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Historian backs off blood libel

An Israeli historian expunged suggestions in his book that medieval Jews used Christian blood for Passover rituals.

The new edition of Ariel Toaff’s “Passover of Blood” includes a passage in which the Bar-Ilan University professor makes clear that the murder of a Christian child in 15th-century Italy in no way was factually linked to Jewish religious custom.

Toaff in the original book, published last year in Italy, caused an international outcry by writing that he did not rule out that Jews may have killed the boy to use his blood in a Passover ritual.

But the new edition retains the same provocative title despite requests for it to be changed, and its introduction also contains a reference to a fringe custom among some medieval Jewish communities of keeping a vial of blood on hand “for use in diverse eventualities.”

 

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