Disabilities (Jewish)

Disabilities (Jewish)

Disabilities were legal restrictions and limitations placed on Jews in the Middle Ages. They included provisions requiring Jews to wear specific and identifying clothing such as the Jewish hat and the yellow badge, restricting Jews to certain cities and towns or in certain parts of towns (ghettos), and forbidding Jews to enter certain trades. Disabilities also included special taxes levied on Jews, exclusion from public life, and restraints on the performance of religious ceremonies. Some countries went even further and completely expelled Jews, for example England in 1290 (Jews were readmitted in 1655) and Spain in 1492 (readmitted in 1868).

The disabilities were lifted in the late 18th and the 19th century. In 1791, Revolutionary France was the first country to abolish them altogether, followed by Prussia in 1848, the United Kingdom in 1858 (Jewish Disabilities Bill), and the newly united Germany in 1871.

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