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The 1603 rabbinical conference

During the Frankfurt autumn fair in 1603 a group of rabbis and representatives of the major Jewish communities in Germany gathered in Frankfurt. The result of their conference was an extensive document which included the appointment of the rabinnical courts in five cities to act as appeal courts for legal disputes between Jews, the establishment of joint levies, and agreement on resolutions to a range of religious issues. Frankfurt's Jewish community played the central role in this attempt to create a joint organisation for the Jews in the German empire. Not only was Frankfurt selected as one of the five appeal courts, but the initiative for this conference seems to have come from Frankfurt as the largest Jewish community in Germany at the time. Three years later a Bonn Jew denounced the Frankfurt conference to the Archbishop of Cologne as a conspiracy against the rights of the emperor and the princes. The alarmed emperor immediately launched an investigation, in which the first stage was the translation by a number of rabbis of the Hebrew record of the conference. The investigation lasted for several years without reaching any conclusion. However, after the intervention by the emperor and the princes, the joint organisation for the Jews throughout the emperor was no longer feasible.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources