Sulzbach

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SULZBACH

SULZBACH , town in Bavaria, Germany (united with the village of Rosenberg in 1934). A Jewish settlement is first mentioned in 1305. It suffered during persecutions in 1337, and during the Black *Death persecutions of 1349 it was probably annihilated. A community was reestablished only 300 years later, in 1666, under the rule of Duke Christian-August of Pfalz-Sulzbach. During the early history of the new community its settlers were mainly Schutz juden with limited residence permits. After the first three families had arrived, a cemetery was consecrated. In the wake of the expulsion of Jews from Vienna in 1670 additional settlers came to the town, and in that year the community's first rabbi, Joseph Moses Hause, took office. By 1682 the community had an organized school under the direction of David Brot. In 1685 a liberal charter of privileges was granted, and was renewed in 1712. According to the charter the recognized head of the community acted as its representative in all negotiations with the authorities. At first, public prayers were held in a private house, but in 1687 a house was converted into a synagogue, and in 1737 a new synagogue was built. By 1699 there were 15 Jewish families in Sulzbach. Among the important personages of the community was Joseph b. Eliezer Oettingen, author of Edut be-Yosef (Sulzbach, 1741), a Bible commentary. The Schwabacher family, its members noted for their work as court factors and merchants, also lived in Sulzbach in the 18th century. In 1745 there were 22 families in the community, in 1829, 65. The community possessed a Memorbuch, of importance in tracing its history and development. The synagogue was destroyed by fire in 1822 and another was built in 1824. An elementary school for Jewish children was founded in 1825, and functioned until 1923. In accordance with the *Toleranzpatent of 1813 there were to be no more than 65 families in the town, and that number was roughly maintained until the middle of the 19th century when the Jewish population was gradually reduced by emigration. By 1933 there were only eight Jews living in Sulzbach.

Hebrew Printing

The inclination of Duke Christian-August toward mysticism and Kabbalah aroused his interest in the Hebrew language and led him to grant an authorization in 1669 for the founding of a Hebrew press in his town. As a result Sulzbach became renowned in the Jewish world. The first of the Jewish printers was Isaac bar Judah Yudeh Katz of Prague. In 1684 the ownership of his press passed to the Bloch family, and from 1699 until 1851, the year the press shut down, it was held by the Frankel-Arnstein family. The Sulzbach press printed 702 works, which consisted mostly of siddurim, mahzorim, Bibles, three editions of the Talmud, and popular musar (ethical) literature in Judeo-German. The press first achieved fame as a result of its excellent edition of the Zohar, printed in 1684. The half-folio edition of the *maḥzor enjoyed a wide circulation ever since 1699 when it first appeared; there was hardly a community in southern Germany ("Ashkenazi ritual") where it was not employed as maḥzor-kahal (community maḥzor) by the ḥazzan. The publication of the Talmud in Sulzbach was the cause of a serious dispute with the Proops *brothers of Amsterdam. The demise of the press was due partly to the prohibition on importing Hebrew books into the Austrian Empire as well as to the excellent quality of work produced by Wolf *Heidenheim's press in *Roedelheim, with which the Sulzbach press could not compete.

bibliography:

M. Weinberg, Geschichte der Juden in der Oberpfalz, 5 (1927); idem, Die hebraeischen Druckereien in Sulzbach (1904); idem, in: jjlg, 15 (1923), 125–55; 17 (1925), 89–94; 21 (1930), 319–70; fjw, 269; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 812; Salfeld, Martyrol, 264.

[Jacob Rothschild]

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Sulzbach

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