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ḥerem

Ḥerem (Heb., ‘ban’). Excommunication from the Jewish community. Derived from the isolation of holy items in biblical times, the first reference to excommunication is in Ezra 10. 8. In the period of the Talmud, four types of excommunication had developed: (i) nezifah, a rebuke, an expulsion for seven days; (ii) shamta, now of uncertain meaning; (iii) niddui, ‘separation’, thirty days in Erez Israel, seven in the diaspora, but renewable without reform of ways; (iv) ḥerem, isolation: such a person was forbidden to hear or teach Torah, and had to observe the laws of mourning. It is now little used in that way except by the extreme Orthodox in Israel.

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