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JUDENSCHULE (Schola Judæorum):

The usual German expression for "synagogue" in medieval times. It seems to have been first used in the charter of Frederick II. of Austria, issued 1244 (Scherer, "Die Rechtsverhältnisse der Juden," etc., p. 182), wherein wilful damage done to the synagogue is declared punishable by a fine of two talents. The reason for calling a synagogue "school" is found in the practise, traceable to Talmudic times, of using the synagogue as a schoolroom (Shab. 11a). The lack of decorum in the ancient synagogues imposed on the term "Judenschule" the meaning of "a disorderly crowd." Sessa therefore originally gave to his farce, known later as "Unser Verkehr," the name "Judenschule" (1813).

The Italian Jews also call their synagogue "scuola"; so the Scuola Catalana in Rome ("Vessillo Israelitico," 1904, p. 14). In Slavic countries the equivalent "shkola" is used for "synagogue," and the sexton is therefore called "shkolnik," just as in some German documents the ḥazzan is called "Schulsinger." Similarly in England the synagogue is called "shool" by the Ashkenazim. The name "Schulmeister," however, seems to be limited to the teacher, and is not applied to the rabbi.

Bibliography:
  • Güdemann, Gesch. iii., index;
  • Heb. Bibl. xix. 72.
G. D.
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