Anselm (Anshel) Ha-Levi

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ANSELM (Anshel ) HA-LEVI (15th century), German rabbi and communal leader; active in Cologne, Andernach, and Worms. Anselm was highly reputed as a scholar among his contemporaries, and even among the secular authorities. Hence in 1435, he was appointed supreme rabbi of the Holy Roman Empire by Conrad von Weinsberg, hereditary chamberlain of Emperor Sigismund and acting on his authority. His seat was in Worms and his nominal jurisdiction extended over a wide area of Germany, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. A similar appointment had been made by King Rupert in 1407, when Israel b. Isaac was appointed Hochmeister of the Jews of Germany (see *Chief Rabbinate). The creation of this rather high-sounding office was doubtless an act of expediency to facilitate the collection of taxes from the Jewish communities. The appointment of Anselm is not mentioned in Jewish sources, and it can be assumed that it was as unpopular with the Jews as was that of Israel b. Isaac. Such an appointment by an outside authority would have been regarded by the Jews as an unwarranted intervention in their internal affairs. Joseph b. Moses, author of the Leket Yosher, was Anselm's pupil.


A. Kober, History of Jews in Cologne (1940), 31, 366; J. Freimann (ed.), Leket Yosher, 2 (1904), xxii–xxiii; Guedemann, Gesch Erz, 3 (1888), 35 ff.