This post first appeared in The Times of Israel.
Historically speaking, when Jews talked about the weather, it wasn’t just idle chatter.
These days, everyone is worried about the effects of global warming. However, a new study indicates that the Jews have been dealing with the negative repercussions of climate change for centuries already. But rather than rising temperatures being the problem, Jews’ woes occurred when the mercury started to drop.
The Jewish communities of Europe, whose persecutions in the medieval and early modern periods are well-documented, provided the data necessary for economics professors Warren Anderson of the University of Michigan and Noel Johnson and Mark Koyama of George Mason University, who sought to determine when exactly medieval Europe transitioned into the protective, religiously tolerant region of the post-industrial era.
In their paper “From the persecuting to the protective state? Jewish expulsions and weather shocks from 1100 to 1800,” the researchers explain that historical Jewish expulsions were associated with colder temperatures during the growing season, typically April through September.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.