"Maybe use of genetics and linguistics open new avenues of knowledge, but in the
meantime, I am suspicious of any certainties as Jews came >from Palestine through
Italy, established in Germany and then moved to Poland, do more harm than good."
. . . any certainties as Jews came >from Palestine through Italy, established in
Germany and then moved to Poland, do more harm than good. . . "
. . .that is a pretty strong statement. "do more harm than good. . . " I don't
think anyone with serious knowledge of the history of Jews in Europe in the
millennium after the 70CE destruction of Jerusalem has doubts about the migration
--forced or voluntary--of Jews >from the Holy Land to Italy. While some diasporas
received their traditions, customs, and rules of prayer >from the Babylonian exile
in Baghdad, Italy received and built on the Yerushalmi (Jerusalem) traditions.
Rabbi Eleazar b. Judah b. Kalonymus, of Worms, the author of the Roke'ah, around
1220 traced the line of tradition through nine generations of rabbis, back to the
Mishnaic period, and traced another line of descent through eleven genertions to
Babyloia. The Kalonymos family was living in Lucca, northern Italy and in the
9th century CE were asked to provide rabbinic leadership to the colony of Jews
settled in the Rhine valley, many of whom came >from the diaspora of North Eastern
France, others who had accompanied the Roman army, as slaves or as traders. The
Kalonymos family provided leadership for the Ashkenazi Jews of the Rhineland for
a few centuries, encompassing the Crusades in which many of the Jewish communities
were exterminated. The Kalonymos family also encompassed many peytanim (poets of
liturgical hymns) whose exquisite thoughts and words extend over much of our
festival prayer books to this date.
The dates of Jewish migration to Eastern Europe can be determined >from contemporary
records and >from cemeteries and archaeological structures. Yiddish and its myriad
imported words point clearly to the migratory paths of the Jew of those times.
The link to 11th-14th century Gernan (specifically Upper Franconia) is quite