Medieval Jewish History, 632 to 1650
Jews living under Islamic and Christian rule.
Conversion also played a role in the crusades, but in this case, it was Christians that wanted to “convert” the holy land. The purpose of the Crusades was to recapture the holy land for Christianity. They were initiated in 1095 by Pope Urban II. The first crusade began in 1096 and crusades continued for the next 300 years. The first crusade was the most disastrous for the Jews of Europe. Three centers of Ashkenazi Jewry, Cologne, Mainz, and Worms were destroyed. However, the bulk of European Jewry emerged form 1096 unscathed and the Pope/Church successfully impressed upon the crusading armies the message that the Jews were to be left alone so that in subsequent crusades, anti-Jewish violence in Europe was minimal.
The story of medieval Judaism is one in which the Jews lived as part of societies that aimed for purity and/or supremacy of a faith that was not theirs. Thus Jewish life was influenced significantly by the political machinations of Muslims and Christians.
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