Remembering the Murder of Jews in Medieval Germany, and Its Impact on the Jewish Calendar

Today is the minor festival of Lag ba’Omer, which marks the end of a period of mourning that follows Passover. While this period of mourning is traditionally associated with a 2nd-century plague, some modern scholars believe its origins in part lie with episodes of anti-Jewish violence in medieval northern Europe that took place during this time of year. Once such instance was the outbreak of the Rindfleisch massacres in 13th-century Germany. Michael Freund writes:

The torment began on April 20, 1298, after the Jews of the German city of Röttingen were accused of “desecrating the host,” a popular medieval slander according to which Jews stabbed and defiled the wafer used by Catholics in their Sunday services.

As the accusation spread, a knight named Rindfleisch whipped up Röttingen’s locals into a frenzy and vowed to wipe out “the accursed race of the Jews,” claiming he had a mandate from heaven. Together with a mob, he proceeded to attack the city’s Jews, viciously slaughtering them and burning many at the stake. The marauding thugs then went from town to town, and in subsequent months they attacked a total of 146 Jewish communities, many of which were completely destroyed. With rare exceptions, local authorities and church officials did nothing to stop the slaughter.

Historians differ as to the number of Jews who were killed, with estimates ranging from 20,000 to as many as 100,000 men, women, and children.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, German Jewry, Lag ba'Omer

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship