21 October 2008

This day in Jewish history

This Day in Jewish History is an interesting blog mentioned previously on Tracing the Tribe. New readers may find it useful in understanding the impact of historical events on their families.

Compiled by Mitchell A. Levin, it is part of the adult education Jewish History Study Group at Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Here is a portion of the entry for October 21 :

1553 BCE (11 Cheshvan 2207): On the civil calendar, this date marked the death of Rachel, the matriarch and wife of Jacob, at the age of 36. She died during the childbirth of Benjamin, near Efrat, and is buried in Beit Lechem (Bethlehem).

1096: During the First Crusade, the Turks destroyed the portion of the Crusader army led by Peter the Hermit. Peter escaped and joined the main crusader army. The main body took Jerusalem from the Moslems in 1099. The Crusaders slaughtered the Jews of Europe as they made their way to the Holy Land. When they got to Jerusalem, the continued their bloody behavior as they slaughtered the Jews living in David’s City.

1512: In what may have been one of the most reaching decisions in the history of academia, Martin Luther joined the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg. It would be almost five years to the day (October 31, 1517) from his appointment, that Luther would post his 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg’s Castle. (This gives a whole new meaning to the term “publish or perish”). Seven years after his appointment (1519) “Luther denounced the doctrines” regarding the treatment of the Jews. His final view of the Jews would be codified in the 1544 pamphlet “Concerning The Jews and Their Lies” that included a call for burning synagogues and destroying the homes of Jews.

1553: Volumes of the Talmud were burned in Venice

1781: In Austria, Joseph II rescinded the law forcing Jews to war a distinctive badge. The regulation had been in effect since 1267, more then 600 years.

1833: Birthdate of Alfred Bernhard Nobel, creator of dynamite and the Nobel Prizes. As of 2005,at least 170 Jews and persons of half-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2005, and constituting 37% of all US recipients during the same period. In the scientific research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Medicine, and Physics, the corresponding world and U.S. percentages are 26% and 39%, respectively. (Jews currently make up approximately 0.25% of the world's population and 2% of the US population.)

· Chemistry (28 prize winners, 19% of world total, 27% of US total)
· Economics (22 prize winners, 39% of world total, 53% of US total)· Literature (13 prize winners, 13% of world total, 27% of US total)
· Physiology or Medicine (52 prize winners, 28% of world total, 42% of US total)
· Peace (9 prize winners, 10% of world total, 11% of US total)3
· Physics (46 prize winners, 26% of world total, 38% of US total)

Take a look at the site. Its entries will help place your ancestors in history and you may learn what happened in their communities during certain historical events.

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