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The Jewish Community (2)

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Chapter Summary

The mediaeval Jewish community in Europe owed its existence to two main causes: the need for Jewish groups to organize and administer their affairs in an orderly manner, and the desire on the part of the authorities to deal with a Jewish collective rather than with individuals. The first surviving ordinances of a Jewish community were those of Syracuse. They were registered by a Christian notary in 1363, but apparently were adopted at an earlier date. In 1457, the Jewish community of Catania obtained a privilege which confirmed a communal ordinance whereby a prospective bridegroom had to put a ring on the brides finger eight days before the wedding. The finances of the communities continued to deteriorate, foremost those of Palermo, which probably had the highest rate of tax-exempt poor. The community repeatedly adopted measures to alleviate the debt burden.

Keywords: Catania; Christian; Europe; Jewish community; Palermo; Syracuse

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