of the board. Its library became known as the Jewish National Library and is the largest in the country. After the attack on the Hadassah convoy in 1948, the university was forced to relocate to the Givat Ram campus in Western Jerusalem. After the Six Day War the Hebrew University built a modern campus which was re-established on Mount Scopus in addition to the Givat Ram campus.

1925 April 30, PARIS (France)

The Revisionist Party (Brit Ha-Tzionim Ha-Revisionistim) was founded by Zev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky. Jabotinsky adhered to the Herzlian concept that Zionism is basically an ideological movement. He demanded a more aggressive policy toward the British, believing that only world-wide pressure would force the British to abide by the Mandate. The revisionists believed that the highest priority of the Zionist movement should be in bringing the greatest number of Jews to Eretz Israel in the shortest possible time.

1925 August 7, NAHUM SHTIF ESTABLISHED YIVO (Yiddish Scientific Institute, Yidisher Visenshaftlikher Institut)

As a Yiddish academic institute with its center in Vilna. Its goal was to promote scholarly research in Yiddish, especially on Jewish life and history in Eastern Europe. In addition, it standardized Yiddish spelling and gathered thousands of documents on Jewish culture and folklore from over much of Europe.


Count Stephan Bethle was elected prime minister. He promised to do away with anti-Semitism and succeeded until the Depression.


Marking (with the help of the British) the onset of the Pahlavis dynasty which lasted until 1979. Khan (1878 - 1944), founded the modern Iranian state. He initially cancel all discriminatory laws against Jew and other minorities. Later on, he grew increasingly distrustful of any movements including Zionism and had one of the Jewish leaders Shmuel Hayyim (1891 -1931) murdered on a trumped up charge . He also grew close to Hitler, changing the name of the country from Persia to Iran in 1935 to reflect his belief that they were an Aryan race.

1926 May 26, SAMUEL SCHWARZBARD (Ukraine)

Traveled to Paris to avenge his parents' death at the hands of Petlura. After days of stalking, he confronted him, shot him and surrendered to the police. He was acquitted by the court of Assizes on all charges.

1926 DAVID SARNOFF (1891-1971) (Russia -USA)

Created the first radio chain, the National Broadcasting Company. He was known as the "Father of American Television". Sarnoff won fame as a young worker in atelegraph office the night of the Titanic disaster, where he remained for 72 hours relaying up-to-date information.

1927 June 30, HENRY FORD (USA)

The automobile magnet was forced to publicly apologize for libel against the Jews. Aaron Sapiro, a lawyer, had accused Ford and his Dearborn Independent of the libel. Although the case was a personal one, the newspaper's anti-Semitic propaganda figured heavily in the case. Ford was forced to retract some of his accusations and apologize.

1928 February 28, BIROBIJAN, USSR

Decided to set up a Jewish district (Yevreyskaya Avtonomnaya Oblast) in Birobijan in South- Eastern Siberia. Most of its 14,000 square miles (36,000-square-kilometers) were uninhabitable due to floods. It was to be used as a buffer zone against China.

1929 August 11, JEWISH AGENCY (Zurich, Switzerland)

Was created at the 16th Zionist Congress, to include non-Zionists in the creation of the State. Among them were Louis Marshall, Leon Blum and Felix Warburg.

1929 August 16, ERETZ ISRAEL

Although warned by the Zionist Executive that the Arabs were preparing to attack the Jews of Jerusalem with massive riots, High Commissioner Sir John Chancelor refused to cut his vacation short, declaring that relations between the two sides were improving. The day after the ninth of Av, after Friday prayers, two thousand Arabs attacked Jews praying at the Western Wall. One Jewish youth was stabbed in the back. The British Government refused to condemn the attack, leading the Arabs again to believe that the British supported their riots.

1929 August 23, ERETZ ISRAEL

Arabs began to riot throughout pre-state Israel after Moslem Friday prayers. The next day, the riots spread to Hebron where over 60 Jews were killed and over 50 injured. During the week of August 23-29, 113 Jews were killed and 339 wounded. As a result, Sir Walter Shaw headed a commission which urged the banning of Jewish immigration and absolved the Arabs and the Mufti of guilt. Another commission led by Sir John Simpson declared that the entire Zionist operation was unsound and undesirable. Both of these commissions were under the auspices of Lord Passfield, the British Colonial Secretary.


The Jewish community, which relied heavily on contributions, had to retrench, cutting back on essential services to orphanages, synagogues and schools. Discrimination in the form of job rejections became commonplace. The Depression led to a hiatus in immigration to the USA and pressure on the government to apply immigration quotas. The Depression was world-wide and encouraged the growth of both communism and fascism. In Germany it led directly to the rise of the Nazi party.

1929 June 12, - 1945 March 15, ANNE FRANK (Amsterdam, Holland)

Anne was born in Frankfurt, but spent most of her life in Holland. Once the deportations began, Anne and her family moved to a hiding place and stayed there from July 9,1942, until they were betrayed in August 4, 1944. She died in the Bergen- Belsen concentration camp from typhus, shortly before the liberation. Anne had hoped to become a writer and succeeded beyond anything she could have imagined when her diary was published in 1947. Since then, over 20 million copies of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, edited by Otto Frank, her father, have been printed and over 50 editions published. A theatrical version, The Diary of Anne Frank, opened on Broadway in 1955 and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, as well as a Tony for Best Play of the Year (1955). A film was later produced in 1959. For many, Anne’s diary is the main exposure to the horrors of the Holocaust.

1930 August 22, HOPE-SIMPSON REPORT (Eretz Israel)

Sir John Hope-Simpson, sent by the British, looked into Arab economic complaints and decided that Palestine had no industrial prospects. He recommended the cessation of all Jewish immigration and a settlement freeze. His report was the basis for the infamous Passfield White Paper.

1930 October 20, LORD PASSFIELD (Eretz Israel)

Issued his "White Paper" banning further land acquisition by Jews and slowing Jewish immigration. Weizmann, who had always toed a pro-British line, resigned in protest.

1931 October, GERALD WINROD (Kansas, USA)

A Protestant preacher, spurred by his belief in Jewish Bolshevism, wrote The Hidden Hand, a book about the "Protocols". He followed it with a slew of pamphlets and books as well as a magazine called The Defender, all anti-Semitic. He was dubbed "The American Streicher" by the German press.

1931 BETAR (Latvia)

Established a Navy School in Riga.

1931 - 1936 GENERAL GYULA VON GOMBOS (Hungary)

Former head of the "White Terror" riots, he became prime minister and fostered anti-Semitism. He once headed the Party of Racial Defense dedicated to anti-Semitism.

1932 March 28, FIRST MACCABIAH GAMES (Eretz Israel)

Were held in Tel Aviv. Participants arrived from 21 countries.

1932 September, GERMANY

Chancellor von Papen, frightened by communist inroads into Germany, persuaded President von Hindenburg to offer Hitler the chancellorship, hoping to keep Hitler as a puppet.

1933 January 1, HINDENBURG RESIGNED (Germany)

Hitler was appointed chancellor of the Reich on Jan 30th.

1933 January 30, YOUTH ALIYAH (Berlin, Germany)

The previous year Recha Freier, a rabbi's wife decided it would be a good idea to send young people from Germany to kibbutzim. She founded the Juedische Jugendhilfe (Jewish Youth Help) organization to help facilitate the work. That same year it became a department of the World Zionist Organization under Henrietta Szold, whose name is linked to the saving of over 15,000 young people from Germany and Nazi occupied countries.

1933 March 5, HITLER (Germany)

Needing support for his minority government, he called for elections. He terrorized all the opposition, including the communists whom he accused of setting a "mysterious" fire in the Reichstag. After the election, Hitler asked his new majority government to grant him dictatorial powers, which they did.

1933 March 10, DACHAU CONCENTRATION CAMP (Germany)

Was established. It was the first of the SS run imprisonment camps. A month earlier Germany passed a law which would allow people to be imprisoned for an unlimited period of time if they were deemed hostile to the regime. Soon after other camps were set up to hold such prisoners. Often factories were set up near the camps and paid for the "use" of laborers. Although not a "death or extermination camp" per se, Dachau and other camps like it practiced daily murder, starvation, and sadistic medical experiments on their inmates. Forty thousand Jews probably died in Dachau. Other camps included Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Ravensbrueck (for women). Several of the camps had crematoria to get rid of the large number of corpses. According to an agreement with Himmler, the Gestapo were the ones to make the arrests while the SS ran the camps. Only in 1941 were the special death camps or extermination camps created.

1933 March 20, VILNA (Lithuania)

At the initiative of the Jews of Vilna, an anti-Nazi boycott began. It eventually spread all over Poland and to many countries in Europe. Yet within 6 months Poland itself signed a non-aggression treaty with Hitler which called for the cessation of all boycott activities.

1933 April 26, THE GESTAPO (Geheime Staatspolizei) (Germany)

Secret State Police was established. After a short time Hermann Goering was appointed as commander and changed its character to one of a political police force. Within a year Goering agreed to transfer the Gestapo to Heinrich Himmler where it came under the jurisdiction of the SS. The Gestapo was in charge of investigating, along with the S.D. all enemies of the Reich of which the Jews figured prominently. In addition the Gestapo eventually played a major role in planning and the carrying out of the "Final Solution". Although the S.S. for the most part ran the concentration camps, the Gestapo was responsible for rounding up the Jews as well as overseeing the Einsatzgruppen or Special duty groups. In 1936, Reinhard Heydrich became head of the Gestapo and Heinrich Müller, its chief of operations. Müller took over after Heydrich's assassination in 1942. He disappeared near the end of the war and was never caught.


Was presented to the League of nations by Emil Margolis and the Comité des Délégations Juives (Committee of Jewish Delegations) on behalf of Frans Bernheim who was dismissed from his job in Upper Silesia because of his religion. This was a violation of the German -Polish convention May 15, 1922, which guaranteed that all minorities in Upper Silesia would have their civil and political rights. The League agreed and the Nuremberg laws were therefore not activated there until German-Polish agreement on Upper Silesia expired on June 15 1937.

1933 June 22, HAYIM ARLOSOROFF (Eretz Israel)

A Zionist leader within the Zionist labor party, he was murdered on a beach outside Tel Aviv. The Labor leaders tried to pin the blame on Abba Ahimeir of the Revisionist Party and specifically on Abraham Stavsky and Zvi Rosenblatt. At the trial they were all acquitted but the government refused to reveal the details of what really happened. Ironically, Stavsky was killed aboard the Altalena, an Irgun ship fired upon by the Haganah while trying to bring arms into the country during the Arab-Israel cease-fire of June 1948.


Issued a concordat known as the Hitler Concordat. It was described by Hitler as "unrestricted acceptance of National Socialism by the Vatican". Cardinal Pacelli later became Pope Pius XII.

1933 August 25, TRANSFER (Haavara) AGREEMENT

Negotiated between the German Zionist Federation, the Jewish Agency and the German Finance Ministry. The agreement encouraged the emigration of German Jews. Although forced to leave their assets in Germany, they received partial payment through the Jewish agency which in turn imported and sold German goods for the same amount of capital although it was forced to accept a far lower rate of exchange. Levi Eshkol (later prime minister) was sent to Berlin to run the company. The agreement was strongly criticized by Jabotinsky and those Jews trying to organize a boycott of German goods. In all, $40,419,000 was transferred to Germany by 1939, while almost 60,000 German Jews were able to leave to Eretz Israel.

1933 July 25, JACOB ROSENHEIM (Germany)

President of Agudat Israel in Germany pleaded with Lord Melchett of Britain and British Chief Rabbi Hertz not to boycott German goods, calling it "a near crime against humanity". Agudat Israel was afraid that such actions would become provocations and goad Hitler to pursue a harsher policy against the Jews.

1934 May 17, MADISION SQUARE GARDEN (New York City, USA)

Thousands attended a pro-Nazi rally sponsored by the German-American Bund and its leader Fritz Kuhn. The Bund, active from 1934-1941, claimed to be "100% American." Their proclaimed goal was to be for the "constitution, flag and a white gentile ruled, truly free America."

1934 July 4, THEODOR EICKE (Germany)

The first commandant of Dachau was appointed the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps. Himmler bestowed this reward to express his thanks to Eicke for personally murdering SA chief of staff Ernst Roehm during the Night of the Long Knives. His Death's Head Units (Totenkopfverbande), a special unit from the SS, became the guards for the camps. Eicke held the position until the war when he moved to the field. He was killed in Russia.

1934 August, VON HINDENBERG (Germany)

Died, leaving Hitler as Germany's sole leader.

1934 October, BERNE TRIAL (Switzerland)

Was held after a demonstration in June of the National Front (a Swiss anti-Semitic organization) during which copies of the "Protocols" were distributed. The Jewish community brought a suit against the leaders for publishing and distributing indecent writings. Though later a court of appeals repealed the sentences, the trial succeeded in proving the "Protocols" a forgery.

1934 August 25, "ILLEGAL" IMMIGRATION - HA'APALAH (ALIYAH BET) (1934-1948)

The arrival of the Vellos (chartered by the HeHalutz movement) and its 350 refugees signaled the beginning of organized efforts to save European Jewry. Although illegal immigration had been taking place since 1920, only now were major efforts begun. The Revisionist Zionist movement and Betar succeeded in the next two years to send out several ships, which saved thousands of lives. By 1938 illegal immigration had become an official part of the Zionist effort. An estimated 50,000 people managed to arrive illegally between 1920 and 1937. The Jewish Agency at the time was working with the British and hoped that the Peel Report (November 1936) would be favorable to the establishment of a state and as such was against "illegal immigration".


Called on Congress for the boycott of the 1936 Olympics in Germany. Two weeks later, Avery Brundage, President of the American Olympic Committee, announced that the United States would participate in the games.

1935 January 11, HAKIBBUTZ HADATI (Eretz Israel)

The religious kibbutz movement was founded. This kibbutz movement was affiliated with the HaPoel HaMizrachi movement and the religious Zionist Labor Organization. Its idea was to combine religious life and labor in communal agricultural settlements, the first being Tirat Tzvi.


Was founded in Vienna by Ze'ev Jabotinsky. For many years there was tension between the World Zionist Organization and the Revisionist Party. Some of it was the result of tactical differences, including the expansion of the Jewish Agency to include non-Zionists. In addition, there was still strong resentment and political tensions in the aftermath of the Arlosoroff murder, which had initially been blamed on the Revisionists. The actual break came with a resolution to prohibit any independent political activity of Zionist organizations. Eleven years later they rejoined the World Zionist Organizaton.

1935 September 15, NUREMBERG LAWS (Germany)

"The law for the protection of German Blood and Honor" was instituted. As part of these laws, it became a capital offense to marry or have intimate relations with a Jew. The law was more specific than the 1933 laws regarding mixed or Mischlinge Jews, which defined as a Jew as anyone with one Jewish grandparent. The racial law was based on that Nazi belief that the basic freedoms of individuals were superseded by "racial or national characteristics" which were supposed to make some people inferior to others. As part of the "Reich Law", Jews were no longer citizens (with rights) but rather subjects of the Reich. These were among the 2,000 laws enacted against Jews which included the revoking of German citizenship, the prohibition against serving in the public sector, owning or editing newspapers, or immigrating to Germany.


All but one member of the HeHalutz Central Committee were arrested.


Baseball player - Koufax was the youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He won three Cy Young Awards and pitched four no-hitters. Like Hank Greenberg, Koufax was proud of his Jewish heritage and refused to play on Yom Kippur.

1936 February 4, DAVID FRANKFURTER

A Jewish Yugoslav medical student, he killed the Swiss Nazi, Gauleiter Wilhelm Gustoff. Though the German government demanded the death penalty, he was sentenced to eighteen years instead. Some historians believe that his action served as a model for Herschel Grynszpan, whose assassination of ambassador Ernst vom Rath was used by the Nazi party as an excuse for an all-out attack on Jewish property and synagogues (Kristallnacht).

1936 February 29, CARDINAL AUGUST HLOND (Poland)

Newly appointed Primate of Poland. He declared in a pastoral letter that since Jews are usurers, slave traders and frauds, Poles should boycott their businesses.

1936 April 21, BEGINNING OF THE 36-39 RIOTS (ME'ORAOT) (Eretz Israel)

Arab headquarters called for a general strike and a rebellion against the Mandate in an effort to prevent Jewish immigration. Initially 80 Jews were murdered and 308 wounded. By the fall of '39, over a hundred Jews had been killed in Arab attacks. The official Zionist policy at the time was havlagah (self-restraint).

1936 April 25, ARAB HIGHER COMMITTEE (Eretz Israel)

Was established under the guidance of the Jerusalem Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Husseini was already notorious for his pivotal role in encouraging the anti-Jewish riots of 1920 and 1929. Despite this, the British had tried to placate him and had appointed him the Mufti of Jerusalem (1921). In 1937 he was finally dismissed by the British, and the Arab Higher Committee was outlawed. Supported by the Axis powers, the Arab Higher Committee encouraged "Nationalistic" raids on Jewish settlements. The leader of these raids was Fawzi Kaukji, a former Iraqi officer who was responsible for the murder of King Abdullah of Jordan (1951).

1936 June 4, LEON BLUM (1872-1950) (France)

Became the first Jew to be elected premier of France. Blum, a socialist, instituted the 40 hour work week and many important social reforms. His government, lasting only one year, fell over lack of parliamentary support for his financial program.


Was convened in Geneva with 280 delegates from 32 countries. The World Jewish Congress' goal was to "assure the survival, and to foster the unity of the Jewish people". It was founded by Stephen Wise and Nahum Goldmann. Although they organized a boycott of German goods, they felt that a more direct approach would prompt the Nazis "to even harsher policies".

1936 October 25, BERLIN-ROME AXIS

Was formed between Hitler and Benito Mussolini. This treaty helped pave the way for the beginning of World War II.

1936 December 5, IRGUN ZVAI LEUMI (Etzel)(Eretz –Israel)

Signed an agreement with Vladimir Jabotinsky. The Irgun, which was known at that time as Haganah Bet, was under the command of Abraham Tehomi who had split with the Haganah five years earlier. The agreement was that Tehomi would be the commander under Jabotinsky's political guidance. Tehomi rejoined the Haganah a year later and took 30% of his forces with him. The Irgun believed that armed force was a prerequisite for the creation of a Jewish state, that Arabs who attacked Jews should expect retaliation and that no one had a right to prevent Jews from immigrating. The relationship between the Irgun and the Haganah was usually stormy, though they did have periods of cooperation.

1936 December 10, TOWER AND STOCKADE SETTLEMENTS (Homa U'Migdal (Eretz Israel)

The first of the Tower and Stockade Settlements, Tel Amel, (modern day Kibbutz Nir David) was erected. These settlements were a Jewish response to the Arab attacks from 1936 to 1939. Built of prefabricated wood, on remote parcels of land purchased by the Jewish National Fund, they were set up overnight with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Eventually 118 of this type of settlement were erected throughout the Galilee, Beit Shean Valley and the Jordan Valley.

1936 December 26, ARTURO TOSCANINI (Tel Aviv, Eretz Israel)

Conducted the first concert of the Palestine Orchestra, which later became known as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.


A. C. Cuza, Octavian Goga, and Corneliu Codreanu (head of the Facist Iron Guard), joined in an anti-Semitic demonstration with 280,000 people and the blessings of the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Patriarch Miron Cristea.

1936 GREGORY ZINOVIEV (1883-1936) (Russia)

A Russian communist leader who was accused in a show trial of plotting to overthrow Stain. Along with many other leaders he was executed. Zinoviev was one of Lenin's closest associates, co-authoring Lenin's Against the Tide. Though a member of the Party's central government, he was opposed to a one party rule which brought him into conflict with other leaders. After Lenin's death he formed the triumvirate together with Stalin and Kamenev which forced Trotsky into exile. Zinoviev was Jewish and born by the name of Hersh Zvi Radomyslski.


Was published. The Peel Commission recommended the partition of Mandatory Palestine into two states. The Zionist Congress (see August 3), while rejecting the actual borders, agreed to consider the proposal. The Arabs rejected it out of hand.

1937 August 3 - 16, 20th ZIONIST CONGRESS

Under Weizmann and Ben Gurion, the Zionist Congress decided to accept the partition plan in light of the Peel Report. Berl Katznelson, Menachem Ussishkin from Mapai (Labor) as well as the Revisionists and the Orthodox fiercely argued against it.

1937 February 21, OZON (Poland)

The anti-Semitic Camp of National Unity (Oboz Zjednoczenia Narodowego)) was created by Colonel Adam Koc, and Minister of Defense Smigly-Rydz. Trying to stave of pressure from the extreme right they adopted 13 points (called the 13 theses) similar to the Nuremberg laws, depriving Jews of civil rights and advocating their expulsion from all of Poland. They organized boycotts and although officially condemning anti- Jewish violence, they turned a blind eye to it, under the guise of national defense.


Founded and headed the Rassemblement anti-Juif de France. His program included promoting the "Protocols" and his own magazine, La France Enchaines, as well as calling for the expulsion or extermination of the Jews. During the war he became Commissioner General for Jewish affairs and helped deport nine thousand foreign Jews to German camps.


Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform) reaffirmed the basic reform philosophies, but was less anti-traditional and anti-nationalistic regarding Israel.


King Carol II, though previously a supporter of the National Peasants Party (led by Julius Maniu) which fought against anti-Semitism, appointed Octavian Goga to form a government. Goga was a former leader in the fascist Iron Guard. His government lasted only seven weeks.

1938 January 12, POSEIDON (Eretz Israel)

An illegal ship charted by HeHalutz arrived in Eretz Israel signaling a renewed attempt to bring in refugees. Later that year the Haganah officially joined the effort, establishing the Mosad le-Aliyah Bet ("Organization for 'Illegal' Immigration") which was run by Shaul Avigur (Meirov).

1938 March 25, POLAND

After several attempts, the Seym (parliament) outlawed ritual slaughter of meat. The bill was never enforced since the Seym dissolved in September during the Czech crisis.

1938 June 1, MASS ARRESTS (Germany)

Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Gestapo, also known as the Secret Police, ordered the arrest of thousands of German Jews. Most were sent to Buchenwald which soon had to be enlarged. Others were sent to Dachau and Sachsenhausen. In Dachau the prisoners were told to make lots of yellow stars in preparation for a new influx of prisoners.

1938 June 29, SHLOMO BEN YOSEF (Shalom Tabachnik) (Eretz Israel)

Was hung for alleged terrorist activities. Ben Yosef a member of Betar, along with Abraham Shein, and Sholom Djuravinand attacked an Arab bus in retaliation for the murder of 6 Jews. Although no one was killed in the attack, he was tried, convicted and despite world wide protests, hung by the British. His last words were reportedly "Restraint (Havlaga) is fatal".


A Roman Catholic priest in Detroit, Coughlin began his weekly anti-Semitic broadcasts over national radio. He also formed the American Christian Front in New York City which carried out anti-Semitic street meetings and boycotted Jewish businesses.


Eichmann (1906-1962) was so successful in forcing Jews to emigrate and confiscating their property that the Center later served as a model in Prague and in Berlin. Eichmann had joined the SS in 1933 and served in Dachau. His promotions were partly due to friendship with Ernest Kaltenbrunner who later commanded the Reich Security Head Office (R.S.H.A.) and partly due to his total association with Nazi ideals. Eichmann was compulsive about details and in preparation even learned some Yiddish and Hebrew. He eventually came to head Gestapo's Section IVB4. Eichmann's fanaticism in carrying out the "Final Solution" even came at the expense of the German war efforts. Eichmann was captured by Israeli agents in Argentina in May 1960 and put on trial in Jerusalem. A year later he was hung, his body cremated and his ashes strewn into the sea.

1938 August 8, MAUTHAUSEN (Austria)

Was established. It was the first Austrian concentration camp and one of the most notorious of all the camps. Run by the SS, it was originally for Austrian anti-Nazis taken under the "protective custody law" of 1936, but it soon contained Spanish Republicans, "enemies of the state" and Jews. Situated near a quarry, its victims were forced to carry heavy loads up over 150 steps. Most of the prisoners (Jews and non-Jews) were classified as "return not desired." A gas chamber was later installed and satellite camps were opened. Franz Ziereis served as its commandant from the beginning until he was captured and shot in May 1945. 122,767 out of an estimated 335,000 prisoners were murdered.

1938 September 30, MUNICH AGREEMENT

Hitler convinced Chamberlain and Daladier, heads of the governments of England and France, that he wanted to protect German rights in Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland by annexing it, and that he had no further demands or plans for expansion. Chamberlain gave in, claiming that by doing so he had achieved "peace in our time". Within 2 days German troops began to occupy the Sudetenland.

1938 November 17, ITALY

The Supreme Council of the Fascist Party passed extensive anti-Jewish legislation. In addition, all Jewish officers were removed from the army including General Pugliese who was head of Naval construction. One officer, Colonel Segre, committed suicide in front of his men.

1938 December, RUSSIA

By this time Yiddish was spoken by less than one quarter of the Russian Jews.

1938 November 17, ANTI JEWISH LEGISLATION (Italy)

The Supreme Council of the Fascist Party passed extensive anti- Jewish legislation known as the "November Laws". Jewish property was confiscated and banning Jews from all positions in the civil service. All Jews who became citizens after January 1, 1919 were deprived of their citizenship and were commanded to leave Italy no later then March 1939. In addition all Jewish officers were removed from the army including General Pugliese who was head of Naval construction. One officer, Colonel Segre committed suicide in front of his men.

1938 May 22, FIFTY CHILDREN ( Vienna)

Left Austria after receiving visa permits for the United States. This was conceived of and orchestrated by Gilbert and Eleanor Krauss, wealthy and well connected Philadelphian Jews who traveled to Austria and Germany in order to facilitate their escape. This was the largest private initiative to help Jewish children receive sanctuary in the USA.


Sent a telegram to Samuel Hoare, the British Home Secretary, and to the Archbishop of Canterbury, pleading that they intervene in saving sixty rabbis who had been designated as stateless by Austria and were stranded on the Slovakian border. The Archbishop of Canterbury recommended action, but this was rejected by the Foreign Office, as the subject was not included in the Munich agreements. Sent a telegram to Samuel Hoare, the British Home Secretary, and to the Archbishop of Canterbury, pleading that they intervene in saving sixty rabbis who had been designated as stateless by Austria and were stranded on the Slovakian border. The Archbishop of Canterbury recommended action, but this was rejected by the Foreign Office, as the subject was not included in the Munich agreements.


Hitler divided Poland into various districts (gauen). He incorporated into Germany two districts: Danzig (Gdansk) and what became known as the Wartheland which included the provinces that had been lost in the First World War plus the Lodz district. All Jews were ordered to leave the Wartheland except for those in the Lodz ghetto where Reich Jews would also be interned. Before the war, Lodz had 233,000 Jews - one-third of the population. The district had 390,000 Jews. The ghetto was totally liquidated by the end of August 1944.


Was nominated by Roosevelt to the Supreme Court. Though a liberal once on the court, he took a more conservative view. Frankfurter served until 1962 when he suffered a stroke.

1939 March 15, GERMANY

Violated the Munich Agreement and marched into Prague.

1939 April 28, MAXIM LITVINOV (Russia)

The Russian foreign minister was dismissed. Litvinov had been a supporter of the League of Nations, He was a vocal opponent of Germany and, of course, a Jew. His dismissal paved the way for the pact between Germany and Russia and the invasion of Poland.

1939 May 5, HUNGARY

Two-thirds of Hungary's Jews who became citizens after 1914 were denaturalized. The bill was first presented by ex-Prime Minister Bella Imredy. Jews had to leave all government related positions before the end of the year.

1939 May 15, RAVENSBRUCK (Germany)

A women's concentration camp was opened near Mecklenburg. The camp originally took in political prisoners and Gypsies and eventually resistance fighters and Jews. Many of the prisoners were used for "medical" experiments. The camp was active until April 1944 when the Red Cross negotiated the release of the survivors. Of the 132,000 women who were sent to Ravensbruck 92,000 died.

1939 May 17, WHITE PAPER (England)

Pressured by Arab Nationalists and landowners and concerned with preserving the British Empire, England decided to favor the Arabs. They issued a declaration limiting Jewish immigration to fifteen thousand per year for the next five years, thus ensuring a permanent Jewish minority. This sealed off the final escape route for European Jewry, resulting in illegal immigration and terrorist action against the British. The document was also known as the MacDonald White Paper, named for the Colonial Secretary. There were 6 white papers regarding the British Mandate issued between 1922 and 1939. Each of these policy position papers took its name from the person responsible for its issue.


The status of the Jews was classified by Konstantin von Neurath, the Reich Protector, in agreement with German legislation. This was always the first step with any German takeover. After Jews were "appropriately" defined it was only a small step to confiscation of property and deportation. Out of the 90,000 Jews in the protectorate only 10,000 would survive.

1939 May 14, GERMAN LINER ST. LOUIS (Germany-Cuba-USA)

Set sail from Hamburg with 930 Jewish refugees with American quota permits and special permission to stay temporarily in Cuba. Cuban President Frederico Bru declared all but 30 of the permits worthless due to new regulations. Despite exhaustive efforts by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the depositing of half a million dollars in a Havana account, President Bru refused to budge. The U.S. also refused to take in any refugees and sent Coast Guard boats to prevent passengers from jumping overboard. After all efforts failed, The St. Louis was forced to return to Europe. The German Press gloated: "We say we don't want Jews while the democracies claim they are willing to receive them." A Gallup poll reported that 83 percent of Americans opposed the admission of a larger number of Jewish refugees.


Was opened by Adolph Eichmann. As in other offices of this kind, Jews were forced to register for emigration,and had to turn over their property as part of a "Jewish emigration tax." For the next 15 months until emigration was banned 26,629 Jews succeeded in fleeing.


Joachim Von Ribbentrop, the German Foreign minister and Vyacheslav Molotov, Stalin's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, signed a non aggression agreement for the division of Eastern Europe. Poland was to be divided. Lithuania was to be under German Rule while Estonia Latvia and Finland were be under Russian rule. This paved the way for Hitler’s invasion.


Major Henry Iwanski, a Polish officer, met with Lieut. David Appelbaum, Henryk Lifszyc, Kalman Mendelson and Yehuda Bialoskara, all former Jewish officers of the defeated Polish army and members of the Betar-affiliated Brit Hachayal. They decided to create an underground organization which was first called Swit. It soon developed into the ZZW (Zydowski Zwiazek Wojskowy) led by Appelbaum to fight the Germans and received their first weapons. The ZZW was mostly comprised of Zionist revisionists and Betarim - followers of Ze'ev Jabotinsky. The ZZW played a vital role in the Warsaw ghetto uprising as well as in the forests as partisans.

1939 September 21, REINHARD HEYDRICH (Germany)

Invited 15 people (including Eichmann) to a conference to determine policy regarding the Jews and the Einsatzgruppen (special action groups). Their resolution (although it didn't go into details) made use of the words "First steps in the Final Solution". Heydrich ordered the segregation of all Jews into ghettos and the formation of local Jewish councils (Judenrats). The Judenrat was in Heydrich's words" made fully responsible for the exact and punctual implementation of all instructions released or yet to be released." These councils or Judenrats were designed to force the Jews to be part of the system of their own destruction by letting them think that they could save some Jews by agreeing to forget about some of the rest. Some people considered the Judenrat as collaborators and others viewed them as continuing pre-war communal work. There were 128 Judenrats in Nazi occupied Poland (or what was known as the General Government). Some heads of the Judenrats cooperated with the Nazis hoping to save the remainder. Others (about 40 of them) preferred to commit suicide rather than turn over Jews for deportation.

1939 December 21, DEPARTMENT IV OF THE RSHA (Germany)

Was established by Reinhard Heydrich as the center for handling the evacuation of Jews from the Eastern territories. Himmler and Heydrich named Adolf Eichmann to head this department.

1939 December 30, THE URANUS

Three river boats with 1,210 Jewish refugees aboard from Vienna and Prague, were stopped on the Danube near Iron Gates gorge and the town of Kladovo on the Romanian-Yugoslavian border. The British government had protested to the Yugoslavian government at the intention of the refugees to get to Eretz-Israel. Two hundred children received travel permits, the rest were turned back.

1939 January 5, KARAITES (Germany)

Were declared not Jewish by the Reich’s Department for Genealogical Research. Although it is estimated that some12,000 Karaites were saved bu this ruling, many more were murdered by Nazi Einsatzgruppe including at Baby Yar ( see September 29 1941).

1939 November 11, CIRCULAR 14

Was issued by the Portuguese government, mainly due to economic considerations. In essence it ordered its consulate's not to grant transit visas to; "Stateless, Russian Citizens, Holders of a Nansen passport ( refugee travel documents) , or Jews", without prior explicit permission from Foreign Ministry head office in Lisbon. Other neutral governments passed similar regulations.


Located near Lodz, became the first ghetto established by the Nazis in Poland. It was set up upon the order of Reinhard Heydrich, only 38 days after the invasion. The area which used to house 6000 people now held 28,000 Jews. By 1944 only 1,000 Jews remained. As the Soviet front drew near in December 1944, those who had survived were set to Buchenwald and Ravensbruck.

1940 August 3, VARIAN FRY (1907-1967) (USA)

Entered France to run the Emergency Rescue Committee. Fry, an American journalist, found that both the French and the American consulates sabotaged his efforts at every turn. Despite this and daily danger he succeeded during his thirteen months of work to help rescue almost 2000 artists and writers including Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Franz Werfel, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Heinrich Mann. Fry was placed under an FBI investigation and was never permitted to work for the U.S. government. The only recognition he received in his lifetime was the Croix de Chevalier from France in 1967.

1940 August 30, "VIENNA AWARDS"

Under pressure by Germany and Italy, Romania was forced to cede Northern Transylvania to Hungary, which put 150,000 more Jews under Hungarian control. Parts of Slovakia had been added to Hungary earlier and parts of Yugoslavia (Bacska) were later added as well, adding approximately 318,000 Jews to the 450,000 already living in Hungary. One of Hungary's motivations in signing a pact with the Germans was to gain back all its territory lost in World War I.

1940 July, ARMEE JUIVE; AJ (Jewish Army) (France)

A Jewish underground resistance movement was formed by David Knout and Abraham Polonski. Originally called the Movement des Jeunesses Sionistes (M.J.S.), it eventually metamorphasized into the Organization Juive de Combat (O.J.C.) and carried out almost 2000 actions against the enemy. Many Jews fought in other units as well, often in leading positions. Among them were: Jean-Pierre Levy the founder of the Franc Tireurs, Jacques Bingen, Ze'ev Gustman and Joseph Epstein (Colonel Gilles). Jews constituted almost 15% of the underground although they were less then 1% of the population.

1940 September, DANUBE (Yugoslavia)

1,300 Jewish refugees on the way to Eretz Israel were stranded when they could not find a vessel to continue their journey. Two hundred refugees (mostly children) received immigration certificates and were able to continue on to Eretz Israel. The remaining men were taken to the village of Zasavica in October 1941 and shot. The women and children that were left were taken from the Sajmiste camp in February and gassed in closed trucks. There were no survivors.

1940 January 24, THE NEW YORK TIMES

In an editorial justified its aversion to reporting stories about atrocities in Poland because: "All we have heard until now have been unofficial accounts of such horrors that we chose to disbelieve them as exaggerated."

1940 January 26, BEN SHEMEN YOUTH VILLAGE (Eretz Israel)

Was raided by British police. Weapons were found that were stored there by the Haganah. The principal, Dr. Seigfried Lehman (former headmaster of an orphanage in Kovno), and others were arrested and sentenced to terms from 3-7 years.


A month later, the Italian air forces began bombing Haifa and Tel Aviv. Almost 200 people were killed with hundreds wounded.

1940 June 15, LA MER ET L'ENFANT (Paris, France)

Became the first social welfare organization in occupied France. Under the guidance of David Rapoport, "Mother and Child" helped thousands of Jews. Rapoport and his wife were arrested by the Nazis in June 1943 and deported to Auschwitz where they perished. The La Mere et l'Enfant was originally founded at a day camp known as the Colonie Scolaire which was located at 26 Rue Amelot. There were also known by some as the Rebels of the Rue Amelot.

1940 June 22, FRENCH ARMISTICE (Compiégne, France)

Was signed. France was divided into two sections; an occupied zone under direct German rule and an unoccupied "free" zone in Vichy. It was estimated that of the 350,000 French Jews, less than half were native born. Approximately 90,000 were murdered.


Six months after he entered his position as head of the Visa Division, he sent a memo to State Department officials with practical ideas for hampering the granting of U.S. visas. Long was a close friend of Roosevelt, and under orders to block any special efforts to help Jews, he succeeded in cutting those granted visas by half. Long (and many others) believed that any special help for the Jews would detract from the war effort. His policy was to "delay and effectively stop immigration." Long was helped by reports from Laurence Steinhardt, U.S. attorney and diplomat, who considered Jewish refugees undesirable. Ironically this same Steinhardt, later ambassador to Turkey, was effective in trying to save the remnant of Hungarian Jews through the War Refugee Board.

1940 July 2, VICHY GOVERNMENT (France)

Was formed. Marshal Pétain headed the government with Pierre Laval as the vice-premier. Laval believed in total collaboration with the Nazi regime.

1940 July 17, THE IRGUN AND LEHI (LECHI) SPLIT (Eretz Israel)

Over disagreements between Abraham (Yair) Stern, and David Raziel . Stern, head of the Irgun's information department, wanted to have a policy independent of Ze'ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky and the Revisionist party, and was against any cooperation with the British whom he considered more of an enemy then the Arabs. Stern then formed his own organization which he originally called Irgun Zvai Le'umi Be'yisrael - National Military Organization in Israel. (Raziel's organization was called Irgun Zvai Le'umi Be'eretz Yisrael - National Military Organization in Eretz Israel). After Stern was summarily shot by the British, the name was changed to Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Israel Freedom Fighters) or Lehi.

1940 July 31, - August 28, CHIUNE (SEMPO) AND YUKIKO SUGIHARA (Kaunas/Kovno, Lithuania)

The Japanese Consul-General began issuing travel visas to Japan through Russia so that Jews could get to Curacao and Dutch Guiana where one would not need entrance visas. Despite the Japanese official policy to deny any such visa to Jews, Chiune and his wife Yukiko, sat for many hours writing and signing visas by hand. They issued 300 visas a day which would normally take one month's worth of work for the consul. After the Soviet Union annexed Lithuania he was forced to move on to Germany. It is estimated that he saved well over 3,000 lives. Both were later honored by the Israeli government at Yad Vashem as righteous gentiles.rnrn

1940 July 3, MADAGASCAR PLAN (Berlin, Germany)

Adolph Eichmann prepared a detailed plan for the transfer of four million Jews to Madagascar to be paid for by Jewish confiscated property. The idea was to rid Europe of its Jews and at the same time use them as "hostages" to insure the "correct behavior" of world Jewry. The plan itself dates back to the German anti-Semitic nationalist Paul de Lagarde in 1885. The Germans needed French acquiescence which was predicated on a peace treaty which in turn depended on the end of hostilities with England. On February 1, 1942 the plan was discarded and replaced with the Endloesung, or the "Final Solution". The plan had previously been considered by the Polish government and its foreign minister Josef Beck (see 1937).

1941 September 28, ROUNDUP OF JEWS IN KIEV (Ukraine)

Two thousand notices were posted around Kiev ordering all Jews to appear the next day with documents, warm clothes and valuables. These roundups were known as Aktions and referred to all forced gathering of Jews for the purpose of deportation or extermination. In this case, although rumors were rife that the Jews were being rounded up to be sent to a labor camp, the result of this aktion was the Babi Yar massacres in which, according to German records, 33,771 Jews were slaughtered in a ravine outside of Kiev by SS Colonel Paul Blobel. The massacre is immortalized in Yevgei Yevtushenko's poem "Babi Yar." The monument placed on the site does not mention Jews. After WWII a dance hall was erected on the site of the massacre despite international protests. Flooding caused by severe storms washed away the dance hall before it could be opened, and caused many skeletons of the massacre's victims to be unearthed.rn

1941 May 17, DAVID RAZIEL (1910-1941) (Iraq)

In cooperation with British Army intelligence, David Raziel, the commander of the I.Z.L. (Irgun Zvai Leumi) lead a group to sabotage the oil depots on the outskirts of Baghdad. Raziel had been captured by the British in 1939 but was released at the outbreak of the war. The next day, while on an intelligence gathering mission, Raziel's car was bombed and both he and the liaison British officer were killed. Yaakov Meridor, who accompanied him on the mission, was appointed commander in his stead.

1941 May 19, PALMACH (Eretz Israel)

The Palmach ("pelugot mahaz" - "assault companies") commando units were established by Yitzhak Sadeh as a defense from any Axis attack on Eretz Israel. Later they assisted in planning and executing the dropping of parachutists into occupied Europe. At its peak (November 1947) it had approximately 5000 members who were mainly responsible for capturing Safed and Tiberias as well as opening the road to Jerusalem. It was disbanded under Ben Gurion's order on November 7, 1948.

1941 January 23, LAW FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE NATION (Bulgaria)

1941 January 23, LAW FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE NATION (Bulgaria) rnWas passed by Parliament (Sobranie) and then signed into law by King Boris. Unlike Germany, the definition of a Jew did not include native Bulgarian Jews who converted, which led to many fictitious conversions. Bulgaria's Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, and Minister of Interior Petar Gabrovski were eager to please the Germans, especially when it came to anti-Jewish measures. They were met with opposition by many in the Church, politicians, and many common people ,as it pertained to Bulgaria proper. This did not apply to Jews in Macedonia and Thrace where many German measures had full effect, including confiscation of property, ban on travel and eventual deportation. Of the 64,000 Jews in Bulgaria, 14,000 were murdered. Almost all were from Macedonia and Thrace (see March 1943) which had been added to Bulgaria by Hitler in March 1941.rnrn


Decided to build a synthetic rubber plant in Auschwitz. The decision had been between locations in Norway or Auschwitz. They chose the latter due to better tax incentives. Tens of thousands of prisoners died working in the plant. Manpower turnover was 300%. Other major corporations like Siemens and Krupp also used Jewish slave labor to increase profits. The director of the plant, Dr. Walter Durrfeld was reelected to their Board of Governors in 1955 although he was sentenced at Nuremberg to eight years in prison. Otto Ambrose, another director who also ran the poison gas operations, was hired for a major position by J. Peter Grace, a major industrialist and leader of the U.S. Council of the International Chamber of Commerce.

1941 February 22, AMSTERDAM (Netherlands)

First initial deportation, in which 389 Jewish hostages were sent to Buchenwald and then the quarrying camp at Mauthausen. This was ostensibly for resistance to the anti-Jewish riots organized by the Nazis. They were later joined by another 230 Amsterdam Jews. By 1942 only eight were alive and by the end of the war only one Jew, Max Nebig, who had managed to survive by volunteering for medical experiments. The actual deportations began in July of 1942 and almost all of them to Auschwitz and Sobibor.


The Commissariat of Jewish Affairs was established. Headed by Xavier Vallat, it became the main authority behind anti-Jewish measures. Surprisingly, when the Germans decided to force the Jews to wear the yellow star in the Vichy zone in June of 1942, he refused to agree to this measure believing it was against French interest and was replaced.

1941 April 10, CROATIA

Declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Ante Pavelic, head of the Ustache party, initiated anti-Jewish measures within a few weeks, and held wealthy Jews for ransom. His troops, together with a Bosnian Muslim division, took part in the destruction of synagogues and cemeteries. The Muslim division was personally blessed by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the former mufti of Jerusalem. Within a month he established his country's first concentration camp at Danica.

1941 April 10, AARON KOTLER (1891-1962) (USA)

The former head of the Yeshiva in Kletsk, Poland, arrived in San Francisco. Kotler played an important role in the Vaad Hatzala and in the Orthodox community in general. His talmudic institution, Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, New Jersey became known as one of the foremost institutions of its kind.

1941 April 13, BELGRADE (Serbia, Yugoslavia)

The day after the arrival of German troops, the Volksdeutsche (local Germans) joined the Germans and destroyed much of the Jewish property in the city.

1941 April 17, SARAJEVO (Bosnia,Yugoslavia)

The Germans destroyed the Sephardic synagogue, considered one of the most beautiful synagogues in the Balkans.


To Germany and was divided between Italy, Germany, Hungary, and Bulgaria with the remainder becoming the new state of Croatia. The status of the Jews depended upon who controlled their area. There were 71,000 Jews in Yugoslavia before the war. About 10,000 survived, many of them from the Italian or Bulgarian zones which were usually less then enthusiastic about implementing German racial laws.


Met with Ben Hecht the novelist and playwright, and convinced him to join in their efforts in Jewish nationalist affairs. Kook, who went under the name of Peter Bergson (so as not to involve his rabbinical relatives in Israel) was also active in the Irgun Zvai Leumi. His group, the American Friends for a Jewish Palestine was better known as the "Bergson Group", encountered vehement opposition to almost everything they did from both the Jewish establishment (Stephen Wise) and the Zionist movement. Wise, a staunch follower of the President would not tolerate anyone who differed with Roosevelt's actions or lack thereof. The Zionist movement had a tradition of opposing the Revisionist movement and the Irgun. In addition, it was vociferously against any organization which didn't work under its aegis. The organization later evolved into the Committee for a Jewish Army and gained a lot of grass-root support from both Jewish and non-Jewish sources.


And evicted the pro-Vichy regime . Members of the Palmach took part in the attack. They included Moshe Dayan, Yigal Alon and Yitzchak Rabin.


Twelve people were killed in a Tel Aviv old age home.

1941 June 22, OPERATION BARBARROSA (Russia)

Germany attacked Russia. Within a few weeks millions of Jews fell under Nazi rule. The official Soviet radios only reference to the German's successful incursion was to warn Jews to leave certain areas. Approximately 500,000 Jews fought under the Soviet flag and almost half of them were killed during the war. Many Jews served with valor and won 160,000 medals, including 145 "Heroes of the Soviet Union", the Soviet Union's highest award.


Set sail on the British boat HMS Sea Lion on their way to a mission in pro-Nazi Lebanon. They were never heard from again.

1941 June, JOSIP BROZ TITO (1892-1980) (Yugoslavia)

Revolutionary and statesman, he began his revolt against the Germans once they attacked Russia. About 2000 Jews fought together with Marshall Tito including one of his senior lieutenants, Mosa Pijade. The head of his Russian Battalion was a Jew, Pyotr Oransky.

1941 August 7, MARSHAL PETAIN (France)

Asked the Vatican for guidance regarding upcoming anti-Jewish actions. French Ambassador Leon Bernard consulted with Pope Pius XII, who quoted Thomas Aquinas: since Jews are destined to perpetual slavery, anti-Jewish measures may be enacted. The Vatican also had no desire to argue with the Vichy government over "the Jewish statute."

1941 August 21, LEON TROTSKY (Lev Davidovich Bronstein) (Mexico)

Was murdered on Stalin's order. In his last years he had tried to set up an independent movement known as the Fourth International as opposed to the Third (Communist) International, but did not succeed. Trotskyism became tantamount to treason throughout the Soviet Union.


After the attack on Pearl Harbor. Before the war ended over half a million Jewish soldiers joined the American Army. Over 10,000 were killed, 24,000 wounded, and 36,000 received decorations for bravery.


Formed their own groups calling it "The Committee for Jewish Defense." Aside from anti-German actions, they campaigned against voluntarily appearing for deportation to "work camps" which were published by the Judenrat, and saved Jews by hiding 3000 children and 10,000 adults.

1941 October, VAAD EZRA V'HATZALAH (Hungary)

The Relief and Rescue Committee was established by Joel Brand, Samuel Springmann, and Rudolf Kasztner. Later, in January 1943, the organization took on a more official role and Otto Komoly became its chairman.. Their goal was to find ways to save Jews (usually though bribes). Under Komoly they also began to organize non-Jewish protests, against Nazi policies in Hungary, especially among the clergy and politicians. Komoly was murdered in 1945 by members of the Hungarian fascist movement, the Arrow Cross.

1941 November 10, WARSAW (Poland)

A new regulation called for the death penalty for any Jew leaving the ghetto without permission and for any non-Jew who helped or harbored them.

1941 October, ONA SIMAITE (1899-1970) (Lithuania)

A librarian at Vilna University, entered the ghetto, ostensibly to recover library books. During the next three years she managed to smuggle in food and other necessities, and take out important documents. She was arrested in 1944 and was sent to Dachau after being tortured. She survived the war.

1941 October 23, BERNHARD LICHTENBERG (1875 -1943) (Germany)

A Catholic priest was arrested by the Gestapo. Up until his arrest, Lichtenberg continued to publicly pray from his pulpit in the St Hedwig Cathedral for the both Jews and Jewish Christians, as well as other victims of the Nazi regime . He was imprisoned in May 1942 and offered a deal to be freed in return for his ceasing of all preaching in favor of the Jews – he refused . While being deported to Dachauconcentration camp be became ill and died on November 5, 1943. rn

1941 October 19, GENERAL FRANZ BOHME (Belgrade, Yugoslavia)

The German military governor, ordered 100 civilians to be executed for each of the twenty one German troops that had been killed by Serbian partisans. He specifically chose 1500 Jews from the Belgrade ghetto. This marked the first time that a Wehrmacht general initiated a mass execution. Bohme killed himself in 1947 rather than stand trial.

1941 October 15, POLAND

As part of its plan to concentrate all Jews in one region, a regulation was enacted enforcing the death penalty for anyone leaving any district of the general government.

1941 September 8, SERBIA (Yugoslavia)

Felix Benzler and Edmund Veesenmayer, high ranking German officials, demanded that the Foreign Office help them get rid of the 8000 Jews in the Belgrade ghetto, proposing that they be sent down the Danube to Romania. Foreign Minister Ribbentrop replied that it was unacceptable to unload Jews on Romanian territory without their permission. Martin Luther, the head of Special Department DIII also responded, telling them to handle it themselves as "the Military commander is responsible for the elimination of those 8000 Jews." In reality, over 2000 had already been killed. Each day groups of 100-300 Jews, were taken out to "work in the fields" near Jajinci and shot. In less then a year Serbia was "Jew Free."

1941 September 10, 'WOMEN'S REBELLION' DUBOSSARY (Moldavia, Romania)

Broke out as the ghetto was being liquidated. The women demanded that they be allowed to die as families rather then the men being taken away on their own. The Germans unsuccessfully tried shooting children to break up the demonstration. They finally capitulated and by the end of the month the community ceased to exist.

1941 September 9, SLOVAKIA

Over 270 anti-Jewish regulations were passed, including wearing the yellow star, forced labor and evictions. Deportation began six months later. Of more than 90,000 Jews in Slovakia before the war, only 15,000 survived.

1941 September 3, DUBOSSARY (Moldavia, Romania)

In one of the first actions of its kind in the Dubossary ghetto, the Jewish underground run by Yankel Guzanyatsky (Guzinsky) killed the town's Commandant Kraft, and blew up an ammunition depot in retribution for his burning alive 600 old people in one of the town's synagogues. Guzanyatsky's unit had already been active since the summer and now he decided to leave the town and set up a partisan unit. General Kobpek's Partisans, located in that area made no effort to help. (Note: Although many small revolts took place we have little knowledge of them as there were often no survivors, furthermore in the Soviet Union, no research was allowed on "Jewish" revolts.)

1941 September 1, HUNGARY

Einsatzkommandos, with the help of some Hungarian militia, murdered 11,000 Jews. In August, Hungary had pushed 17,000 stateless Jews across the border to Kamenets-Podolski in the Ukraine. The German army protested that the large number of refugees interfered with the war effort and Hungary took a few thousand back as slave laborers, leaving the rest in the hands of the Germans. There were no survivors.


With the (albeit) reluctant agreement of Prince Paul, Yugoslavia agreed to join forces with Germany. As soon as the capitulation became known, a bloodless coup led by General Bora Mirkovik and King Peter II took over the government. The Germans retaliated by a full scale invasion. The Germans had to postpone their invasion of Russia for the five weeks it took to subdue Yugoslavia thus forcing them to contend with the Russian winter.

1941 July, BRATISLAVA WORKING GROUP (aka Jewish Center)

Was founded, with its goal being to help prevent or at least slow down, (usually though bribes) the deportation of Slovakian Jews. It was unusual, in that it was headed by Gisi Fleischmann (1894-1944), leader of the Women's International Zionist Organization, and an orthodox rabbi, Michael Dov Weissmandl. Later their plan was expanded into what became known as the "Europe plan" (see September 1942). After the Slovak revolt, in 1944 Rabbi Weismandel succeeded in jumping from a train on the way to Auschwitz. Gisi Fleischman as a result of her work was shot as soon as she arrived in Auschwitz at the request of Eichmann's deputy Rolf Gunther.

1942 January 20, WANNSEE CONFERENCE (Berlin,Germany)

This conference was meant to coordinate the activities of the ministries involved with the Nazi Party and SS agencies in carrying out the "Final Solution". The conference was convened by Heydrich and assisted by Eichmann. Heads of the Gestapo and other government offices worked on the bureaucratic details of the methods and logistics needed in carrying out the "Final Solution". Included in the discussions were plans for the mass sterilization of Jews who had mixed marriages, as well as the most efficient methods of mass killings. Their target was the Jewish population in 34 countries which they put at 11 million.

1942 March 26, AUSCHWITZ, POLAND

The first Jewish transport arrived under the command of Rudolf Hoess, containing 1000 Jews from Slovakia and 1000 women from Ravensbruk. According to a conservative estimate, from March 1942 until the liberation on January 27, 1945 over 750,000 Jews were gassed within its gates. Hoess himself estimated it at 1,135,000.

1942 February 24, SINKING OF THE STRUMA (Turkey)

One of the "illegal" immigrant ships on which 768 of the 769 passengers perished. The Sturma was a former coal barge-turned-rescue ship, and although not seaworthy, loaded 769 passengers at Constanza, Romania on December 12, 1941. The ship reached Istanbul, Turkey, but the passengers were not permitted to land until the British would issue assurances that they would be allowed to proceed to Palestine. The British refused to allow them to land under the White Paper agreement of 1939. After two months of pressure, the British relented and agreed to allow children to leave the ship. Although they promised to notify the Turks, they delayed for 10 days. Giving up, the Turks had the boat towed out to the Black Sea where it was sunk, presumably by a Soviet submarine.

1942 May 11, THE BILTMORE PROGRAM (New York, USA)

Was adopted in an emergency meeting (at the Biltmore Hotel in New York) of the Conference of American Zionists. The program, proposed by Ben Gurion and Abba Hillel Silver, totally rejected the British White Paper and called for the establishment of a Jewish state. There was opposition to the proposal by the "non- Zionists" and those who believed in a bi-national state (HaShomer HaTzair).

1942 April 13, SERGEANT ANTON SCHMID (Lithuania)

Serving in the Wermacht was executed by the Nazis. Schmid was accused of disobeying orders after saving over 250 Jews near Vilna. In 1964 he was awarded the title "Righteous Among the Nations" by the Israeli government. In May 2000, the German government renamed a military base, Feldwebel Anton Schmid Kaserne, in his honor.

1942 January 1, UNITED NATIONS (Washington, DC, USA)

Was founded as an assembly of the nations fighting Germany, Italy and Japan - the Axis powers. Twenty-six nations were among the original signatories. In the fall of that year, the Revisionist (New Zionist) Organization of America called on the United Nations to apply the "Four Freedoms" as delineated by President Roosevelt a year earlier to the Jewish people as well and to allow them to be represented. Roosevelt's four freedoms included speech and expression, religion, want (economic),and fear (arms reduction etc).

1942 January 23, UNITED PARTISANS ORGANIZATION (UPO) (Vilna, Lithuania)

Also known as the FPO (Fareynikte Partisaner Organisatsye) was founded in Vilna. It was the first organization which united the left-wing Zionists, the revisionists, the Bund and the communists. Its leaders included Isaac Wittenberg (communist), Abba Kovner (HaShomer HaTzair) and Joseph Glazman (revisionist). They were later joined by Abraham Chovnik (Bund). Its goals included armed revolt, sabotage, and contact with partisans in the forests. Like other groups, the main debate was whether to fight in the ghetto or join the partisans. Wittenberg convinced the others to accept the former. An underground press was founded which played a vital role in forging identification cards as well as bringing information to the populace.

1942 January 31, ESTONIA

Franz Stahlecker, commander of Einsatzgruppe A , in a report to Himmler, affirmed that there were no more Jews in Estonia and only a few thousand left in Latvia. By the end of the war, 90% of all Jews in the Baltic countries had been eliminated. Stahlecker was killed by Estonian partisans two months later.

1942 January, HUNGARIAN TROOPS (Yugoslavia)

Massacred several thousands Jews in the Bacska region of Yugoslavia under their control. Although this was not official policy, the perpetrators were able to flee to Germany.

1942 February 1, OSWALD POHL (Germany)

A former naval paymaster, was placed in charge of the newly formed WVHA (The Economic and Administrative Head Office of the SS) . Its job was to oversee all the financial operations of the SS including the concentration camps and slave labor. He ruled the camps from this office with the aim of achieving Himmler's goal: to use the camps to provide funding for the SS. Pohl was in charge of the conditions in the camps and arranged for everything from use of the clothing to the depositing of gold fillings into the SS accounts. His office contracted agreements regarding slave labor with industrial firms e.g. Heinkel, IG Farben, Junkers, Krupp, Messerschmitt, and Siemens. He was hanged June 8, 1951.

1942 February 12, ABRAHAM ("YAIR") STERN (Tel Aviv, Eretz Israel)

The leader of what later became known as Lehi (the Stern Group) was shot by the British in his apartment in Tel Aviv.

1942 February 16, COMMITTEE FOR A JEWISH ARMY (New York, USA)