They were led by a rabbi. The services were held in prayer houses, halls or synagogues. At the same time, Jewish life continued to develop depending on the territory and especially in commercial and civic cities with large congregations and participation in urban life.
In Germany and Central Europe, in art and literature, in science and music and many other fields, a cultural-historical development lasting almost 200 years got underway with the participation of many Jewish minds and personalities.
This was especially due to the influence of the Enlightenment and also made itself felt with its reference to reason, tolerance and respect in corresponding manifestations of the French Revolution in 1789 and the American Constitution in 1776.
This was also reflected in the recognition of Jewish customs such as the Jewish calendar, the Shabbat, Jewish festivals, Jewish cuisine and its dietary laws, and many others.
However, in the 19th century, despite this positive development, anti-Semitism began to spread, and on August 29, 1897, the Zionist movement was founded in Basel on the initiative of the Austro-Hungarian writer Theodor Herzl. Its goal was based on Herzl’s writing of the need to establish a Jewish state as a consequence of pogroms that had taken place again and again. Soon and long before the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, the first immigrations to Palestine took place and kibbutzim were established there. One of the initiators was the religious philosopher Martin Buber, who lived in Heppenheim from 1916 to 1938 and emigrated to Palestine.
In the 20th century, the anti-Jewish tone in Germany soon led from hurtful words to inflammatory propaganda, political and soon murderous attacks by National Socialist combat units and the systematic murder of 6 million Jews in the concentration camps of Nazi terror: an unprecedented breach of civilization in world history.
Fig. 9: Theodor Herzl, Der Judenstaat. The Jewish State, Attempt at a Modern Solution to the Jewish Question, Leipzig u. Wien, 1896. (Source: Der Judenstaat, in public domain, via Wikipedia Commons).
Fig. 10: Martin Buber, philosopher (1878-1965). (Source: Martin Buber in Palestine/Israel, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).
Fig. 11: Martin Buber’s residence in Heppenheim during his professorship at the University of Frankfurt between 1916 and 1938, now a memorial, home of the Martin Buber Society and the International Council of Christians and Jews. (Source: Heppenheim: Martin Buber House, S. Zimmermann, via rhein-neckar-wiki.de)