¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 This ubiquitous stream of transient, Jewish poor presented a major problem for the established Jewish communities12 and put a stress on their charitable infrastructure and taxes. The seventeenth-century minutes of the Heidingsfeld Jewish community lists a variety of special taxes implemented to deal with the situation.13 There was a monthly tax to support the paupers’ hostel (Hekdesh), the obligatory meal and lodging vouchers (Pletten) for transients, and finally voluntary contributions to celebrate special occasions. Part of Jewish community charity was motivated by the Halacha, part out of the awareness that this fate could easily await any one of them. Taking care of their own poor was also necessary to deflect recriminations by the authorities.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Stühlingen’s Jews also had to deal with this problem of vagrants. They were warned against and fined for giving refuge to transient Jews, and hospitality could have much more serious consequences. In 1737 Schmuli Weyl sheltered four transients over Shavuot (Pentecost), who were subsequently caught committing theft in Schaffhausen. Schmuli found himself charged and imprisoned for having hosted the criminals.14
“The local Jews are not to house poor foreign Jews for longer than eight or ten days. Rich foreign Jews are to enter an agreement with the dominion.(!)”
Decision: The foreign Jews are to pay half a florin per week and are to leave and search shelter elsewhere within a fortnight. If the Jews cannot pay, the fee is to be paid by those who took them into their households without permission. – As none of those foreign Jews have any property, the fee was gracefully reduced by the Landgrave. .
12Heidingsfeld was a Jewish community outside of Würzburg. For the minutes, see Wolf, “The First Pinkes of Heidingsfeld,”
13Rosenthal, “Heimatgeschichte der badischen Juden,” 177.