The following paper considers Rabbi Dr. Ludwig Philippson’s contributions to the many-faceted Jewish-theological discourses of the 19th century, with special focus on his IsraelitischeReligionslehre: comprising three volumes and published between the late 1850s and early 1860s, this work can be regarded as a result of his rabbinic teachings. We will therefore consider the importance of an emerging religious theory as well as the ambivalence in locating Philippson’s religious affiliations: even though Philippson favoured an increasingly theoretical approach to religion, his Religionslehre nevertheless betrays conspicuous moments of orthodoxy. It will be the purpose of this paper to examine the contradictions in Philippson’s argumentation.
This article describes a relief that was sculpted in 1727. The relief depicts a Good Friday scene in 1287, when Jews allegedly tortured and killed Werner of Oberwesel, who came to be venerated as a Christian saint. Attached to the Oberwesel Werner Chapel, the relief was near the vault of the chapel, where the ritualized murder of Werner supposedly took place. After his burial in neighbouring Bacharach, hundreds of Jews were attacked and murdered in Oberwesel, Boppard, as well as along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. This story contributed to the defamation of Jews for centuries. It was, in fact, not until 1963 that the Diocese of Trier expunged Werner’s memorial day from its liturgical calendar. This article also demonstrates how the Nazis incorporated this relief into their anti-Semitic propaganda campaigns and shows how the relief was part of traditional worship in the area until it was reluctantly removed in 1970.
Takkanot have been an important instrument for the unification of Ashkenazi culture since the Middle Ages. They spread from the Rhineland to the East, to Poland, Bohemia and Moravia. They regulated all areas of Jewish life. Whereas the addressees of the Takkanot were the Jewish communities, the new Synagogenordnungen (Statutes for the Synagogue), developed first in the West and soon followed by Moravia in the East, were directed primarily at the Christian authorities. This change began as early as the mid-18th century when the Austrian empress Maria Theresia asked for a translation of older Takkanot in order to formulate new legal standards for the Jewish life in her lands. The translation of these Jewish regulations into German, brought with it, nolens volens, a Christianization of Jewish technical terms used in their institutions. Soon, the Jewish Neologists and reformers welcomed these translations as useful for their own aspirations to transform Judaism. This was the case in both the West and the East. Among them was Samson Raphael Hirsch, the later leader of the Neo-Orthodox community in Frankfurt am Main and Chief Rabbi of Moravia in Nikolsburg.
The situation of the Jews in Breslau in the first half of the 18th century was determined by various interested parties, from the Habsburg emperor as city lord to the council of the city and the monasteries in the suburbs. While the city council had not tolerated Jews in its area since the pogrom of 1453, the monasteries in the suburbs used the economic power of the Jews living there. The Emperor as King of Bohemia was interested in trading with Poland, allowing Polish Jewish merchants to settle in the city. While the emperor allowed Jewish citizens to trade within the city by passing a tax law in 1713, the city council tried to keep the Jews as much as possible away from the market. The situation remained undecided until 1742, when the annexation of Silesia created a new situation in Prussia. A law of 1744 guaranteed the establishment of the Jews in the city and the formation of a community, but the number of Jewish residents permitted in the city was kept very low.
Shimʻon Günzburg’s Yiddish collection of customs, first brought to press in Venice in 1589 and reprinted dozens of times over the following centuries, is often considered a mere translation of the Hebrew Minhagim put together by Ayzik Tyrnau in the 1420s. Another claim often made about the book is that, although it was first printed in Venice, it was intended less for the Italian book market than for export. This article sets out to test these assumptions by examining Günzburg’s compilation from the perspective of minhag, or prayer rite. Drawing on Yiddish manuscripts preserved from sixteenth-century Italy, as well as early printed editions overlooked by scholars, it argues that Günzburg’s Minhogim are, in fact, more Italian than has been recognized. It also points up their potential for a comparative history of Ashkenazic book culture across the political and linguistic borders of Europe.