Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Europe Found Court Jews Extremely Valuable: They Could Add and Subtract!

Nadene Goldfoot                                                          

Obama's administrative official thinks that Netanyahu is chickenshit, without any value.  This must go for all of Israelis and smacks of anti-Semitism.  This is because Netanyahu isn't bending and going along with all this administration wants to do with Israel.  Imagine that!  Not allowing the USA to have their way with Israel.  A democratic country that makes their own necessary decisions and who knows their enemy better than any nation across the waters.

At one time in Germany, some German rulers recognized that though Jews were to be despised as a group, they did have their valuable uses.  This happened as early as the Protestant Reformation of 1517.  The states of the Holy Roman Empire needed men with financial skills, and these skills were found among the Jewish people.  There wasn't any schooling going on in Europe evidently that could handle such things.

The princes of the countries created the "Court Jew."  He was supposed to keep his master supplied with money, but his duties were more than that.  He was in charge of supplies for the army of the prince.  He was used as a messenger in diplomatic and military missions.  He might even serve as one of the leading political advisers of the prince.  It was a demanding task.

By the middle of the 17th century, almost every one of Germany's 300 principalities was served by a Court Jew, even places with no Jews living amongst them.  It was a good job.  The court Jew  gained privileges and wealth.  He was free from oppressive laws like the limits on the number of allowable Jewish marriages to silly requirements that Jews buy specified amounts from a royal porcelain factory.  He could live where he liked and was allowed to enter the ranks of the nobility.  Retaining their religion meant being 2nd class citizens not only in Muslim lands, but eastern Europe as well until the Court Jews were given a good deal.

Being Jewish, it wasn't all that great because he was never truly accepted by the nobles.  Even though he usually urged the causes of his fellow Jews to help relieve their suffering, he was not accepted in the ghetto society of the Jewish masses as a rule.  So his position made his life quite lonely.  As long as he could please his lord and as long as his lord was able to protect him, is was a fairly good life.
Dangers came along for our 30th cousin, Joseph ben Issachar Susskind Oppenheimer, aka Joseph Suss Oppenheimer,  who was born about in 1698 and died in 1738 in Germany.  He had personal charm and financial connections which brought him power and wealth.  He served as the state counselor to the Duke of Wuerttemberg, Carl Alexander as his finance minister in 1732 for 4 years.  He was able to consolidate the duchy's finances and free its ruler from dependence on grants from the estates.  He used modern financial methods but this aroused much opposition from those uneducated and far-sighted while was very pleasing to his Duke.
Then the Duke died in 1737. Joseph was accused of embezzling state finances, and was arrested and charged with treason on the very day the Duke had died.  After an unfair trial, he was hanged at Stuttgart, nominally for having sexual relations with Christian women.  He refused to save his life by accepting baptism.  His body was publicly displayed in an iron cage-an example to any Jews of the risks of entering public life.

The Duke's own people knew little about math, but had the opinion that he was cheating them simply because he was Jewish.  A novel has been written about him by Lion Feuchtwanger called Jew Suss.
An earlier Samuel Oppenheimer born in 1630 and died in 1703 was a philanthropist and also another Court Jew.  He was the first Jew to settle in Vienna after the 1670 expulsion.  This Samuel was Leopold I's agent and financier and helped him finance his wars with the Turks and the War of the Spanish succession.  Leopold I was the King of Germany as well as the Holy Roman Emperor from 1658 to 1705.  .
Then in 1697 he was accused of conspiring to murder his rival and his nephew, Rabbi  Samson Wertheimer (1658-1724) and was imprisoned until vindicated.  Oppenheimer  continued to support the poor, Jewish scholars and Judah Hasid's movement to settle in Palestine.  They probably found refuge in Safed in the northern Galilee.  It is Rabbi Samson Wertheimer who my family finds we share segments of our chromosomes.   Oppenheimer and Wertheimer were German Jewish families that intermarried, so I know that Oppenheimer never murdered his kinsman.  They worked together.

Rabbi Samson Wertheimer was born in 1658 and died in 1724 and was another financier who was born in Worms, Germany.  He went to Vienna in 1684 to join the bank of his uncle,  Samuel Oppenheimer, the man accused of murdering him,  and soon became the court banker.  Together with his son Wolf, they lent large sums to the emperor.  In 1719 Carl VI appointed him chief rabbi of Hungary with judicial authority.  He used his connections to help out Jewish communities and was able to the publication of an anti-Semitic book called Entdecktes Judentum.  

"Generally, Court Jews were agents who arranged transfers of credit rather than possessors of vast capital in their own right; through their far-reaching commercial relationships and their organizing skill, they were able to provide funds more swiftly than most Christian bankers. Because of their specialization in the money business, they were able to furnish the silver for the mints more easily and could better act as army purveyors, once more because of their ability to organize and their network of family relationships. With their entrepreneurial spirit, they contributed in part to the process of industrialization within the frame of mercantilist policies." (1) 

There is much value in having good relations with Israel.  Number one is that it is the only Democratic country in the Middle East.  This tiny state has produced much in the line of medicines that it shares with the world.  It has created  the Iron Dome which stops missiles that they have a relationship with the USA today.  Israelis have much to offer about fighting terrorism that they have learned.  The only thing it does have is that oil is not under its soil, but it has found natural gas in the Leventine Basin and the Tamar gas field, and is sharing already with Jordan.

Resource:  :,_Holy_Roman_Emperor
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
My People, Abba Eban's History of the Jews Vulume I. (1)

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