This Day in Jewish History

Posted By on July 13, 2015

July 14

1223: Philip II Augustus, King of France died. Like so many other anti-Semites, King Phillip based his animus towards the Jews on Christian teachings and then used this hate to despoil. Shortly after his coronation, the King ordered the arrest of all the Jews on a Saturday, when they were easy pickings and then demanded a ransom for their release. He canceled the loans Christians owed to the Jews, seized their property and then expelled them. Years later he would readmit the Jews but only after they paid another ransom and submit to a confiscatory scheme of taxation.

1223: Louis VIII becomes King of France upon the death of his father, Philip II of France. After his coronation, Louis reversed the policy of his father and ordered his officials to stop recording the debts Christians owed to Jews. This was part of the on-going struggle that Christians had over the question of usury charging interest when lending money. For Christians usury was a sin that led to excommunication. Since Jews were not Christians they could not be excommunicated so some Christian leaders felt it was acceptable to borrow from them. The Church frowned on this. Louis ban was an attempt to reach a compromise. Jew could lend. Christians could borrow. But Christians did not necessarily end up having to pay back. At least one major French noble became a foe of Louis over this since he had taxed his Jews on the profits from their money-lending activities. This was a fry cry from the days of Louis VI and Louis VII both of whom were protective of Jews to the extent that Jews were a significant part of the populace of Paris.

1349: Today all the Jews living in Frankfurt were murdered and their houses burnt.

1391: The jurados of Valencia reported today that Don Samuel Abravalla, the richest Jew in Valenciea had been baptized yesterday in the palace of En Gasto. His Christian name is Alfonso Ferrandes de Villaneuva. (According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, this Samuel Abravalla should not be confused with Don Samuel Abravanel, who was also forcfully baptized in 1391, but took the name Juan de Sevilla. Both men returned to Judaism as soon as they had the chance to recant their respective baptisms.

1614: The Jews of Worms succeeded in repelling an attack on the Jewish quarter today.

1647: A Jew from the city of Alessandra who had discovered a new process of refining gunpowder told the city officials of the plans the Duke of Modena to take control of the city by bribing him to destroy the supply of gunpowder.

1656: In New York, the municipal authorities grand the Jews a lot for a place of interment which was on New Bowery, near Olive Street which the Jewish community later augmented by the purchase of adjoining tracts in 1681, 1729, and 1755.

1663(9th of Tammuz, 5423): According to Leopold Zunz, Nathan ben Moses Hannover the Jewish historian and Talmudist best known for writing Yeven Mezulah that described the Khmelnytsky Uprising in which an unprecedented number of Jews were murdered, passed away today. Some of them [the Jews] had their skins flayed off them and their flesh was flung to the dogs. The hands and feet of others were cut off and they [their bodies] were flung onto the roadway where carts ran over them and they were trodden underfoot by horse ... And many were buried alive. Children were slaughtered at their mothers bosoms and many children were torn apart like fish. They ripped up the bellies of pregnant women, took out the unborn children, and flung them in their faces. They tore open the bellies of some of them and placed a living cat within the belly and they left them alive thus, first cutting off their hands so that they should not be able to take the living cat out of the belly ... and there was never an unnatural death in the world that they did not inflict upon them.

1757: During a dispute surrounding titles used by members of the Bet Din in London, Isaac Nieto was prohibited from exercising the functions of assessor. The son of David Nieto, Isaac Nieto had served as spiritual leader of Bevis Marx and had started the first synagogue in Gibraltar. He had returned to London in 1751 to serve as one of three judges in the citys Rabbinical Court. He passed away in 1774.

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