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Community administration

The Jews formed a selfcontained and separate group within the population of Frankfurt. Their relationships with other groups, i.e. the Christians and the city council, were governed by the residence code. They were largely entitled (and forced) to deal with internal affairs themselves. These responsibilities were handled by the Jewish community administration: this represented the community in its dealings with outsiders, and particularly with the city council and emperor, and was also responsible for law and order within the Judengasse, for health care and social issues, had limited judicial authority and was the authority above all in religious matters.
The community administration was headed by the socalled Baumeister (master builders), who were the leaders of the community in its internal and external dealings, with power to impose legal punishment, and lay members of the rabbinical court, the Kastenherren (treasurers), responsible for financial administration, tax assessment and collection, and the Hospitalmeister, responsible for the administration of the community's hospitals. These three groups were in charge of the many senior and junior community officials and community servants, including the rabbis, doctors, the hekdesh (hospital director), some of the teachers, the community secretaries, the Schulklepper (or shames, a community servant who roused students for school), the cantor, the midwife, the night watchmen etc.




© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources