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Frameworks Of Communal Life And Images Of Leadership

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Chapter Summary

This chapter approaches the complex issue of communal frameworks according to the socio-cultural heritage shared by the Jews of southern Italy and how they developed down to Aḥima῾az time. Although the history of the Jews of the entire Mediterranean area in the early Middle Ages remains quite elusive, recent valuable studies can help us draw a fair, though admittedly approximate, picture. The ultimate grandeur of a Jewish leader was rated by the kind and quantity of acknowledgement obtained from the non-Jewish powerful ruler; it would therefore somehow enter Jewish circles from outside and affect accordingly, though paradoxically, the socio-political status of the Jewish leader within his own social group. Among the residual traits of the past that affected the everyday life of all Jews and remained open to controversy, the most remarkable one apparently mentioned by Aḥima῾az was fasting on the Sabbath.

Keywords: Aḥima῾az; Communal Life; Italy; Jewish leader; socio-cultural heritage



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