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It abolished many residential restrictions and permitted Jews to purchase property and to engage in crafts and industry, in particular encouraging them to work in agriculture.
In 1880, Jews in Kraków numbered 20,000, rising to 32,000 by 1910. During the first period of Galicia’s annexation to the Habsburg Empire, Jewish life was run according to the General Order for the Jews of the Crown Lands of Galicia and Lodomeria (Latin for Volhynia), decreed by Empress Maria Theresa in 1776.
Jewish leadership was comprised of a national directorate numbering twelve elders, six of whom sat in Lemberg and the other six in each of Galicia’s six administrative districts.
The edict opened with the declaration that henceforth Jews would be placed on an equal footing with the rest of the population in terms of both rights and duties.
Indeed, the new proclamation permitted the integration of urban Jews, who could now vote and be elected to municipal office.
The largest Jewish community in 1880 was that of Lemberg, numbering 31,000 (31% of the entire city).
In 1910, the number of Jews in Lemberg had grown to 57,000 (now only 21% of the entire population).
The edict also required Jewish children to attend German Jewish schools and to earn a diploma before pursuing Talmudic studies; this was amended shortly thereafter to permit concurrent study.
In addition, the Jews of Galicia were required to adopt surnames and could not use Yiddish or Hebrew in official documents.
Legislators soon permitted Jews to substitute monetary payments for military service.