Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Escaping the Romans But Coming to the Pale of Settlement in Poland

Nadene Goldfoot                                                
1850:  Jewish couple in the Pale of Settlement

Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 CE. Jews were taken as slaves to Rome, or killed in battle.  Some escaped and got to the Rhineland (especially to Worms) -later to be called Germany, Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) , or further north into the Kingdom of Kiev (Ukraine) and the land that was taken by the Byzantine Empire.(originally the Eastern Roman Empire-capital in Constantinople.  Jews lived in this empire until 1453 when the Turks conquered it.
Rashi, 1040-1105, biblical commentator of Troyes, France who studied
in Worms, Germany
Jews were forced to wear badges of identification as a Jew.  
By the time of the Dark Ages,  from the 5th to 10th centuries, Jews were known as traders who helped to open up the area to civilizing influences.  The first charter in Poland  given to Jews was granted in 905.  Polish coins of the 12th and 13th centuries were struck by Jewish mint-masters that had Hebrew inscriptions on them.
13th century style for Jews in Germany; dunce caps for
a most intelligent people.  
The Tartars invaded in 1240 and devastated Poland.  Kings then encouraged the immigration of merchants from Germany in order to restore their economy, and of course most were Jews who also brought their Yiddish language with them.  They had a passionate devotion to Talmud study that dominated Polish Jewry.  A charter of protection was issued by Boleslaw the Pious in 1264 that was a model for others.  It was extended by Casimir the Great to all of Poland by the Statute of Kalisz in 1334, to White Russia and Little Poland in 1364, and to Lithuania in 1388.  The charters regulated legal conditions, the framework  of economic employment, judicial suits between Jews and Christians, safeguards of Jewish life and property, freedom of trade, etc.
In Austrian Galicia,: Kolomea, Jewish man

The German traders brought in anti-Jewish attitudes and the growth of the Jewish population led to complaints from the clergy.  Therefore, Vladislaus Jagiello in 1386 to 1434 refused to confirm the Jewish privileges.  Blood Libels at Posen in 1399 and Cracow in 1407, a religious furor charging a host desecration in 1400, and the next year an anti-Jewish riot begun by students in Cracow.  By 1454, the Jewish privileges were abolished, with attacks on the Jews happening in many cities; Cracow, Lvov, and Posen where they were looked upon by other merchants as economic competitors.  In other places Jews were expelled, such as in Warsaw in 1483 and Cracow in 1491.
Notice this Jewish woman's yellow badge. 
Even so, with attacks and legal restrictions, the Jews played an important part in commerce.
Things improved by the 16th century under the liberal Sigismund from 1500 to 1548 and by Sigismund II Augustus from 1548 to 1572 when Jewish revenue collectors, bankers, physicians, etc, occupied key positions iin the economic and political life.  Poland had become a renowned center of rabbinic study and its talmudic scholars profoundly affected Jewry as a whole.  The foundations were laid for the Autonomy of the organized communities such as Kehillot, a Jewish organization.
16th century Jewish man in Worms, Germany
And the everlasting yellow badge he is forced to wear
The Jews, not forgetting their protective charters, appealed for royal protections and received agreements and concessions.  Stephen Bathory from 1576 to 1586 confirmed Jewish privileges and sharply attacked Blood Libel accusations.

A Counter-Reformation reaction set in under his successor, Sigismund III from 1587 to 1632 who nevertheless, protected Jews from Church persecutions going on by the Jesuits.  The villages were affected where the Jewish lessees were exploited by the nobles to oppress the peasants, especially in the Ukraine which was under Polish rule then.   The leasing of estates became a major source of livelihood, and the lessees hired many other Jews as subordinates.

This was one of the causes of massacres going on at the time of the CHMIELNICKI UPRISING from 1648 to 1649.  which destroyed hundreds of communities.This Cossack leader, Bogdan Chmielnicki, died in 1657, but in 1648 had led the rising of Cossacks and Ukrainian masses against Polish landowners, the Catholic clergy and the Jews.  Hundreds of thousands of Jewes were slaughtered.  Only those who had accepted baptism were spared.  744 Jewish communities were wiped out.  The horror they caused sent a shock throughout Jewry and caused a messsianic impulse to grow for Shabbetai Tzevi.  Ukrainians unfortunately regarded Chmielnicki as a national hero.
During the latter 17th century, the kings of Poland tried to foster the rehabilitation of the Jewish communities but were frustrated by the general anti-Jewish atmosphere.  Economic restrictions, pogroms, Ritual Murder charges kept happening.

It became even worse under the Saxon kings in 1697 to 1763.  ( the Elective Monarchy, that is the election of Kings by all nobles assembled in a field outside Warsaw, was certainly disruptive. The first such election took place in 1572 after the death of last male of the Jagiellonian dynasty, when the nobles elected Henry Valois of France, who had to recognize the rights of the Polish nobles, that is: (a) recognize all existing noble rights; (b) agree to do nothing without the consent of the nobles in parliament, and (c) sanction religious toleration for Protestants in both Poland and in France. (Henry soon left to ascend the French throne.) Royal elections were not always for individual candidates; thus the Vasa dynasty had three elected Polish kings between 1587 and 1672, while two rulers of Saxony, father and son, were elected Kings in 1697 and 1733).  This was 

 when there was a series of Ritual Murder trials, attempts at forced conversions, expulsions, riots, etc.  Thousands of Jews were killed in the HAIDAMAK  Cossack disorders of 1768 in the Ukraine.

First, there was Catherine I, the Russian Empress who ruled from 1725 to 1727.  In May 1727 she expelled all Jews resident in Little Russia.  This order was countermanded after her death.  At this time, Catherine II (the Great) came into power in Russia in 1762 to 1796.  Her Jewish policy was marked by a combination of liberalism and coercion.  Jews were allowed to register in merchant and urban classes in 1780, but permission was restricted to White Russia (Belorussia)in 1786, marking the beginning of the Pale of Settlement.  . Jews went from Poland to Belorussia.  They lived in Grodno in the 12th century, at Brest-Litovsk by the 14th century, and at Pinsk from 1506.   By 1791, she had created the Pale of Settlement, known as THE PALE. The Pale of Settlement held 4,899,300 Jews or 11.6% of the population.   In European Russia outside the Pale of Settlement were 211,200 Jews or 0.4% of the population.  Total Jewish population in Russia was 5,215,800 or 4.15% of the population.  Outside in Asia were 48,500 Jews or 0.4%.  In Caucasia were 56,800 or 0.6% of the population.  She prevented the extension of Jewish settlement and in 1795 prohibited Jewish residence in rural areas.  

 It was made up of 25 provinces of Czarist Russia;  Poland, Russia, Lithuania, White Russia, Ukraine, Bessarabia and Crimea where Jews were permitted permanent residence.  Permission to live outside the Pale was granted only to certain groups-members of the liberal professions with a high school diploma, big businessmen, skilled artisans, and ex-Cantonists.  The fate of Jews outside the Pale depended on decisions made by the local governor.

Poland was partitioned from 1772 to 1795.  Land was divided up between Prussia, Russia and  the hababurgs.  By 1793 it was partitioned again between Prussia and Russia.  Again they partitioned it off in 1795 bwettn Prussia, Russia and the Habsburgs.  Frontiers were established in 1795 and of the Holy Roman Empire.

 In 1815, the Congress Poland was established.  From time to time, the borders were restricted for governmental reasons.  They used an oppressive STATUTE CONCERNING THE JEWS of 1835.  By 1882, the MAY LAWS came into being. This legislation was enacted by the Russian government on May 3, 1882 that prohibited Jews from living or acquiring property except in towns in the Pale of Settlement.   Jews were excluded from rural areas inside the Pale.  As a result of such restrictions, Jewish economic developement was severely hampered.  Think of Tevia and his cows.  He couldn't continue.  By 1900, the Pale had Lithuania's Suwalki area populated by 59,200.  Vilna had 204,700.  Kovno had 212,700.  Vitebsk had 175,600.  Belorussia's Minsk had 345,000.  Mogilev had 203,900.  Grodno had 280,000.  In Poland, Kiele had 83,200, Lublin had 156,200.  Kiev in Ukraine had 433,700.  Podolia had 370,600.  The total of Ukraine was 1,425,500 or 9.7% of the total population.
Jewish peddler in New York-early 1900s.  Many businessmen started off this way.
Meir and Franks of Portland, Oregon started as peddlers.  My grandfather was
a peddler with one horse., probably much like this, beard and all.
       However, most Jews immigrated in the 1900s to 1920s to the USA.  It wasn't happening much at all in the late 1880s.  One place, however, was receiving Jews at this point and that was the 1st aliyah to Palestine.  Four more followed.

The May Laws were revoked in 1915 after World War I had started, but only legally in March 1917, after the Russian Revolution and War had ended.  These laws were the cause of recurrent local expulsions, intolerable overcrowding, and blocking of economic opportunities.
Tevia the milkman, getting ready to leave for America By 1924,
Jews could no longer get into the USA as there were limits on their population.  
 It was no wonder that Jews left in mass from Russia in the 1900s for America.  Think of it.  From 1882 to 1917 was 35 years of hell, a total lifetime for some.
On the Exodus, trying to get to Palestine in 1947.  
Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Hal Bookbinder's paper on the Pale

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Islamic Forgetfulness of Their Jewish Essence

Nadene Goldfoot                                                

Ever since the 1920's when Islamic nations faced the idea of Jews returning to their native land of what was then Palestine, they had managed to forget their Jewish roots.
Ibn Hussein Feisal (1885-1933) King of Iraq from 1921, eldest son of Hussein,
sherif of Mecca, 
and  Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952)  chemist and 1st president of Israel
at Conference  

 They had become rooted in the idea of being ousted from their position there, and managed to use the few Arab people populating Palestine as their soldiers of Fortune-fighting against the Jews' intentions of a permanent presence.
Abraham and nephew, Lot 
Mohammad, who probably noticed that his name began like Moses, was not a Messiah to be worshipped like Jesus was to the Christians.  Mohammad presented himself to his people as a prophet to be followed and obeyed.  He, a man who could neither read nor write, felt he was completing the teachings of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses as well as Jesus, he thought, though he was not a student of Judaism at any time from his own birth in 570 to death in 632.   He had heard Jewish men lecture to their audiences in  groups  sitting outside  along the streets of Medina, Arabia where many Jewish tribes were living.  They were probably reading from the Torah.  To Mohammed's people, Jews were "people of the book."  So were the Christians."  His people had no book and he couldn't read, an example of the necessity of other things but not reading or writing among his family or people.  Mohammad was a leader without followers.  He had to dictate his thoughts to a scribe who wrote them down into the Koran.
Moses seeing the burning bush 
At one point, he called himself a "Jewish prophet."  Here's how Judaism had impressed him at this beginning point of his life.  However, I charge him with missing the essence of Judaism that is so important.  When he turned against the Jews because they wouldn't follow him and started slaughtering them, he had missed the idea entirely of the ethics that Moses was giving us.  He was behaving, like Moses did, however, 2,000 years earlier when Moses slaughtered those who broke the laws during their Exodus. We do have the permission to kill, however, when attacked to save our own lives.  We had to do this when we entered Canaan and were met with force.  No welcome wagon there, at all.
Haj Amin al-Husseini, sherif of Jerusalem and Adolf Hitler
discussing the demise of the Jews
  People seem to upgrade their ethical behavior as time passes, and then there are always exceptions.  The Nazis came from the most advanced country of its time and slaughtered 6 million Jews, a number hard for anyone to really fathom.  Where Moses gave G-d's law in the 10 commandment of Thou Shalt Not Kill, it's followed rarely throughout the generations.  There's always a war going on. I'm sorry to say that Hitler's writings have probably been more popular among the Arab nations than the sayings of Mohammad in the Koran.   They've been inspiring them to kill the Jewish people.
Tower of David in Jerusalem, for King David who ruled in 1010 BCE-970 BCE
1. Mohammad had chosen Jerusalem as the city to be faced in prayer which is exactly what Jews do.  Muslim have changed since then and face Mecca because of Mohammad's anger when the Jews refused to join his religion, refusing anything like Christianity as well, and sticking with Judaism.  They were not to be swayed.  His first error was in thinking that Jews were an easy target and were to be his first converts.  He didn't understand that Christianity and the proselytizers in that forced the Jews into Arabia to escape such matters.
Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

2. He set aside Friday as their special day with congregational prayer, copying the observance after the Jewish concept of a weekly holy day and choosing Friday because that was the day that Jews began their Sabbath preparations to start the process as sundown on Friday night.  Christians had chosen Sunday to be different from Judaism, not wanting to observe on the day Jews observed.  .

3.  He was in agreement with the Jews in opposing idol worship which was still going on in the East and spoke out against it.
4. Abraham , born in 2nd millennium BCE, c1948 BCE, was the first in his family and world to be monotheistic.   Possibly the Pharaoh, Akhenaton, born some 600 years later, (reign in Egypt in 1353 BCE to 1336 BCE) , husband of Nefertiti, who refused Egypt's belief in a myriad of gods, and worshipped the sun instead, can be said to have been monotheistic, too.   He had tried to sway all the Egyptians, but they thought it was a ridiculous idea and refused it.  But that really doesn't come close to Abraham's thoughts on the subject.  Moses, who lived from 1391 BCE to 1271 BCE and died at 120 years of age, would have been born before Akhenaton   Moses had an intimate relationship with G-d and brought the Jewish slaves monotheism in full with laws of ethical behavior, customs, holidays, and responsibilites.  Mohammad's Islamic religion was also strongly monotheistic.  He spoke of restoring the religion of Abraham.  and even supported the teachings in the Hebrew bible "Tanakh".  Besides this, he even venerated its people, the Jews.  That means he regarded Jews with great respect and admiration.  He believed in being courteous and respectful to fellow Jews.  How on earth have some Islamic groups such as the Shi'a of Iran and Salafi of ISIS turned against Jews 180 degrees today and continue to believe that they are followers of Mohammad?

5. Of 25 prophets listed by Mohammad in the Koran, 19 are from Jewish writings in their scripture.
I find Muslims quoting Islamic teachings that are from Jewish teachings quite often.
6. Jews and Muslims are forbidden to eat the flesh of pigs, and Muslim are forbidden  any other animal not slaughtered in the name of G-d, whereas there are other animals not allowed to Jews as well, like camels, shellfish; and others not following the prescribed phylum.    This is following the idea of the Jewish Kosher law and ritual slaughter.  There are differences as well as this similarity.  Read:  http://jewishbubba.blogspot.com/2014/01/differences-between-kosher-and-halal.html

7.  Jews who are very observant pray 3 times a day at certain established times so Muslims pray 5 times a day as well at certain hours.
8. Jews circumcise their sons at age 8 days, just like Abraham began.  Muslims also do this.  It was a practice that I have found evidence of going on in Egypt, and of course Moses came from there.  Other people living in Arabian lands did not have this practice; so it was brought to Mohammad through the Jews.
Hagar, Egyptian handmaid being given to Abraham by Sarah, his wife and neice
who then took her as a wife and had Ishmael by her. 
9.  Arabs trace their origins to Ishmael, Abraham's son by the servant of Sarah, his wife, who was Hagar, an Egyptian.  Hagar and Ishmael had family problems in getting along with Sarah and Isaac, so left the compound to be on their own and join Hagar's people.  In the Bible, Genesis 21:18 tells that He will make Ishmael a great nation.  Mohammad built upon this connection by placing Abraham at the center of Islam.
10. Mohammad placed the Kaaba stone in Mecca as the last remnant of a house of worship built by Abraham.  This is very important to Muslims as for those pilgrims making the trip there, they kiss it as part of their ceremony out of respect like Jews do to the Torah when the Torah is brought to the worshippers at a point during their services in the synagogue.

11.  Outside the Kaaba is the zamzam, a well said to have been used by Hagar and Ishmael after they left Abraham's house.  This is not in the Torah or any other Jewish writings.
Police called in at Jerusalem's Temple Mount with Arab youth stabbing pedestrians
12. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, built by Muslims, sits on the very spot on which the 1st Temple stood.  The Islamic story is that Mohammad's magical horse leaped upwards from this Mosque towards heaven.  The reason Jews had built the Temple on this spot was that it was the very spot that Abraham reportedly bound his son Isaac, in answer to a call from G-d.  Of course, in the Muslim telling of this Jewish story, the son became Ishmael that Abraham was about to slaughter.  I must remind the readers who are gasping that at the time of Abraham, human sacrifice was being practiced, just like it was in the Aztecs who climbed their massive pyramids that look so much like Egyptian pyramids to sacrifice the chosen one for the year to appease the gods.  In the law of Moses, one does not sacrifice people anymore.  That is the essence of the Jewish teaching.  That came to an end with this story.
13.  Moses giving the 10 Commandments is a major part of Judaism, and Moses is revered by Christianity and Islam for this. .   Showing this fact is the fact that the Christians built a monastery of St. Catherine in the year 340 at the foot of what they thought was Mt. Sinai, the mountain Moses had climbed to receive the commandments from G-d.  At the top stands a Christian chapel and a Muslim mosque.   Judaism is an ethical religion. It is a religion based on ethics and how to treat others fairly, not an emphasis on what happens to individuals when they died.  They believe that leading a good life of ethics will ensure one of whatever happens after death.
Looking at Cave of Machpela in Hebron over 100 years ago
Hebron is now occupied by the Palestinian Arabs, lies 19 miles S of Jerusalem.
The city is divided into two sectors: H1, controlled by the Palestinian Authority and H2, roughly 20% of the city, administered by Israel.
14.  The feeling of Jewish belief is so strong in Christianity and Islam that Israel had to find a decision for all people to enter the Cave of Machpela at Hebron, the burial site for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives.  They have regulations of what entrance each can use and when it's open for others not praying in groups there.  Muslims in 1976 were allowed to pray there 24 hours a day and on every day of the week whereas  the Jews were limited to evening prayers only on Fridays to be able to greet the incoming Sabbath.

Somewhere along the way, Mohammad himself turned against the Jews who would not follow him and become Islamic.  They had politely told him that no, they had their own religion, thank you.  The fact is that Islam does not have the reasoning behind it that is found in Jewish literature.  Judaism already had existed since Moses started teaching the Israelists he rescued by the year c1311 BCE, and Mohammad's followers rode to convert people about a year after he had died, which was when Judaism was already about 2,000 years old.  Jews had developed rabbis after leaving Jerusalem in 70 CE who got together and debated points in the Torah and put together the Tanakh already.  We had the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud.  There was so much that Mohammad did not know or understand about out religion and why things were done that were points discussed by many worldly rabbis.
Beheadings are used to cause fear by ISIS
What really rankled the Muslims was when Jews felt they were being forced to fight against others and be on the Muslim side of the fight.  They tried to get out of it, and this enraged the Muslims towards the Jews.  All was forgotten both, I'm afraid, by Mohammad, if his writings are to be believed, and by the Muslims themselves.  They had a schism in who to follow as their religious leader which brought about Shi'a and Sunni branches of Islam and now even the more extremes that ISIS is a part of. Salafists have come into the news with ISIS.
Salafism, Ultra-Conservatism and More
" The Salafis are Sunnis who have tried to modernize Islam by dropping the traditional law schools, and reading scripture directly instead. In this sense they are the Muslim equivalent of Protestants. Like some Protestants, some Salafis derive an obscurantist, hyper-literalist, sectarian, fanatical orientation from their non-traditional readings of scripture. (The term “Wahabi” denotes this kind of extremist tendency among Salafist followers of the Arabian reformer Ibn Abdul-Wahhab.)   Those intent on creating half the world as their caliphate, ISIS, follow the Salafis way.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was a meany to Israel  His hatred lives on.
His family
claimed to be descendants of Mohammad. He ruled from 1979 to 1989,
causing the Shah of Iran to leave power.  He just took over and changed
the whole climate of Iran. 
       That should give Iran more credence, since they are Shi'a.  However, they have turned into one of the most hateful Muslims in the world, always threatening Israel and calling them every horrible name they can think of.  Their intent is not a secret, as they keep telling a world with deaf ears, that they intend to wipe out Israel.  They are not much different, really, than the bloody Salafis ISIS group. They threaten to use an atomic bomb by shooting a missile loaded with it.

There is nothing left of any Jewish ethics in the extremist viewpoints.

There is Egypt and Jordan who are neighbors of Israel and have signed peace pacts with them.  The rest are muddying up the good beginnings of Islam and ruining their reputation as a peaceful religion.  Instead of advancing their ideas, the Salafis have gone back into the Dark Ages, something that happened in the West once upon a time to the Greeks and Romans and to Europe as well.  We've seen a raging war between Islam and Judaism that continues to this day.  The odds are constantly against the Jews who keep on winning-with G-d's help, of course.  Muslims, you started off well with good intentions of Mohammad's, following much of Judaism's important points.  What happened and look at where you are today.  Is this your idea of improving on the Mosaic law or Jesus's  idea of love?
It's time to go into self analysis and improve oneself.  Rage and temper have to be controlled in order to live with even one's spouse, let alone one's world.  What would Abraham say?

Resource: The Jewish Connection by M. Hirsh Goldberg p. 68 to 71.