21 March 1694 Father accused of son’s murder for belief in Jesus #otdimjh

On This Day In Messianic Jewish History

21 March 1694 Death of Shim’on Abilis and murder charges brought against his father #otdimjh


Seventeenth century Prague was not an easy place for the Jewish people. Confined to the ghetto, under pressure from the counter-reformation and oppressive imperial power, pressure to ‘convert’ was brought on them. This curious and variously interpreted incident sheds light on these difficult circumstances.

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Shim‘on Abeles. Engraving from Processus Inquisitorius (Prague: C. Z. Wussin, 1728). (Jewish Museum in Prague)

Bernstein briefly notes without deeper investigation: Abilis, Simon, a convert in Prague. According to [29] the report of the Jesuit Eder, he was killed by his father, Lazarus, March 21, 1694, because he refused to renounce Christianity. The father was put in prison, where he committed suicide by hanging himself with his phylacteries.


Elisheva Carlebach, a magisterial scholar of “Jewish conversion” summarises here a more complex picture from her lecture “The death of Simon Abeles: Jewish-Christian tension in…

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