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 Infobank Judengassse Frankfurt am Main
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Welfare

Care for the poor and the weak is required by Biblical law and is a religious duty for every individual. Zedakah, or the principle of philanthropy, expresses a legal claim to aid, and is meant to avoid humiliation in begging for alms. Biblical laws such as giving one tenth of one's cattle and grain, the giving of interestfree loans, and the right of the poor to the remnants of the harvest are intended to offset social inequalities amongst Jewish people.
The dispensation of welfare within the Jewish community has always been a high priority and extends to many areas of life. Numerous societies and donations by members of the community financed institutions for such matters as: caring for the poor, aiding orphans and the elderly; lodging people from other areas, freeing innocent prisoners, supporting impoverished religious teachers, helping with the dowries and weddings of poor brides, nursing the sick, and burying the dead.
There were many philanthropic societies and institutions in the Frankfurt Judengasse, including the hostels and hospitals of the Hekdesh, loan funds, and burial fraternities. Many schools and centres for prayer were maintained by charity, including the
"Klause".
After the emancipation of the Jews, what had originally been a Biblical commandment increasingly developed into a voluntary tradition of charity amongst the Jewish citizenry, who began increasingly to contribute to facilities for the city itself. Many families, in particular the Rothschilds, created charitable trusts and philanthropic institutions for the benefit of the city.




© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources