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Literally, persuader. A representative chosen by the Jewish community, or self-appointed, to plead the Jewish cause before governments or rulers. He was usually appointed because of his wealth, eloquence, or good relations with important personalities. In 1315, five such shtadlanim were chosen to negotiate with Philip the Fair of France for the return of Jews who had been expelled from the country. During the 16th century, another Shtadlan, Josel of Rosheim, pleaded successfully with the nobility of Brandenburg, and Jews were not expelled from that German state. The Shtadlan, as an unofficial diplomat or lobbyist, continued to serve the Jewish people until he was replaced by modern professional organizations and democratically chosen communal leaders.

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