This chapter shows how legal restrictions greatly influenced Jewish occupational structure, both directly and indirectly. Jews chose commerce frequently because so many other spheres of livelihood, for example, those associated with membership in a guild, were closed. Many sold as peddlers, some in market stalls or shops. Moneylending became a secondary occupation, appearing often in the context of providing credit as part of a sales transaction. Despite the restrictions Jews faced, opportunities, personal initiative, and circumstances resulted in a rich diversity of occupational choices. Jews either engaged primarily in commerce or in some form of service for other Jews or for the population at large. Half of German Jewry lacked any savings of capital, but many were still better off than their Christian neighbors.
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