TERUEL


TERUEL, city in *Aragon, E. Spain. No data are available about the beginning of the Jewish settlement in Teruel, which formed one of the most important communities in Aragon. It was already prosperous in the Muslim period and recovered quickly after the conquest of the town by *Alfonso II in 1171. The Jewish quarter was located in the vicinity of the present street called Calle Ainsa, extending toward the city wall, in the northeastern section of Teruel. The excavations in 1925–26 on the site of the old Jewish cemetery revealed several tombstones and a few golden rings engraved with feminine names, one of which was inscribed in Hebrew. The status of the Jews is apparent from the fuero (charter) granted by Alfonso II to Teruel (1176), regulating questions pertaining to mixed Jewish-Christian administration and defining the Jews as "slaves of the king, belonging entirely to the royal treasury." In 1285 Pedro III exempted invalids and paupers from taxes but clamped taxes on non-movable property, Muslim slaves, cattle, moneylending, etc.

During the 14th century frequent quarrels broke out within the community concerning the apportionment of taxes and their manner of collection. Between 1310 and 1313 it was agreed that each individual would pay a permanent tax of six dinars and an additional impost estimated according to his property and debts. Shortly before the persecutions of 1391, Queen Violante requested the community heads to carry out a new assessment in view of further taxation, as the indirect taxes already in force did not suffice to cover the community's debts. The community was headed by muqaddimūn and clavarii ("collectors") who collected taxes and saw to the strict observation of Jewish rites, thus winning the praise of *Isaac b. Sheshet Perfet (Ribash). The wave of anti-Jewish riots of 1321 affected Teruel when the Jews there were accused of poisoning the wells. In July 1348 Pedro III ordered the bailiff of Teruel to shut off the Jewish quarter in order to ward off rioters. The Jewish community was accused of an alleged *Host desecration in 1377. Permission was given in 1382 to the Najari (or Nafari) family to build a synagogue in Teruel. Prior to the 1391 riots the community lent 24,000 sólidos to King Pedro. In August 1391 Queen Violante ordered the town authorities to protect the Jews from hostile villagers. In the days of the *Tortosa disputation the preacher Vicente *Ferrer stayed in Teruel and induced the authorities to issue laws providing for the segregation of Jews from Christians. He was also accountable for the conversion to Christianity of many Jews, among them the Najari family, who at the end of the 14th century leased the crown taxes in Aragon.

In 1417 Alfonso V intervened on behalf of the Jews in Teruel to protect them from the admonitions of overzealous converts. Various privileges and facilities were granted by the king to the Jews of Teruel during the 1450s, especially in 1457 when together with the other communities of Aragon they were exempted from taxes and services. A change for the worse occurred in 1484, with the coming of the inquisitors Juan de Colivera and Marín Navaro to the town, both sent by *Torquemada. Between 1484 and 1486 more than 30 Conversos were condemned to burn at the stake. The activities of the Inquisition came to a climax when Jews were ordered to leave Teruel in 1486. Their expulsion, however, did not take place until 1492, as part of the general expulsion from Spain. Several scores of Jews in Teruel were then pressured by the *Franciscans to convert to Christianity.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Baer, Spain, index; Baer, Toledot, index; Baer, Urkunden, index; Neuman, Spain, index; M. Serrano y Sanz, Orígines de la dominación española en América, 1 (1918), 36–37; A. Floriano, in: Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 84 (1924), 560f.; 86 (1925), 546ff.; idem, La aljama de los judíos de Teruel (1926); B. Llorca, in: Sefarad, 2 (1942), 124ff.; L. Piles Ros. ibid., 10 (1950), 110f.; F. Vendrell, ibid., 13 (1953), 87ff.; D. Romano, ibid., 17 (1957), 144–9; M. Sánchez Moya, ibid., 18 (1958), 283–90; 20 (1960), 163–72; 26 (1966), 273–304; M. Gorosch, El Fuero de Teruel (1950); A. Novella Mateo, in: Teruel, 10 (1953), 1–5; A. López de Meneses, Documentos … (1956), 33, 44, 49, and passim.

[Haim Beinart]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.