The Frankfurt Jewish community and its early modern surroundings

Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt am Main
Rebekka Voß, Seminar für Judaistik, Frankfurt; Wolfgang Treue, Universität Duisburg-Essen
21.01.2019 - 23.01.2019
Rebekka Voß/ Rahel Blum

The Frankfurt Jewish community and its early modern surroundings

In the Early Modern Era, the Frankfurt Jewish community developed into one of the largest and most important communities in the Holy Roman Empire. Its distinctive character is evidenced by its multiple religious, intellectual and economic institutions, marking its central status for German Jewry.
The conference aims to tap into the mutual relations between the community and its Jewish, Christian, urban and imperial surroundings from different academic perspectives. We will focus on the following questions:

Where and when did the scopes, interests and traditions of Jews and Christians in the city and the Empire overlap? How did these cultural, religious and intellectual encounters influence the Jews and their organizations? How can we describe the relationship between the Frankfurt community and other Jewish communities in the Empire? Did Frankfurt affect them by serving as a model, or rather adopt traditions and practices from elsewhere?

The conference will emphasize the uniqueness of the Frankfurt community, while contextualizing it within the surroundings of the imperial city, the Empire and Ashkenaz through the following key aspects:
The development of structures in political communication; the administrative, cultural, historical, material, economic and legal integration in the city; the community’s position in Ashkenaz and mutual relations with other early modern organizations on the structural, religious and personal levels; the question of modelling or copying traditions and administrative structures; the development of a specific self-image in relation and differentiation to its surroundings.

The conference will take place at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Campus Westend, Renate von Metzler-Saal
The conference is open to the public, admission is free.

Prof. Dr. Rebekka Voß, Seminar für Judaistik, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Dr. Wolfgang Treue, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Rahel Blum, Seminar für Judaistik, Goethe Universität Frankfurt


Monday, January 21st, 2019

10:00-10:30 Welcome and Introduction, Rebekka Voß (Goethe University), Wolfgang Treue (University Duisburg-Essen), Rahel Blum (Goethe University)

Session 1: The Frankfurt Jewish Community in the Middle Ages

10:30-11:15 Jewish Life in Frankfurt in the Middle Ages, David Schnur (City Archive Schwäbisch Gmünd)

11:15-11:45 Coffee

11:45-12:30 The Liturgical Memory of 1241, Elisabeth Hollender (Goethe University)

12:30-13:15 The Persecution of 1241 in the Memorbook of Nuremberg: A List of Martyrs, Its Function and History, Rainer Barzen (WWU Münster)

13:15-14:45 Lunch

Session 2: The Early Modern Community

14:45-15:30 The Jewish Lay Leadership in Frankfurt: Administrative Structures in the Context of City and Empire, Rahel Blum (Goethe University)

15:30-16:15 Differentiating among the Poor in Frankfurt's Judengasse, Debra Kaplan (Bar Ilan University)

16:15-16:45 Coffee

Session 3: Frankfurt’s Outreach

16:45-17:30 Transcending the City's Boundries? Frankfurt's Rabbinical Authority amongst Sixteenth-Century German Jewry, Avi Siluk (Goethe University)

17:30-18:15 Minhag Frankfurt: Sources, Features, Geographical Reach, Lucia Raspe (Jewish Museum Berlin/Goethe University)

19:00 Dinner (by invitation)

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Session 4: Jewish-Christian Encounters in the City

9:30-10:15 Outside the Judengasse: Jews in Other Frankfurt Streets (1616, 1716), Rachel Greenblatt (Dartmouth)

10:15-11:00 Everyday Encounters and Routine Repressions: Jewish-Christian Relations in Commerce, Consumption, and Material Culture, Julia Schmidt-Funke (Erfurt University)

11:00-11:30 Coffee

11.30-12.15 Non-Unity in Jewish History: Jews before the Frankfurt Penal Court, 1780-1814, Vera Kallenberg (Harvard University)

12:15-13.45 Lunch

15:00-16:00 Guided tour in the new permanent exhibition and on the Old Jewish cemetery, Sabine Kößling (Jewish Museum, Frankfurt)

At Museum Judengasse, Battonstraße:

Session 5: Regional Networks

16:30-17:15 Worms and Frankfurt: Economic Relations and Family Networks in the Early Modern Period, Ursula Reuter (Germania Judaica Library)

17:15-18:00 Commercial Transactions, Marriages, Conflicts: The Relations between Mainz and Frankfurt Jews, Ulrich Hausmann (Johannes Gutenberg University)

18:30 Dinner (by invitation)

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Session 6: Frankfurt Jews in the Imperial City of Vienna

9:30-10:15 Jewish Politics in Early Modern Frankfurt am Main, Mirjam Thulin (IEG Mainz)

10:15-11:00 Frankfurt Jews and the Imperial Aulic Council in the 18th Century, Verena Kasper Marienberg (North Carolina State University/Hebrew University)

11:00-11:30 Coffee

Session 7: Into Modernity

11:30-12:15 Kabbala and Pietism in Frankfurt, Elke Morlok (Goethe University)

12:15-13:45 Lunch

13:45-14:30 Yiddish Musar Authors from Eighteenth-Century Hesse: A Pietist Path into Modernity, Rebekka Voß (Goethe University)

14:30-15:15 The Enlightenment and the Frankfurt Judengasse, Wolfgang Treue (University Duisburg-Essen)

15:15-15.45 Concluding Discussion over Coffee


Rahel Blum

Seminar für Judaistik
Senckenberganlage 31, 60325 Frankfurt a.M.

The Frankfurt Jewish community and its early modern surroundings, 21.01.2019 – 23.01.2019 Frankfurt am Main, in: H-Soz-Kult, 06.12.2018, <>.
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