The Plague and the Jews

Prof. Elisheva Baumgarten and Dr. Eyal Levinson

This session will introduce the European fourteenth century and the situation of the Jews before and during the Black death and will discuss what we know about pre-plague life based on textual and archeological sources. 

Prof. Elisheva Baumgarten teaches Jewish History at the Hebrew University and heads the Beyond the Elite team.

Dr. Eyal Levinson studies gender and masculinity in medieval northern France and Germany and is a postdoctoral fellow.




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The current COVID-19 pandemic recalls past epidemics, and most vividly the plague known as the Black Death in medieval Europe (1348-1350). Then, like today, the outbreak of disease had social, financial and cultural implications alongside medical ones. For Jews in medieval Europe, the Black Death was a moment of persecution and expulsion, one in which existing local and religious tensions played out in a variety of ways.


This four-part mini-series features the work of the “Beyond the Elite: Jewish Daily Life in Medieval Europe” project of the Hebrew University, providing historical context and insight to current events



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