HEIDINGSFELD, town in Bavaria, Germany. The name of a Jewish woman who perished there during the *Rindfleisch persecutions (1298) is recorded, perhaps reflecting the existence of a Jewish community at that time. In 1391 King Wenceslaus canceled all debts to the Jews, thereby impoverishing the local community. The privilege of de non tolerandis Judaeis, granted to the town in 1423, was rescinded eight years later when the Jews were granted residence rights along with the civil and economic privileges enjoyed by their coreligionists in other German cities. In 1498 only seven families lived in the town, but the community grew in numbers and importance in the following centuries. When in 1565 the Jews of the nearby bishopric of Wuerzburg were expelled, many settled in Heidingsfeld, which was excepted from the decree although it was then also under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Wuerzburg. In 1652 there were 19 Jewish households in Heidingsfeld. A year later the community's pinkas ("minute-book") was begun, a significant source for Jewish history in Germany from 1653 to 1774, as well as an important source for the community's continuing relationship with Ereẓ Israel in that period. In 1669 the second synagogue was built; a third, erected around 1780, was renovated in 1929. A cemetery was consecrated only in 1810. In the early 17th century Heidingsfeld became the seat of the chief rabbinate for Lower Franconia. However, in 1813 the office was discontinued and Abraham *Bing, then chief rabbi, obtained permission to move to Wuerzburg together with other Heidingsfeld Jews. The community declined from around 600 persons (20% of the total population) in 1805, the second largest community in Bavaria, to 150 (4%) in 1890. Anti-Jewish acts were a source of continuing concern in the early 19th century; riots took place in 1801, while during the *Hep! Hep! disturbances of 1819 homes were burned. In 1930 the town and community were incorporated into Wuerzburg. The synagogue was burned down on Nov. 10, 1938, and the eight Jewish families molested; all left the town soon after. After World War II, the U.S. occupation forces ordered the population to renovate the desecrated Jewish cemetery.
B. Brilling, in: Yerushalayim (1953), 220–31; E. Toeplitz, in: Notizblatt der Gesellschaft zur Erforschung juedischer Kunstdenkmaeler, no. 16 (1926), 2–13; idem, in: Menorah, 3 (1925), 203–6; A. Wolf, in: HUCA, 18 (1943/44), 247–78; Salfeld, Martyrol, 233; L. Heffner, Die Juden in Franken (1855), 59–60; PK.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.