After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry by Jonathan S. Ray
By Jonathan S. Ray
Honorary point out for the 2014 Medieval and Early smooth Jewish heritage part ebook award offered via the organization for Jewish Studies
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20 Two former royal interpreters, Samuel and Juda, used their links to the royal court to obtain exemptions from paying the customs tax levied upon those leaving Spain. 21 Similarly, an anonymous account of the Expulsion credits the Jewish notable Don Vidal de la Cavalleria with preparing the way for the Jews seeking shelter in Portugal. ” Later, the same account notes: Many of the exiled Spaniards went to Muslim countries, to Fez, Tlemçen, and the Berber provinces, under the king of Tunis. Most of the Muslims did not allow them into their cities, and many of them died in the fields from hunger, thirst, and lack of everything.
41 Jewish fortunes rose and fell upon these same turbulent seas. As a politically neutral and easily controlled minority, Jews were given opportunities to act as diplomats and translators for Christian lords. They also benefited from Christian military and economic successes. Jewish merchants traded in captured Muslim slaves, and they followed Catalan maritime expansion into the Mediterranean. As the Christian dominions expanded, Jews became increasingly involved in loaning money to settlers and great barons alike.
First, it is more accurate to speak of certain sectors of Jewish society being connected to the broad Mediterranean world than to imagine such bonds to be a characteristic of Jewish society in general. Jewish courtiers played important diplomatic roles that brought them into contact with the Muslim rulers of Granada and North Africa, and Jewish merchants fostered social as well as economic relationships with Jews in Muslim and Christian lands. For the majority of Iberian Jewry, however, the Jewish communities of North Africa, Italy, and the Levant were less familiar than the Christians among whom Medieval Inheritance >> 29 they lived.