On February 14, 1349, the St. Valentine Massacre takes place in Strasbourg. Two thousand Jews were burned alive accused of spreading the plague.
It is well known that Jews have always been persecuted in the history of mankind. They have been blamed for the great misfortunes, besides being considered usurers, murderers of children and even antichrists.
Such was the case of the Black Death, which peaked between 1347 and 1353. It is estimated that the Great Death (as it was known before the 19th century) killed 60% of Europeans.
The answer you gave to this deadly epidemic? They accused the Jews of poisoning fountains and wells for the sole purpose of exterminating Christians. The evidence was found in the false confession under torture of a Jew named Agimet in 1348, who acknowledged having thrown a poison into the well from which the people were supplied, under the command of Rabbi Peyret.
This motive was sufficient to begin the persecution towards the Jews, who were exposed to all sorts of barbarities.
And so, on February 14, 1349, two thousand Jews were taken to the cemetery of the French city of Strasbourg, where they were burned on a wooden platform, in addition to imposing a law that forbade to tread that land for 100 years to Jews who They got rid of the murder.
The persecution spread throughout Europe, to the point that in Spain, any Christian was forbidden to associate with any Jew, whom they imprisoned, exterminated and expelled from all parts of the continent.
The Provincial Historical Archive shows, through the initiative ‘The Document of the Month’, four documents on the life of the Jews in the city of Jaén between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, on the occasion of the celebration of the Day of Remembrance for the Victims Of the Holocaust, which was celebrated on 27 January and condemned, by resolution of the United Nations Assembly, all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or Religious beliefs, wherever they take place.
“We talk about an exhibition in which, through four documents, visitors are going to hear about four episodes about the life of the Jewish community in the city of Jaén where they are staged as the coexistence of Jews with Christians, What was the economic activity they developed, as well as the persecution to which they were subjected, “said the delegate of the Government, Ana Cobo.
Also, the delegate highlighted, during the inauguration of the exhibition ‘Jews in the Remembrance. Documentary evidence of his presence in Jaén, in which the territorial delegate for Culture, Tourism and Sports, Pilar Salazar, the Director of the Provincial Historical Archive, Juan del Arco, and the president of the Iuventa association, Rafael Cámara, participated. Sephardic Jew, Ricardo Djaen, descendant of members of the Jewish community who lived in the streets of the city of Jaén. “I want to welcome Ricardo to a city that is his city, and a city where we can enjoy the legacy left by his ancestors and that today is one of the main tourist claims of our province,” he said.
The Provincial Historical Archive, which has already addressed the Jewish presence in Jaén on the occasion of the commemoration of the 1100th anniversary of the birth of Hasday ibn Shaprut (Ben Saprut) at the end of 2015, has organized a sample centered on the presence of Jews in Jaén around Three main aspects. On the one hand, in the coexistence between Christian and Jewish cultures, on the other hand, in the economic activity developed by the Jews and, moreover, on the persecution to which the Jews were subjected, first, after the expulsion in 1492, his descendants, the converts.
As an example of the coexistence between the Christian and Jewish communities in the Old Kingdom of Jaén during the Middle Ages, this exhibition exposes the Law of Iznatoraf, where in one of its laws or sections regulated the use of public bath both Of Christians as Jews, establishing exclusive days for their use in each community.
On the other hand, in relation to the economic activities that the Jewish community performed in the Kingdom of Jáen is represented with a note of a deed by which Sushi of Abraham buys two slaves for 25,000 reais and with another document where the obligation of Marín But, neighbor of Jaén, to pay Martín Abraham, member of the Jewish community, the amount of 8780 maravedis.
This exhibition, which will be open until February 24, also includes references to the persecution suffered by the descendants of the Jews who converted to Christianity, the converts. Among them, the Document of the Month shows the request that Antón Rodríguez de Amores, Diego de Córdoba, Juan de Jaén Morocco, Lope de Fernández Chinchilla and other landlords of the rent of the alcabalas of the city of Jaén request to the queen that exempts them Of the charge imposed by the great pestilence and mortality, the great sterility of the year and by the Holy Inquisition since there are prisoners many merchants and traffickers.
|Author of the Shulchan Aruch|
Rabbi Yosef Caro, 5248-5335 (1488-1575 CE), is most famous as the author of the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law. He was born in Toledo, Spain during the Inquisition years and fled from that country at the age of 4, with his family together with myriads of Jews who were banished from Spain in the year 5252 (1492 CE). His family wandered from city to city, from country to country, not finding a safe haven until they settled in Constantinople (Kushta), Turkey.
Yosef was first educated by his father, Rabbi Ephraim, a scholar in his own right, who was later appointed chief rabbi of Nikopol, Bulgaria. Later Rabbi Yosef would quote many teachings he heard from his father. After his father passed away, he grew up in the home of his uncle, Rabbi Yitzchak Caro, who adopted him as his own son.
It was soon realized that Yosef was destined for greatness, and even at a young age he was regarded as a great sage and many turned to him for halachic rulings. He eventually moved from Constantinople to Adrianople, where he married the daughter of a scholar named Rabbi Chaim ibn Albalag. He soon established a Beit Midrash in Adrianople, and at the age of 34 he began to write his monumental commentary Beit Yosef on the entire ArbaahTurim.
Together with his great assiduousness in Torah study, Rabbi Caro lived a somewhat ascetic life of numerous fasts and self-infliction.
It was in Adrianople that he met the kabbalist Rabbi Shlomo Molcho, who was burned at the stake by the church for his “heretical beliefs.” Rabbi Caro was greatly affected by Rabbi Shlomo’s charismatic personality and even expressed the wish to die in the same way — al kiddush Hashem (as a holy martyr). It was here, too, that Rabbi Yosef met Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, author of the mystical hymn Lecha Dodi. It is possible that one of them introduced Rabbi Yosef to the study of Kabbala.
(To find our series explicating the prayer Lecha Dodi, click here)He came to be regarded as the leader of the entire generation.
After his first wife died at a young age, he married the daughter of Rabbi Yitzchak Sabba. For a short while he lived in Nikopol, Bulgaria, but decided to make his way to the Holy Land so that he could immerse himself in its sanctity and complete his written works. Passing through Salonica, he met the great kabbalist Rabbi Yosef Taitatzak. He continued his journey to the Holy Land via Egypt and eventually settled in Safed.
He was soon appointed a member of the rabbinical court of the city in the Beit Din of the famous Rabbi Yaakov Beirav. When the latter re-instituted semicha (official rabbinical ordination), which had been in abeyance for over 11 centuries, Rabbi Yosef was one of the first he ordained. Here, too, Rabbi Caro established a yeshiva and taught Torah to scores of eager students. Among Rabbi Caro’s more famous students were the renowned darshan (sermonist) Rabbi Moshe Alshich, the kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Galanti and the renowned kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (the Ramak).
When Rabbi Yaakov Beirav, the leading sage of Safed, passed away, Rabbi Yosef Caro was regarded as his successor, and he and Rabbi Moshe of Trani (the Mabit) headed the Rabbinical Court of Safed. In fact, by this time, the Rabbinical Court of Safed had become the central rabbinical court in all of Israel, and indeed of the Diaspora as well. Thus there was not a single matter of national or global importance that did not come to the attention and ruling of the Safed Beit Din. Its rulings were accepted as final and conclusive, and Rabbi Yosef’s halachic decisions and clarifications were sought by sages from every corner of the Diaspora. He came to be regarded as the leader of the entire generation.
Rabbi Yosef merited to be instructed by a maggid – a private angelic teacher who revealed to him many kabbalistic teachings.
Although he rarely touched upon kabbalistic matters and customs in his legal writings, he was nevertheless very involved in the study of kabbala. Together with his close friend Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, he set out to explain some of the more difficult passages in the Zohar. In his famous kabbalistic work Pardes Rimonim, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero cites several innovative kabbalistic teachings of Rabbi Caro, who was his master in the revealed teachings of the Torah.
In a dramatic testimonial, Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz testified that in Salonica Rabbi Yosef became one of those rare individuals who merited to be instructed by a maggid – a private angelic teacher who revealed to him many kabbalistic teachings. The maggid exhorted Rabbi Yosef to sanctify and purify himself, and he revealed to him events that would take place in the future. It should be noted that in Shaarei Kedusha, Rabbi Chaim Vital explains that visitation by a maggid is a form of Divine Inspiration (ruach hakodesh). The teachings of the maggid are recorded in his published work titled Maggid Meisharim, although the Chida (Rabbi Chaim David Azulai) notes that only about one fiftieth of the manuscript was ever published (see Works). However, in numerous places in Maggid Meisharim it is stated that, “I am the Mishna that speaks in your mouth,” indicating that the Oral Torah itself (of which the Mishna is the fundamental part) spoke within him. (However, these two explanations are not necessarily contradictory — in the merit of the Mishna Rabbi Caro constantly reviewed, he was worthy of an angelic teacher).
The maggid promised him that he would have the merit of settling in Israel, and this promise was fulfilled. Another promise, that he would merit to die a martyr’s death sanctifying God’s Name like Rabbi Shlomo Molcho had merited, did not transpire for an unspecified reason.
The kabbalistic teachings found in Rabbi Yosef’s Maggid Meisharim are in the style of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero’s kabbala, rather than the style of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal). Nevertheless, Rabbi Chaim Vital, the chief disciple of the Arizal, extolled the greatness of Rabbi Yosef’s soul, saying that it stemmed from the soul of the great Tanna Rabbi Yehuda bar Ila’i and had an affinity with the souls of Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet (the Rashba), Rabbi Aharon Halevi (the Raah) and Rabbi Vidal di Tolouse, author of Maggid Mishna, an important commentary on Maimonides‘ Mishneh Torah.
In the year 5324 (1564 CE) Rabbi Yosef’s second wife, who had borne him his son Shlomo, died. Following the dictate of the Sages that a man should not live without a wife, he married again, despite his age. His third wife was the daughter of Rabbi Zecharia ben Shlomo Zavasil Ashkenazi, one of the sages of Jerusalem. When he was in his ninth decade, his wife bore him another son, Yehuda.
Rabbi Yosef continued to preoccupy himself with Torah study and writing important works and fulfilled his duties as the head of the Rabbinical Court in Safed for the remainder of his extremely productive life. He passed on to the World of Truth on the 13th day of Nissan 5335 (1575 CE) at the venerable age of 87. His loss was mourned by the entire Jewish world.
The author of Shenei Luchot HaBrit, Rabbi Yeshayahu Horowitz 5320-5390 (1560-1630 CE) (the Shelah HaKadosh), writes that one Friday night, Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan in the year 5365 (1605 CE), Rabbi Yosef, thirty years after his passing, appeared in a dream to a certain sage living in Safed. He reported that he saw Rabbi Yosef “sitting on a very majestic throne in the presence of innumerable world-renowned rabbis. His face was shining like the brightness of the sky… and he taught the meditations applicable to kedusha.
VALENCIA. The witer José Hinojosa Montalvo tells in his article ‘The Jews of the Kingdom of Valencia during the fifteenth century’. It was May 26, 1394. By royal privilege of John I, the Hunter, was authorized the creation of a new cemetery to the Jewish aljama of Valencia. It was like compensation, recognition. Three years earlier the city’s Hebrew quarter had suffered the revolts and assault of the angry mobs.
“After the assault of 1391 the old enclosure was abandoned and a new one was found,” Hinojosa writes. “In the middle of 1393 the Jews were authorized by John I to transfer the bones of their ancestors to the new enclosure, and the 26 of May of 1394 the king authorized the creation of the same one”. The new cemetery hardly lasted a century. On its lot was built in 1491 the convent of Santa Catalina of Siena. The following year, the Jews were expelled from Spain, by order of the Catholic Kings.
The convent had better fortune, but did not reach the five centuries. Nothing is eternal. It was demolished in the late sixties to build there the first of the department stores of El Corte Inglés in Valencia, that of Pintor Sorolla. One God, Yahweh, was replaced by another, the God of Christians. And in the last quarter of the twentieth century, this was replaced by the divinity who can: money.
This Thursday, in the mayoralty of Valencia closed this story that covers six centuries. And it was done with a simple signature on paper, on a glass table. The mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, signed in a joint act, the agreements for the provision of religious assistance in the General Cemetery to the Catholic, Muslim and Israeli communities. The three agreements have a duration of four years.
Historical date for the Hebrews
Isaac Sananes, president of the Israelite Community of Valencia, recalled that, unlike Catholics and Muslims, in that it was a renewal of an agreement, “for the Jews of Valencia this is a historical date because 600 years ago We had a graveyard, “he said.
“This is the first time we have been able to sign an agreement that has been brewing for many years. Today’s signature will be a milestone that we will all remember, and we want to thank your support to the City Council’s managers to achieve this. For us this is the second cemetery. The former was from the fourteenth century and this is the twenty-first century. We had been waiting for a few centuries, so thank you very much, “he said.
The object, in the case of the Muslim and Israeli communities, is to provide them with burial units specific to the practices of each of these confessions, while in the case of the Catholic Church, religious assistance is specified in the chapel of the Cemetery General.
But the General Cemetery of Valencia will not only be closed to the people of the Book, and will also give space to other religious denominations by means of a symbolism of “neutral character” so that “each confession can place its own symbols” and “all can be developed with total Freedom and the same rights “.
Freedom for all beliefs
In an event witnessed also by the Councilor for the Environment, Pilar Soriano, and the regional secretary of inclusion, Alberto Ibáñez, Ribó took advantage of the launching of a proclamation for tolerance. “Valencia is increasingly a city that welcomes all people assuming their religious beliefs, and that is why we want all religious beliefs to develop with total freedom and all people can have the same rights regardless of their religion or not religion” , He said.
The agreement was signed by Ribó with Vicent Fontestad, Vicar General of the Archbishopric of Valencia; Abdul Rahim Yaghmour, president of the Islamic Community of Valencia, and Isaac Sananes, president of the Israeli Community of Valencia, and serves, as they pointed out from the City Hall, “to guarantee the rights of people and the plurality of all the major religions represented in Valencia”.
“Today,” said Ribó, “it is a beautiful day in which we take one more step to make Valencia a welcoming city for all people with all their beliefs and their cultures, and for anyone living in Valencia to enjoy all rights”.
Located in the emblematic Barrio de Santa Cruz, this Seville street, besides being known by its peculiar name, is also known for the different legends that hide behind its narrowness. It is one of the fundamental streets of medieval and Sephardic Seville. The Barrio de Santa Cruz is a protagonist of our Jewish history, and famous for the narrowness of its streets, mostly pedestrian streets.
Pimienta Street is located in the heart of this Sevillian neighborhood, one of the most emblematic of the capital of Andalusia. This historic Seville street is located between two fronts of houses and has a rather short route, following the usual stela of one day was the center of the Jewish quarter of Seville in the fourteenth century.
This street has become a transcendental part of the different tourist and cultural routes that take place by the Seville capital. This is the main reason why this street, which has been a residential area, has spent years to house shops as small souvenir shops and even hostels, taking advantage of its strategic and privileged place of the city. As for its curious name, it must be said that there are different legends.
The main one speaks of that in this street lived a rich and important merchant of the Jewish community sevillana that assured that Yavéh, when they arrived times of famine, never resorted to the tree of the pepper. Because in his yard miraculously grew a copy of this plant, the famous merchant decided to give the name pepper to the street, as a form of respect to Yahweh.
Although it is not the only history that is told about the origin of the name of the street Pepper. And there is another version that says that a wealthy Jewish merchant established a small spice shop there, a business that soon after opening began to decline. The owner, from that moment, began to complain of his misery and to blame it on God. One of the times he spoke ill of Yahweh in the face of his bad luck, a Christian echoed his words and made him think, because he said that God had only given good things and was blaspheming. At that moment, the Jewish merchant repented for his harsh words to God and began to weep. From every tear he spilled pepper plants sprang up, hence the name of this central Seville street.
But not only is Pimienta important because of its legends and its privileged situation, it is also important for the Jewish remains that it preserves, because despite the years that have passed and the changes that have taken place in this street, they are still preserved in perfect state. An example are the tiles that are still intact from the very distant time when the Barrio de Santa Cruz was part of the Jewish quarter of Seville … Do you accompany us to discover the secrets of the Jewish Quarter of Seville?
Sebastián de la Obra is the director of the Casa de Sefarad, a private cultural and museum center created in Cordoba in 2006. De la Obra emphasizes that “it is a cultural and non-religious center that has nothing to do with religion , But with memory.
– What does the House of Sepharad intend?
– It is a private cultural center and museum, independent and free, without a single public resource.
– What is it about?
– It is an exercise in recovering the memory of the Hispanic Jews, known as Sephardic.
– Why do you think you should visit it?
-For the same as the Fernandine churches, Medina Azahara, the Mosque, the Axerquía or the Judería, because it is part of the heritage of Cordoba.
– What difficulties does the Spanish Jewish tradition have?
– Especially that is very difficult to identify. Faced with the huge, rich and beautiful Hispanic Christian heritage and the huge, fantastic and spectacular Hispanic Muslim heritage, that of the Jewish tradition is neither seen nor touched. There are no great monuments, there is no Alhambra, a Medina Azahara or a Cathedral of Burgos. That difficulty is a challenge. We like the challenges and what we do is develop a work, on the one hand research and, on the other, didactic, to make known what is not seen with the naked eye.
-When these dates arrive it celebrates a concrete activity related to the Holocaust. What have you prepared this year?
-The exhibition is entitled The Biblioclastia: the destruction of books. The origin comes from a very beautiful and alert phrase of the German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, who in 1817 sees young people who carry books to a castle and throw them on the ground and burn them. He left a sentence that said, “This is just the prelude. Where books are burned they will end up burning people. ” That phrase is the statement of our exposition, where we show, through texts, plates, silk banners, books, documents and manuscripts the history of the destruction of books. Where books and libraries are burned they end up burning people. We talk about the characters who burn books, but also those who save books.
– Why this love to the culture?
– The pursuit of diversity and difference is a common note in the history of mankind. The Jewish tradition, of the various Judaisms in the world, the Spanish Jewish Sephardic or the Ashkenazi of central Europe, there has always been a great love for what the cultural element means. It is a people literate for many centuries by nomadism. The fact of being always in a position to flee makes the effort that is made cultural so that you can move anywhere on the planet.
– Do you think the paper will disappear to communicate?
– Never. Mankind has written about silk, bamboo sheets, clay, cloth, papyrus, parchment and paper. Now we have a digital culture but the paper is not going to disappear. Moreover, there is a kind of historical loop in which the scent of paper from a specific journal or book becomes an appreciated object again. What is causing the disappearance is the culture of reading. There are less and fewer people who read, but those who do are much more.
– How do you see Cordoba?
It’s an eminently cultural city. Another thing is that we are educated, which is different. We have a spectacular architectural heritage. A unique baroque in Andalusia. We have an intangible trace of the Jewish tradition that is there. This city is culture. We must believe it.