64 Judicial wand
painted wood, , with remains of gold finish
donation by Aladár Fürst, 1935
The history of the seven communities (sheva kehillot) of Burgerland can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Their real prosperity, nevertheless, occurred in the 18th century when, under the protection of Prince Esterhazy’s family, a vibrant social and spiritual life evolved. The seven rural communities were led by Eisenstadt (Kismarton in Hungarian). Here, under a contract concluded with the landlord (Schutzbrief), the Jews could dwell in separate streets, they could build a synagogue, could keep a rabbi, were allowed to create the necessary institution to sustain the community and in internal affairs they had judicial discretion. Their streets could be locked up by chain on Saturdays, something that is still visible near the gate of the Jewish quarter. One of the most famous rabbis of the community was Samson Wertheimer, who, at a time was national chief rabbi too. In 1732 the Prince gave a beautifully carved judicial wand to the Jewish judge as a present which has been preserved as the symbol of the Jewish communal autonomy. The wand became a part of the Jewish Museum's collection in 1935 thanks to a former member of the staff of the museum, Aladár Fürst, who was born in Eisenstadt.