Monday, August 3, 2015

Jezebel and the Fatal Royal Houses of Israel and Judah

Nadene Goldfoot                The House of David                                                                     

King Solomon (961-920 BCE)

                                    
King David (1010-970 BCE)

The Royal House of Israel started with King David and his son, King Solomon who died in 920 BCE .  Solomon died and that was the cue for the southern half of Israel which was was mostly the land of the tribe of Judah, to break away from the rest and claim their independency.  They took Jerusalem as their capital which left Samaria the capital of Israel.

 Next in line for the throne of Israel were the following:
1. Jeroboam (933-912)
2. Nadab (912-911) 
3. Baasha (911-888)
4. Elah (888-887)
5. Zimri (887)
6. Omri (887-876)
7. Ahab (876-853) married Jezebel
8. Ahaziah (853)
9. Jehoram of Israel (853-843) son of Ahab;  and Jehoram, King of Judah (851-844) son of Jehoshaphat
10. Jehu (843-816)
Baal cult worship of Sidon introduced by Jezebel who died in 843 BCE to Israel
                                                                              
King Ahab with Prophet Elijah
Queen Jezebel
Omri was the father of Ahab, the next king.  He married Jezebel, who was the daughter of Ethbaal,  the King of Sidon who introduced Baal worship into Israel.  This was a religion similar to the Greeks in that it was a pantheon of gods and Baal was the head god.  Jezebel had a forceful and vindictive personality.  She had lots of influence over Ahab.  He must have been the first henpecked husband, even though he was a king.  She intended to introduce her native Baal cult into Israel and that was that.  She is depicted in the Bible's I Kings 16:31 and II Kings 9 as a bloodthirsty woman who persecuted the prophets of G-d and unjustly brought about the death of Naboth.
                                                                   
 Naboth was a Jezreelite whose patriarchal vineyard was situated near the palace of King Ahab.  King Ahab wanted a plot of land for his own kitchen garden, and Naboth refused to sell his plot to the royal family.  This made Jezebel angry, who probably was the person who wanted it in the first place, so it was she who engineered his execution as told in 1 Kings 21.  The prophets led by Elijah were the reason Naboth wouldn't sell as he supported Jehu who wiped out the dynasty of Ahab.  Naboth's vineyard has become proverbial.  

                          Jehu Assassinates Royal Family before 843 BCE
                                                                         
Jehu being annointed King of Israel by the prophet Elisha

Jehu ruled after Jehoram from 843 to 816 as king of Israel..   While he was the commander-in-chief for King Jehoram, he had conspired with the army and had the support of Elisha, a prophet and disciple and successor Elijah the famous prophet, so he annihilated the royal family including King Jehoram, and his wife, Queen Ahaziah-mother of Princess Jezebel of Judah and the queen-mother,  and the priests of Baal.  He did away with the evil element in the Royal House, except for Jezebel.
 Jezebel was killed later in the uprising of Jehu.  The name has become proverbial in English, though not in Hebrew.

Sidon was an ancient Syrian coastal city, now in Lebanon.  It was the capital of the Phoenicians who were called Sidonians in the Bible.  Sidon was occupied several times by the Assyrians, was subject to Persia and was captured by Alexander the Great.    It finally lost its independence when under Roman domination, just like Judah had.

 Elijah, the prophet of Israel,  fought against this idol worship.    A fierce struggle took place between the royal house and the many prophets of the day which Elijah headed.

Ben Hadad of Damascus was defeated in a battle which meant that Israel regained several districts of theirs previously captured by him.

Later, Ben Hadad and King Omri of Israel formed an alliance and fought against the Assyrians near Karkar in 853 BCE.

 King Ahab of Israel was killed while fighting Damascus in alliance with King Jehoshaphat of Judah from 874-850 BCE.  Jehoshaphat  was the first king of Judah to make a treaty with the kingdom of Israel.
                                                                       
  In order to strengthen the ties between the 2 kingdoms, he married off his son, Jehoram, a different Jehoram ,   to Athaliah, daughter of Ahab of Israel and Jezebel the Sidonian, which was a fatal decision.   Jehoram ruled Israel from 853 to 843 BCE.  It seemed like a good idea at the time of the Princess of Israel married to the King of Judah.  Jehoram's reign was marked by the revolt of the Edomites and by invasions of Philistines and Arabs who plundered Jerusalem.  He died after a prolonged illness as told in II Kings 8.

Kings of Judah:
4. Jehoshaphat (875-851 )
5. Jehoram (851-844 ) wife-Athaliah
6. Ahaziah 844-843 )
7. Athaliah (843-837)
8. Joash (837-798)
9. Amaziah (798-780
10. Azariah/Uzziah (780-740)
                                                                                                               
Evil Princess Athaliah, daughter of Evil Queen Jezebel and King Ahab of Israel
However, this Princess Athaliah,  was by blood, only half Jewish.  Her mother, Queen Jezebel,  had never converted, evidently, since she was bringing in Baal worship into the country.  Evidently Elijah was losing the battle of idol worship as he had to fight against the ruling house.

King Jehoram and Queen Athaliah 's son, Ahaziah,  ruled as King of Judah from 844 to 843 BCE, and then he was killed by assassination. It was because in about 853 BCE, he was denounced as an idolater by Elijah as explained in I Kings 22.  He was then succeeded by his brother, Jehoram.  He was a Baal-worshipper like his mother, Athaliah, and then he joined his uncle Jerhoram of Israel in a battle against Hazael of Syria as told in II Kings 8-9.  After Jehoram was wounded, Ahaziah visited him at his place of convalescence in Jezreel where both were killed by Jehu.                    
                                                                         
     Queen Athaliah Assassinates Whole Family-Grandson Saved 

What did Queen Athaliah do?  There was no heir to the throne from Ahaziah.  She exterminated the entire royal family  starting  with her son first,  then the aunt Jehosheba who saved Joash and was wife of  the high priest, Jehoiada,  except for her grandson, Joash, who she couldn't find.  He had been saved by his aunt, Jehosheba.  Athalia then took power and introduced the Baal cult into Judah.  She ruled for 6 years from 843 to 837 BCE, and  then a successful revolt broke out in favor of  her grandson, Joash.  Evil Athaliah was put to death.  Joash was left to carry on the name.  Joash ruled from 837 to 798 BCE as king of Judah.
                                                                         
High priest, Jehoida and Evil Queen Athaliah

Joash or Jehoash was only 1 year old when his grandmother, Athaliah, had all the members of the House of David murdered.  His aunt, Jehosheba, who had rescued him, was the wife of the high priest, Jehoiada, so was a powerful lady.  She kept Joash hidden in the Temple for 6 years.
                                                                           
Then her husband, the high priest, crowned the 6 year old king Joash and had Athaliah put to death, obliterated the Baal cult, and acted as regent until Joash was 21 years old.  Joash continued in the priestly tradition and restored the Temple, but later, fell from his uprightness.  During his reign, Israel was invaded by Hazael of Aram (Syria) who was bought off with a large indemnity or security against harm.  Joash was killed by conspirators. His son, Amaziah was the next king and ruled from 798 to 780 BCE.  He put the murderers of his father, Joash,  to death.  He was victorious over Edom, but only challenged Samaria, was heavily defeated and held prisoner for a time.  He was killed in a palace revolution.  The high priest, Jehoida died at age 130 and was buried in the royal tomb.  His influence brought about the prohibition of the influence of the Baal cult, its sanctuaries destroyed and the Temple in Jerusalem was restored.

I might add that the line of kings of Israel  after Solomon died started with  Jeroboam I, an Ephraimite who had been the superintendent of forced labor during King Solomon's reign but later led a revolt against the burden on subjects of the monarchy, which was suppressed and he fled to Egypt.  When Solomon died, he led a delegation and met at Shechem demanding changes in taxation and forced labor which Solomon had been doing.  It was refused and it was the northern tribes who wanted to be independent from Judah and that's when they anointed Jeroboam King.  5 years later, 60 towns were ravaged by Egypt's invasion.  He set up new shrines at Bethel and Dan with a similar cult but centered around the symbols of golden calves.  This was thought of as a great sin and caused Israel to later sin even more with the Baal cult.

On the other hand, Rehoboam, King of Judah after King Solomon died in 933 BCE, was the son of Solomon by his Ammonite wife, Naamah.  He had refused to change the taxation which is why the kingdom had split with just the tribes of Judah, Simeon and most of Benjamin remaining loyal to the Royal House of David.  It was then that the Temple was plundered by Shishak of Egypt who had taken the opportunity to invade.  Ammon was another Semitic tribe related to the Israelites living in what was Transjordan and their capital is today's Amman.  They had been defeated earlier by Jephthah and King Saul.  They worshipped fertility gods, the chief being Milkom/Milcom or Moloch, the name of the national god of the Ammonites, to whom children were sacrificed by fire. This god was also worshipped by the Phoenicians and Canaanites.

One of the places that Moloch was worshipped was in Tophet, “in the valley of the son of Hinnom, very near Jerusalem, where the image of Moloch (that god of unnatural cruelty, as others were of unnatural uncleanness) was kept, to which some sacrificed their children, burning them in the fire, others dedicated them, making them to pass through the fire (2 Kings 23:10), labouring in the very fire,Habbukah 2:13. It is supposed to have been called Tophet from toph, a drum, because they beat drums at the burning of the children, that their shrieks might not be heard."

Resource: The new Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Jezebel, song by Frankie Laine :  http://www.metrolyrics.com/jezebel-lyrics-frankie-laine.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moloch

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Land of Abraham's Father: Aram-Naharaim --Land of Constant War

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                        

Terah was Abraham's father.  Terah and his family had come from the East to the city of Ur, which today lies in Iraq.  It was a land with lots of water.  Water is needed for a civilization to exist.  It was from Abraham that the father of the Arabs, Ishmael, and the father of the Jews, Isaac, came from as they were Abraham's sons and play a very important role in our history.
                                                                           
The NE area of Mesopotamia where 2 rivers lie, the Tigris and the Euphrates, was called ARAM-NAHARAIM.  Aram in the Bible meant Syria..  This meant, Aram of the 2 Rivers.  It is the biblical name of this region.
                   Descendants of Serug

1   Serug
.. +Milcah
. 2   Nahor I
..... +Iyoska
..... 3   Terah b: in Ur of Chaldees, Sumeria, Mesopotamia Iraq d: in Haran
......... 4   [1] Abram-Abraham b: d: in Hebron
............. +Sarai-Sarah b: d: in Hebron
......... *Friend of [1] Abram-Abraham:
............. +Hagar
......... *2nd Wife of [1] Abram-Abraham:
............. +Keturah
......... 4   Haran b:
......... 4   [2] NAHOR II b in Ur of Chaldees d: in Haran
............. +Milcah b: in Ur of Chaldees d: in Haran
......... *Friend of [2] NAHOR II:
............. +Reumah

Nearly all the names of the ancestors of Abraham, such as Serug, Nahor, Terah, correspond to place-names in this region.  According to the picture above, Ur rested on the Euphrates River almost at the mouth from the Persian Gulf where the 2 rivers emptied.  

The kings of Aram never succeeded in creating a homogeneous state.
                                                                       
When?  2279 BCE Sargon's Empire  of Akkad (King from 2334-2279 BCE)  showing Ur.  
Sargon II was King of Assyria from 721-712 BCE.

 He took the throne when Shalmaneser III died during the siege of Samaria.  At that time he exiled many of the people.  In 720 BCE he defeated soldiers including the remnants of thee Israelites of Samaria.  He was assassinated and succeeded by Sennacherib.  Evidently the map hadn't changed for many years.

Sargon had annexed the country in 721 BCE, deported 27,290 Israelites to Assyria and Media, and replaced them with Syrian and Babylonian prisoners.  

Sargon's empire became a memory. But Sargon remained as a legend.

                                                                     

 It was said that Sargon's mother had abandoned him in a cradle of reeds, that she had placed the cradle on one of Mesopotamia's great rivers and that Sargon had been found and adopted by Sumerians – a story similar to one which would emerge centuries later about a man called Moses, the Prophet of the Jewish people.  

Who were the people living in Ur?  They were Arameans of Aram.  They were a group of Semitic tribes who had invaded the Fertile Crescent in the 2nd half of the 2nd millennium BCE- about 4,000 BCE.  They roamed between the Persian Gulf and the Amanus Mountains.
                                                                         
In Genesis 10:22, Aram and Israel had common ancestors and the Israelite patriarchs were of Aramaic origin and kept their ties of marriage with the tribes of Aram.  From other sources, the Akkadian findings of the 12th century BCE sheds light on the connection.  The Arameans were politically important not long after when independent Aramean states and princedoms, such as Aram-Dammesek, Aram-Naharaim, and Aram-Zobah came into being in Syria and Mesopotamia.

At the end of the 11th century BCE,  Assyria (in Western Asia with Semitic people who were most aggressive in 20th century BCE and expanded in 13th  and 10th centuries BCE)  was threatened with invasion by Aramean tribes, and only at the end of the 10th century did she finally succeed in stopping the danger.  On and off wars with these powers was a constant danger of the 9th and 8th centuries BCE.

The successes of Kings David and Solomon against the Aramean states in Mesopotamia and Syria contributed to Assyria's recovery.

In 743-742 BCE, the Aramean states in Syria were overthrown and turned into Assyrian dependencies.  When the people rebelled, they were punished by deportation of the people to distant countries.

The Aramaic language was spread among the peoples in whose midst the Arameans lived beside or with and became the current language throughout Western Asia.  Aramaic is closer to Hebrew than any other Semitic language.  It became an international langiuage for commerce from the late Assyrian and Persian kingdoms of 6th century BCE.  The proof are the many inscriptions found in Asia Minor, Egypt, India and other places where it was never the native language.  It was for  many centuries the Palestinian vernacular.  Biblical readings were translated into Aramaic in the synagogues for people who did not understand Hebrew.
                                                                     
Hadad, stone idol of main god found in Palace at Tell Halaf, Syria
   The main god in Syria was Hadad, god of wind, rain, thunder and lightening.Their gods made up a pantheon, like the Greeks and Romans had.  It was often regarded as the god of justice and augury (omens,  chance events as the fall of lots).  He is sometimes identified with Baal, but Baal was a title denoting lordship of the world.  Several kings of Edom took on the name of Hadad.    Ancient Semites believed in this pantheon.  This is where Abraham came from, but then concluded that there was only ONE G-d.   We know that Terah, his father,  was an idol maker.
                                                                               
Aram-Dammesek was the most important Aramean kingdom in Syria in the 10th to 8th centuries BCE.  It was named after its capital, DAMASCUS (in Hebrew-Dammesek).  When Solomon's kingdom was divided into Israel and Judah at the time of his death in 920 BCE, Aram-Dammesek was a constant danger to Israel which it often exploited in its disagreements with Judah.
                                                                       
 It joined the kings of Israel, Judah and Syria in opposing the Assyrians in 853, 848 and 845 BCE.  In 805, the Asssyrians took Damascus and forced the king to pay a heavy tribute.  The kings of Israel now took the opportunity to win back areas conquered by Aram-Dammesek and even to annex Aram-Dammesek itself for a time as told in Jeroboam II.

In 738 BCE, Aram-Dammesek became allies with Israel against Assyria.  During the next campaign led by Tiglath-Pileser in 733 to 732 BCE, the country of Aram-Dammesek was plundered and its population was exiled and its existence as an independent state ended.

Aram-Zobah was an Aramean kingdom in southern Syria.  In the 10th century BCE, Hadadezer, king of Aram-Zobah,  created a political and military alliance with other Aramean kingdoms to check on Israel's expansion.  Doesn't it sound a little like today's history?

King David inflicted 3 severe defeats on Aram-Zobah after which it disappeared from the biblical record.

During the Middle Ages, the name, Aram-Zobah, was applied in Hebrew to Aleppo, Syria, which wound up with the largest Jewish population in Syria with Damascus as 2nd largest.  Almost all Jews have left Syria today.

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Tanakh
http://www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch03.htm on Sargon
http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/sargon.php  Sargon and Moses




Saturday, August 1, 2015

Italy's Long Jewish History; From Slaves to Citizens

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                 

Titus, the Roman emperor from 79 to 81 CE, son of Vespasian.  He took command of the Roman army in Judea from his father in 70 CE when he destroyed Jerusalem after a 5 month siege.  His mistress was Berenice, a Judean princess.  He marched 20,000 Jews away from Judah and took them to Rome.  There they were used to build the coliseum.   "Proof of this lies in the Arch of Titus, which depicts a menorah as part of the bounty from Jerusalem. To this day, the Talmud forbids Jews from walking under the Arch.. 

UpdateA groundbreaking paper published in 2000 by Harry Ostrer, a professor of genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and University of Arizona geneticist Michael Hammer showed that most modern Jews are descended on their male side from a core population of approximately 20,000 Jews who migrated from Italy over the first millennium and eventually settled in Eastern Europe.
“All European [Ashkenazi] Jews seem connected on the order of fourth or fifth cousins,” Ostrer has said.

The arch at Rome was erected by the Senate in honor of Vespasian and Titus.  The original was destroyed.  This one dates from the reign of Domitian (81-96 CE.  The relief shows the goddess of victory crowning Titus.  You see the march of Jewish captives bearing the Temple vessels, the shewbread table, the 7-branched candlesticks and the trumpet, the Jordan and the sacrificial procession.
                                                                             
The sacking  of Jerusalem, same as above only more distinct

Judah Maccabee
Did he realize that " individual Jews had visited Italy as traders, and that a Jewish embassy was dispatched to Rome in 161 B.C.E. by Judah Maccabee to conclude a political treaty with the Roman senate?  Other Jews living in Rome after Judah  were apparently accused of conducting religious propaganda among the Roman population and were expelled from the city.  Jewish prisoners taken by the Roman General Pompey during his invasion of Eretz Israel, 63–61 B.C.E. when he captured Jerusalem and the Temple from Aristobulus' supporters and Judea was made a tributary and stripped her of the territories that the Hasmoneans had acquired, and the captured Jews were brought to Italy, but most were probably freed after a short time.  "During the reign of Tiberius, his minister, Sejanus,  deported 4,000 Jewish youths to Sardinia to fight banditry, ostensibly to punish the Jews for having tried to defraud a woman of the Roman nobility. In fact, this was part of the policy to suppress the Oriental cults, and an edict was also issued ordering the Jews to leave Italy unless they abandoned their religious practices. Tiberius ended  the measures. 


After Titus had destroyed Jerusalem in 70 CE, Babylonia arose as the new Jewish center."
                                                                   
Ancient Greek culture's Parthenon 
"History records that the first Jewish settlers arrived in southern-Italy from Judea (part of modern day Israel) long before Christianity was established as the official religion of the Roman empire."

Jews settled in Italy in the 2nd century BCE, first in Rome most likely from being slaves and thereafter in the southern ports and along the trade routes.  Jews are known to have had settlements in Italy in at least 40 places  before the end of the "Classical Period" of between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE to the 5th century CE.
                                                                               
Much history is discovered from the catacombs in that they give us graphic evidence of the way of life and the high degree of cultural assimilation.  The Jews' life was seriously deteriorated with the Christianization of the Roman Empire in the 4th century.  However, they were protected by the Popes against the worst and their fundamental rights were maintained.
                                                                         

A well-known Jewish family was the Kalonymus family.  They migrated from Italy to Germany from the 9th  to the 13th century.  Kalonymos or Kalonymus (Hebrewקלונימוס‎) is a prominent Jewish family originally from Tuscany's LuccaItaly, which, after the settlement at Mainz and Speyer, Germany  of several of its members, took during many generations a leading part in the development of Jewish learning in Germany."  Lucca had a Jewish community in the 9th century and was among the most important in northern Italy, being associated with scholars such as Rabbi Kalonymos and later, Abraham Ibn Ezra.   Moses I. (ben Meshullam) Kalonymos was one of the first in the family who was a liturgical poet; lived at Rome or at Lucca about 850. 

Lucca  was one of the 3 northern Italian communities mentioned by Benjamin of Tudela in 1165.  In the 15th century, it had a community of loan-bankers.  Lucca is a city on the Serchio river in Italy’s Tuscany region. It’s renowned for the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city center and its cobblestone streets


 The father of Onkelos, the great translator of the Bible, was, according to Avodah Zarah 11a, called Kalonymus,   Onkelos was born in the 1st century CE.  He was a Palestinian proselyte. He was a pupil of Rabbi Akiva and is responsible for the best-known Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch.  The best and most complete tradition regarding the history of the family is given in a small polemical work written probably around 1220 by *Eleazar b. Judah (b. Kalonymus) of Worms, the author of the Roke'aḥ

Born in Rome in 1030 was Shabbethai ben Kalonymus  AKA Kalonymus of Rome.  He was a halakist, exegete and liturgical poet.  His father was the president of the Jewish community and had a reputation as a Talmudic authority.   Halakic questions were submitted to Shabbethai from Worms, Germany and Arles, France and other places far away.  When Jacob bar Yakar died in 1070, Kalonymus was called to the rabbinate of Worms and held that position
                                                                         
until the fateful year of 1096 when he was a victim of the Crusaders.  Kalonymus had been director of the rabbinical school of Worms, Germany and had some famous pupils, such as Yakar ben Samuel ha-Levi and Joseph Kara, the French exegete.  Rashi quoted his commentaries on the Talmud.

Later in 1286 a descendant living in Rome was Kalonymos ben Kalonymos, called Maestro Calo who was a French author and translator living in France and Rome.  He translated many philosophical and scientific papers from Arabic into Hebrew and Latin for King Robert of Naples.  He died after 1328.

Among the prominent members of the Kalonymus family in Italy and Germany were KALONYMUS OF LUCCA, paytan, who lived in Italy probably in the ninth century; *MOSES BEN KALONYMUS, a paytan, who lived in Italy but who moved to Mainz, Germany,  There was "Meshullam b. Kalonymus of Rome of the tenth century, a paytan and halakhist who had contact with Gershom b. Judah, Me'or ha-Golah.
                                                                   
Bari, Italy where trade could start from ships sailing on Adriatic Sea
In the Dark Ages,also referred to as the Middle Ages, " that occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire," meaning the 6th to 13th centuries,  the great center of Jewish life was in the south, in Bari, and Italy played a great part in the transmission of Talmudic scholarship to northern Europe.  "Bari is a port city on the Adriatic Sea, and the capital of southern Italy’s Puglia region."
                                                                             
In the Middle Ages, Rome's Jews started to prosper as permission to trade and run businesses was given them. The majority of Rome's Jews lived in the Trastevere neighborhood during this period, a district found on the west bank of the river Tiber, south of Vatican City.

 Despite the increasing anti-Semitism from the Church at this time,  towns such as Venice, Florence, and Genoa realized that their commercial interests were of more importance than politics of the Church and accordingly the Jews found their condition better than ever before.
.

During the Dark Ages there were pockets of Jews in Rome, Milan, Genoa, Palermo and Messina in Sicily.   When Milan came under the control of the Lombards, Jews were left to live in peace in the territories under their rule. Although the Lombard families embraced Catholicism, Jews were not persecuted and Pope Gregory I showed them respect and consideration. Although anti-Semitism began increasing throughout Europe from the 8th century, leading to great migrations of Jews from other European nations to Italy, Italian Jews enjoyed  comparably high standards of living.
The southern Italian communities were mainly involved in wholesale trade from which they were later chased out of by the Venetians who took the trade over.  They were also into handicrafts, particularly in dyeing and silkweaving.  "As the Jews had been masters of the techniques of the craft from ancient times, in some districts, especially in the Mediterranean region, the preparation of dyes and dyeing of cloth was considered mainly a Jewish occupation. Such occupations were generally despised and their practice by Jews was seen as part of the general humiliation of the Jewish people. However, some sources indicate that dyeing was a highly respectable profession. The apparent contradiction points to a difference in social and economic standing between the artisan engaged in the craft and the merchant who dealt in the ingredients (though this distinction was not always clearly expressed in the sources). During this period, Jewish trade in dyestuffs expanded extensively. Jewish merchants imported reseda,  a fragrant herbaceous plants native to the Mediterranean region and from eastern India, via Egypt and Tunisia, to Italy and Spain, and exported saffron from Tunisia to southern Europe." 
                                                                       
Corsica is French, but Sardinian and Sicily are Italian islands.  

 Sicily, which is an Italian island, was once an independent kingdom.   There was a large low social  community of manual laborers living there.  Jews had lived here in Roman times also, perhaps as early as the 1st century BCE.  Pope Gregory I protected them.  There was a large Jewish settlement there in the 6th century and continued during the Arab occupation in the 9th to 11th centuries which left an impression on the language and culture of Sicilian Jewry.  When the rulers were the Normans, the Jews had their highest times of prosperity in Sicily.  During the Middle Ages, Jews numbered about 40,000.

From 1282, Sicily was ruled by the House of Aragon and was influenced by Spanish ideas and events.  By 1391 there was a devastating wave of massacres of Jews and another in 1474.  The Spanish Inquisition came early on in 1479.  In 1492 of course Jews were expulsed.  The exiles managed to find their way to the Italian mainland and the Levant.  The Sicilians changed their minds and invited them back to Sicily in 1745, but Jews did not return.

Sardinia was another Italian  island in the Mediterranean, " the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and before Cyprus) and an autonomous region of Italy,."  "Jews were exiled to Sardinia by the emperor Tiberius in 19 CE and some inscriptions of the Roman Period are preserved.  In 599, a convert led a riot against the synagogue at Cagliari.  Later in the Middle Ages under Aragonese rule, there were communities at Cagliari, Alghero, Sassari, etc.  Their position deteriorated as elsewhere in the Spanish dominions in the 15th century and Sardinian was included in the general edict of expulsion from Spain in 1492."  No Jews have since lived there.

At the end of the 13th century, persecution in the kingdom of Naples drove large numbers of Jews to Christianity.  During this time, Jewish loan-bankers began to be invited for the public convenience into the towns of central and northern Italy.  This was the origin of the famous communities of Florence, Venice, Mantua, Ferrara, etc.
                                                                               
Jewish Ghetto, or saying it nicely;  Jewish Venice
 Venice was a former Italian republic and Jews had lived there in the 12th century, but the commercial jealousy of the Venetians stopped any permanent settlement of Jews.  In 1509 the Germans invaded and drove Jewish refugees, mainly of German origin, into Venice.  Jews were segregated in 1516 into Ghettos.  Marranos or converted Jews to Christianity were permitted to settle in Venice after 1589.  5,000 Jews were placed in the Ghetto but had maintained a most vigorous intellectual life.
                                                                             
 The Venetian government forced them to wear the Jewish hat marking them as Jews, but would not allow forced sermons or child baptisms and kept the Inquisition in check.  The Venetians gave up overseas trade and this left it largely in Jewish hands.  By the 18th century, Venice decayed.  1797 and the French Revolution caused the GHETTO gates to come down, Jews were emancipated but their condition deteriorated. under Austrian rule.  In 1866 Venice became part of Italy.  WWII Jews suffered during German occupation from 1943-45.  5 synagogues survived the war, but only 1 is used today.  The GHETTO is now a showplace.  In 1990 there were 700 Jews living in Venice.

In 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the Spanish authorities expelled the Jews from Sicily.  They expelled Jews in 1541 from the kingdom of Naples and they never returned there again.  During this period in other places Jews lived in affluent and comfortable conditions and were influenced by the Renaissance as well as adding their own influence to the period.

The Piedmont region is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.6 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin, a city in northern Italy.  Jews first settled here in 1424.  As the capital of Piedmont, the community, styling itself "the Commonalty of the Jews of the Estates of His Most Serene Highness, dominated the others of the region, reaching a population of 1,500 in the 18th century.  " Since the 15th century, Piemonte had been home to a unique Jewish community rooted simultaneously in the Sephardic, Ashkenazic, and Italian traditions".

A GHETTO was established in 1679.  In the 19th and 20th centuries, the community became one of the most important in Italy.  It suffered greatly in WWII, of course.  their beautiful synagogue was destroyed but recovered and now has a rabbinical seminary and communal institutions.  In 1990 the Jewish population was 1,200.  

The Counter-Reformation caused the Jewish position to deteriorate.  Pope Paul IV's bull cum nimis absurdum of 1555  was the beginning of the GHETTO and the oppression of Jews in Rome and the Papal States as this was imitated all over the country.  The Ghetto Period lasted till the end of the 18th century or until 1799.
                                                                                 
A Jew in Renaissanace  Italy;  From the age of emperor Constantine the Great (312-337) to the Renaissance,(1485-1660) the Italian Jews were represented in legends, paintings, and theater.  
Emancipation for Jews came with the French Revolutionary Wars of 1796 and 1797 but were cancelled on the fall of Napoleon in 1814 and 1815..  They weren't reestablished until the consolidation of unified Italy which took place from 1840 to 1870.

The next generation saw Jewish emancipation more complete in Italy than in any other country of Europe.  their position was fairly well maintained in the early years of Fascism in 1922, but of course, by 1938 after Mussolini signed an alliance with Nazi Germany, a strong anti-Semitic policy was put in place.  Jews were removed from office and many emigrated out of Italy.
                                                                               
Here is Joseph Wald, member of the Jewish Brigade of the British Army holding an Artillery gift for Hitler saying in Hebrew, Italy 1944-1945.  "The Jewish Brigade fought bravely and German troops were amazed at being attacked by wholly Jewish units of troops. 
Italy did not imitate Nazi brutality,  but during the German occupation of northern Italy from 1943 to 1945, violent persecution began and thousands of Italian Jews were deported to the death-camps.  Some 3,000 Italian Jews settled in Israel. In 1990 there were 34,500  Jews living in Italy  of whom 15,000 lived in Rome and 10,000 in in Milan.

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
http://www.jewishgen.org/Sephardic/coliseum.htm
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_antiquity
https://books.google.com/books?id=4DNz3y7Wep4C&pg=PA236&lpg=PA236&dq=Jews+in+dyeing+and+silk+weaving&source=bl&ots=hlyVVejecm&sig=_MOUTjulJpXQGm402DiObrB98rQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDUQ6AEwA2oVChMIo-np_pqIxwIVDTSICh174AlI#v=onepage&q=Jews%20in%20dyeing%20and%20silk%20weaving&f=false
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0019_0_19772.html
http://www.cellartours.com/blog/info/jewish-heritage-in-italy-and-italian-kosher-wine
http://www.primolevicenter.org/Piemonte.html
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0011_0_10655.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalonymos_family--Kalonymus tree
https://www.pinterest.com/ahmadhba/wwii/
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Italy.html
Update on DNA:  http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/10/08/ashkenazi-jewish-women-descended-mostly-from-italian-converts-new-study-asserts/
http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/07/09/are-jews-a-genetic-race-or-population-12-examples-of-jewish-genetic-distinctiveness/

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ups and Downs of Jews Being Accepted in Western World

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                    
Antiochus IV Epiphanes King of Greece

The Roman Empire had no specific anti-Jewish religious discimination laws in the Roman Empire--
 except for going into their temple and putting up a statue of Zeus and taking over with King Antiochus IV Epiphanes the Greek in about 150 BCE  as the Roman leader who fought against Judah Maccabee.
                                                                             
Arch of Titus leading away Jewish slaves and temple gold when they led thousands of Jews away as slaves for Rome and beyond.  
                                                                           
Judah Maccabee
.  Our holiday of  Chanukah in December is all about Judah Maccabee reclaiming our Temple and putting in the eternal light once again by retrieving oil from a nearby town to rekindle it..  Discrimination happened like when in sports and players played naked.  Jews were circumcised and it was noticed and remarked about by making fun, and discriminating.  No specific anti-Jewishness laws were written down except in taking over Judah and burning down Jerusalem and the Temple.  That's all.
                                                                                 
Jews had benefited from the Edict of Roman Emperor Caracalla who was of Punic and Syria descent in 212 CE which extended universally the rights and duties of citizenship to Jews as well.

Then in 640, 721 and 873 Jews in the Byzantine Empire were forcibly converted to Christianity.  1146 was when Jews of Spain were first forcibly converted to Christianity, and then they did it again to them in 1391.
                                                                       
It was from the 4th century onward, that the Christian Empire had an elaborate system of discrimination against the Jews which was adopted and used in medieval Europe as well as in the Islamic world.  From this came laws of discrimination against Jews throughout the world that have lasted in many places throughout the whole world for the past 2,000 years.  It's still going on in United Nations.

 In 1096 the German Crusade massacred Jews in European towns.  In 1099 Jews in Jerusalem were massacred by the Crusaders.  The Crusades changed the moral atmosphere towards Jews for the worst, contributing to the process which drove Jews out of trade and forced them increasingly into the profession of moneylending which was taboo for Christians according to their church morality.  It was looked down upon.
                                                                             
A DNA article from this past year stated that in 1200-1400, there were only 350 Jews left in Western Europe.  This goes along with DNA results showing that Ashkenazi Jews of today originated from only 4 Jewish women.  

There were the 1298 massacres in Germany started by Rindfleisch, a knight, 1336  by fanatics named Armleder, and in 1348/9 at the time of the Black Death (epidemic that killed a great part of the population of Europe and led to murderous attacks on many Jewish communities, particularly in Germany, especially from 1348 to 1349)  when Jews were accused of causing and spreading perpetrated with extreme barbarism by the Germans.  Over 350 Jewish towns suffered and over 200 Jewish communities were utterly wiped out. The townspeople accused Jews of poisoning their wells. Though German Jews were hit the hardest, attacks on a smaller scale to Jews happened in Poland, Catalonia and northern Italy.    In 1356 "as a consequence of the fictitious confessions extracted under torture from the Jews of Trent, the populace of many cities, especially of Ratisbon, fell upon ...to them all possible evils.   In the 2nd half of the 14th century, the survivors were kept perpetually poor by the imperial authorities' cancellation of the debts due to them.

 Throughout the Middle Ages Jewish men continued with talmudic study.  Toward the close of the Middle Ages, most large German cities banished Jews.  The 16th century began with Jews only in Frankfort-on-Main and Worms surviving.

It was intensified by the Ghetto system which aimed at the complete expulsion of the Jews from gentile society.
                                                                           
In 1290 Jews were expulsed from England and were not allowed back in until 1655.  Jews were expulsed from France in 1306. In 1355, 12,000 Jews were massacred by the mob in Toledo, Spain. From 1349-1360 Jews were expelled from Hungary.  In 1420 the Jewish community in Toulouse, France was annihilated.  1421 saw Jews expelled from Austria,  1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, 180,000 Jews were expulsed from Spain while 50,000 converted to Christianity in order to remain in Spain.  Most descendants today are called Anusim and are returning to Judaism.  Jews were expelled from Lithuania in 1495.  Sicilian, Sardinian and Portuguese Jews were expulsed in 1497.  All Jews of Rhodes were forcibly converted, expelled or taken into slavery in 1502.  Jews of Naples, Italy were expelled in 1541.
                                                                               
In Ukraine-E. Poland the Chmielnicki Massacres and Rabbi Nathan Hanover and family were trapped in it.  
Then the horror happened from 1648 to 1656 when 100,000 Jews were murdered in the Chmielnicki massacres in Poland.    Jews were expelled from living in Russia in 1727 and 1747.  Catherine II ordered that they would only live in the Pale of Settlement-never Russia again.   So between 1882 to 1890 750,000 Jews from Russia were resettled in the Pale.  It wasn't until 1891 that Jews from Moscow and St. Petersburg, large cities, were expelled.  Like the movie, Fiddle on the Roof, between 1871 to 1921 there had been anti-Jewish pogroms in towns of Russia.  This is when many immigrated to the USA, especially by 1900.  The most inhuman laws came from Russia with the MAY LAWS of 1882.  It took the Russian Revolution to change life in 1917-the end of WWI.  Romania managed to evade laws that came to their land by the Berlin Conference of 1878.  Full emancipation only came in Czechoslovakia.
                                                                             
Imam Ali Mosque in Meshed, Persia
The whole Jewish community in Meshed, Persia (Iran today) were forcibly converted to Islam in 1838.  the Muslims excluded Jews from full rights only in certain states of theirs, so the Nazis reversed the process and used race to exclude, saying Jews were a race and not a religion.

New settlements were established by the cultured and Europeanized Spanish and Portuguese Marrano (Anusim) settlers in Northern Europe in the 17th century.  They were treated normally as emancipated people.  The same can be said of the "Court Jews" were were on a higher social status in Germany at that time.
                                                                         
                                                           
In the British Colonies in North America, Jews tended to intermingle with their neighbors on equal terms, though the first Jews had trouble landing in New Amsterdam (New York) in 1654  being they were Jews.  It wasn't until it was known that they were part of the Dutch Trading Company that started New Amsterdam that they were allowed to land. "In 1654, 23 refugee men, women and children fleeing from the former Dutch colony of RecifeBrazil, landed in New Amsterdam. "   Jews  had taken part in events leading up to the American Revolution.
                                                                           
1776 was the birth of the USA.  Virginia had full religious freedom in 1785, pretty good for a state that had racial intolerance.  The constitution of the USA in 1787 formally completed emancipation in stipulating that no religious test should be required as a qualification for any public office.  I'm afraid they were thinking more of Protestant and Catholics and not Jews.  Maryland's emancipation wasn't until 1825.  North Carolina in 1868.  New Hampshire in 1876-7.

France was different.  Jewish emancipation was a natural corollary of the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789 and was extended in 1790 to the long-established Jews in Avignon and the Sephardim of Bordeaux.  I notice people had rights, but Jews seemed to be a special case that was handled individually, then.  Again, more went into the declaration between Christian religion than contemplating others.
                                                                             
Alsace Jews suffered. Alsace is a northeastern French region on the Rhine River plain. Bordering Germany and Switzerland, it has alternated between German and French control over the centuries and reflects a mix of the 2 cultures.  Jews living there were Germanized and it was with great difficulty that they finally came under emancipation in 1791.  Napoleon's decret infame of 1808 restricted Jewish municipal rights in Alsace.  It expired in 1818 and was not renewed.  It wasn't until 1831 that emancipation included Jews in France and became a subsidized state religion like Christians were.  It was the armies of the French Revolution that introduced the conception of Jewish emancipation into the countries they conquered.  

Jews of Holland were easily socially assimilated but formally emancipated in 1796.  Jews of Belgium were treated better when Belgium's independence was established in 1830.  Italy and Germany were introduced in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era by the French.  Westphalia in 1807, Frankfort in 1811, Prussia even conceded a qualified emancipation in 1812.
                                                                             
Napoleon Bonaparte 1769-1821
Then Napoleon fell.  All these concessions were rescinded or diluted in varying degrees.  The Jews were expelled from some towns in Germany and the ghetto system was restored in Rome and other parts of Italy where it began in the first place and received the name "ghetto."

   By the 19th century, life was a see-saw process of treatment of Jews.  Emancipation was again gradually  accepted in Germany under Hesse-Cassel in 1833 (a state directly subject to the Emperor);  Brunswick in 1834;  Prussia in a modified degree in 1850;  Baden in 1862;  Saxony in 1868;  and was included in the constitutions of the N. German Federation of 1869 and of the German Empire in 1871.  It was introduced into Austro- Hungary in 1867.  In Italy the kingdom of Piedmont had established it in 1848 and it spread throughout all of Italy.  Denmark began in 1814 and granted municipal emancipation. in 1837 and political in 1848.  Other Scandinavian countries followed somewhat later.  The Swiss had been highly intolerant but modified their attitude from the mid-19th century and in 1874 had full religious liberty.
                                                                                 
English man in 1700s
.  Returning in 1655 after being expulsed for 365 years,  Jews of England now had a high degree of personal liberty in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Catholics were emancipated in 1829 and they started treating Jew more tolerantly but it happened only gradually.  Laws against them were removed piecemeal.  Jews were allowed in municipal offices from 1830 to 1855, and to parliament after a long struggle.

Britain was ahead of emancipation where it was established in the Barbados from 1802-1820, Jamaica in 1831, Canada in 18311-1832, while in South Africa and Australia there was no legal discrimination on religious grounds anyway.
                                                                             
Pre-War 1930s in Germany and how they treated the Jews.  The Jewish population of Greater Germany in 1938 was about 540,000.  By September 1939, the number was half that.  By 1942 none remained.  

Warsaw, Poland Ghetto 1943 before slaughter of Jews here
Murder of 6 million Jews took place from 1939 to 1945 by German Nazis and their European collaborators-the Holocaust.  Germany's economy had fallen and Jews were again the scapegoats to blame.  Many of their businesses were still afloat and that made the ones who had lost their income angry.  Here is an example of being successful as being the force bringing about hatred.  Instead of being a handicap on the German society, they had been helping to keep it afloat for as long as it had.

Baghdad's Jews were then attacked by mobs killing 180 of them  in 1941, hatred spilling out from Germany.  Jews in the Soviet Union from 1917 to the present day were denied the right of their national identity.  Synagogues had been closed.  They were not allowed to study Hebrew.  Many have now made aliyah to Israel.  Arab countries from 1948 on with the birth of Israel were persecuting Jews for the change in the Middle East of Palestine.  There were mass expulsions.  As many Jews were forced to flee to Israel as there were Palestinians who were forced to leave Palestine by their leaders, not by the Jews.  It was not a planned trade-off of population, but seemed to happen at the same time.  Jews had to leave their treasures, money in the Arab countries.

Champions of the Jewish cause to be treated equally were John Toland and T.B. Macaulay in England;  Aabbe Gregoire in France, C.W. von Dohm in Germany and M. d'Azeglio in Italy.

Update: 7/30/15 6:43pm 
Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia on Emancipation
facts about Israel  from division of Information, ministry for foreign affairs, Jerusalem
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landgraviate_of_Hesse-Kassel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes
http://americanjewisharchives.org/education/timeline.php
https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/amsterdam.html
http://www.biography.com/people/napoleon-9420291#early-years
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caracalla
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keywords=Germany&commit=search