Kaliv (Hasidic dynasty) – Wikipedia

The Kaliver Dynasty began with Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Taub (1744-1821) of Nagykll (in Yiddish Kaliv, Kalov, Kalev), Hungary. He was the first Hassidic Rebbe in Hungary. He was discovered by Rabbi Leib Sarah’s, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov. Rabbi Leib first met Rabbi Isaac when he was a small child, a small shepherd boy. Rabbi Leib told his mother, a widow, that her son was destined to be a great Tzaddik. He took the small child to Nikolsburg to learn with Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg. Rabbi Isaac grew to be a great rebbe and was known as “the Sweet Singer of Israel”. He composed many popular Hasidic melodies. Often he adapted Hungarian folk songs, adding Jewish words. He taught that the tunes he heard were really from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and were lost among the nations over the years, and he found them and returned them to the Jewish people. He said that the proof that it was true was that the gentile who would teach him the song would forget it as soon as the rebbe learned it. He was famous for composing the traditional Hungarian Hasidic tune “Szl a kakas mr”.

Today there are two Kaliver Rebbes. They are distinguished by the spelling of their title. The rebbe in Jerusalem is called the Kaliver Rebbe, (Hebrew: ” ). The rebbe in New York is the Kalover Rebbe, (Hebrew: ” ).

Grand Rebbe Menachem Mendel Taub is the Kaliver Rebbe in Israel, the son of the Rozler Rov, and son-in-law of Grand Rabbi Pinchos Shapiro, the Kechneyer Rebbe, scion of the Nadvorna Dynasty.

In 1944 he was put on a transport to Auschwitz by the Nazis, and he arrived there three days before Shavuos. He was transferred from there to the Warsaw Ghetto and the Breslau concentration camp, and later to Bergen-Belsen. Six months after the war ended he discovered that his wife had survived, and they were reunited in Sweden. In 1947 they migrated to the United States of America, where he began his work in memorializing the Holocaust in Cleveland, Ohio .[1]

He moved to Israel in 1962. Upon coming to Israel, the Rebbe created Kiryas Kaliv in Rishon LeZion. The foundation stone was laid on 7 Adar 5723 (3 March 1963), the day of the Yahrtzeit of the founder of the dynasty, Grand Rabbi Isaac Taub. Recently a property developer acting on behalf of the Kaliver Rebbe of Jerusalem submitted plans to the Rishon LeZion municipality seeking permission to destroy the synagogue and drive out the religious residents of Kiryas Kaliv to take advantage of soaring property prices in the area and build high rise blocks for sale on the open market. Several years later he moved his headquarters to Bnei Brak. In 2004, the rebbe’s court moved to Jerusalem.

During the last 60 years, since World War II, the rebbe has traveled to millions of Jews with his story and the saying of Shema Yisrael. He is also active in Jewish outreach and holds regular lectures for groups of professionals, including doctors and police officers. In addition, a Network of Kollelim, An Encyclopedia Project, and Several other divisions of Kaliv have been founded.

Grand Rebbe Moses Taub is the Kalover Rebbe. His synagogue is in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. His father was the previous Kalover Rebbe, Grand Rabbi Menachem Shlomo Taub, the author of Chakal Tapuchin. The present rebbe travels all around the world teaching Jewish people about Judaism.

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Kaliv (Hasidic dynasty) – Wikipedia

Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) – What Is an …

An Ashkenazi Jewish genetic panel (AJGP) is a blood test that checks to see if a person is a carrier of a genetic disease that occurs more often in people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish heritage. These diseases do not just affect people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage but are more common in this group of people. Other racial and ethnic groups have genetic diseases that are more common in their groups.

An AJGP test tells parents if they have an increased chance of having a child with certain genetic diseases. Anyone who is interested in knowing his or her carrier status can ask for the test, but a doctor must order the test. Different labs may have different tests in the panel.

Talk to your doctor about which diseases are important for your family. Genetic counseling can help you understand the test and possible results so you can make the best decision for you.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Read more here:
Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) – What Is an …

Ashkenazi | Flavors of Diaspora

We have a reader contribution! My friends Dalya and Adele Moss in Oxford sent their delicious recipe for a German Jewish potato salad with many fun photographs. (It was sent in early November; I apologize for tardiness.) I was fortunate enough to eat this recipe at a Passover seder at their house in 2015, and can vouch for its deliciousness. It is a family recipe with a long history and perhaps I better leave it to Dalya:

My Grandma Marlies (z l) talents were many, including solidly beating me in Scrabble with her mastery of English, her second language. I also used to look forward with great relish to Shabbat at hers. This potato salad is my favorite, and has got passed down our family with a few tweaks along the way. It is great for Shabbat, or even we have it at Pesach (dont worry, still ages away!) with cooked salmon.

A few pieces of advice before you embark. Firstly, I know it looks like a lot of onion in the dressing, but trust me, dont skimp on it. It melts in beautifully and gives the essential gentle, piquant flavor. Secondly, leaving the potatoes to marinade for an hour makes all the difference. Lastly, dont plan on doing anything after eating this potato salad. You will just want to shluf [sleep] in a satiated bliss!

Ive rewritten the recipe for our American readers mayonnaise is slightly sweeter in the United States. Enjoy!

The recipe in production by Dalya Moss. (Photos Dalya and Adele Moss, October 2016)

Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat)

A recipe by Adele and Dalya Moss

2 lbs/1 kg new potatoes

cup vegetable oil

medium white onion

1 tbsp white sugar

1 tbsp + tsp apple cider vinegar

2 large or several small pickles, chopped

A handful of fresh cilantro (Adeles innovation!)

A heaped tablespoon of mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Beteyavon, Guten Apetit, Dalya.

Happy New Year! Let us hope that 2017 is less terrible than 2016.

Lentil soup is one of the oldest Jewish dishes it is probably the pottage mentioned during the story of Esau and Jacob in Genesis, and we have recipes from ancient Greece that may date back as far as the second millennium BCE. It has remained a classic and one that I was recently asked to make.

The question became then, what style do I use? Until recently, lentils were viewed as a food of mourning and famine in the Ashkenazi world, and were thus disdained until the early 20th century though by 1938, when Fania Lewandos vegetarian cookbook in Yiddish was published, lentils were common enough in Lithuania to appear in several recipes. A soup recipe was among them. In the Sephardic and Mizrahi realms, however, lentils were an everyday, quotidian, and celebrated food. The lentils used in the Mediterranean and in Claudia Rodens Egyptian recipe were red, but brown and green lentils are more common elsewhere. And, of course, seasoning differed across the Jewish world as well as the carbohydrate or presence of meat or dairy in the soup. There are as many Jewish lentil soups as Jewish communities.

I recently made my own lentil soup a throwback to my grandmothers recipe, but with more vegetables and a slightly sharper flavor than her very meaty and saltier soup. This soup is probably closest to a French lentil soup, but with Palestinian seasoning. I used the green lentils common in France, along with the very Nordic split peas and leeks in the place of onions. Leeks go well with lentils: their sharpness and vegetal flavor balance out the lentils starchy meatiness. Meanwhile, the sumac and zaatar add a pleasant bitterness to the soup and the fenugreek adds an irresistible aroma.

Green lentils in a jar. (Photo mine, December 2016)

Sauteing the leeks and tomatoes. (Photo mine, December 2016)


Lentil Soup with Leeks and Split Peas

Serves 12-25

Vaguely based on the recipe of Esther Katz

2 medium-sized leeks, washed, diced, and washed again

2 tablespoons table salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons white sugar

1 teaspoon ground smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 teaspoon sumac

1 teaspoon zaatar

1 teaspoon fenugreek (dried seeds or ground)

teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon vinegar (rice wine or apple cider should do)

13oz/370g canned diced tomatoes (about one medium-sized can)

1 large turnip, peeled and diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups vegetable stock (you can use water)

2 cups dried green or brown lentils

1/3 cup dried split peas

1 cup rice (sweet brown or another short-grain rice is best)

1 tbsp rosemary, chopped if fresh

2-3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil

8-10 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated cheese for garnish (optional)

Thank you to Jay Stanton and Julia Clemons for participating in User Acceptance Testing for this recipe.

Normally, I dont tend to fall into cookbook or food book hype. Yes, I tell you about Great Books but that is because a lot of Jewish food books simply dont live up to the hype promised to us by marketers, the media, and the priests and priestesses of the Cult of Authenticity. (Authenticity in cooking is bullshit.) So I was a bit nervous when I picked up a copy of The Gefilte Manifesto by Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern, promising that Ashkenazi cuisine was one of the worlds great cuisinesright under our noses. Another well-publicized book, a historical one, on Ashkenazi cooking earlier this year did not live up to hype. The authors, essentially professional Ashkenazi chefs, were proclaimed to be revitalizing Eastern European Jewish cuisine itself. That is quite a lot of hype.

Thus I was more than pleasantly surprised when I opened the book to find a true gem. This is a cookbook that celebrates the wonders and underrated glory of Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine: some of the classic dishes, but some of them with a new twist. The crisp, delightful flavors of Eastern Europe are rendered lovingly, but not cloyingly. As someone who grew up with these tastes, this book is delightful. It must be even more so for those who were not as exposed to traditional Ashkenazi cooking. And the hype, if hyperbolic, was appropriate for the book. You should all buy a copy of The Gefilte Manifesto as soon as you are able.

Gefilte fish pre-khrayn

and post-khrayn. (Not the same ball) Photos mine, April 2016.

I will briefly state what the book is not before I go through all the things that it is. It is not a book on authenticity, it is not a book of manufactured memories, and it is not a book that makes demands of certain dishes for the readers Jewishness. Rather, it approaches Ashkenazi cuisine as a tradition embodied in methodology and memory, and for that alone it is valuable. As it happens, Yoskowitz and Alpern are excellent arbiters of memory and new taste. Recipes are preceded by and placed in the context of recollection be they historical, personal, or somewhere in between. But the food that is remembered is not taken as a given and homage is given to how memory in fact influences the way we eat.

The book is incredibly well-written, and practical too. Within the books contents, you have guides to dressing poultry, making kreplach, and braiding challah and not to mention all types of pickling. Thus readers are taught at a variety of levels how to make all of the books tasty treats and in language that is neither cloyingly saccharine nor sentimental.

And the recipes themselves? They are wonderful! Some of them are what are popularly called classics: matzah ball soup, savory blintzes, and the namesake gefilte fish. Others are inspired by the Ashkenazi tradition but are certainly welcome departures from the canonical dishes: Polish sour rye soup, kimchi-stuffed cabbage, or a gluten-free buckwheat bread. My current favorite new recipe is for a spiced blueberry soup, which promises all the tart-sweetness of yagdes and the creamy indulgence of dessert for dinner. In addition, many of the basics are covered such as pickled cucumbers, farmers cheese, and bread. All are well-presented, and all have an eye not to the idol of authenticity in the past, but that Ashkenazi food is still in evolution.

It has been almost a year since I started this Jewish food blog, and I am only now making challah. This, I admit, is to the chagrin of many readers: since starting this blog I have been asked, harangued, flirted with, email, telephoned, texted, and Snapchatted (!) for my challah recipe. I deflected for a while: I dont often make challah, I told myself. Then again, nor do I make quince jam that often. Besides, making challah is really fun.

Challah occupies a vaunted place in the American Jewish imagination. It is challah that is the marker of Shabbat, challah that is the marker of holidays, challah that non-Jews ask Jews about, challah that goes in French toast, challah that every Ashkenazi cookbook seems to include. As a bread, its pretty delicious, and its not the worst symbol of Judaism out there. That said, challah is also a very interesting example of how class and luxury intersect with Jewish practice to create a tradition that evolved quite a bit over the 19th and 20th centuries.

Challah evolved from the tradition of serving special bread on Friday night to commemorate the showbread used in Temple ceremonies in ancient times. The name itself commemorates the Biblical commandment to separate the challah as a tithe to the Kohanim, or priestly class. (Today, those that still follow this commandment burn the challah instead.) At some point in the Middle Ages, challah came to refer to braided, wheat-based breads with egg in the Ashkenazi world. These breads have also been called kitke, berkhes, and koylatch at various points. It should be noted here that non-Ashkenazi communities have their own challahs and other Shabbat breads.(Note: the Hebrew plural ischallot,sometimes Yiddishized askhales,but challahs has entered colloquial American usage. I use the latter here.)

Challah before rising

and after. (Photos mine, October 2016)

Ultimately, challah is not unique. Other Central and Eastern European cuisines have similar braided, egg-based breads, such as the Hungarian kalcs and the Lithuanian velykos pyragas. The recipes that we know today probably came from interactions with our neighbors and was certainly not a Jewish invention alone. Challah was historically a bread of luxury: in a region where rye was the predominant grain and wheat was pricy, one did not simply eat challah every day. Moreover, the eggs another commodity that was not cheap before the 20th century made challah that much more of a treat. Thus the bread became part of the special nature of Shabbat: a culinary way to set the day aside from the rye-filled workdays of the week. Having challah or any wheat bread more frequently was a sign of prosperity, having black bread on the table on Friday night was a sign of poverty.

Challah started out as a celebratory ritual, but has become a culinary force of its own in the United States. In a country and era with plentiful wheat flour and eggs, challah has gone from being a marker of celebrations and good fortune to being a frequent treat. One can buy challah every day in New York fulfilling the claims of early immigrants, as documented by Michael Wex, that the United States was a country where one could eat challah every day. You can find challah French toast, challah bread pudding, challah grilled cheese, and I have even seen deep-fried challah. Those in the 19th century who celebrated having a challah every week would probably be stunned by this abundance. Even then, for most Ashkenazi Jews in the United States, challah is firmly a Shabbat food.

The tradition of making challah at home, by hand, has continued strong in this environment of industrialized plenty. Some use family recipes passed down through generations. Others add new ingredients first encountered in the United States like chocolate chips. Some braid new patterns, others use food coloring to make rainbow challahs for gay pride. Making challah, like all Jewish cooking, is still a gendered practice: historically, like other culinary pursuits, it was considered a womens practice. Many still consider it as such.

Many schools of challah exist. Some challahs are braided with three strands, others with the far more intricate six strands, and for Rosh HaShanah, braided round challahs are served. Some challahs are large and fluffy aided by a second rising of the dough. Other challahs are dense and tightly packed but still sweet and soft. Many people fill their challah with raisins, cinnamon, or even as one colleague did fig paste. Density varied historically, but sweetness like that of gefilte fish was a Polish trait, encouraged by the 19th-century proliferation of the sugar beet industry there. In all forms, though, challah is delicious.

This recipe is for a denser, smaller challah. The salted egg-wash gives it a pretzel-like twang; indeed, pretzel challah is increasingly popular. As for the density, I like challah to be cute and soft, but also able to absorb a good amount of soup, stew, or sauce. After all, I too cannot resist a piece of challah dipped into lentil soup.


Based on recipes by Jay Stanton, Dana Katz, Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern in The Gefilte Manifesto, and Claudia Roden in The Book of Jewish Food.

Makes three small-medium loaves

1 packet active dry yeast

1.5 cups (350mL) lukewarm water

1/3 cup (80mL) honey

1 tsp table salt

1/3 cup (80mL) canola oil

3 eggs, beaten

5 1/2-7 cups (23-30oz/660-840g) white bread flour, plus more for kneading

Egg wash:

1 egg, beaten

1/5 cup (50mL) cold water

1/2 tsp table salt

Sesame seeds or poppy seeds for garnish (optional)

Thank you to the 17 of you who participated in User Acceptance Testing for this challah.

This recipe has been requested by at least seven people I do not remember by whom exactly. My sincerest apologies.

Rosh HaShanah in the Ashkenazi world is a rather sweet and sticky holiday. Of course there is the tradition of eating sweet foods to signify a good New Year, and, like any Jewish holiday, the amount of saccharine sentimentality seems to spike on Rosh HaShanah. Sometimes, this is translated into food, including the extreme stickiness and sweetness of taiglakh, or the inexplicably sugary cookies that suddenly morph everywhere, uncontrollably, across tables in the Jewish world. And then you have the apple and honey cakes. Ever-present, sometimes delicious, and quite a vehicle for the nostalgia of many a middle-aged congregant in my childhood synagogue. (This takes me back!)

The apple cake also happens to be easy to make and delicious.

Apple cakes and honey cakes have been traditional in Ashkenazi cooking for centuries in fact, we have records of both from the 12th century in Germany. The latter cake dates to at least the medieval era, when it was part of a ceremony called the Alef-Beyzn, which commemorated a young boys first day at school. Lekach, the Yiddish word for honey cake, is a homonym of the word for good instruction in the Book of Proverbs, and so the cake had special significance. The practice of giving cake on this day has since died out; a contemporary practice of having the young boy lick honey off a board with the Hebrew alphabet lasted quite a bit longer. (The Israeli musician Victoria Hanna references this custom in her incredible Hoshaana music video.) The idea of a sweet cake, however, stuck around, and began to be served at Rosh HaShanah and Sukkot, in order to get the year off to a sweet start.

The apple cakes place at the Rosh HaShanah table probably had similar origins and the cake itself is an adaptation of non-Jewish recipes in the region. Even today, almost every Central and Eastern European culture has at least ten common apple cake recipes. The similar apple charlotte recipe perhaps known to many readers for being referenced in Downton Abbey became popular in England and France in the early 20th century. Meanwhile, Jewish Apple Cake has been popular in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States since that time. These cakes are similar but not quite an exact match to the many family recipes for simple apple cakes that Ashkenazi families use across the English-speaking world. In any case, it is delicious.

In homage of the Rosh HaShanah tradition of eating apples with honey one to initiate the sweet new year I am going to give you a recipe that uses both apples and honey. The apples and honey play well of each other although an apple cake without honey is certainly no curse to a dinner table. I make many variations of this incredibly easy recipe. I have a vegan version with no honey or eggs but with raisins, date syrup, and turmeric to approximate the taste of honey. I also have another version that uses grated apples and ground almonds. My grandmothers recipe is slightly simpler and doesnt use honey, but I find that the honey adds both a nuttiness and a lovely weight to the cake. In the spirit of variation, I have a gluten-free and gluten-friendly version of the recipe listed below. The buckwheat version may seem new, but in fact buckwheat in the form of kasha has been on the Ashkenazi Jewish table for centuries.

Apple Honey Cake

loosely based on a recipe by Esther Back

Gluten version

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Ashkenazi | Flavors of Diaspora

The Torah – Chabad.org

Beyond Wisdom

By Tzvi Freeman

Torah is how the Creator shares the purpose, intent, and desire behind all that exists.

On Freedom By Choice

By Tzvi Freeman

More than Torah is about keeping rules, its about breaking them. Torah is about transcending the rules of the universe and creating freedom.

Unfolding the voice from Sinai

By Tzvi Freeman

By Tzvi Freeman

The greatest conspiracy theory of all time is materialism. The second greatest conspiracy theory is that the Jews invented the Torah…

When a story isnt just a story

By Tzvi Freeman

Im kinda disappointed about this Torah. I keep reading on your site about it being the ultimate divine wisdom. To me, it reads like a book of stories. If its really a divine document, shouldnt it read more like one of those ancient mystical texts, like the wild and wonderful Zohar or the cryptic and mystical Book of Formation?

The Jewish obsession with arguments

By Tzvi Freeman

How can we rely on these rabbis if they cant even agree with one another?

By Naftali Silberberg

Gd told Moses that he will give him “the Torah and the commandments.” Why did Gd add the word “commandments?” Are there any commandments which are not included in the Torah?

By Naftali Silberberg

Our sages tell us that Torah can be interpreted in four different general ways: peshat, remez, drush and sod.

By Yisroel Cotlar

Imagine Albert Einstein walking down the street and dropping a pen. As he bends down to pick it up, the unfortunate occurs. His pants split. He heads back home, and mends the pants…

By Aron Moss

It seems like every story in the Torah needs to be edited for children.

By Tzvi Freeman

To explain that, I would need a long conversation with you about what is G-d and how G-d talks to people and why….

By Yisroel Cotlar

There are so many differences of opinion as to what happened and what it means–how can they all be right?

By Tzvi Freeman

We claim to believe in the Bible, but it seems to me that in reality we’re controlled by a small group of old men and their Talmud…

By Tzvi Freeman

Why do the rabbis add so many laws to the Torah? Isn’t that what caused Adam and Eve to sin–the fact that Eve made unwarranted additions to Gd’s law?

By Tzvi Freeman

In what way are the laws of the Talmud “the wisdom and will of G-d”? What’s so “wise” about the how to divide a garment that two people are fighting over? Why G-d would “will” the procedures for buying a donkey?

By Eliezer Posner

Why are there two Talmuds? And why is the “Babylonian Talmud” considered more authoritative than the “Jerusalem Talmud”?

By Tzvi Freeman

Is Torah really absolute, all-encompassing Truth? Do the rabbis never disagree? Could we have invented Teflon and Superglue just by reading Torah?

By Tzvi Freeman

How could Jacob have studied the Torah, if it was given to Moses centuries later? Did he learn, in advance, how Laban would trick him on his wedding night or how Joseph would thrown in a pit and sold as a slave by his brothers?

By Aron Moss

I wonder about how the Orthodox view the fluidity of the Torah and the teachings of the past. Clearly there are aspects of the Torah that have been outdated since it was written, such as stoning etc.

By Joshua Berman

Democracy and human rights are cornerstones of our moral vision in the modern era. Where do we Jews fit–historically and ideologically–into this picture?

By Tzvi Freeman

Yes, there’s tension here, and as every good dramatist and massage therapist knows, tension is a good point to play with

By Shmary Brownstein

Didnt Gd give Moses the Torah while he was on top of Mount Sinai away from the rest of the Jews who were waiting down below? Isnt this similar to the stories of Jesus and Mohammad, because no one was actually there to verify that anything was unequivocally given from Gd to Moses?

By Chaya Sarah Silberberg

I find studying Torah to be very inspirational, exciting, and mostly enjoyable. Can you please explain the meaning of toiling in the study of Torah?

By Malkie Janowski

The black are the letters we see, while the white, the inverse space between the black, are the letters we don’t see. Some souls, like the black letters of the Torah, have a clear purpose and focus. Others are more like the white letters…

How does our site score on answers and dialogue?

By Tzvi Freeman

You think that wisdom flows in one direction only. The supplicant asks, and the rabbi answers.

By Yehuda Shurpin

Why is that? Is it just to make it super-hard to become a Jewish adult?

By Yehuda Shurpin

I recently had occasion to pray in a Sephardic synagogue, and they kept the Torahs in some kind of ornamental cylindrical case with the scroll in the upright position. Then, when it came time to read the Torah, they simply set it on a flat table and cracked open the case.

The rest is here:
The Torah – Chabad.org

Anti-Defamation League – politico.com

One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany? Donald Trump tweeted. | Getty

The Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday called on President-elect Donald Trump to either apologize for or explain why he compared the present-day intelligence agencies in the U.S. to Nazi Germany.

ADL always has maintained that glib comparisons to Nazi Germany are offensive and a trivialization of the Holocaust, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. We have a long record of speaking out when both Democrats and Republicans engage in such overheated rhetoric. It would be helpful for the President-Elect to explain his intentions or apologize for the remark.

Story Continued Below

Incensed over reports alleging that the president-elect was presented with a two-page synopsis Friday of claims that Russia had compromising information about him, Trump blasted the stories from his Twitter account as fake news and questioned whether he was living in Nazi Germany.

Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to leak into the public, he tweeted Wednesday morning, one of four posts lashing out over the allegations. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?

He doubled down when asked about his tweet at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. I think it was disgraceful disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out, he told reporters. I think its a disgrace, and I say that and I say that and thats something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do. I think its a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public.

Greenblatt said Trumps use of Nazi Germany to make a political analogy is not only an inappropriate comparison on the merits, but it also coarsens our discourse and diminishes the horror of the Holocaust.

There are legitimate questions on all sides regarding foreign influence in the 2016 presidential race, he continued in the statement. But the United States has democratic elections, a free press, rule of law and a civil service including our intelligence agencies that is deeply loyal to the U.S. Constitution. These facts invalidate any analogies between America and totalitarian societies.

See the rest here:
Anti-Defamation League – politico.com

Ashkenaz – Wikipedia

Ashkenaz is a term found in a number of contexts. It is found in the Hebrew Bible to refer to one of the descendants of Noah as well as to a reference to a kingdom of Ashkenaz. Ashkenaz is the first son of Gomer, and a Japhetic patriarch in the Table of Nations.

His name is likely a derivation from the Assyrian Akza (Akuzai, Ikuzai), a people who expelled the Cimmerians from the Armenian area of the Upper Euphrates,[1] The Assyrian name is likely based on that of the Scythians. The intrusive n in the Hebrew form of the name has been explained as a scribal mistake confusing a waw with a nun (i.e. writing aknz for akz ).[2][3][4]

The association of the term by medieval Jewry with the geographical area centered on the Rhineland led to the Jewish culture that developed in that area to be called Ashkenazi, the only form that the term is still used today.

In the genealogies of the Hebrew Bible, Ashkenaz (Hebrew: Aknaz) was a descendant of Noah. He was the first son of Gomer and brother of Riphath and Togarmah (Genesis 10:3, 1 Chronicles 1:6), with Gomer being the grandson of Noah through Japheth.

According to Jeremiah 51:27, a kingdom of Ashkenaz was called together with Ararat and Minni against Babylon, which reads:

According to the Encyclopaedia Biblica, “Ashkenaz must have been one of the migratory peoples which in the time of Esar-haddon, burst upon the northern provinces of Asia Minor, and upon Armenia. One branch of this great migration appears to have reached Lake Urumiyeh; for in the revolt which Esar-haddon chastised, the Mannai, who lived to the SW of that lake, sought the help of Ispakai ‘of the land of Asguza,’ a name (originally perhaps Asgunza) which the skepticism of Dillmann need not hinder us from identifying with Ashkenaz, and from considering as that of a horde from the north, of Indo-Germanic origin, which settled on the south of Lake Urumiyeh.”

In rabbinic literature, the kingdom of Ashkenaz was first associated with the Scythian region, then later with the Slavic territories,[5] and, from the 11th century onwards, with northern Europe and Germany.[6] The region of Ashkenaz was centred on the Rhineland and the Palatinate (notably Worms and Speyer), in what is now the westernmost part of Germany. Its geographic extent did not coincide with the German Christian principalities of the time, and it included northern France.

How the name of Ashkenaz came to be associated in the rabbinic literature with the Rhineland is a subject of speculation.[6]

In rabbinic literature from the 11th century, Ashkenaz was considered the ruler of a kingdom in the North and of the Northern and Germanic people.[citation needed] (See below.)

Geneticist Eran Elhaik, a proponent of the minoritarian Khazar hypothesis, believes Ashkenazi Jews to originate from north-east Turkey. According to him, four village names in that region are derived from the word “Ashkenaz”: Iskenz (or Eskenaz), Eskenez (or Eskens), Ashanas, and Ashchuz.[7][not in citation given]

Sometime in the early medieval period, the Jews of central and eastern Europe came to be called by the name Ashkenazim,[4] in conformity with the custom of designating areas of Jewish settlement with biblical names, Spain being identified as Sefarad (Obadiah 20), France as Tsarefat (1 Kings 17:9), and Bohemia as Land of Canaan.[8] By the high medieval period, Talmudic commentators like Rashi began to use Ashkenaz/Eretz Ashkenaz to designate Germany, earlier known as Loter,[4][9] where, especially in the Rhineland communities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz, the most important Jewish communities arose.[10] Rashi uses leshon Ashkenaz (Ashkenazi language) to describe the German language, and Byzantium and Syrian Jewish letters referred to the Crusaders as Ashkenazim.[9] Given the close links between the Jewish communities of France and Germany following the Carolingian unification, the term Ashkenazi came to refer to both the Jews of medieval Germany and France.[11] Ashkenazi Jewish culture later spread into Eastern Europe and then to all parts of the world with the migrations of Ashkenazi Jews.

In Armenian tradition, Ashkenaz, along with Togarmah, was considered among the ancestors of the Armenians. Koriun, the earliest Armenian historian, calls the Armenians an “Askanazian (ie., Ashkenazi) nation”. He starts the “Life of Mashtots” with these words:

Later Armenian authors concur with this. Hovhannes Draskhanakerttsi (10th century) writes:

Because of this tradition, Askanaz is a male given name still used today by Armenians.

In 1498, a monk named Annio da Viterbo published fragments known as “Pseudo-Berossus”, now considered a forgery, claiming that Babylonian records had shown that Noah had more than the three sons listed in the Bible. Specifically, Tuiscon or Tuisto is given as the fourth son of Noah, who had been the first ruler of Scythia and Germany following the dispersion of peoples, with him being succeeded by his son Mannus as the second king.

Later historians (e.g. Johannes Aventinus and Johann Hbner) managed to furnish numerous further details, including the assertion by James Anderson in the early 18th century that this Tuiscon was in fact none other than the biblical Ashkenaz, son of Gomer.[14] James Anderson’s 1732 tome Royal genealogies reports a significant number of antiquarian or mythographic traditions regarding Askenaz as the first king of ancient Germany, for example the following entry:

In the 19th century, German theologian, August Wilhelm Knobel, again equated Ashkenaz with the Germans deriving the name of the Aesir from Ashkenaz.[15]

Read more from the original source:
Ashkenaz – Wikipedia

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Timeline for the History of Judaism | Jewish Virtual Library

Click on a Time Period to Expand: Note: Dates regarding biblical figures & events cannot be confirmed

October 7, 3761



ca. 3500









ca. 2800


ca. 2700-2400

ca. 2500-2200

ca. 2500

ca. 2300-2200




Amoraim, or Mishna scholars, flourish. The Amoraim’s commentary, along with the Mishna, comprises the Talmud.

Emperor Alexander Severus allowed for a revival of Jewish rights, including permission to visit Jerusalem.

Amoraim, or Mishna scholars, flourish. The Amoraim’s commentary, along with the Mishna, comprises the Talmud.

Babylonian Talmud recorded. After conquering Italy in 493, Ostrogoth king Theodoric issues an edict safeguarding the Jews and ensuring their right to determine civil disputes and freedom of worship.

Damascus taken by T.E. Lawrence and Arabs.

American Jewish Congress is founded.

Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm abdicates.

35 Jews participating in a community meeting to discuss relief distribution from the United States were rounded up and massacred, suspected of being Bolshevik plotters. They were executed without question, or trial.

Holocaust surviror and author Primo Levi is born in Turin, Italy.

Jewish educational summer camping is launched in the United States with what came to be known as the Cejwin Camps.

League of Nations established in an effort to prevent further wars.

Second and third Palestinan National Congress’ held.

U.S. immigration laws reformed to effectively exclude Eastern European Jews and other immigrants. Further restrictions imposed in 1924.

Vlkischer Beobachter (People’s Observer), the official National Socialist newspaper, begins publication.

Supreme Muslim Council created under the jurisdiction of the British government to centralize religious affairs and institutions, but is corrupted by the overzealous Husseini family who used it as an anti-Jewish platform.

Harvard’s president proposes a quota on the number of Jews admitted. After a contentious debate, he withdrew the recommendation.

First British census of Palestine shows total population 757,182 (11% Jewish).

Palestine constitution suspended by British because of Arab refusal to cooperate.

Overthrow of Ottoman Muslim rule by young Turks (Kemal Ataturk) and establishment of secular state.

Sixth Palestinian national Congress held in Jaffa.

Benjamin Frankel starts Hillel Foundation. The first Hillel House opens at the University of Illinois, offers religious and social services.

Jewish sculptor Anthony Caro is born in England.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews found an agricultural settlement between Ramat Gan and Petah Tikva: Bnei- Brak.

The United States Congress passes the Immigration Restriction Act, which effectively bans immigration to the U.S. from Asia and Eastern Europe.

Pahlevi dynasty in Persia (Iran: 1935).

Palestinian National Congress meets in Jaffa.

Publication of the pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic newspaper Der Strmer resumes after being banned by the Weimar government in November 1923.

Paul von Hindenburg is elected president of Germany.

France proclaims Republic of Lebanon.

Warner Brothers releases The Jazz Singer, about a cantor’s son who follows his dreams to Broadway against his father’s wishes. This was the first “talking” movie ever made, and it is also famous for it’s accurate portrayal of Jewish home life.

Britain recognizes independence of Transjordan.

Yeshiva College is dedicated in New York.

Jewish actor, producer, and director Larry Semon supposedly dies, but many believe he faked his own death to avoid creditors.

Lord Passfield issues his White Paper banning further land acquisition by Jews and slowing Jewish immigration.

Salo Wittmayer Baron joins the faculty of Columbia University, his is the first chair in Jewish history at a secular university in the United States.

Second British census of Palestine shows total population of 1,035,154 (16.9% Jewish).

The Nahum Zemach-founded Moscow-based Habimah Theater which received acclaim for “The Dybbuk” moves to Eretz-Israel.

British Mandate over Iraq terminated, Iraq gains independence.

Discovery of oil in Bahrain.

First Maccabia athletic games take place with representatives from 14 countries.

German Chancellor von Papen persuaded President von Hindenburg to offer Hitler the chancellorship.

Formation of Istiqlal Party as first constituted Palestinian-Arab political party; Awni Abdul-Hadi elected president.

Nazis outlaw Kosher slaughter of animals.

Concession agreement signed between Saudi government and Standard Oil of California (SOCAL). Prospecting begins. SOCAL assigns concession to California Arabian Standard Oil Co. (CASOC).

The American Jewish Congress declares a boycott on German goods to protest the Nazi persecution of Jews.

Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.

Germany begins anti-Jewish boycott.

Hakibbutz Hadati, the religious kibbutz movement is founded.

Ze’ev Jabotinsky founds the New Zionist Organization.

Supported by the Axis powers, the Arab Higher Committee encourages raids on Jewish communities in Eretz-Israel.

Leon Blum becomes the first Jew elected premier of France, enacts many social reforms.

Syria ratifies the Franco-Syrian treaty; France grants Syria and Lebanon independence.

World Jewish Congress convened in Geneva.

The Peel Commission recommends the partition of Palestine between Jews and Arabs.

John Woodhead declares partition unworkable after Arab riots.

Central conference of American Rabbis reaffirm basic reform philosophies in the Colombus Platform.

Charles E. Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest, launches media campaign in America against Jews.

Hershel Grynszpan, 17, a German refugee, assassinates Ernst von Rath, the third secretary to the German embassy in Paris.

More than 100,000 Jews march in an anti-Hitler parade in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces that Britain is at war with Germany.

British government authorizes the Jewish Agency to recruit 10,000 Jews to form Jewish units in the British army.

Chabad-Lubavitch purchases their iconic headquarters in New York City

British and France guarantee Syrian independence.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Palmach parachutes into enemy lines in Europe.

Raphael Lemkin, an international lawyer who escaped from Poland to the U.S. in 1941, coins the term genocide to describe the Nazi extermination of European Jews.

Zionist Biltmore Conference, held at Biltmore Hotel in New York, formulates new policy of creating a “Jewish Commonwealth” in Palestine and organizing a Jewish army.

Camp for Jewish war refugees is opened at Oswego, New York.

Russians arrive in the Lwow Ghetto, ridding the city of it’s German occupiers, only to find the Jewish population liquidated.

Bess Myerson becomes the first Jewish woman to win the Miss America Pageant.

Arab League Council decides to boycott goods produced by Zionist firms in Palestine.

Member of Jewish underground destroyed a power station and a portion of the Central Jerusalem prison by explosives. Two persons were killed by the police..

Jewish underground attacked a British military installation near Tel Aviv. This group which contained a number of young girls, had as its goal the capture of British weapons. British authorities rounded up 1,200 suspects..

British officials announced the discovery of a large arms dump hidden underground at Meshek Yagur. 2659 men and 59 women were detained fo the three day operation in which 27 settlements were searched. Four were killed and 80 were injured..

The British Palestine Commander, Lt. General Sir Evelyn Barker, banned fraternization by British troops with Palestine Jews whom he stated “cannot be absolved of responsibility for terroristic acts.” The order states that this will punish “the race . . . by striking at their pockets and showing our contempt for them.” .

Police in Tel Aviv raided a workshop making bombs..

Tel Aviv is placed under a 22hour-a-day curfew as 20,000 British troops began a house-to-house sweep for members of the Jewish underground. The city is sealed off and troops are ordered to shoot to kill any curfew violators.

Read the original:
Timeline for the History of Judaism | Jewish Virtual Library

Jesus in the Talmud – Wikipedia

For the related article discussing the Hebrew name Yeshu as found in Talmud and other Jewish literature, see Yeshu. For the similar sounding Hebrew or Aramaic name, see Yeshua (name).

The Talmud contains passages that some scholars have concluded are references to Christian traditions about Jesus (Yeshua). The history of textual transmission of these passages is complex and scholars are not agreed concerning which passages are original, and which were added later or removed later in reaction to the actions of Christians.

The first Christian censorship of the Talmud happened in the year 521.[1] However, far better documented censorship began during the disputations of the Middle Ages. Advocates for the Catholic Church alleged that the Talmud contained blasphemous references to Jesus and his mother, Mary. Jewish apologists during the disputations said there were no references to Jesus in the Talmud, and claimed Joshua and its derivations was a common Jewish name, that they referred to other individuals. The disputations led to many of the references being removed (censored) from subsequent editions of the Talmud.

In the modern era there has been a variance of views among scholars of the possible references to Jesus in the Talmud, depending partly on presuppositions as to the extent to which the ancient rabbis were preoccupied with Jesus and Christianity.[2] This range of views among modern scholars on the subject has been described as a range from “minimalists” who see few passages with reference to Jesus, to “maximalists” who see many passages having reference to Jesus.[3] These terms “minimalist” and “maximalist” are not unique to discussion of the Talmud text, they are also used in discussion of academic debate on other aspects of Jewish vs. Christian and Christian vs. Jewish contact and polemic in the early centuries of Christianity, such as the Adversus Iudaeos genre.[4] “Minimalists” include Jacob Z. Lauterbach (1951) (“who recognize[d] only relatively few passages that actually have Jesus in mind”),[3] while “maximalists” include Herford (1903), (who concluded that most of the references related to Jesus, but were non-historical oral traditions which circulated among Jews),[5][6] and Schfer (2007) (who concluded that the passages were parodies of parallel stories about Jesus in the New Testament incorporated into the Talmud in the 3rd and 4th centuries that illustrate the inter-sect rivalry between Judaism and nascent Christianity[7][pageneeded]).

Some editions of the Talmud are missing some of the references, which were removed either by Christian censors starting in the 13th century,[8] or by Jews themselves due to fear of antisemitic reprisals, or some were possibly lost by negligence or accident.[9] However,[citation needed] most modern editions published since the early 20th century have restored most of the references.

During the Middle Ages a series of debates on Judaism were staged by the Christian church including the Disputation of Paris, the Disputation of Barcelona, and Disputation of Tortosa and during those disputations, Jewish converts to Christianity, such as Pablo Christiani and Nicholas Donin claimed the Talmud contained insulting references to Jesus.[10] An early work describing Jesus in the Talmud was Pugio Fidei (“Dagger of Faith”) (c. 1280) by the Catalan Dominican Ramn Mart, a Jewish convert to Christianity.[11] In 1681 Johann Christoph Wagenseil translated and published a collection of anti-Christian polemics from Jewish sources, with the title Tela Ignea Satan, sive Arcani et Horribiles Judorum Adversus Christum, Deum, et Christianam Religionem Libri (Flaming Arrows of Satan, that is, the secret and horrible books of the Jews against Christ, God, and the Christian religion) which discussed Jesus in the Talmud.[11] The first book devoted solely to the topic of Jesus in the Talmud was the Latin work Jesus in Talmude published in 1699 by Rudolf Martin Meelfhrer, a student of Wagenseil at Altdorf.[12] In 1700, Johann Andreas Eisenmenger published Entdecktes Judenthum (Judaism Unmasked), which included descriptions of Jesus in the Talmud, and which would become the basis of much anti-Semitic literature in later centuries such as The Talmud Unmasked written in 1892 by Justinas Bonaventure Pranaitis.[13]

Starting in the 20th century the topic of Jesus in Judaic literature became subject to more unbiased, scholarly research, such as Das Leben Jesu nach jdischen Quellen written in 1902 by Samuel Krauss, which was the first scholarly analysis of the Judaic anti-Christian polemic Toledot Yeshu (The Biography of Jesus).[12] In 1903, Unitarian scholar R. Travers Herford wrote Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, which became the standard work on the topic in the Christian world, and he concluded that a large number of references referred to Jesus, not as a historical individual, but instead as the messiah of Christianity.[14] In 1910, Hermann Strack wrote Jesus, die Hretiker und die Christen nach den ltesten jdischen Angaben, which found no evidence of a historical Jesus in the Talmud.[12] In 1922 Joseph Klausner wrote Yeshu ha-Notzri (Jesus of Nazareth) which concluded that “the evidence [for a historical Jesus] in the Talmud is scanty and does not contribute much to our knowledge of the historical Jesus; much of it is legendary and reflects the Jewish attempt to counter Christian claims and reproaches” but he did conclude some material was historically reliable.[15] In 1950 Morris Goldstein wrote Jesus in the Jewish Tradition, including sections on the Toledoth Yeshu. In 1951, Jacob Z. Lauterbach wrote the essay Jesus in the Talmud.[16] In 1978 Johann Maier wrote Jesus von Nazareth in der talmudischen berlieferung, in which he concludes that there is virtually no evidence of the historical Jesus in the Talmud, and that the references to Jesus were “legendary” and probably added late in the Talmudic era “as a reaction to Christian provocations”.[17] In 2007, Peter Schfer wrote Jesus in the Talmud in which he tried to find a middle ground between “anti-Jewish Christian” and “apologetic Jewish” interpretations. He concluded that the references to Jesus (as the messiah of Christianity) were included in the early (3rd and 4th century) versions of the Talmud, and that they were parodies of New Testament narratives.[18]

In the first few centuries CE, there were many sects of Judaism (such as Pharisees, Essenes, and Sadducees) each claiming to be the correct faith.[19] Some scholars treat Christianity, during that era, referred to as Early Christianity, as simply one of many sects of Judaism.[20] Some sects wrote polemics advocating their position, and occasionally disparaging rival sects. Some scholars view the depictions of Jesus in the Talmud as a manifestation of those inter-sect rivalries thus the depictions can be read as polemics by the rabbinic authors of the Talmud which indirectly criticized the rival sect (Christianity), which was growing and becoming more dominant.[21]

Peter Schfer concluded that the references were not from the early tannaitic period (1st and 2nd centuries) but rather from the 3rd and 4th centuries, during the amoraic period.[22] He asserts that the references in the Babylonian Talmud were “polemical counter-narratives that parody the New Testament stories, most notably the story of Jesus’ birth and death”[23] and that the rabbinical authors were familiar with the Gospels (particularly the Gospel of John) in their form as the Diatessaron and the Peshitta, the New Testament of the Syrian Church. Schfer argues that the message conveyed in the Talmud was a “bold and self-confident” assertion of correctness of Judaism, maintaining that “there is no reason to feel ashamed because we rightfully executed a blasphemer and idolater.”[24]

By way of comparison the New Testament itself also documents conflict with rabbinical Judaism, for example in the John 8:41 charge “We are not born of fornication.”[25] and “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”[26] and in return in the description in Revelation of a “synagogue of Satan.”[27]

In contrast to Peter Schfer, Daniel J. Lasker suggests that the Talmudic stories about Jesus are not deliberate, provocative polemics, but instead demonstrate “embryonic” Jewish objections to Christianity which would later “blossom into a full-scale Jewish polemical attack on Christianity [the Toledoth Yeshu]“.[28]

Jeffrey Rubenstein has argued that the accounts in Chullin and Avodah Zarah (“Idolatry”) reveal an ambivalent relationship between rabbis and Christianity. In his view the tosefta account reveals that at least some Jews believed Christians were true healers, but that the rabbis saw this belief as a major threat. Concerning the Babylonian Talmud account in Avoda Zarah, Boyarin views Jacob of Sechania as a Christian preacher and understands Rabbi Eliezer’s arrest for minuth (“heresy”) as an arrest by the Romans for practising Christianity. When the Governor (the text uses the word for chief judge) interrogated him, the rabbi answered that he “trusted the judge.” Boyarin has suggested that this was the Jewish version of the Br’er Rabbit approach to domination, which he contrasts to the strategy of many early Christians, who proclaim their beliefs in spite of the consequences (i.e. martyrdom). Although Rabbi Eliezer was referring to God, the Governor interpreted him to be referring to the Governor himself, and freed the rabbi. According to them the account also reveals that there was greater contact between Christians and Jews in the 2nd century than commonly believed. They view the account of the teaching of Yeshu as an attempt to mock Christianity. According to Rubenstein, the structure of this teaching, in which a biblical prooftext is used to answer a question about biblical law, is common to both the rabbis and early Christians. The vulgar content, however, may have been used to parody Christian values. Boyarin considers the text to be an acknowledgment that rabbis often interacted with Christians, despite their doctrinal antipathy.[29]

Between 1239 and 1775 the Roman Catholic Church at various times either forced the censoring of parts of the Talmud that were theologically problematic or the destruction of copies of the Talmud.[30]

During the Middle Ages a series of debates on Judaism were staged by the Roman Catholic including the Disputation of Paris (1240), the Disputation of Barcelona (1263), and Disputation of Tortosa (141314)- and during those disputations, Jewish converts to Christianity, such as Nicholas Donin (in Paris) and Pablo Christiani (in Barcelona) claimed the Talmud contained insulting references to Jesus.[31][32][33]

During these disputations the representatives of the Jewish communities offered various defences to the charges of the Christian disputants. Notably influential on later Jewish responses was the defence of Yechiel of Paris (1240) that a passage about an individual named Yeshu in the Talmud was not a reference to the Christian Jesus, though at the same time Yechiel also conceded that another reference to Yeshu was. This has been described as the “theory of two Jesuses” though Berger (1998) notes that Yehiel in fact argues for three Jesuses.[34] This defence featured again in later Jewish defences during the medieval period, such as that of Nachmanides at the Disputation of Barcelona, though others such as Profiat Duran at the Disputation of Tortosa did not follow this argument.[35]

Amy-Jill Levine notes that even today some rabbinical experts do not consider that the Talmud’s account of Jesus’ death is a reference to the Jesus of the New Testament.[36]Gustaf Dalman (1922),[37]Joachim Jeremias (1960),[38] Mark Allen Powell (1998)[39] and Roger T. Beckwith (2005)[40] were also favourable to the view the Yeshu references in the Talmud were not to Jesus. Richard Bauckham considers Yeshu a legitimate, if rare, form of the name in use at the time, and writes that an ossuary bearing both the names Yeshu and Yeshua ben Yosef shows that it “was not invented by the rabbis as a way of avoiding pronouncing the real name of Jesus of Nazareth”[41]

Numerous times between 1239 and 1775 all copies of the Talmud were ordered destroyed. In 1280 following the Disputation of Barcelona the Talmud was order censored.[42] Following the invention of the printing press, the Talmud was banned by the Pope. All printed editions of the Talmud, including the Basel Talmud and the Vilna Edition Shas, were censored. In 1559 the Talmud was placed on the Roman Index and banned. In 1564 under the Tridentine Index an expunged version of the Talmud was allowed. In 1592 the pope ordered all copies of the Talmud and other heretical writing destroyed expunged or not. The total prohibition would stay in place until 1775. Even then the censorship system would remain in force.[30] As a result of these disputations many manuscript editions had references to Jesus removed or changed, and subsequent manuscripts sometimes omitted the passages entirely. Few copies would survive.

In the 20th century, new editions began restoring the censored material, such as in the 1935 English Soncino edition.[43]

Starting in the 13th century, manuscripts of the Talmud were sometimes altered in response to the criticisms made during the disputations, and in response to orders from the Christian church. Existing manuscripts were sometimes altered (for example, by erasure) and new manuscripts often omitted the passages entirely. Peter Schfer compared several editions and documented some alterations as illustrated in the following table:[44]

Bart Ehrman, and separately Mark Allan Powell, state that the Talmud references are quite late (hundreds of years) and give no historically reliable information about the teachings or actions of Jesus during his life. Ehrman clarifies that the name “Son of Panthera” (Roman who allegedly was the seducer of Mary) was a tradition, as scholars have long recognized, that represented an attack on the Christian view, that he was the son of a virgin. In Greek, the term for virgin is parthenos, which is similar to panthera, implying that “son of panthera” is a pun on “son of a virgin”.[45][46] The name “ben Stada”, used for the same figure, is explained by Peter Schfer as a reference to his mother’s supposed adultery:

His mother’s true name was Miriam, and Stada is an epithet which derives from the Hebrew/Aramaic root sat.ah/sete’ (to deviate from the right path, to go astray, to be unfaithful). In other words, his mother Miriam was also called Stada because she was a sotah, a woman suspected, or rather convicted, of adultery.”[47]

Peter Schfer states that there can be no doubt that the narrative of the execution of Jesus in the Talmud refers to Jesus of Nazareth, but states that the rabbinic literature in question are from a later Amoraic period and may have drawn on the Christian gospels, and may have been written as responses to them.[47]

Scholars debate whether the Talmud provides any evidence of Jesus as a historical individual. Van Voorst (2000) describes this as a spectrum of opinion:

There are several Talmudic passages that are said to be referring to Jesus. The following are among those considered the most controversial, contested, and possibly the most notable.[50][51][52]

Our rabbis taught Jesus the Nazarene had five disciples, and these are they: Matthai, Naqqai, Netzer, Buni, and Todah.[53][54][55][56]

The master said: Jesus the Nazarene practiced magic and deceived and led Israel astray.[57][58][59][60]

“Jesus son of Stada is Jesus son of Pandira?”

Rav Hisda said, “The husband was Stada and the lover was Pandera.”

“But was not the husband Pappos son of Yehuda and the mother Stada?”

No, his mother was Miriam, who let her hair grow long and was called Stada. Pumbedita says about her: “She was unfaithful to her husband.”[61][62][63][64]

On (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover, Jesus the Nazarene was hanged and a herald went forth before him forty days heralding, “Jesus the Nazarene is going forth to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and instigated and seduced Israel to idolatry. Whoever knows anything in defense may come and state it.” But since they did not find anything in his defense they hanged him on (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover.

Ulla said: “Do you suppose that Jesus the Nazarene was one for whom a defense could be made? He was a mesit (someone who instigated Israel to idolatry), concerning whom the Merciful [God] says: Show him no compassion and do not shield him (Deut. 13:9). With Jesus the Nazarene it was different. For he was close to the government.[54][65][66][67]

Sanhedrin 43a[68] relates the trial and execution of a sorcerer named Jesus (Yeshu in Hebrew) and his five disciples. The sorcerer is stoned and hanged on the Eve of Passover.[69]

Sanhedrin 107[70] tells of a Jesus (“Yeshu”) “offended his teacher by paying too much attention to the inn-keeper’s wife. Jesus wished to be forgiven, but [his rabbi] was too slow to forgive him, and Jesus in despair went away and put up a brick [idol] and worshipped it.”[71]

In Gittin 56b, 57a[72] a story is mentioned in which Onkelos summons up the spirit of a Yeshu who sought to harm Israel. He describes his punishment in the afterlife as boiling in excrement.[73][74]

Some scholars claim that the Hebrew name Yeshu is not a short form of the name Yeshua, but rather an acrostic for the Hebrew phrase “may his name and memory be blotted out” created by taking the first letter of the Hebrew words.[75]

In addition, at the 1240 Disputation of Paris, Donin presented the allegation that the Talmud was blasphemous towards Mary, the mother of Jesus (Miriam in Hebrew), and this criticism has been repeated by many Christian sources.[76] The texts cited by critics include Sanhedrin 67a,[77] Sanhedrin 106a,[78] and Shabbath 104b.[79] However, the references to Mary are not specific, and some assert that they do not refer to Jesus’ mother, or perhaps refer to Mary Magdalen.[80]

Scholars have identified the following references in the Talmud that some conclude refer to Jesus:[81]

Sanhedrin 43a relates the trial and execution of Jesus and his five disciples.[82] Here, Jesus is a sorcerer who has enticed other Jews to apostasy. A herald is sent to call for witnesses in his favour for forty days before his execution. No one comes forth and in the end he is stoned and hanged on the Eve of Passover. His five disciples, named Matai, Nekai, Netzer, Buni, and Todah are then tried. Word play is made on each of their names, and they are executed. It is mentioned that leniency could not be applied because of Jesus’ influence with the royal government (malkhut).

Scholars have identified passages in the Talmud and associated Talmudic texts that involve invoking Jesus’ name, as the messiah of Christianity, in order to perform magical healing:[83]

Scholars have identified passages that mention Jesus, as the messiah of Christianity, in the context of a Torah teacher:[83]

Sanhedrin 103a and Berachot 17b talk about a Yeshu ha-Nosri (Jesus of Nazareth) who “burns his food in public”, possibly a reference to pagan sacrifices or a metaphor for apostasy.[85] The account is discussing Manasseh the king of Judah infamous for having turned to idolatry and having persecuted the Jews (2 Kings 21). It is part of a larger discussion about three kings and four commoners excluded from paradise. These are also discussed in the Shulkhan Arukh where the son who burns his food is explicitly stated to be Manasseh. The passages identified by scholars in this context are:[83]

Passages in Sanhedrin 107b and Sotah 47a refer to an individual (Yeshu) that some scholars conclude is a reference to Jesus, regarded as the messiah of Christianity. In these passages, Jesus is described as a student of Joshua ben Perachiah (second half of the 2nd century BCE), and he (Jesus) was sent away for misinterpreting a word that in context should have been understood as referring to the Inn; he instead understood it to mean the innkeeper’s wife (the same word can mean “inn” and “hostess”).[86] His teacher said “Here is a nice inn”, to which he replied “Her eyes are crooked”, to which his teacher responded “Evil one! Is this what you are occupied in?” (Gazing at women was considered sinful.) [87] After several returns for forgiveness he mistook Perachiah’s signal to wait a moment as a signal of final rejection, and so he turned to idolatry. Some passages that have been identified by scholars as mentioning Jesus, as the messiah of Christianity, in this context include:[88]

The full passage is:

In all circumstances (one should exercise) use the left hand to push (away) and the right (to) bring closeward ..not like Yehoshua ben Perachya who pushed him to Yeshu- with both hands.. (here the Talmud begins a narration) at the time that Yannai the king was executing the Rabbis, Shimon ben Shatach(s sister) hid Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachya, he (then, subsequently was able to) go and run (escape) to Alexandria of Egypt. When there was (came) and (an era of) peace, Shimon ben Shatach sent to him (a letter:) from me Yerushalayim the holy city to you Alexander of Egypt -my sister, my husband dwells amongst you and I am sitting lonely said (Rabbi Yeshushua ben Perachya) I deduce (from the letter) that he (is enjoying)peace. As he (Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachya) came they went up to a lodge, (they -at the lodge) stood for him with exemplary honor and did for him extended goodness. He sat and was in the midst of praising ‘how beautiful is this lodging (which also means innkeeper in Aramaic)’, (Yeshu) said to him My master, her eyes are misshaped. He said to him Evil one!, in this what you are busy with?! he brought out four hundred Shofars and excommunicated him.

Every day he would come before him (intent on being readmitted,) and he did not accept him. One day he was reciting Kriat Shema,[89] he (Yeshu) came before him (the Rabbi) -it was on his (the Rabbi’s) mind to accept him- he (the Rabbi) showed him with his hand, he (Yeshu) thought ‘he is pushing him’, (Yeshu then) went erected a fish worship, he (his Rabbi) said to him ‘return yourself’ he (Yeshu) said to him ‘(so) I learnt from you; ‘all who sin and cause others to sin we do not give (are not given) him the ability to repent’.

Sotah 47a, Sanhedrin 107

The story ends by invoking a Mishnaic era teaching that Yeshu practised black magic, deceived and led Israel astray. This quote is seen by some as an explanation in general for the designation Yeshu.

According to Dr. Rubenstein, the account in Sanhedrin 107b recognizes the kinship between Christians and Jews, since Jesus is presented as a disciple of a prominent Rabbi. But it also reflects and speaks to an anxiety fundamental to Rabbinic Judaism. Prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70, Jews were divided into different sects, each promoting different interpretations of the law. Rabbinic Judaism domesticated and internalized conflicts over the law, while vigorously condemning any sectarianism. In other words, rabbis are encouraged to disagree and argue with one another, but these activities must be carefully contained, or else they could lead to a schism. Although this story may not present a historically accurate account of Jesus’ life, it does use a fiction about Jesus to communicate an important truth about the Rabbis. Moreover, Rubenstein sees this story as a rebuke to overly harsh Rabbis. Boyarin suggests that the Rabbis were well aware of Christian views of the Pharisees and that this story acknowledges the Christian belief that Jesus was forgiving and the Pharisees were not (see Mark 2:12), while emphasizing forgiveness as a necessary Rabbinic value.[29]

In Gittin 56b-57a a story is recorded in which Onkelos, a nephew of the Roman emperor Titus who destroyed the Second Temple, intent on converting to Judaism, summons up the spirits of Yeshu and others to help make up his mind. Each describes his punishment in the afterlife.

The complete passage from the 1935 Soncino edition is:

Onkelos son of Kolonikos … went and raised Titus from the dead by magical arts, and asked him; ‘Who is most in repute in the [other] world? He replied: Israel. What then, he said, about joining them? He said: Their observances are burdensome and you will not be able to carry them out. Go and attack them in that world and you will be at the top as it is written, Her adversaries are become the head etc.; whoever harasses Israel becomes head. He asked him: What is your punishment [in the other world]? He replied: What I decreed for myself. Every day my ashes are collected and sentence is passed on me and I am burnt and my ashes are scattered over the seven seas. He then went and raised Balaam by incantations. He asked him: Who is in repute in the other world? He replied: Israel. What then, he said, about joining them? He replied: Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. He then asked: What is your punishment? He replied: With boiling hot semen. He then went and raised by incantations Jesus [in Vilna edition: "the sinners of Israel"; "Jesus" appears in Munich 95 and Vatican 140 manuscripts and "he went and brought up Jesus the Nazarene" (Editions or MSs: Vatican 130)]. He asked them: Who is in repute in the other world? They replied: Israel. What about joining them? They replied: Seek their welfare, seek not their harm. Whoever touches them touches the apple of his eye. He said: What is your punishment? They replied: With boiling hot excrement, since a Master has said: Whoever mocks at the words of the Sages is punished with boiling hot excrement. Observe the difference between the sinners of Israel and the prophets of the other nations who worship idols. It has been taught: Note from this incident how serious a thing it is to put a man to shame, for God espoused the cause of Bar Kamza and destroyed His House and burnt His Temple.

Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 56b-57a

Scholars have identified passages that mention Jesus in the context of his execution:

The complete passage is: “On (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover Jesus the Nazarene was hanged and a herald went forth before him forty days heralding, ‘Jesus the Nazarene is going forth to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and instigated and seduced Israel to idolatry. Whoever knows anything in defense may come and state it.’ But since they did not find anything in his defense they hanged him on (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover. Ulla said: Do you suppose that Jesus the Nazarene was one for whom a defense could be made? He was a mesit (someone who instigated Israel to idolatry), concerning whom the Merciful [God]says: Show him no compassion and do not shield him (Deut. 13:9). With Jesus the Nazarene it was different. For he was close to the government.”[66][90]

In the Florence manuscript of the Talmud (1177 CE) an addition is made to Sanhedrin 43a saying that Yeshu was hanged on the eve of the Sabbath.[91]

Some Talmudic sources include passages which identify a “son of Pandera” (ben Pandera in Hebrew), and some scholars conclude that these are references to the messiah of Christianity.[92]

The Talmud, and other talmudic texts, contain several references to the “son of Pandera”. A few of the references explicitly name Jesus (“Yeshu”) as the “son of Pandera”: these explicit connections are found in the Tosefta, the Qohelet Rabbah, and the Jerusalem Talmud, but not in the Babylonian Talmud.[93] The explicit connections found in the Jerusalem Talmud are debated because the name “Jesus” (“Yeshu”) is found only in a marginal gloss in some manuscripts, but other scholars conclude that it was in the original versions of the Jerusalem Talmud.[94]

The texts include several spellings for the father’s name (Pandera, Panthera, Pandira, Pantiri, or Pantera) and some scholars conclude that these are all references to the same individual,[95] but other scholars suggest that they may be unrelated references.[96] In some of the texts, the father produced a son with a woman named Mary. Several of the texts indicate that the mother was not married to Pandera, and was committing adultery and by implication Jesus was a bastard child.[95] Some of the texts indicate that Mary’s husband’s name was Stada.

Some Talmudic sources include passages which identify a “son of Stada” or “son of Stara” (ben Stada or ben Stara in Hebrew), and some scholars conclude that these are references to the messiah of Christianity.[97]

Two talmudic-era texts that explicitly associate Jesus as the son of Pantera/Pandera are:

Both of the above passages describe situations where Jesus’ name is invoked to perform magical healing.[98] In addition, some editions of the Jerusalem Talmud explicitly identify Jesus as the son of Pandera:[99]

However, some editions of the Jerusalem Talmud do not contain the name Jesus in these passages, so the association in this case is disputed. The parallel passages in the Babylonian Talmud do not contain the name Jesus.

Other Talmudic narratives describe Jesus as the son of a Pantiri or Pandera, in a teaching context:[100]

However, the parallel accounts in the Babylonian Talmud mention Jesus but do not mention the father’s name:

The Babylonian talmud contains narratives that discuss an anonymous person who brought witchcraft out of Egypt, and the person is identified as “son of Pandera” or “son of Stada”. The Talmud discusses whether the individual (the name Jesus is not present in these passages) is the son of Stada, or Pandera, and a suggestion is made that the mother Mary committed adultery.[93]

There is no Talmudic text that directly associates Jesus with Mary (Miriam), instead the association is indirect: Jesus is associated with a father (“son of Pandera”), and in other passages, Pandera is associated with Mary (as her lover).[101]

Typically both Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds use the generic minim for heretics. Aside from mentions of the five disciples of “Yeshu ha Notzri,” the plural Notzrim, “Christians,” are only clearly mentioned once in the Babylonian Talmud, (where it is amended to Netzarim, people of the watch) in B.Ta’anit 27b with a late parallel in Masekhet Soferim 17:4.[102] And then “The day of the Notzri according to Rabbi Ishmael is forbidden for ever” in some texts of B.Avodah Zarah 6a.[103]

The Toledot Yeshu (History of Jesus) is a Jewish anti-Christian polemic that purports to be a biography of Jesus.[104] Some scholars conclude that the Toledot Yeshu is an expansion and elaboration on anti-Christian themes in the Talmud.[105] Stephen Gero suggests that an early version of the Toledot Yeshu narrative preceded the Talmud, and that the Talmud drew upon the Toledot Yeshu, but Rubenstein and Schfer discount that possibility, because they date the origin of the Toledot Yeshu in the early Middle Ages or Late Antiquity.[106]

The Platonistic philosopher Celsus, writing circa 150 to 200 CE, wrote a narrative describing a Jew who discounts the story of the Virgin Birth of Jesus.[107] Scholars have remarked on the parallels (adultery, father’s name “Panthera”, return from Egypt, magical powers) between Celsus’ account and the Talmudic narratives.[101] In Celsus’ account, the Jew says:

“. . .[Jesus] came from a Jewish village and from a poor country woman who earned her living by spinning. He says that she was driven out by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, as she was convicted of adultery. Then he says that after she had been driven out by her husband and while she was wandering about in a disgraceful way she secretly gave birth to Jesus. He states that because he [Jesus] was poor he hired himself out as a workman in Egypt, and there tried his hand at certain magical powers on which the Egyptians pride themselves; he returned full of conceit, because of these powers, and on account of them gave himself the title of God . . . the mother of Jesus is described as having been turned out by the carpenter who was betrothed to her, as she had been convicted of adultery and had a child by a certain soldier named Panthera.”[108][109]

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Jesus in the Talmud – Wikipedia

National Hispanic Heritage Month – Wikipedia

National Hispanic Heritage Month is the period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, when people recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the group’s heritage and culture.

Hispanic Heritage Week was established by legislation sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Roybal (D-Los Angeles) and first proclaimed President Lyndon Johnson in 1968.[1][2] The commemorative week was expanded by legislation sponsored by Rep. Esteban E. Torres (D-Pico Rivera) and implemented by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period (September 15 – October 15).[1] It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988 on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. All declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.[3]

Hispanic Heritage Month also celebrates the long and important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans in North America, starting with the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. A map of late 18th-century North America shows this presence, from the small outpost of San Francisco founded in the desolate wilderness of Alta California in 1776, through the Spanish province of Texas with its vaqueros (cowboys), to the fortress of St. Augustine, Florida the first settlement in North America, founded in 1513, ninety-four years before the English landed in Jamestown, Virginia.

During HHM, communities celebrate the achievements and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans with community festivals, government-sponsored activities and educational activities for students.

Northwest Arkansas Hispanic Heritage Festival, located in Fayetteville, Arkansas, established 2013 by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.[4]

The El Barrio Latin Jazz festival: This event in the Bronx, NYC starts on September 15 and continues through September 25. People attending the event can learn more about the Latin music scene in Harlem and its global impact while enjoying live jazz performances.


(federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies Bolded text indicates major holidays that are commonly celebrated by Americans, which often represent the major celebrations of the month.[1][2]

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National Hispanic Heritage Month – Wikipedia

The Five Books of Moses in the Torah – About Judaism: Its …

Uriel Sinai / Stringer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

By Ariela Pelaia

Updated February 23, 2016.

Although it has many different names, the Five Books of Moses are the most central origin texts for the whole ofJudaism and Jewish life.

Meaning and Origins

The Five Books of Moses are the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. There are a few different names for the Five Books of Moses:

The origin for this comes from Joshua 8:31-32, which references the “book of the law of Moses” ( , orsefer torah Moshe). It appears in many other places, including Ezra 6:18, which calls the text the “Book of Moshe” ( , sefer Moshe).

Although there is plenty of controversy over the authorship of the Torah, in Judaism, it is believed that Moses was responsible writing the five books.

Each of the Books

In Hebrew, these books have very different names, each taken from the first Hebrew word that appears in the book. They are:

How To

In Judaism, the Five Books of Moses are traditionally recorded in scroll form. This scroll is used weekly in synagogues in order to read the weekly Torah portions. There are countless rules surrounding the creation of, writing of, and use of a Torah scroll, which is why thechumashis popular in Judaism today. Thechumashessentially is just a printed version of the Five Books of Moses used in prayer and study.

Bonus Fact

Residing at the University of Bologna for decades,the oldest copy of the Torahis more than 800 years old. The scrolldates to between 1155 and 1225 and includes complete versions of the Five Books of Moses in Hebrew on sheepskin.

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The Five Books of Moses in the Torah – About Judaism: Its …

Hurva Synagogue – Wikipedia

The Hurva Synagogue, (Hebrew: , translit: Beit ha-Knesset ha-Hurva, lit. “The Ruin Synagogue”), also known as Hurvat Rabbi Yehudah he-Hasid (“Ruin of Rabbi Judah the Pious”), is a historic synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

The synagogue was founded in the early 18th century by followers of Judah heHasid, but it was destroyed by Muslims a few years later in 1721. The plot lay in ruins for over 140 years and became known as the Ruin, or Hurva. In 1864, the Perushim rebuilt the synagogue, and although officially named the Beis Yaakov Synagogue, it retained its name as the Hurva. It became Jerusalem’s main Ashkenazic synagogue, until it too was deliberately destroyed by the Arab Legion[5] after the withdrawal of Israeli forces during the 1948 ArabIsraeli War.[6]

After Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, a number of plans were submitted for the design of a new building. After years of deliberation and indecision, a commemorative arch was erected instead at the site in 1977, itself becoming a prominent landmark of the Jewish Quarter.[3] The plan to rebuild the synagogue in its 19th-century style received approval by the Israeli Government in 2000, and the newly rebuilt synagogue was dedicated on March 15, 2010.[7]

The Hurva Synagogue today stands off a plaza in the centre of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter. Excavations carried out at the site in July and August 2003 revealed evidence from four main settlement periods: First Temple(800600 BCE), Second Temple(100 CE), Byzantine and Ottoman.[8] Three bedrock-hewn mikvehs (ritual baths) were uncovered there dating from the 1st century.[9] The earliest tradition regarding the site is of a synagogue existing there at the time of the second-century sage Judah the Prince.[10] By the 13th century, the area had become a courtyard, known as Der Ashkenaz (the Ashkenazic Compound),[6] for the Ashkenazic community of Jerusalem.[11] In 1488, Obadiah ben Abraham Bartenura described a large courtyard containing many houses for exclusive use of the Ashkenazim, adjacent to a “synagogue built on pillars,” referring to the Ramban Synagogue.[12] The Ramban Synagogue had been used jointly by both Ashkenazim and Sephardim until 1586, when the Ottoman authorities confiscated the building. Thereafter, the Ashkenazim established a synagogue within their own, adjacent courtyard.[6]

In the winter of 1700, a group of around 500 Ashkenazim led by Judah heHasid arrived from Europe.[6] They were mystics who were intent on advancing the arrival of the Messianic Era by settling in Jerusalem and leading ascetic lives.[13] A few days after their arrival in the city, heHasid died, and without a leader, their messianic hopes dissipated and the community began to disintegrate.[6] Those who remained managed to build forty dwellings and a small synagogue in the Ashkenazic Compound.[6] Soon after, they endeavoured to construct a larger synagogue, but the task proved expensive.[13] They found themselves having to bribe the Ottoman authorities in order to enable them to proceed with their building project.[13] Unexpected costs relating to the construction, financial hardships and the burden of various other taxes drained their funds. They became impoverished and were forced to take loans from local Arabs, eventually falling into severe debt.[6] Pressure and threats from the creditors led to a meshulach (rabbinical emissary) being sent abroad to solicit funds for repayment of the loans.[14] In late 1720, with the debts still outstanding,[15] the Arab lenders lost patience and set the synagogue and its contents alight. The leaders of the community were imprisoned and shortly after, all the Ashkenazim were banished from the city.[16] Over the course of time, shops were built in the courtyard and the synagogue was left desolate, in a pile of rubble. It thus became known as the “Ruin of Rabbi Judah heHasid”.[13]

Between 1808 and 1812 another group of ascetic Jews, known as Perushim, immigrated to Palestine from Lithuania. They were disciples of the Vilna Gaon and had settled in the city of Safed to the north. Some had wished to settle in Jerusalem and reclaim the Ashkenazic Compound. They were worried, however, that descendants of the Arab creditors still held the old promissory notes relating to the century-old debts incurred by he-Hasid’s followers and that a new group of Ashkenazic immigrants would possibly inherit responsibility for repayment. The descendants of a group of Hasidim who made aliyah in 1777 also presented a problem. They apparently objected to any effort by the Perushim to take control of the synagogue ruin, claiming it had never belonged to the Perushim or their ancestors. The Hasidim claimed they had closer ties with the original owners and that their rights to the parcel of land were greater.[17]

Nevertheless, in late 1815, leader of the Safed Perushim, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov, arrived in Jerusalem with a group of followers. They directed their main efforts to rebuilding he-Hasid’s synagogue, which had symbolised the expulsion of the Ashkenazim from Jerusalem. By this, they intended to demonstrate the re-establishment of Ashkenazic presence in the city. Rebuilding one of Jerusalem’s ruins would also have symbolic kabbalistic significance. The “repairing” of an earlier destruction would represent the first step of rebuilding the entire city, a prerequisite for the arrival of the Messiah.[17]

In 1816 they “pleaded with the powers in the city of Constantinople to obtain a royal decree that the Arabs residing in Jerusalem would not be permitted to enforce the debts of the Ashkenazim”, but nothing came of it. A year later, several leaders of the group, including Avraham Shlomo Zalman Zoref, a Lithuanian-born silversmith, and Soloman Pach, travelled to Constantinople endeavouring to obtain such a firman (imperial decree). Two years later, in 1819, their efforts were realised and the century-old debts were cancelled.[18] The group acquired a legal document delineating the entire site acquired by he-Hasid in 1700. The area now included dilapidated dwellings and shops built by the creditors’ heirs on part of the site. Next, they had to secure another firman that would permit construction at the site, including the building of a large synagogue. Two successive missions in 1820 and 1821 to obtain the firman from the sultan’s court failed.[18]

Still awaiting imperial permission to build in the courtyard, the Perushim wished to rely on an old firman given to the Jews in 1623, which stated that there could be no objection to them building in their own quarters. Having received a supporting document issued by the Qadi of Jerusalem in March 1824, it was possible for them begin rebuilding the dwellings in the courtyard. In practice, however, construction never materialised as they were unable to exercise their authority over the plot of land. This was apparently due to confrontation with the Arab squatters and the local government’s disregard of the documents proving their ownership of the courtyard.[19]

In 1825, following the disruption the group were experiencing, Shapira travelled to Europe once again. He hoped to secure the necessary firman, which would place the courtyard firmly in the Perushim’s possession, and also to raise funds to cover the costs incurred trying to redeem the courtyard. His mission, however, was unsuccessful, as was a later mission attempted in 1829 by Zoref.[19]

With the annexation of Jerusalem by Egypt in 1831, a new opportunity arose for the Perushim. They petitioned Muhammad Ali regarding the rebuilding of the synagogue, but concerns about deviating from longstanding Muslim tradition and the Pact of Umar (which restricted the repair or construction of non-Muslim houses of worship) meant permission was not forthcoming. However, five months after the earthquake of May 1834, the prohibition was relaxed and the Sephardim were allowed to carry out repair works to their existing synagogues. This consent gave rise to further efforts by the Ashkenazim to receive authorisation to rebuild theirs.[20]

On 23 June 1836, after traveling to Egypt, Zoref, together with the backing of the Austrian and Russian consuls in Alexandria, obtained the long-awaited firman. It seems he was successful in gaining support of the Austrian consul and Muhammad Ali by invoking the name of Baron Salomon Mayer von Rothschild of Vienna. Muhammad Ali was hopeful that by giving his permission to rebuild the Ruin, Rothschild would be inclined to forge financial and political ties with him, which would in turn secure political support of Austria and France. In fact, Rothschild’s involvement was a ruse. As soon as Zoref received the firman, he contacted Zvi Hirsch Lehren of the Clerks’ Organisation in Amsterdam, requesting that funds his brother had pledged towards the building of synagogues in Palestine be applied to the Ruin.[21] But Lehren had doubts as to what exactly the firman permitted. Explicit authorisation for construction of a large synagogue was absent. (A letter from the leaders of the Amsterdam community to Moses Montefiore in 1849 confirms that permission for a synagogue in the Ashkenasic Compound had not been sanctioned; they had only been allowed to build dwellings in the area.)[22]

In spite of the doubts highlighted in relation to the construction of a synagogue, the Perushim, confidently in possession of the ambiguous firman, began clearing away the rubble from the Ruin courtyard in September 1836. As the foundations of he-Hasid’s original synagogue were revealed, they discovered a few old documents dating from 1579, signed by Israel ben Moses Najara.[23] After much debate, they decided not to rebuild the Ruin, but initially erect a small structure on the edge of the Ashkenasic compound.[23] The Arab creditors, however, still refused to relinquish the claims they had on the Jews and continued to interfere with the works.[22] Zoref, claiming that the Ashkenazim currently in Jerusalem were not related in any way to those who had borrowed the money at the turn of the 18th century, was forced to appear in court requesting a further ruling cancelling the debts. He mentioned that an injunction had already been passed that absolved the Ashkenazim from repaying the debt[24] and maintained that the Turkish Statute of Limitations cancelled out the debts of Judah heHasid’s followers.[25] Although the court ruled in the Ashkenazim’s favour,[24] Zoref nevertheless had to appease the Arab instigators with annual bribes in order to allow building to continue. At some point this arrangement ceased and in 1851, he was struck on the head with a sword and died of his wounds three months later.[25][26] By January 1837 however, the Perushim had dedicated the modest Menachem Zion Synagogue in the northwestern corner of the courtyard.[24] In 1854, a second smaller synagogue was built within the compound.[27] The actual plot upon which he-Hasid’s synagogue had stood 130 years earlier, however, remained in ruins.

In the early 1850s, the Perushim felt ready to attempt the building a larger synagogue on he-Hasid’s original site. An outcome of the Crimean War was the British Government’s willingness to use its increased influence at Constantinople to intervene on behalf of its Jewish subjects who resided in Jerusalem. On 13 July 1854, James Finn of the British consulate in Jerusalem wrote to the British ambassador in Constantinople describing the wishes of the 2,000 strong Ashkenazic community to build a new synagogue. He noted that funds for construction had been collected by Moses Montefiore twelve years earlier. He also enclosed a 150-year-old firman, which authorised the Ashkenazic Jews to rebuild their ruined synagogue.[28] As the title to the plot of land was held by the Amzalag family, who were British subjects, they designated London-born Rabbi Hirschell, son of Chief Rabbi of Great Britain Solomon Hirschell, to negotiate the transfer. The British consulate agreed to lend its sanction to the contract in order to avoid possible intrusion by the Turks.[11] At issue was the question of whether the building of a synagogue at the site constituted the repair of an old house of non-Muslim worship or the establishment of a new synagogue. The Turks would have to grant a special license for the latter.[11] This was received through the efforts of Francis Napier and Stratford Canning, 1st Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British ambassadors to the Sublime Porte, who secured the necessary firman in 1854.[13][29] In July 1855, while in Constantinople, Montefiore was handed the firman,[30] which he hand-delivered during his fourth visit to Jerusalem in 1857.[31]

With permission granted, the groundbreaking ceremony took place on the last day of Hanukkah of 1855.[31] On April 22, 1856, the cornerstone was laid in the presence of Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Shmuel Salant.[31] Salant had been instrumental in raising the necessary funding, making a trip to Europe in 1860 and obtaining large donations, especially from Montefiore.[31] Some of the stones used in construction of the building was purchased from the Industrial Plantation, where poor Jews assisted in quarrying and shaping the blocks.[32] On May 7, 1856 Consul Finn inspected the site after receiving complaints from Muslims who suspected the opening of windows towards a mosque.[33]

Although originally in possession of a lump sum they hoped would pay for the planned edifice, expenses increased. Construction work progressed slowly for lack of funds and the impoverished community soon found themselves having to arrange collections throughout the diaspora. One notable emissary, Jacob Saphir, set off for Egypt in 1857 and returned in 1863 having visited Yemen, Aden, India, Java, Australia, New Zealand and Ceylon.[34] The largest single gift came from Ezekiel Reuben, a wealthy Sephardi Jew from Baghdad, who gave 100,000 of the million piasters needed. His sons, Menashe and Sasson, later supplemented his donation. The combined donations from the Reuben family eventually covered more than half the cost. It marked an important step in the unity of the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities of the city.[2] Another contributor was Frederick William IV of Prussia, whose name was inscribed above the entrance together with those of other benefactors.[35] He also gave permission for funds to be collected from his Jewish subjects. Throughout Western Europe, emissaries sought donations with the slogan “Merit Eternal Life with one stone”.[2]

With new funds arriving, work could progress. In 1862 the domed ceiling was completed and Rabbi Yeshaya Bardaki, head of the Ashkenazic community, was honored with placing the final stone of the dome.[36] Two years later in 1864, the new synagogue was dedicated. Present was Baron Alphonse James de Rothschild, who 8 years earlier had been given the honour of laying the first stone.[31] The edifice was officially named Beis Yaakov “House of Jacob” in memory of James Mayer de Rothschild, whose son Edmond James de Rothschild had dedicated much of his life supporting the Jews of Palestine. The locals, however, continued to refer to the building as the Hurva.[6] As a token of gratitude to the British government for their involvement, the British Consul James Finn, was invited to the dedication ceremony, which included a thanksgiving service. He described the “beautiful chants and anthems in Hebrew”, the subsequent refreshments provided and the playing of Russian and Austrian music.[10]

The Hurva Synagogue was designed and constructed under the supervision of Assad Effendi, the sultan’s official architect.[2][37] Built in Byzantine Revival style,[38] it was supported by four massive pilasters at each corner over which soared a large dome. The construction of only one of these towers was completed. The other three were missing the upper level and the small dome that capped it.[39] The facade was covered in finely hewn stone and incorporated 12.5m (41ft) high window arches. The height of the synagogue to the bottom of its dome was around 16m (52ft) and to the top of the dome it was 24m (79ft).[39] Twelve windows were placed around the base of the dome, which was surrounded by a veranda, which offered a fine view of large parts of the Old City and the area around Jerusalem.[39] Being one of the tallest structures in the Old City, it was visible for miles.

The synagogue prayer hall was reached via an entrance with three iron gates. The length was around 15.5m (51ft) and the width was around 14m (46ft). The women’s section was in the galleries, along the three sides of the chapel, except the eastern side. Access to the galleries was through towers situated at the corners of the building.[39]

The Torah ark had the capacity to house 50 Torah scrolls and was built on two levels. It was flanked by four Corinthian columns surrounded by baroque woodcuts depicting flowers and birds.[2] The Ark, together with its ornamental gates, were taken from the Nikolayevsky Synagogue in Kherson, Russia, which had been used by Russian Jewish conscripts forced to spend twenty-five years in the Imperial Russian Army. Directly above the Ark was a triangular window with rounded points. To the right and in front of the ark was the cantor’s podium, which was designed as a miniature version of the two-level Ark.[39]

The centre of the synagogue originally contained a high wooden bema, but this was later replaced with a flat platform covered with expensive marble plates.

Numerous crystal chandeliers hung from the dome. The dome itself was painted sky-blue and strewn with golden stars.[40] Frescoes with religious motifs, such as stars of David, the menorah, Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments, adorned every wall. In the four corners were drawings of four animals in accordance with the statement in Pirkei Avot: “Be strong as the leopard and swift as the eagle, fleet as the deer and brave as the lion to do the will of your Father in Heaven.”[39]

One of the most generous donations came from Pinchas Rosenberg, the Imperial Court tailor of Saint Petersburg. In the diary of Rabbi Chaim ha-Levy, the emissary who had been sent from Jerusalem to collect funds for the synagogue, Rosenberg set out in details what his money was intended for. Among the items that were bought with his money were two big bronze candelabras; a silver menorah that “arrived miraculously on the 1st Tevet [1866] precisely in time to light the last eight Hanukah candles” and an iron door made under the holy ark for safe-keeping of the candlestick. He also earmarked funds towards the building of an “artistically wrought iron fence around the roof under the upper windows so that there be a veranda on which may stand all our brethren who go up in pilgrimage to behold our desolate Temple, and also a partition for the womenfolk on the Feast of Tabernacles and Simchat Torah.”[2]

From 1864 onwards, the Hurva Synagogue was considered the most beautiful and most important synagogue in the Land of Israel.[39] It was described as “the glory of the Old City” and the “most striking edifice in all of Palestine.”[41] It also housed part of the Etz Chaim Yeshiva, the largest yeshiva in Jerusalem. It was a focal point of Jewish spiritual life in the city and was the site of the installation of the Ashkenazic chief rabbis of both Palestine and Jerusalem.[39] On his visit to Jerusalem in 1866, Moses Montefiore went to the synagogue, placing a silver breastplate on one of the Torah scrolls. When he visited again in 1875, a crowd of 3,000 Jews turned out to greet him.[42] On February 3, 1901 a memorial service for Queen Victoria took place inside the synagogue in gratitude for the protection afforded to the Jews of Jerusalem by Britain. The service was presided over by the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi, Shmuel Salant. According to a report in The Jewish Chronicle, the large building was “filled to its utmost capacity and policemen had to keep off the crowds, who vainly sought admission, by force”.[43] In around 1919, Benjamin Lee Gordon wrote that the “synagogue presented a very pleasant and dignified appearance. It was well illuminated with artistic lamps presented by a certain Mr. Lichtenstein, of Philadelphia.”[44] In 1921 Abraham Isaac Kook was appointed first Chief Rabbi of Palestine at the synagogue. The synagogue also hosted Herbert Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel, who was honoured with reciting a portion of the Torah.[6] In 1923 Yosef Shalom Eliashiv’s bar mitzvah was held at the synagogue. In the 1930s and possibly earlier, the Synagogue housed the Chayei Olam Cheider, where indigent students form the Old City received their Torah education.[45]

On May 25, 1948, during the battle for the Old City, commander of the Jordanian Arab Legion, Major Abdullah el-Tell, wrote to Otto Lehner of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to warn that unless the Haganah abandoned its positions in the synagogue and its adjoining courtyard, he would be forced to attack it. Moshe Russnak, commander of the Haganah in the Old City, ignored his request, knowing that if the Hurva fell, the battle for the Jewish Quarter would soon be lost.[47] On May 26, 1948, the Jordanian Arab Legion delivered an ultimatum to the Jews to surrender within 12 hours; otherwise the Hurva would be bombarded.[48]

On May 27, el-Tell, after receiving no answer to his proposition, told his men to “Get the Hurva Synagogue by noon.” Fawzi el-Kutub executed the mission by placing a 200-litre barrel filled with explosives against the synagogue wall. The explosion resulted in a gaping hole and Haganah fighters spent forty-five minutes fighting in vain to prevent the Legionnaires from entering. When they finally burst through, they tried to reach the top of its dome to plant an Arab flag. Three were shot by snipers, but the fourth succeeded. The Arab flag flying over the Old City skyline signaled the Legion’s triumph. As the Legionnaires took the “Hurva Synagogue, the quarters most sacred building, they blew it up without reason[46] A huge explosion reduced the 84-year-old synagogue, together with the Etz Chaim Yeshiva attached to it, to rubble.[47]

The building was deliberately mined after the Arabs had captured the area.[49] Together with that major synagogue, another 57 Jewish sanctuaries were purposely and systematically destroyed by the Jordanians soon after their occupation of the Old City in 1948.[50]

Following the Six-Day War, plans were mooted and designs sought for a new synagogue to be built at the site, part of the overall rehabilitation of the Jewish Quarter. Many religious and political figures supported the proposal to rebuild the original synagogue “where it was, as it was” in line with the traditional religious character of the area. However, the Jewish Quarter Development Company, in charge of the restoration of the Jewish Quarter, strongly opposed it.[27] The Israeli planners and architects involved in developing the area wanted the building to reflect their modern Western identity. Additionally, although it would have been possible to rebuild it as it was, neither the architects nor the masons felt they were sufficiently qualified in traditional masonry technology to attempt it. Moreover, most of the original carved stones and surviving decorative elements had been removed, making a true “reconstruction” unrealisable. Swayed by the creativity of contemporary architecture and contrary to the 19th century design, which was meant to blend in with the Oriental landscape, they supported the modern redesign of the Hurva by a prominent architect.[27]

Leading the campaign to rebuild the Hurva was Shlomo Zalman Tzoref’s great-great-grandson, Ya’acov Salomon.[51] He consulted Ram Karmi, who in turn recommended Louis Kahn, a world-renowned architect who was also a founding member of the Jerusalem Committee. Kahn had also previously designed Philadelphia’s Mikveh Israel Synagogue in 1961 which remained unbuilt.[52] Between 1968 and 1973, Kahn presented three plans for the reconstruction. The ruins were incorporated in a memorial garden, with a new structure on an adjacent lot and a promenade, the “Route of the Prophets”, leading to the Western Wall.[51] Kahn proposed a structure within a structure, monumental “pylons of Jerusalem stone on each side enclosing four huge central pillars of reinforced concrete, so that the pylons function[ed] as a container and the pillars as its content”.[53] Following the Beaux-Arts tradition, the elements of architecture were conceived as hollow, thus creating pocketing spaces within both structures.[54] The outer structure was composed of 16 piers covered in golden Jerusalem stone cut in blocks of the same proportions and same course finish as those of the Western Wall.[55] In the bases of the four corners of the two-story, 12m (39ft) high structure delineated by the piers, there would be small alcoves for meditation or individual prayer. Such alcoves would be used for daily prayer services, allowing larger crowds on Sabbath or festivals. Boston-based architect Moshe Safdie, who had built extensively in Jerusalem and trained with Kahn in Philadelphia, was also in favour of rebuilding using contemporary design: “It’s absurd to reconstruct the Hurva as if nothing had happened. If we have the desire to rebuild it, let’s have the courage to have a great architect do it.”[51]

When Teddy Kollek, then mayor of Jerusalem, had learned of Kahn’s plans to design the Hurva at a scale comparable to the Dome of the Rock and the Kotel, the mayor was unsupportive and stated: “Should we in the Jewish Quarter have a building of major importance which ‘competes’ with the Mosque and the Holy Sepulcher and should we in general have any building which would compete in importance with the Western Wall of the Temple?”[56] Kollek was also concerned with the impact such a monumental temple may have in the Old City.[57] Kahn’s model was displayed in the Israel Museum, but his plan was shelved when he died in 1974.[51]Kent Larson later referred to Kahn’s proposal as “the greatest of the unbuilt”.[58]

As no permanent solution could be agreed upon, a temporary, symbolic solution was created. In 1977, one of the four stone arches that had originally supported the synagogue’s monumental dome was recreated.[51] The height of the original building, including the dome, had been 50% greater than that of the new commemorative arch, which stood 16m (52ft) high. Together with the remains of the building and explanatory plaques, it was a stark reminder of what had once stood at the site.[51]

With the ongoing disputes over the modern faade of the proposed new building, which some felt did not properly match the Jewish Quarter’s aesthetic, an Englishman named Charles Clore took the initiative to fund a new design projects.[51] He commissioned Denys Lasdun, who drew up plans between 1978 and 1981 that more closely adhered to the original Hurva. His plans were still considered insufficient, as they were rejected by Prime Minister Menachem Begin[27] and the Minister of Interior, who refused to sign papers enabling construction to begin. No further progress was made and when Clore, who had wished to see the synagogue completed in his lifetime, died, his daughter provided funds to create one of the few open spaces in the Jewish Quarter adjacent to the Hurva.[51]

The Hurva featured on a NIS3.60 Israeli postage stamp in 1993 to commemorate 45 years of Israeli independence, and its arch on a $1.20 Antiguan postage stamp in 1996.[61] However, in 1996, the supposedly temporary arch of the Hurva was almost thirty years old and, as a solution, it became nearly perpetual. Such condition was then publicly noted and interpreted:

Quite far from Kahn’s “American dream”, Israeli reality has provided [...] an [...] objectionable substitute a single reconstructed arch of the Old Hurva. Such a lonely architectural sign, standing as an insipid memorial to a nineteenth-century synagogue in ruins, cannot be other than a problematic reincarnation of a ruined synagogue.[62]

This suggested that the single reconstructed arch of the Hurva could no longer be understood as a satisfactory expression of any commitment to rebuild the lost synagogue nor as an acceptable official response to its intentional destruction in 1948.

The plan to rebuild the synagogue in its original 19th-century style received approval by the Israeli government in 2000. Jerusalem architect Nahum Meltzer, who proposed rebuilding the synagogue in its original Ottoman format, was given the commission. Meltzer stated that “both out of respect for the historical memory of the Jewish people and out of respect for the built-up area of the Old City, it is fitting for us to restore the lost glory and rebuild the Hurva Synagogue the way it was.”[39] The state-funded Jewish Quarter Development Corporation under the leadership of Dov Kalmanovich convinced the Israeli government to allocate $6.2million (NIS24m), about 85% of the cost, for the reconstruction, with private donors contributing the remainder. In the end, the government only gave NIS11m, with the remainder being donated by a Ukrainian Jewish businessman and philanthropist, Vadim Rabinovitch.[3][63]

In 2002 the Israeli mint issued a set of medals featuring the synagogue to mark the beginning of the reconstruction project.[64] Following comprehensive historic research, the reconstruction works began in 2005 and on February 15, 2007, Simcha HaKohen Kook[65] of Rehovot was appointed as its rabbi, a move confirmed by leading rabbis, including Yosef Shalom Eliashiv.[66] On April 15, 2008 a celebration marked the placing of the keystone in the synagogue’s dome.[15]

Recently, contention arose over what kind of institution the Hurva would be. Secularist and nationalist-religious activists opposed the notion of another synagogue in the Old City and wanted the site to become a museum presenting the historical saga of the Jewish Quarter and displaying archaeological finds unearthed there. They viewed the appointment of Kook as the rabbi while the structure was still a shell as a move aimed at preventing a Modern Orthodox rabbi, who would have been more amenable to a broader utilisation of the site, from getting the position. Rabbi of the Jewish Quarter, Avigdor Nebenzahl, has been clear that he wants the building to serve as a synagogue and a house of study.[7]

The reconstructed Hurva was officially opened on March 15, 2010 in the presence of Israeli politicians and chief rabbis.[67] A day earlier, hundreds of people had accompanied a new Torah scroll into the synagogue.[68] Several Palestinian leaders claimed that the rededication signaled Israels intent to destroy the Muslim holy places on the Temple Mount and replace it with the Third Temple. Fatah official Khatem Abd el-Khader called the renovation of the Hurva a “provocation”, warned Israel that it was “playing with fire” and called on Palestinians to “converge on Al-Aksa to save it.”[69]Khaled Mashal of Hamas described the synagogue’s opening as “a declaration of war” and called it a “falsification of history and Jerusalem’s religious and historic monuments.”[70] Fearing riots by Arab protestors, over 3,000 policemen were deployed ahead of the dedication ceremony.[69] The Organisation of the Islamic Conference said that the reopening risked “dragging the region into a religious war” and claimed the building was historically on a waqf (Islamic trust) land.[71] The Jordanian government also condemned the move stating that it “categorically rejects the rededication of Hurva synagogue and all other unilateral Israeli measures in occupied East Jerusalem because they run counter to international legitimacy.”[72] Iran urged the international community to respond to the reopening and a Foreign Ministry spokesman called the move a “catastrophe that has distressed the Islamic world.”[73] Israeli officials countered that Arab fears of a takeover of the Temple Mount were based on rumors and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended a message of coexistence.[74] The U.S. State Department criticised Palestinians for stoking tensions at the rededication of the historic synagogue.[75] The day after, Arabs clashed with Israeli police in East Jerusalem after Palestinian groups called for a “day of rage” over the reopening.[76]

In September 2010, Hamas released a propaganda video showing various Israeli landmarks, including the Hurva synagogue, ablaze after coming under missile attack.[77] The images were the result of special effects, as no such attacks had taken place.

Gerer Rebbe at the Hurva, 1942

The synagogue in ruins, 1948

The synagogue in ruins, 1967

Hurva Synagogue Project, after Louis I. Kahn, phase 1, 1968. Cross section showing interplay between pylons and pillars.

The Hurva under reconstruction, with the 1977 arch just before being removed, 2006

Under reconstruction, 2007

Under reconstruction, 2008

Under reconstruction, 2009

Exterior of the Hurva Synagogue, 2010

Interior of the synagogue includes fragments of the 1864 temple

Mural inspired by Psalm 137: “By the rivers of Babylon”

Parokhet, with Psalm 137: “If I forget you, oh Jerusalem…”

See the original post:
Hurva Synagogue – Wikipedia

History of antisemitism – Wikipedia

The history of antisemitism defined as hostile actions or discrimination against Jews as a religious or ethnic group goes back many centuries; antisemitism has been called “the longest hatred.”[1]Jerome Chanes identifies six stages in the historical development of antisemitism:

Chanes suggests that these six stages could be merged into three categories: “ancient antisemitism, which was primarily ethnic in nature; Christian antisemitism, which was religious; and the racial antisemitism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.”[3]

In practice, it is difficult to differentiate antisemitism from the general ill-treatment of nations by other nations before the Roman period, but since the adoption of Christianity in Europe, antisemitism has undoubtedly been present. The Islamic world has also seen the Jews historically as outsiders. The coming of the scientific and industrial revolution in 19th-century Europe bred a new manifestation of antisemitism, based as much upon race as upon religion, culminating in the horrors of the Nazi extermination camps of World War II. The formation of the state of Israel in 1948 has created new antisemitic tensions in the Middle East.

Louis H. Feldman argues that “we must take issue with the communis sensus that the pagan writers are predominantly anti-Semitic.[4] Indeed, he asserts that “one of the great puzzles that has confronted the students of anti-semitism is the alleged shift from pro-Jewish statements found in the first pagan writers who mention the Jews… to the vicious anti-Jewish statements thereafter, beginning with Manetho about 270 BCE.”[5] In view of Manetho’s anti-Jewish writings, antisemitism may have originated in Egypt and been spread by “the Greek retelling of Ancient Egyptian prejudices”.[6] As examples of pagan writers who spoke positively of Jews, Feldman cites Aristotle, Theophrastus, Clearchus of Soli and Megasthenes. Feldman concedes that, after Manetho, “the picture usually painted is one of universal and virulent anti-Judaism.”

The first clear examples of anti-Jewish sentiment can be traced back to Alexandria in the 3rd century BCE.[7] Alexandria was home to the largest Jewish community in the world and the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, was produced there. Manetho, an Egyptian priest and historian of that time, wrote scathingly of the Jews and his themes are repeated in the works of Chaeremon, Lysimachus, Poseidonius, Apollonius Molon, and in Apion and Tacitus.[7] Hecateus of Abdera is quoted by Flavius Josephus as having written about the time of Alexander the Great that the Jews “have often been treated injuriously by the kings and governors of Persia, yet can they not be dissuaded from acting what they think best; but that when they are stripped on this account, and have torments inflicted upon them, and they are brought to the most terrible kinds of death, they meet them after an extraordinary manner, beyond all other people, and will not renounce the religion of their forefathers.”[8] One of the earliest anti-Jewish edicts, promulgated by Antiochus Epiphanes in about 170167 BCE, sparked a revolt of the Maccabees in Judea.

The ancient Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria describes an attack on Jews in Alexandria in 38 CE in which thousands of Jews died.[9][10] The violence in Alexandria may have been caused by the Jews being portrayed as misanthropes.[11] Tcherikover argues that the reason for hatred of Jews in the Hellenistic period was their separateness in the Greek cities, the poleis.[12] Bohak has argued, however, that early animosity against the Jews cannot be regarded as being anti-Judaic or antisemitic unless it arose from attitudes that were held against the Jews alone, and that many Greeks showed animosity toward any group they regarded as barbarians.[13]

Statements exhibiting prejudice against Jews and their religion can be found in the works of many pagan Greek and Roman writers.[14] Edward Flannery writes that it was the Jews’ refusal to accept Greek religious and social standards that marked them out. Hecataeus of Abdera, a Greek historian of the early third century BCE, wrote that Moses “in remembrance of the exile of his people, instituted for them a misanthropic and inhospitable way of life.” Manetho, an Egyptian historian, wrote that the Jews were expelled Egyptian lepers who had been taught by Moses “not to adore the gods.” The same themes appeared in the works of Chaeremon, Lysimachus, Poseidonius, Apollonius Molon, and in Apion and Tacitus. Agatharchides of Cnidus wrote about the “ridiculous practices” of the Jews and of the “absurdity of their Law,” and how Ptolemy Lagus was able to invade Jerusalem in 320 BC because its inhabitants were observing the Sabbath.[7] Edward Flannery describes antisemitism in ancient times as essentially “cultural, taking the shape of a national xenophobia played out in political settings.”[15]

There is a recorded instance of an Ancient Greek ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes, desecrating the Temple in Jerusalem and banning Jewish religious practices, such as circumcision, Shabbat observance and the study of Jewish religious books,[16] during the period when Ancient Greece dominated the eastern Mediterranean. Statements exhibiting prejudice towards Jews and their religion can also be found in the works of a few pagan Greek and Roman writers,[17] but the earliest occurrence of antisemitism has been the subject of debate among scholars, largely because different writers use different definitions of antisemitism. The terms “religious antisemitism” and “anti-Judaism” are sometimes used to refer to animosity towards Judaism as a religion rather than to Jews defined as an ethnic or racial group.

Relations between the Jews in Palestine and the occupying Roman Empire were antagonistic from the very start and resulted in several rebellions.

Several ancient historians report that in 19 CE the Roman emperor Tiberius expelled Jews from Rome. According to the Roman historian Suetonius, Tiberius tried to suppress all foreign religions. In the case of Jews, he sent young Jewish men, under the pretence of military service, to provinces noted for their unhealthy climate. He dismissed all other Jews from the city, under threat of life slavery for non-compliance.[18]Josephus, in his Jewish Antiquities,[19] confirms that Tiberius ordered all Jews to be banished from Rome. Four thousand were sent to Sardinia but more, who were unwilling to become soldiers, were punished. Cassius Dio reports that Tiberius banished most of the Jews, who had been attempting to convert Romans to their religion.[20] Philo of Alexandria reported that Sejanus, one of Tiberius’s lieutenants, may have been a prime mover in the persecution of the Jews.[21]

The Romans refused to permit Jews to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem after its destruction by Titus in 70 CE, imposed a tax on Jews (Fiscus Judaicus) at the same time, ostensibly to finance the Temple of Jupiter in Rome, and renamed Judaea as Syria Palestina. The Jerusalem Talmud relates that, following Bar Kokhba’s revolt (1326 CE), the Romans destroyed very many Jews, “killing until their horses were submerged in blood to their nostrils.”[22] However, some historians argue that Rome suppressed revolts in all its conquered territories and point out that Tiberius expelled all foreign religions from Rome, not just the Jews.

Some accommodation, in fact, was later made with Judaism, and the Jews of the Diaspora had privileges that others did not. Unlike other subjects of the Roman Empire, they had the right to maintain their religion and were not expected to accommodate themselves to local customs. Even after the First JewishRoman War, the Roman authorities refused to rescind Jewish privileges in some cities. And although Hadrian outlawed circumcision as a mutilation normally visited on people unable to consent, he later exempted the Jews.[23] According to the 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon, there was greater tolerance from about 160 CE. Between 355 and 363 CE, permission was granted by Julian the Apostate to rebuild the Second Temple of Jerusalem.

It has been argued that European antisemitism has its roots in Roman policy.[24]

Although the majority of the New Testament was written, ostensibly, by Jews who became followers of Jesus, there are a number of passages in the New Testament that some see as antisemitic, or that have been used for antisemitic purposes, including:[citation needed][25][26][27]

After Jesus’ death, the New Testament portrays the Jewish religious authorities in Jerusalem as hostile to Jesus’ followers, and as occasionally using force against them.[28] Stephen is executed by stoning.[29] Before his conversion, Saul puts followers of Jesus in prison.[30] After his conversion, Saul is whipped at various times by Jewish authorities.[31] He is accused by Jewish authorities before the Roman courts.[32] However, opposition by gentiles is also described,[33] and more generally there are widespread references in the New Testament to the suffering experienced by Jesus’ followers at the hands of others, particularly the Romans.[34]

Quran, the holy book of Muslims, contains some verses that can be interpreted as expressing very negative views of some Jews.[35] After Muhammad moved to Medina in 622 CE he made peace treaties with the Jewish and other tribes. However, the relationship between the followers of the new religion (Islam) and the Jews of Medina later became bitter. At this point Quran instructs Muhammad to change the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca, and from this point on, the tone of the verses of the Quran become increasingly hostile towards Jewry.[36] In 627 a Jewish tribe, Banu Qurayza of Medina, violated a treaty with the Islamic prophet Muhammad by allying with the attacking tribes.[37] Subsequently, the tribe was charged with treason and besieged by the Muslims commanded by Muhammad.[38][39] The Banu Qurayza were forced to surrender and the men were beheaded, while all the women and children were taken captive and enslaved.[38][39][39][40][41][42] Several scholars have challenged the veracity of this incident, arguing that it was exaggerated or invented.[43][44][45]

Later, several conflicts arose between Jews of Arabia and Muhammad and his followers, the most notable of which was in Khaybar, in which many Jews were killed and their properties seized and distributed amongst the Muslims.[citation needed]

When Christianity became the state religion of Rome in the 4th century, Jews became the object of religious intolerance and political oppression. Christian literature began to display extreme hostility towards Jews, which occasionally resulted in attacks and the burning of synagogues. This hostility was reflected in the edicts both of church councils and state laws. In the early 4th century, intermarriage between unconverted Jews and Christians was prohibited under the provisions of the Synod of Elvira. The Council of Antioch (341) prohibited Christians from celebrating Passover with the Jews while the Council of Laodicea forbade Christians from keeping the Jewish Sabbath.[46]

The Roman emperor Constantine I instituted several laws concerning the Jews: they were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. The conversion of Christians to Judaism was outlawed. Religious services were regulated, congregations restricted, but Jews were allowed to enter Jerusalem on Tisha B’Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple.

Discrimination became worse in the 5th century. The edicts of the Codex Theodosianus (438) barred Jews from the civil service, the army and the legal profession.[47] The Jewish Patriarchate was abolished and the scope of Jewish courts restricted. Synagogues were confiscated and old synagogues could be repaired only if they were in danger of collapse. Synagogues fell into ruin or were converted to churches. Synagogues were destroyed in Tortona (350), Rome (388 and 500), Raqqa (388), Minorca (418), Daphne (near Antioch, 489 and 507), Genoa (500), Ravenna (495), Tours (585) and in Orlans (590). Other synagogues were confiscated: Urfa in 411, several in Judea between 419 and 422, Constantinople in 442 and 569, Antioch in 423, Vannes in 465, Diyarbakir in 500 Terracina in 590, Cagliari in 590 and Palermo in 590.[48]

Deicide is the killing of a god. In the context of Christianity, deicide refers to the responsibility for the death of Jesus. The accusation of Jews in deicide has been the most powerful warrant for antisemitism by Christians.[49]

The earliest recorded instance of an accusation of deicide against the Jewish people as a whole that they were collectively responsible for the death of Jesus occurs in a sermon of 167 CE attributed to Melito of Sardis entitled Peri Pascha, On the Passover. This text blames the Jews for allowing King Herod and Caiaphas to execute Jesus. Melito does not attribute particular blame to Pontius Pilate, mentioning only that Pilate washed his hands of guilt.[50] The sermon is written in Greek, but may have been an appeal to Rome to spare Christians at a time when Christians were widely persecuted.[citation needed]

The Latin word deicida (slayer of god), from which the word deicide is derived, was used in the 4th century by Peter Chrystologus in his sermon number 172.[51] Though not part of Roman Catholic dogma, many Christians, including members of the clergy, once held Jews to be collectively responsible for killing Jesus.[52] According to this interpretation, both the Jews present at Jesus death and the Jewish people collectively and for all time had committed the sin of deicide, or God-killing.[53]

There was continuing hostility to Judaism from the late Roman period into medieval times. During the Middle Ages in Europe there was a full-scale persecution of Jews in many places, with blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions and killings. In the 12th century, there were Christians who believed that some, or possibly all, of the Jews possessed magical powers and had gained these powers from making a pact with the devil. Judensau images began to appear in Germany.

The persecution of the Jews in Europe reached a climax during the Crusades. Anti-Jewish rhetoric such as the Goad of Love began to appear and affect public consciousness.[54] At the time of the First Crusade, in 1096, a German Crusade destroyed flourishing Jewish communities on the Rhine and the Danube. In the Second Crusade in 1147, the Jews in France were the victims of frequent killings and atrocities. The Jews were also subjected to attacks during the Shepherds’ Crusades of 1251 and 1320. Following these crusades, Jews were subject to expulsions, including, in 1290, the banishing of all English Jews. In 1396, 100,000 Jews were expelled from France and in 1421, thousands were expelled from Austria. Many of those expelled fled to Poland.[55]

As the Black Death plague swept across Europe in the mid-14th century, annihilating more than half of the population, Jews often became the scapegoats. Rumors spread that they had caused this epidemic by deliberately poisoning wells. Hundreds of Jewish communities were destroyed by the ensuing hatred and violence. Pope Clement VI tried to protect Jews by a papal bull dated July 6, 1348, and by an additional bull soon afterwards, but several months later, 900 Jews were burnt alive in Strasbourg, where the plague had not yet affected the city.[56]

From the 9th century onwards, the medieval Islamic world imposed dhimmi status on both Christian and Jewish minorities, although Jews were allowed more freedom to practise their religion in the Muslim world than they were in Christian Europe.[57]

However, the entrance of the Almoravides from North Africa in the 11th century saw harsh measures taken against both Christians and Jews.[58] As part of this repression there were pogroms against Jews in Cordova in 1011 and in Granada in 1066.[59][60][61] The Almohads, who by 1147 had taken control of the Almoravids’ Maghribi and Andalusian territories,[62] took a less tolerant view still and treated the dhimmis harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, many Jews and Christians took a third option if they could, and fled.[63][64][65] Some, such as the family of Maimonides, went east to more tolerant Muslim lands,[63] while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms.[66][67] At certain times in the Middle Ages, in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted. Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in parts of Yemen, Morocco and Baghdad.[68]Jewish communities in Spain thrived under tolerant Muslim rule during the Spanish Golden Age and Cordova became a centre of Jewish culture.[58]

Restrictions upon Jewish occupations were imposed by Christian authorities. Local rulers and church officials closed many professions to Jews, pushing them into marginal roles considered socially inferior, such as tax and rent collecting and moneylending, occupations only tolerated as a “necessary evil”. Catholic doctrine at the time held that lending money for interest was a sin, and it was an occupation forbidden to Christians. Not being subject to this restriction, insofar as loans to non-Jews were concerned, Jews made this business their own, despite possible criticism of usury in the Torah and later sections of the Hebrew Bible. Unfortunately, this led to many negative stereotypes of Jews as insolent, greedy usurers and the understandable tensions between creditors (typically Jews) and debtors (typically Christians) added to social, political, religious, and economic strains. Peasants who were forced to pay their taxes to Jews could see them as personally taking their money while unaware of those on whose behalf these Jews worked.[citation needed]

Jews were subject to a wide range of legal disabilities and restrictions throughout the Middle Ages, some of which lasted until the end of the 19th century. Even moneylending and peddling were at times forbidden to them. The number of Jews permitted to reside in different places was limited; they were concentrated in ghettos and were not allowed to own land; they were subject to discriminatory taxes on entering cities or districts other than their own and were forced to swear special Jewish Oaths, and they suffered a variety of other measures. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 decreed that Jews and Muslims must wear distinguishing clothing.[69] The most common such clothing was the Jewish hat, which was already worn by many Jews as a self-identifying mark, but was now often made compulsory.[70]

The Jewish badge was introduced in some places; it could be a coloured piece of cloth in the shape of a circle, strip, or the tablets of the law (in England), and was sewn onto the clothes.[71] Elsewhere special colours of robe were specified. Implementation was in the hands of local rulers but by the following century laws had been enacted covering most of Europe. In many localities, members of Medieval society wore badges to distinguish their social status. Some badges (such as those worn by guild members) were prestigious, while others were worn by ostracised outcasts such as lepers, reformed heretics and prostitutes. As with all sumptuary laws, the degree to which these laws were followed and enforced varied greatly. Sometimes, Jews sought to evade the badges by paying what amounted to bribes in the form of temporary “exemptions” to kings, which were revoked and re-paid for whenever the king needed to raise funds.[citation needed] By the end of the Middle Ages, the hat seems to have become rare, but the badge lasted longer and remained in some places until the 18th century.

The Crusades were a series of military campaigns sanctioned by the Papacy in Rome, which took place from the end of the 11th century until the 13th century. They began as endeavors to recapture Jerusalem from the Muslims but developed into territorial wars.

The People’s Crusade that accompanied the first Crusade attacked Jewish communities in Germany, France, and England, and killed many Jews. Entire communities, like those of Treves, Speyer, Worms, Mainz, and Cologne, were murdered by armed mobs. About 12,000 Jews are said to have perished in the Rhineland cities alone between May and July 1096. Before the Crusades, Jews had practically a monopoly on the trade in Eastern products, but the closer connection between Europe and the East brought about by the Crusades raised up a class of Christian merchant traders, and from this time onwards, restrictions on the sale of goods by Jews became frequent.[citation needed] The religious zeal fomented by the Crusades at times burned as fiercely against Jews as against Muslims, although attempts were made by bishops during the first Crusade and by the papacy during the second Crusade to stop Jews from being attacked. Both economically and socially, the Crusades were disastrous for European Jews. They prepared the way for the anti-Jewish legislation of Pope Innocent III. The Jewish defenders of Jerusalem retreated to their synagogue to “prepare for death” once the Crusaders had breached the outer walls of the city during the siege of 1099.[72][73] The chronicle of Ibn al-Qalanisi states that the building was set on fire whilst the Jews were still inside.[74] The Crusaders were supposedly reported as hoisting up their shields and singing “Christ We Adore Thee!” while they encircled the burning building.”[75] Following the siege, Jews captured from the Dome of the Rock, along with native Christians, were made to clean the city of the slain.[76] Numerous Jews and their holy books (including the Aleppo Codex) were held ransom by Raymond of Toulouse.[77] The Karaite Jewish community of Ashkelon (Ascalon) reached out to their coreligionists in Alexandria to first pay for the holy books and then rescued pockets of Jews over several months.[76] All that could be ransomed were liberated by the summer of 1100. The few who could not be rescued were either converted to Christianity or murdered.[78]

In the County of Toulouse, in southern France, toleration and favour shown to Jews was one of the main complaints of the Roman Church against the Counts of Toulouse at the beginning of the 13th century. Organised and official persecution of the Jews became a normal feature of life in southern France only after the Albigensian Crusade, because it was only then that the Church became powerful enough to insist that measures of discrimination be applied.[79] In 1209, stripped to the waist and barefoot, Raymond VI of Toulouse was obliged to swear that he would no longer allow Jews to hold public office. In 1229 his son Raymond VII, underwent a similar ceremony.

On many occasions, Jews were accused of drinking the blood of Christian children in mockery of the Christian Eucharist. According to the authors of these so-called blood libels, the ‘procedure’ for the alleged sacrifice was something like this: a child who had not yet reached puberty was kidnapped and taken to a hidden place. The child would be tortured by Jews, and a crowd would gather at the place of execution (in some accounts the synagogue itself) and engage in a mock tribunal to try the child. The child would be presented to the tribunal naked and tied and eventually be condemned to death. In the end, the child would be crowned with thorns and tied or nailed to a wooden cross. The cross would be raised, and the blood dripping from the child’s wounds would be caught in bowls or glasses and then drunk. Finally, the child would be killed with a thrust through the heart from a spear, sword, or dagger. Its dead body would be removed from the cross and concealed or disposed of, but in some instances rituals of black magic would be performed on it. This method, with some variations, can be found in all the alleged Christian descriptions of ritual murder by Jews.

The story of William of Norwich (d. 1144) is often cited as the first known accusation of ritual murder against Jews. The Jews of Norwich, England were accused of murder after a Christian boy, William, was found dead. It was claimed that the Jews had tortured and crucified him. The legend of William of Norwich became a cult, and the child acquired the status of a holy martyr.[80]Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln (d. 1255), in the 13th century, reputedly had his belly cut open and his entrails removed for some occult purpose, such as a divination ritual, after being taken from a cross. Simon of Trent (d. 1475), in the fifteenth, was held over a large bowl so that all his blood could be collected, it was alleged.

During the Middle Ages, such blood libels were directed against Jews in many parts of Europe. The believers of these accusations reasoned that the Jews, having crucified Jesus, continued to thirst for pure and innocent blood, at the expense of innocent Christian children.[81]

Jews were sometimes falsely accused of desecrating consecrated hosts in a reenactment of the Crucifixion; this crime was known as host desecration and carried the death penalty.

The practice of expelling Jews, the confiscation of their property and further ransom for their return was utilized to enrich the French crown during the 13th and 14th centuries. The most notable such expulsions were from Paris by Philip Augustus in 1182, from the whole of France by Louis IX in 1254, by Charles IV in 1306, by Charles V in 1322 and by Charles VI in 1394.

To finance his war against Wales in 1276, Edward I of England taxed Jewish moneylenders. When the moneylenders could no longer pay the tax, they were accused of disloyalty. Already restricted to a limited number of occupations, Edward abolished their “privilege” to lend money, restricted their movements and activities and forced Jews to wear a yellow patch. The heads of Jewish households were then arrested with over 300 being taken to the Tower of London and executed. Others were killed in their homes. All Jews were banished from the country in 1290,[82] where it was possible that hundreds were killed or drowned while trying to leave the country.[83] All the money and property of these dispossessed Jews was confiscated. No Jews were known to be in England thereafter until 1655, when Oliver Cromwell reversed the policy.

In Germany, part of the Holy Roman Empire, persecutions and formal expulsions of the Jews were liable to occur at intervals, although it should be said that this was also the case for other minority communities, whether religious or ethnic. There were particular outbursts of riotous persecution in the Rhineland massacres of 1096 accompanying the lead-up to the First Crusade, many involving the crusaders as they travelled to the East. There were many local expulsions from cities by local rulers and city councils. The Holy Roman Emperor generally tried to restrain persecution, if only for economic reasons, but he was often unable to exert much influence. As late as 1519, the Imperial city of Regensburg took advantage of the recent death of Emperor Maximilian I to expel its 500 Jews.[84] At this period the rulers of the eastern edges of Europe, in Poland, Lithuania and Hungary, were often receptive to Jewish settlement, and many Jews moved to these regions.[85]

Hundreds of Jewish communities were destroyed by violence during the ravages of the Black Death, particularly in the Iberian peninsula and in the Germanic Empire. In Provence, 40 Jews were burnt in Toulon as quickly after the outbreak as April 1348.[56] “Never mind that Jews were not immune from the ravages of the plague; they were tortured until they “confessed” to crimes that they could not possibly have committed. In one such case, a man named Agimet was … coerced to say that Rabbi Peyret of Chambry (near Geneva) had ordered him to poison the wells in Venice, Toulouse, and elsewhere. In the aftermath of Agimet’s “confession”, the Jews of Strasbourg were burned alive on February 14, 1349.”[86]

In the Catholic kingdoms of late medieval and early modern Spain, oppressive policies and attitudes led many Jews to embrace Christianity.[87] Such Jews were known as conversos or Marranos.[87] Suspicions that they might still secretly be adherents of Judaism led Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile to institute the Spanish Inquisition.[87] The Inquisition used torture to elicit confessions and delivered judgment at public ceremonials known as autos de fe before they gave their victims over to the secular authorities for punishment.[88] Under this dispensation, some 30,000 were condemned to death and executed by being burnt alive.[89]

In 1492, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile issued an edict of expulsion of Jews from Spain, giving Jews four months to either convert to Christianity or leave the country.[90] Some 165,000 emigrated and some 50,000 converted to Christianity.[91] Portugal followed suit in December 1496. However, those expelled could only leave the country in ships specified by the King. When those who chose to leave the country arrived at the port in Lisbon, they were met by clerics and soldiers who used force, coercion and promises to baptize them and prevent them from leaving the country. This episode technically ended the presence of Jews in Portugal. Afterwards, all converted Jews and their descendants would be referred to as New Christians or marranos. They were given a grace period of thirty years during which no inquiry into their faith would be allowed. This period was later extended until 1534. However, a popular riot in 1506 resulted in the deaths of up to four or five thousand Jews, and the execution of the leaders of the riot by King Manuel. Those labeled as New Christians were under the surveillance of the Portuguese Inquisition from 1536 until 1821.

Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal, known as Sephardi Jews from the Hebrew word for Spain, fled to North Africa, Turkey and Palestine within the Ottoman Empire, and to Holland, France and Italy.[92] Within the Ottoman Empire, Jews could openly practise their religion. Amsterdam in Holland also became a focus for settlement by the persecuted Jews from many lands in succeeding centuries.[93]

Martin Luther, an Augustinian friar and an ecclesiastical reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation, wrote antagonistically about Jews in his pamphlet On the Jews and their Lies, written in 1543. He portrays the Jews in extremely harsh terms, excoriates them and provides detailed recommendations for a pogrom against them, calling for their permanent oppression and expulsion. At one point he writes: “…we are at fault in not slaying them…” a passage that “may be termed the first work of modern antisemitism, and a giant step forward on the road to the Holocaust.”[94]

Luther’s harsh comments about the Jews are seen by many as a continuation of medieval Christian antisemitism. Muslow and Popkin assert that, “the antisemitism of the early modern period was even worse than that of the Middle Ages; and nowhere was this more obvious than in those areas which roughly encompass modern-day Germany, especially among Lutherans.”[95]

In his final sermon shortly before his death, however, Luther preached: “We want to treat them with Christian love and to pray for them, so that they might become converted and would receive the Lord.”[96]

Simon of Trent was a boy from the city of Trento, Italy, who was found dead at the age of two in 1475, having allegedly been kidnapped, mutilated, and drained of blood. His disappearance was blamed on the leaders of the city’s Jewish community, based on confessions extracted under torture, in a case that fueled the rampant antisemitism of the time. Simon was regarded as a saint, and was canonized by Pope Sixtus V in 1588.

In the mid-17th century, Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Amsterdam, later New York City, sought to bolster the position of the Dutch Reformed Church by trying to stem the religious influence of Jews, Lutherans, Catholics and Quakers. He stated that Jews were “deceitful”, “very repugnant”, and “hateful enemies and blasphemers of the name of Christ”. However, religious plurality was already a cultural tradition and a legal obligation in New Amsterdam and in the Netherlands, and his superiors at the Dutch West India Company in Amsterdam overruled him.

During the mid-to-late-17th century the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was devastated by several conflicts, in which the Commonwealth lost over a third of its population (over 3 million people). The decrease of the Jewish population during that period is estimated at 100,000 to 200,000, including emigration, deaths from diseases and captivity in the Ottoman Empire.[97][98] These conflicts began in 1648 when Bohdan Khmelnytsky instigated the Khmelnytsky Uprising against the Polish aristocracy and the Jews who administered their estates.[99] Khmelnytsky’s Cossacks massacred tens of thousands of Jews in the eastern and southern areas that he controlled (now the Ukraine). This persecution led many Jews to pin their hopes on a man called Shabbatai Zevi who emerged in the Ottoman Empire at this time and proclaimed himself Messiah in 1665. However his later conversion to Islam dashed these hopes and led many Jews to discredit the traditional belief in the coming of the Messiah as the hope of salvation.[100]

In the Zaydi imamate of Yemen, Jews were also singled out for discrimination in the 17th century, which culminated in the general expulsion of all Jews from places in Yemen to the arid coastal plain of Tihamah and which became known as the Mawza Exile.[101]

In many European countries the 18th century “Age of Enlightenment” saw the dismantling of archaic corporate, hierarchical forms of society in favour of individual equality of citizens before the law. How this new state of affairs would affect previously autonomous, though subordinated, Jewish communities became known as the Jewish question. In many countries, enhanced civil rights were gradually extended to the Jews, though often only in a partial form and on condition that the Jews abandon many aspects of their previous identity in favour of integration and assimilation with the dominant society.[102]

According to Arnold Ages, Voltaire’s “Lettres philosophiques, Dictionnaire philosophique, and Candide, to name but a few of his better known works, are saturated with comments on Jews and Judaism and the vast majority are negative”.[103] Paul H. Meyer adds: “There is no question but that Voltaire, particularly in his latter years, nursed a violent hatred of the Jews and it is equally certain that his animosity…did have a considerable impact on public opinion in France.” [104] Thirty of the 118 articles in Voltaire’s Dictionnaire philosophique concerned Jews and described them in consistently negative ways.[105]

In 1744, Frederick II of Prussia limited the number of Jews allowed to live in Breslau to only ten so-called “protected” Jewish families and encouraged a similar practice in other Prussian cities. In 1750 he issued the Revidiertes General Privilegium und Reglement vor die Judenschaft: forcing these “protected” Jews to “either abstain from marriage or leave Berlin.”[106] In the same year, Archduchess of Austria Maria Theresa ordered Jews out of Bohemia but soon reversed her position, on condition that they pay for their readmission every ten years. This was known as malke-geld (queen’s money). In 1752 she introduced a law limiting each Jewish family to one son. In 1782, Joseph II abolished most of these practices in his Toleranzpatent, on the condition that Yiddish and Hebrew were eliminated from public records and that judicial autonomy was annulled.

In accordance with the anti-Jewish precepts of the Russian Orthodox Church,[107] Russia’s discriminatory policies towards Jews intensified when the partition of Poland in the 18th century resulted, for the first time in Russian history, in the possession of land with a large population of Jews.[108] This land was designated as the Pale of Settlement from which Jews were forbidden to migrate into the interior of Russia.[108] In 1772, the empress of Russia Catherine II forced the Jews of the Pale of Settlement to stay in their shtetls and forbade them from returning to the towns that they occupied before the partition of Poland.[109]

Following legislation supporting the equality of French Jews with other citizens during the French Revolution, similar laws promoting Jewish emancipation were enacted in the early 19th century in those parts of Europe over which France had influence.[110][111] The old laws restricting them to ghettos, as well as the many laws that limited their property rights, rights of worship and occupation, were rescinded.

Despite this, traditional discrimination and hostility to Jews on religious grounds persisted and was supplemented by racial antisemitism, encouraged by the work of racial theorists such as Joseph Arthur de Gobineau and particularly his Essay on the Inequality of the Human Race of 18535. Nationalist agendas based on ethnicity, known as ethnonationalism, usually excluded the Jews from the national community as an alien race.[112] Allied to this were theories of Social Darwinism, which stressed a putative conflict between higher and lower races of human beings. Such theories, usually posited by white Europeans, advocated the superiority of white Aryans to Semitic Jews.[113]

Civil rights granted to Jews in Germany, following the occupation of that country by the French under Napoleon, were rescinded after his defeat. Pleas to retain them by diplomats at the Congress of Vienna peace conference (18145) were unsuccessful.[114] In 1819, German Jews were attacked in the Hep-Hep riots.[115] Full Jewish emancipation was not granted in Germany until 1871, when the country was united under the Hohenzollern dynasty.[116]

In 1850, the German composer Richard Wagner published Das Judenthum in der Musik (“Jewishness in Music”) under a pseudonym in the Neue Zeitschrift fr Musik. The essay began as an attack on Jewish composers, particularly Wagner’s contemporaries (and rivals) Felix Mendelssohn and Giacomo Meyerbeer, but expanded to accuse Jewish influences more widely of being a harmful and alien element in German culture.

The term “antisemitism” was coined by the German agitator and publicist, Wilhelm Marr in 1879. In that year, Marr founded the Antisemites League and published a book called Victory of Jewry over Germandom.[117] The late 1870s saw the growth of antisemitic political parties in Germany. These included the Christian Social Party, founded in 1878 by Adolf Stoecker, the Lutheran chaplain to Kaiser Wilhelm I, as well as a German Social Antisemitic Party and an Antisemitic People’s Party. However, they did not enjoy mass electoral support and at their peak in 1907, had only 16 deputies out of a total of 397 in the Reichstag.[118]

The defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War (18701) was blamed by some on the Jews. Jews were accused of weakening the national spirit through association with republicanism, capitalism and anti-clericalism, particularly by authoritarian, right wing, clerical and royalist groups. These accusations were spread in antisemitic journals such as La Libre Parole, founded by Edouard Drumont and La Croix, the organ of the Catholic order of the Assumptionists.

Financial scandals such as the collapse of the Union Generale Bank and the collapse of the French Panama Canal operation were also blamed on the Jews. The Dreyfus affair saw a Jewish military officer named Captain Alfred Dreyfus falsely accused of treason in 1895 by his army superiors and sent to Devil’s Island after being convicted. Dreyfus was acquitted in 1906, but the case polarised French opinion between antisemitic authoritarian nationalists and philosemitic anti-clerical republicans, with consequences which were to resonate into the 20th century.[119]

Between 1881 and 1920, approximately 3 million Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe immigrated to America, many of them fleeing pogroms and the difficult economic conditions which were widespread in much of Eastern Europe during this time. Pogroms in Eastern Europe, particularly Russia, prompted waves of Jewish immigrants after 1881. Jews, along with many Eastern and Southern European immigrants, came to work the country’s growing mines and factories. Many Americans distrusted these Jewish immigrants.[120]

The earlier wave of Jewish immigration from Germany, the latter (post 1880) came from “the Pale” – the region of Eastern Poland, Russia and the Ukraine where Jews had suffered under the Czars. Along with Italians, Irish and other Eastern and Southern Europeans, Jews faced discrimination in the United States in employment, education and social advancement. American groups like the Immigration Restriction League, criticized these new arrivals along with immigrants from Asia and southern and eastern Europe, as culturally, intellectually, morally, and biologically inferior. Despite these attacks, very few Eastern European Jews returned to Europe for whatever privations they faced, their situation in the US was still improved.

Beginning in the early 1880s, declining farm prices also prompted elements of the Populist movement to blame the perceived evils of capitalism and industrialism on Jews because of their alleged racial/religious inclination for financial exploitation and, more specifically, because of the alleged financial manipulations of Jewish financiers such as the Rothschilds.[121] Although Jews played only a minor role in the nation’s commercial banking system, the prominence of Jewish investment bankers such as the Rothschilds in Europe, and Jacob Schiff, of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. in New York City, made the claims of anti-Semites believable to some.

The Morgan Bonds scandal injected populist antisemitism into the 1896 presidential campaign. It was disclosed that President Grover Cleveland had sold bonds to a syndicate which included J. P. Morgan and the Rothschilds house, bonds which that syndicate was now selling for a profit. The Populists used it as an opportunity to uphold their view of history, and prove to the nation that Washington and Wall Street were in the hands of the international Jewish banking houses.

Another focus of antisemitic feeling was the allegation that Jews were at the center of an international conspiracy to fix the currency and thus the economy to a single gold standard.[122]

Long-standing repressive polices and attitudes towards the Jews in Russia were intensified after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II on 13 March 1881. This event was blamed on the Jews and sparked widespread anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire which lasted for three years.[123] A hardening of official attitudes under Tsar Alexander III and his ministers, resulted in the May Laws of 1882, which severely restricted the civil rights of Jews within the Russian Empire. The Tsar’s minister Konstantin Petrovich Pobedonostsev stated that the aim of the government with regard to the Jews was that: “One third will die out, one third will leave the country and one third will be completely dissolved [into] the surrounding population”.[123] In the event, a mix of pogroms and repressive legislation did indeed result in the mass emigration of Jews to western Europe and America. Between 1881 and the outbreak of the First World War, an estimated 2.5 million Jews left Russia one of the largest mass migrations in recorded history.[117][124]

In the 19th century, the position of Jews worsened in Muslim countries.[125] Historian Martin Gilbert writes that it was in the 19th century that the position of Jews worsened in Muslim countries.[125] According to Mark Cohen in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies, most scholars conclude that Arab anti-Semitism in the modern world arose in the nineteenth century, against the backdrop of conflicting Jewish and Arab nationalism, and was imported into the Arab world primarily by nationalistically minded Christian Arabs (and only subsequently was it “Islamized”).[126] There was a massacre of Jews in Baghdad in 1828.[127] In 1839, in the eastern Persian city of Meshed, a mob burst into the Jewish Quarter, burned the synagogue and destroyed the Torah scrolls, and it was only by forced conversion that a massacre was averted.[125] There was a massacre of Jews in Barfurush in 1867.[127]

Concerning the life of Persian Jews in the middle of the 19th century, a contemporary author wrote:

…they are obliged to live in a separate part of town… for they are considered as unclean creatures… Under the pretext of their being unclean, they are treated with the greatest severity and should they enter a street, inhabited by Mussulmans, they are pelted by the boys and mobs with stones and dirt For the same reason, they are prohibited to go out when it rains; for it is said the rain would wash dirt off them, which would sully the feet of the Mussulmans If a Jew is recognized as such in the streets, he is subjected to the greatest insults. The passers-by spit in his face, and sometimes beat him unmercifully If a Jew enters a shop for anything, he is forbidden to inspect the goods Should his hand incautiously touch the goods, he must take them at any price the seller chooses to ask for them.[128]

In 1840, in the Damascus affair, the Jews of Damascus were falsely accused of having ritually murdered a Christian monk and his Muslim servant and of having used their blood to bake Passover bread. A Jewish barber was tortured until he “confessed” to this crime; two other Jews who were arrested died under torture, while a third converted to Islam to save his life.

In 1864, around 500 Jews were killed in Marrakech and Fez in Morocco. In 1869, 18 Jews were killed in Tunis, and an Arab mob looted Jewish homes and stores, and burned synagogues, on Jerba Island. Jews in Morocco were attacked and killed in the streets in broad daylight. In 1891, the leading Muslims in Jerusalem asked the Ottoman authorities in Constantinople to prohibit the entry of Jews arriving from Russia.[125]

One symbol of Jewish degradation was the phenomenon of stone-throwing at Jews by Muslim children. A 19th-century traveler observed: “I have seen a little fellow of six years old, with a troop of fat toddlers of only three and four, teaching [them] to throw stones at a Jew, and one little urchin would, with the greatest coolness, waddle up to the man and literally spit upon his Jewish gaberdine. To all this the Jew is obliged to submit; it would be more than his life was worth to offer to strike a Mahommedan.”[127]

In the 20th century, antisemitism and Social Darwinism culminated in an unparalleled act of genocide, called the Holocaust, in which some six million Jews were exterminated in Nazi occupied Europe between 1942 and 1945 under the National Socialist regime of Adolf Hitler.[129]

In Russia, under the Tsarist regime, antisemitism intensified in the early years of the 20th century and was given official favour when the secret police forged the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a document purported to be a transcription of a plan by Jewish elders to achieve global domination.[130] Violence against the Jews in the Kishinev pogrom in 1903 was continued after the 1905 revolution by the activities of the Black Hundreds.[131] The Beilis Trial of 1913 showed that it was possible to revive the blood libel accusation in Russia.

The 1917 revolution ended official discrimination against the Jews but was followed, however, by massive anti-Jewish violence by the anti-Bolshevik White Army and the forces of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in the Russian Civil War. From 191821, between 100,000 and 150,000 Jews were slaughtered.[132] White emigres from revolutionary Russia fostered the idea that the Bolshevik regime, with its many Jewish members, was a front for the Jewish World Conspiracy, outlined in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which had by now achieved wide circulation in the west.[133]

In France, antisemitic agitation was promoted by right-wing groups such as Action Franaise, founded by Charles Maurras. These groups were critical of the whole political establishment of the Third Republic. Following the Stavisky Affair, in which a Jewish man named Serge Alexandre Stavisky was revealed to be involved in high-level political corruption, these groups encouraged serious rioting which almost toppled the government in the 6 February 1934 crisis.[134] The rise to prominence of the Jewish socialist Lon Blum, who became prime minister of the Popular Front Government in 1936, further polarised opinion within France. Action Franaise and other right-wing groups launched a vicious antisemitic press campaign against Blum which culminated in an attack in which he was dragged from his car and kicked and beaten whilst a mob screamed ‘Death to the Jew!’[135]

Antisemitism was particularly virulent in Vichy France during World War II. The Vichy government openly collaborated with the Nazi occupiers to identify Jews for deportation and transportation to the death camps (about 75.000 were killed). The antisemitic demands of right-wing groups were implemented under the collaborating Vichy regime of Marshal Philippe Ptain, following the defeat of the French by the German army in 1940. A law on the status of Jews of that year, followed by another in 1941, purged Jews from employment in administrative, civil service and judicial posts, from most professions and even from the entertainment industry restricting them, mostly, to menial jobs. Vichy’s officials aided and abetted the Nazis in arresting and transporting over seventy-three thousand Jews to their deaths in the extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Poland.[136]

In Germany, following World War I, Nazism arose as a political movement incorporating racially antisemitic ideas, expressed by Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf (German: My Struggle). After Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazi regime sought the systematic exclusion of Jews from national life. Jews were demonized as the driving force of both International Marxism and Capitalism. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 outlawed marriage or sexual relationships between Jews and non-Jews.[137] Antisemitic propaganda by or on behalf of the Nazi Party began to pervade society. Especially virulent in this regard was Julius Streicher’s pornographic publication Der Strmer, which published the alleged sexual misdemeanors of Jews for popular consumption.[138] Mass violence against the Jews was encouraged by the Nazi regime, and on the night of 910 November 1938, dubbed Kristallnacht, the regeme sanctioned the killing of Jews, the destruction of property and the torching of synagogues.[139]

As Nazi occupation extended eastwards in World War II, antisemitic laws, agitation and propaganda were brought to occupied Europe,[140] often building on local antisemitic traditions. In occupied Poland, Jews were forced into ghettos: in Warsaw, Krakw, Lvov, Lublin and Radom.[141] Following the invasion of Russia in 1941, a campaign of mass murder in that country was conducted against the Jews by Nazi death squads called the Einsatzgruppen.[142] On 20 January 1942, Reinhard Heydrich, deputed to find a “final solution” to the “Jewish problem”, chaired the Wannsee Conference at which all the Jews resident in Europe and North Africa were earmarked for extermination.[143] Of the eleven million who were targeted, some six million men, women and children were killed by the Nazis between 1942 and 1945. This systematic genocide is known as the Holocaust.[144][144][145][146] To implement this horrific plan, Jews were transported to purpose-built extermination camps in occupied Poland, where they were killed in gas chambers. Extermination camps were located at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chemno, Beec, Majdanek, Sobibr and Treblinka.[147] These camps accounted for about half of the total number of killed Jews.

Between 1900 and 1924, approximately 1.75 million Jews immigrated to America’s shores, the bulk from Eastern Europe. Where before 1900, American Jews never amounted even to 1 percent of America’s total population, by 1930 Jews formed about 3 percent. This dramatic increase and the upward mobility of some Jews was accompanied by a resurgence of antisemitism.

In the first half of the 20th century, Jews in the United States faced discrimination in employment, in access to residential and resort areas, in the membership of clubs and organizations and in tightened quotas on Jewish enrollment and teaching positions in colleges and universities. Some sources state that the conviction (and later lynching) of Leo Frank, which turned a spotlight on antisemitism in the United States, also led to the formation of the Anti-Defamation League in October 1913. However, Abraham H. Foxman, the organization’s National Director, disputes this, stating that American Jews simply needed an institution to combat anti-Semitism. Social tension during this period also led to renewed support for the Ku Klux Klan, which had been inactive since 1870.[148][149][150][151]

Antisemitism in the United States reached its peak during the 1920s and 1930s. The pioneer automobile manufacturer Henry Ford propagated antisemitic ideas in his newspaper The Dearborn Independent. During the 1940s, the pioneer aviator Charles Lindbergh and many other prominent Americans led the America First Committee in opposing any involvement in the war against fascism. Following a visit to Germany in 1936, Lindbergh wrote: “While I still have my reservations, I have come away with great admiration for the German people… Hitler must have far more vision and character than I thought With all the things we criticize he is undoubtedly a great man” Although America First avoided any appearance of antisemitism and voted to drop Henry Ford as a member for this reason, Ford continued his good friendship with Lindbergh, who visited him in the summer of 1941. One month later; Lindbergh gave a speech in Des Moines, Iowa in which he expressed the decidedly Ford-like view that: “The three most important groups which have been pressing this country towards war are the British, the Jews, and the Roosevelt Administration.”[152] In his diary Lindbergh wrote: “We must limit to a reasonable amount the Jewish influence Whenever the Jewish percentage of the total population becomes too high, a reaction seems to invariably occur. It is too bad because a few Jews of the right type are, I believe, an asset to any country.”[153] During race riots in Detroit in 1943, Jewish businesses were targeted for looting and burning.

The German American Bund held parades in New York City in the late 1930s which featured Nazi uniforms and flags with swastikas alongside American flags. Some 20,000 people listened to Bund leader Fritz Julius Kuhn at Madison Square Garden in 1939 criticizing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt by repeatedly referring to him as “Frank D. Rosenfeld” and calling his New Deal the “Jew Deal”. By espousing a belief in the existence of a Bolshevik-Jewish conspiracy in America, Kuhn’s activities came under the scrutiny of the US House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and when the United States entered World War II most of the Bund’s members were placed in internment camps, and some were deported at the end of the war.

The United States did not provide for entry of the MS St. Louis refugees in 1939.[154]

Antisemitism in the USSR reached a peak in 194853 when several hundred Yiddish-writing poets, writers, painters and sculptors were killed in a campaign against the so-called rootless cosmopolitans.

The Kielce pogrom and “March 1968 events” in communist Poland were further incidents of antisemitism in Europe. A common theme behind the anti-Jewish violence in Poland were blood libel rumours.[156][157]

During the early 1980s, isolationists on the far right made overtures to anti-war activists on the left in the United States to join forces against government policies in areas where they shared concerns.[158] This was mainly in the area of civil liberties, opposition to United States military intervention overseas and opposition to US support for Israel.[159][160] As they interacted, some of the classic right-wing antisemitic scapegoating conspiracy theories began to seep into progressive circles,[159] including stories about how a “New World Order”, also called the “Shadow Government” or “The Octopus”,[158] was manipulating world governments. Antisemitic conspiracism was “peddled aggressively” by right-wing groups.[159] Some on the left adopted the rhetoric, which it has been argued, was made possible by their lack of knowledge of the history of fascism and its use of “scapegoating, reductionist and simplistic solutions, demagoguery, and a conspiracy theory of history.”[159]

Towards the end of 1990, as the movement against the Gulf War began to build, a number of far-right and antisemitic groups sought out alliances with left-wing anti-war coalitions, who began to speak openly about a “Jewish lobby” that was encouraging the United States to invade the Middle East. This idea evolved into conspiracy theories about a “Zionist-occupied government” (ZOG), which has been seen as equivalent to the early-20th century antisemitic hoax, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.[158] The anti-war movement as a whole rejected these overtures by the political right.[159]

In the late 20th century, leaving aside injudicious name-calling by senator Ernest Hollings to fellow Democrat Howard Metzenbaum on the floor of the Senate,[citation needed] the Crown Heights riots of 1991 were a violent expression of tensions within a very poor urban community,[citation needed] pitting African American residents against followers of Hassidic Judaism.[citation needed] In the context of the first US-Iraq war, on September 15, 1990 Pat Buchanan appeared on The McLaughlin Group and said that “there are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East the Israeli defense ministry and its ‘amen corner’ in the United States.” He also said: “The Israelis want this war desperately because they want the United States to destroy the Iraqi war machine. They want us to finish them off. They don’t care about our relations with the Arab world.” When he delivered a keynote address at the 1992 Republican National Convention, known as the Culture War Speech, Buchanan described “a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America”.[161]

The first years of the 21st century have seen an upsurge of antisemitism. Several authors such as Robert S. Wistrich, Phyllis Chesler, and Jonathan Sacks argue that this is antisemitism of a new type stemming from Islamists, which they call new antisemitism.[162][163][164]Blood libel stories have appeared numerous times in the state-sponsored media of a number of Arab nations, on Arab television shows and on websites.[165][166][167]

In 2004, the United Kingdom set up an all-Parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism, which published its findings in 2006. The inquiry stated that: “Until recently, the prevailing opinion both within the Jewish community and beyond [had been] that antisemitism had receded to the point that it existed only on the margins of society.” However, it found a reversal of this progress since 2000 and aimed to investigate the problem, identify the sources of contemporary antisemitism and make recommendations to improve the situation.[168]

A March 2008 report by the U.S. State Department found that there was an increase in antisemitism across the world, and that both old and new expressions of antisemitism persist.[169] A 2012 report by the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor also noted a continued global increase in anti-Semitism, and found that Holocaust denial and opposition to Israeli policy at times was used to promote or justify blatant anti-Semitism.[170]

William D. Rubenstein, a respected author and historian, outlines the presence of antisemitism in the English-speaking world in one of his essays with the same title.

In the essay, he explains that there are relatively low levels of antisemitism in the English-speaking world, particularly in Britain and the United States, because of the values associated with Protestantism, the rise of capitalism, and the establishment of constitutional governments that protect civil liberties.

Rubenstein does not argue that the treatment of Jews was ideal in these countries, rather he argues that there has been less overt antisemitism in the English-speaking world due to political, idealogical, and social structures. Essentially, English-speaking nations experienced lower levels of antisemitism because their liberal and constitutional frameworks limited the organized, violent expression of antisemitism.

In his essay, Rubinstein tries to contextualize the reduction of the Jewish population that led to a period of reduced antisemitism: “All Jews were expelled from England in 1290, the first time Jews had been expelled en masse from a European country”[171]

As mentioned, Protestantism was a major factor that curbed antisemitism in England beginning in the sixteenth century. This is supported by the fact that there were a significantly higher number of reported instances of killing Jews in England prior to the birth of Protestantism.

More here:
History of antisemitism – Wikipedia

B’Nai Maccabim Home

We are a Covenant Synagogue. We believe that all of the covenants forged by G-d with our people are eternal, offering us a hope and a purpose, and that this includes the Messianic Covenant. We believe and are convinced that His promise of a Messiah, enabling us to be reconciled to Him, was fulfilled in the person of Yeshua.

At B’nai Maccabim we are focussed on living our lives in accordance with the Jewish Scriptures, observing Shabbat, and the Festivals and life-cycle events as commanded in Torah.

Our Shabbat services are open to anyone from any background and weare delighted towelcome all visitors. We are a small congregation and you can be sure of a warm reception.

If you are truly seeking to meet with G-d, then be assured that He is ready and waiting to meet with you.

BOREHAMWOOD SHOPPING PARK – Monday 26th December at 4.00pm

BOREHAMEOOD TESCO CARPARK – Saturday 31st December at 5.30pm

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B’Nai Maccabim Home

Old New Synagogue – Wikipedia

The Old New Synagogue or Altneuschul (Czech: Staronov synagoga; German: Altneu-Synagoge) situated in Josefov, Prague, is Europe’s oldest active synagogue.[1] It is also the oldest surviving medieval synagogue of twin-nave design.[2]

Completed in 1270 in gothic style, it was one of Prague’s first gothic buildings.[3] A still older Prague synagogue, known as the Old Synagogue, was demolished in 1867 and replaced by the Spanish Synagogue.

The synagogue was originally called the New or Great Synagogue and later, when newer synagogues were built in the 16th century, it became known as the Old-New Synagogue.[2] Another explanation derives the name from the Hebrew (al tnay), which means “on condition” and sounds identical to the Yiddish “alt-nay,” or old-new. According to legend angels have brought stones from the Temple in Jerusalem to build the Synagogue in Prague “on condition” that they are to be returned, when the Messiah comes, i.e., when the Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt and the stones are needed.[citation needed]

Nine steps lead from the street into a vestibule, from which a door opens into a double-nave with six vaulted bays. This double-nave system was most likely adapted from plans of monasteries and chapels by the synagogue’s Christian architects.[4] The molding on the tympanum of the synagogues entryway has a design that incorporates twelve vines and twelve bunches of grapes, said to represent twelve tribes of Israel.[5] Two large pillars aligned east to west in the middle of the room each support the interior corner of four bays. The bays have two narrow Gothic windows on the sides, for a total of twelve, again representing the twelve tribes. The narrow windows are probably responsible for many older descriptions of the building as being dark; it is now brightly lit with several electric chandeliers.

The vaulting on the six bays has five ribs instead of the typical four or six. It has been suggested that this was an attempt to avoid associations with the Christian cross. Many scholars dispute this theory, pointing to synagogues that have quadripartite ribs, and Christian buildings that have the unusual five rib design.[6]

The bimah from which Torah scrolls are read is located between the two pillars. The base of the bimah repeats the twelve vine motif found on the tympanum.[5] The Aron Kodesh where the Torah scrolls are stored is located in the middle of the customary eastern wall. There are five steps leading up to the Ark and two round stained glass windows on either side above it. A lectern in front of the ark has a square well a few inches below the main floor for the service leader to stand in.

The twelve lancet windows in the synagogue, which directed light towards the bimah, apparently led members to compare the structure with Solomon’s Temple.[5]

The synagogue follows orthodox custom, with separate seating for men and women during prayer services. Women sit in an outer room with small windows looking into the main sanctuary. The framework of the roof, the gable, and the party wall date from the Middle Ages.

An unusual feature found in the nave of this synagogue is a large red flag near the west pillar. In the centre of the flag is a Star of David and in the centre of the star is a hat in the style typically worn by Jews of the 15th century. Both the hat and star are stitched in gold. Also stitched in gold is the text of Shema Yisrael. Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor awarded the Jewish community their own banner in recognition for their services in the defence of Prague during the Thirty Years War. The banner now on display is a modern reproduction.

It is said that the body of Golem (created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) lies in the attic where the genizah of Prague’s community is kept.[7] A legend is told of a Nazi agent during World War II broaching the genizah, but who perished instead.[8] In the event, the Gestapo apparently did not enter the attic during the war, and the building was spared during the Nazis’ destruction of synagogues.[7] The lowest three meters of the stairs leading to the attic from the outside have been removed and the attic is not open to the general public.

The Old New Synagogue before 1906

Interior of the Old New Synagogue

Rear with ladder to attic

Media related to Old New Synagogue at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 500524N 142507E / 50.09000N 14.41861E / 50.09000; 14.41861

Read more here:
Old New Synagogue – Wikipedia

April is What National Month Calendar – thebalance.com

How Businesses Celebrate the Month of April Thomas Barwick/ Stone/ Getty Images

Updated September 08, 2016

April Fool’s Day Business Humor

For years BMW has run print ads (mostly in Europe) announcing special features not found in other cars. How many were duped is anyone’s guess. But you have to love a car maker that can poke fun at itself and its drivers — and still keep its brand in tact. Read more…

Many countries adopt causes or a special interest group to promote during a calendar month. The United States is particularly prolific at creating “national month” events to promote business interests.

April is one of the few months that does not contain a long list of ridiculous observations (“July is Lasagna Awareness Month.”)

The following events are observed calendar month-long (unless otherwise indicated):

Is there a way your business can benefit by promoting itself during “April is” national month?

Other National Months:

January – February – March – April – May – June – July – August – September – October – November – December

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April is What National Month Calendar – thebalance.com

Santa Monica synagogue vandalized as Hanukkah begins

When Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz arrived at his Santa Monica synagogue on the first day of Hanukkah, he made an unpleasant discovery.

The front window was smeared with feces and rice, in close proximity to a menorah display.

The vandalism, which occurred Saturday night or Sunday morning, did not include any anti-Semitic messages. But officials at the Living Torah Center Chabad on Wilshire Boulevard suspect the building was targeted for religious reasons.

This seems kind of intentional, Assistant Rabbi Dovid Tenenbaum said on Sunday morning. With a religious artifact in the window, we have to assume so.

The night before, the congregation had celebrated the start of Hanukkah with menorah lighting, latkes and doughnuts at Rabinowitzs house.

Rabinowitz arrived at the synagogue a little before 8 a.m. on Sunday morning to prepare for a service and found the noxious substances on the window.

Santa Monica police officers came to the location and took a report, but there were no witnesses to the crime. Tenenbaum said the synagogue will soon install video cameras.

The congregation is accustomed to occasional anti-Semitism.

During a service about a month ago, Tenenbaum said, a man stood up and shouted Heil, Hitler, positioning his arms as if shooting a rifle. He ran away before anyone could catch him.

About a year ago, a letter left in the synagogues mailbox contained a swastika and a message: Get out of here, you Jews. Also last year, someone scrawled graffiti on a Sukkot hut at the synagogue.

The outline of a cross is still visible on the synagogues front window, etched by a vandal years ago.

Tenenbaum said he is not deterred by small acts of vandalism, considering the persecution suffered by Jews through the centuries.

There are many times that others have wanted to annihilate the Jewish people, Tenenbaum said. The Jewish people have succeeded, and were still here to talk about it, thank God.


Powerful storm brings road closures and record rainfall to Southern California

Carrie Fisher is spending Christmas in intensive care, but is in stable condition, mom Debbie Reynolds says

Communities gather across the L.A. area to share Christmas morning with thousands of homeless people

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Santa Monica synagogue vandalized as Hanukkah begins

Great Synagogue of Rome – Wikipedia

The Great Synagogue of Rome (Italian: Tempio Maggiore di Roma) is the largest synagogue in Rome.

The Jewish community of Rome goes back to the 2nd century B.C when the Roman Empire had an alliance of sorts with Judea under the leadership of Judah Maccabeus. At that time, many Jews came to Rome from Judea. Their numbers increased during the following centuries due to the settlement that came with Mediterranean trade. Then large numbers of Jews were brought to Rome as slaves following the JewishRoman wars in Judea from 63 to 135 CE.[2]

The present Synagogue was constructed shortly after the unification of Italy in 1870, when the Kingdom of Italy captured Rome and the Papal States ceased to exist. The Roman Ghetto was demolished and the Jews were granted citizenship. The building which had previously housed the ghetto synagogue (a complicated structure housing five scolas (the Italian-Jewish term for synagogues) in a single building was demolished, and the Jewish community began making plans for a new and impressive building.[3]

Commemorative plates have been affixed to honour the local Jewish victims of Nazi Germany and of a Palestine Liberation Organization attack in 1982.

On 13 April 1986, Pope John Paul II made an unexpected visit to the Great Synagogue. This event marked the first known visit by a pope to a synagogue since the early history of the Roman Catholic Church. He prayed with Rabbi Elio Toaff, the former Chief Rabbi of Rome.[3][4] This was seen by many[who?] as an attempt to improve relations between Catholicism and Judaism and a part of Pope John Paul II’s programme to improve relations with Jews. In 2010 Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni hosted a visit from Pope Benedict XVI,[5] while Pope Francis visited the synagogue on 17 January 2015.[6]

The synagogue celebrated its centenary in 2004. In addition to serving as a house of worship, it is also serves a cultural and organizational centre for la Comunit Ebraica di Roma (the Jewish community of Rome). It houses the offices of the Chief Rabbi of Rome, as well as the Jewish Museum of Rome.[3][7]

On 17 January 2005, thirteen cantors, in conjunction with the Jewish Ministers Cantors Association of America (the Chazzanim Farband), performed in a cantorial concert for the first time in the synagogue’s history.

Pope Francis visited the Great Synagogue on 17 January, 2016. During his visit, the pope denounced all violence committed in the name of God, and joined in the diaspora as a sign of interfaith friendship. Pope Francis repeated several times the words first spoken by Pope John Paul, saying that Jews were the “elder brothers” of Christians. Pope Francis added Christian “elder sisters” of the Jewish faith to his words.[8]

The synagogue was attacked on 9 October 1982 by armed Palestinian militants at the close of the morning Sabbath service. One person, a toddler, was killed.

Designed by Vincenzo Costa and Osvaldo Armanni, the synagogue was built from 1901 to 1904 on the banks of the Tiber, overlooking the former ghetto. The eclectic style of the building makes it stand out, even in a city known for notable buildings and structures.[3] This attention-grabbing design was a deliberate choice made by the community at the time who wanted the building to be a visible celebration of their freedom and to be seen from many vantage points in the city. The aluminium dome is the only squared dome in the city and makes the building easily identifiable even from a distance.

Coordinates: 415331.57N 122840.81E / 41.8921028N 12.4780028E / 41.8921028; 12.4780028

Great Synagogue of Rome – Wikipedia

Who Invented the Synagogue? – Synagogue


Ive heard it said that theres no mention of the synagogue in the Torah. So where and when did it originate? Its hard to imagine Judaism (at least as we know it today) without synagogues!


Indeed, there is no mention of the Synagogue in the Written Torah (i.e., the Five Books of Moses). The institution of the synagogue is of later, Rabbinic origin.

The purpose of the synagogue is to provide a venue to facilitate and enhance the Biblical obligation of prayer by adding a communal element.

From Moses times until the restoration of the Second Temple, we fulfilled the obligation to pray daily by composing our own prayers, and praying privately.

We also made pilgrimages to Jerusalem to experience the public services that were conducted in the Holy Temple.

After the restoration of the Second Temple (352 BCE), the Great Assembly, led by Ezra, instituted the Kaddish, Kedushah, Barechu, and the rest of the standardized communal service (requiring the participation of a minyan or quorum of ten) as well as the obligation for individuals to participate in these services.

There arose both in Israel and the Diaspora places set aside to pray communally. Thus was born the Place of GatheringBeit Kenesset in Hebrew, and synagogos in Greek.

The primary public worship experience remained the journey to Jerusalem to participate in and be inspired by the Temple service.

When the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 69 CE, the only place for public worship remained the synagogue, which then acquired increased importance as the center of Jewish communal life.

The primary focus of Judaism, however, has always been the life of each individual and their home and family, lived in a strong and mutually responsible community. In fact, when a Jewish community starts from scratch, building a synagogue is not the first item on its to do list. As set by Jewish law, the priorities as far as setting up communal institutions should be:

1) A mikvah

2) Jewish schooling for children

3) A charity fund

4) A synagogue

Of course, people canand doget together anywhere to pray communally.

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Who Invented the Synagogue? – Synagogue

Sephardic Cuisine – My Jewish Learning

An overview of the wide variety of food eaten by the descendants of the Spanish exile. By MJL Staff

Get Sephardic (and other) Jewish recipes sent straight to your inbox! Sign up for The Nosher newsletter here.

Sephardic cuisine refers to the foods eaten by a large and diverse group of Jews that bear the unique stamp of their regions of origin, which include Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, Egypt, and Turkey. Italian, Indian, and other non-European Jewish foods are also sometimes included in this mix.

There is logic to this broad grouping: Almost all of these lands were part of the Islamic world. The Arab conquest of the 7th and 8th centuries united land from the Iberian peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean to China and India. Active trading went on between these lands, spreading new food all over the region. Eggplant from India, spinach from Nepal, and spices from the Near East are examples of foods that spread throughout the Islamic empire.

Jews participated actively in Islamic society. They were successful in cultural, political, and financial arenas. Thus Sephardic cuisine often represents refined, even aristocratic, food. Besides the quality of the food, the Jews of the Islamic world stressed quantity as well. Asceticism was not valued, and lifecycle celebrations such as circumcisions and weddings were lengthy and luxurious.

RECIPE: Sephardic Jeweled Rosh Hashanah Rice

Cookbooks that cataloged medical advice alongside recipes were a common genre of literature in the Muslim world. The 13th-century Cookbook of the Maghreb and Andalusia, one of the most important of these books, lists five Jewish recipes. All of these are full of spices and aromas and are detailed in their ingredients and preparation. One such dish, a chicken with giblets, was made with, among other things, fennel stalks, coriander, oil, citron leaves, eggs, flour, and chicken liver. The dish is first roasted and then left to sit in murri a fermented condiment used in medieval cooking vinegar, rose water, onion juice, and spices. All the dishes in the book, including the Jewish ones, exhibit delicate attention to flavor, texture, and presentation. Jews also authored recipe and dietetics books. Isaac Israelicus 10th-century Book of Foods was translated into Latin in the 15th century and used in medical schools until the 17th century.

When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, most made their way to North Africa and Ottoman lands such as Turkey and the Balkans. Half of the North African Jews lived in Morocco, and the Jewish style of food that was common there is still considered one of Moroccos four national food styles. The Jews who settled in the Ottoman lands were typically upper class, and their foods resembled the foods of the urban nobility. The kebabs, pilafs and dolmades (stuffed vegetables) of Turkish Jewry are still some of the most recognizable Sephardic dishes.

RECIPE: Sumac Chicken and Rice

Fruits, vegetables, spices, and grains were plentiful in the Mediterranean climate, and thus plant foods figured heavily into Sephardic cuisine. Indeed, Jews were responsible for spreading the use of certain plant foods. Italian Jews prepared artichoke in an innovative way. Leeks and fennel, first used in Jewish cooking, were also later used in non-Jewish cooking in the area. Meats were eaten by Mediterranean Jews, butexcept for Shabbat (the Sabbath)fish was more often on the menu.

The Sephardic Jewish communities began to decline in the 18th century. Colonialism and natural disaster hit these communities hard and, on the whole, the Sephardic communities became impoverished. Nonetheless, Sephardic cuisine still retains the character of its unique heritage, a panoply of foods from many different lands that reflect an intense intermingling of cultures that were often well-to-do and sophisticated.

RECIPE: Stuffed Grape Leaves

It is difficult to identify particular Sephardic foods as Spanish or Greek or Arab. The movement of the Sephardic community and the unique blending of cultures gave rise to an assimilated and variegated cuisine.

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Get Sephardic (and other) Jewish recipes sent straight to your inbox! Sign up for The Nosher newsletter here.

Sephardic cuisine refers to the foods eaten by a large and diverse group of Jews that bear the unique stamp of their regions of origin, which include Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, Egypt, and Turkey. Italian, Indian, and other non-European Jewish foods are also sometimes included in this mix.

There is logic to this broad grouping: Almost all of these lands were part of the Islamic world. The Arab conquest of the 7th and 8th centuries united land from the Iberian peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean to China and India. Active trading went on between these lands, spreading new food all over the region. Eggplant from India, spinach from Nepal, and spices from the Near East are examples of foods that spread throughout the Islamic empire.

Jews participated actively in Islamic society. They were successful in cultural, political, and financial arenas. Thus Sephardic cuisine often represents refined, even aristocratic, food. Besides the quality of the food, the Jews of the Islamic world stressed quantity as well. Asceticism was not valued, and lifecycle celebrations such as circumcisions and weddings were lengthy and luxurious.

RECIPE: Sephardic Jeweled Rosh Hashanah Rice

Cookbooks that cataloged medical advice alongside recipes were a common genre of literature in the Muslim world. The 13th-century Cookbook of the Maghreb and Andalusia, one of the most important of these books, lists five Jewish recipes. All of these are full of spices and aromas and are detailed in their ingredients and preparation. One such dish, a chicken with giblets, was made with, among other things, fennel stalks, coriander, oil, citron leaves, eggs, flour, and chicken liver. The dish is first roasted and then left to sit in murri a fermented condiment used in medieval cooking vinegar, rose water, onion juice, and spices. All the dishes in the book, including the Jewish ones, exhibit delicate attention to flavor, texture, and presentation. Jews also authored recipe and dietetics books. Isaac Israelicus 10th-century Book of Foods was translated into Latin in the 15th century and used in medical schools until the 17th century.

When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, most made their way to North Africa and Ottoman lands such as Turkey and the Balkans. Half of the North African Jews lived in Morocco, and the Jewish style of food that was common there is still considered one of Moroccos four national food styles. The Jews who settled in the Ottoman lands were typically upper class, and their foods resembled the foods of the urban nobility. The kebabs, pilafs and dolmades (stuffed vegetables) of Turkish Jewry are still some of the most recognizable Sephardic dishes.

RECIPE: Sumac Chicken and Rice

Fruits, vegetables, spices, and grains were plentiful in the Mediterranean climate, and thus plant foods figured heavily into Sephardic cuisine. Indeed, Jews were responsible for spreading the use of certain plant foods. Italian Jews prepared artichoke in an innovative way. Leeks and fennel, first used in Jewish cooking, were also later used in non-Jewish cooking in the area. Meats were eaten by Mediterranean Jews, butexcept for Shabbat (the Sabbath)fish was more often on the menu.

The Sephardic Jewish communities began to decline in the 18th century. Colonialism and natural disaster hit these communities hard and, on the whole, the Sephardic communities became impoverished. Nonetheless, Sephardic cuisine still retains the character of its unique heritage, a panoply of foods from many different lands that reflect an intense intermingling of cultures that were often well-to-do and sophisticated.

RECIPE: Stuffed Grape Leaves

It is difficult to identify particular Sephardic foods as Spanish or Greek or Arab. The movement of the Sephardic community and the unique blending of cultures gave rise to an assimilated and variegated cuisine.

See the article here:
Sephardic Cuisine – My Jewish Learning