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ISRAEL:

First "Hochmeister" (chief rabbi) of Germany; lived at the beginning of the fifteenth century. He was called to this office by a special edict of Rupert III., issued May 3, 1407. In this edict the emperor says that, in consequence of complaints made before him of maladministration of communal affairs by certain German rabbis, he has decided to create the office of "Hochmeister" to control all the German rabbinates; he named Israel as the first "Hochmeistér" on account of his vast knowledge of Jewish lore, his oratorical talent, and his scrupulous honesty. The seat of the new chief rabbi seems to have been Nuremberg. Israel's authority, however, was contested, and in the same year (Nov. 23) Rupert issued a new edict, by which he imposed a fine of twenty gold marks upon any Jew or Jewess who should disobey the orders of the chief rabbi. Notwithstanding this, the German rabbis continued to maintain their opposition to Israel, whom they accused of having solicited his post from the emperor, and thereby given the government occasion to meddle in Jewish communal affairs; they also accused him of having been exacting in the levying of taxes in order to win the good graces of the emperor. See Israel of Krems; Hochmeister.

Bibliography:
  • Wiener, Regesten zur Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland, pp. 65, 171 et seq.;
  • Güdemann, Gesch. iii. 35.
S. I. Br.
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