The Rotenbergs of Silesia (II) – Branch Origins

The oldest documented member of the Silesian Branch is one Fajwel Rotenberg, who was born around 1788 but probably not in Silesia, but most likely in Mazovia — in the town of Magnuszew, 59 Km south-east of Warsaw. The origin of the Jewish population settling in Magnuszew is not entirely clear. They most likely arrived…

The Tower Prison

The condition of the Jews of Germany was such toward the end of the thirteenth century that they were not for a moment sure of their lives and property. Under these circumstances many Jews emigrated. The return to Zion especially attracted the fugitives, as in that country very favorable conditions were obtained for Jews during…

The Two Graves

In the spring of 1942, Shaul Tchernichovsky, one of the greatest Hebrew poets, sat down and wrote a collection of seven ballads — the Ballads of Worms. The fifth ballad in the series, written in late March in Tel Aviv, is named after a pair of graves located in what is now the oldest Jewish…

The Road to Zion

After fleeing France, Meir ben Baruch headed back east to Franconia where he officiated as Rabbi in the cities of Kostnitz, Augsburg, Würzburg, Rothenburg, Worms, Nuremberg, and Mayence. This order is probably chronological; but not much is known of Meir ben Baruch’s terms of office in these different communities. We do know, however, that his…

The Prince-Bishop’s Hunt

In the spring of 1942, as war was raging in Europe and the world, Shaul Tchernichovsky, one of the greatest Hebrew poets, sat down and wrote a collection of seven ballads — the Ballads of Worms. Some 700 years have passed since the Prince-Bishop of Basel went on his eventful hunt and until the event…

Saint Louis’ Burning

Meir ben Baruch was, most likely, in his late thirties when he arrived at the small castle town of Rothenburg ob-der-Tauber, a town that will become his namesake. He and his pupils quickly settled in what is now known as the Judengasse. A Yeshiva was promptly opened in his house for the local Jewish community…

The Stronghold

Four hundred meters overlooking the rocky desert lay a remote citadel sitting on an isolated rock plateau. A battling ram was making its final thrust through the walls of the last remaining rebel stronghold – known simply as The Fortress. A siege was at its end — a seven year rebellion was about to be…