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Members, origins, and patterns of migration

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Chapter Summary

Not every adult Jewish man living in a city or village was automatically a member of the local Jewish community. Jews generally had to fulfil a number of conditions in order to become a full member holding hazakah, membership, giving the right to vote in elections, to be elected as a parnas or gabbai, and the obligation to contribute taxes based on income. This system resembles the organisation of burghers in early modern towns, suggesting that both systems have common origins. An interesting aspect of the role of membership within the concept of community is the position of women members. Applicants for membership from outside the community present another intriguing group: where did they come from, what general patterns of migration do the source indicate? These questions are of importance for the history of Dutch Jewry in the context of the wider European Jewish world.

Keywords: Dutch Jewry; early modern towns; Jewish community; membership; migration; parnas

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