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GUADALAJARA, city in Castile, central Spain. A Jewish community already existed there at the time of the *Visigoths, for the Jews are said to have been entrusted, by Ṭāriq ibn-Ziyād, with the defense of the town after the Arab conquest in 714. Joseph *Ferrizuel (Cidellus), the physician of Alfonso VI, was active on behalf of the Jews there after the Christian reconquest in 1085. Judah Halevi dedicated a poem to Ferrizuel on the occasion of the latter's visit in Guadalajara between 1091 and 1095. Further information on the Jews of Guadalajara is found in the charter granted to the Jews of the city by Alfonso VII in 1133. The Jews seemed to have occupied an important position there. One of the synagogues of the community was given to the monastery of Santa Clara in the 13th century. We have no information on the fate of the Jewish community during the 1391 massacres. In 1414 a mass conversion of 122 Jews occurred after supposedly a cross appeared in the skies during the sermon of a Franciscan. In 1444 Juan II ordered that the New Christians be allowed to occupy public positions in the city. Most of the Guadalajara Jews earned their living from weaving, shoemaking, and tailoring. A tax of 11,000 maravedis, levied from the community as late as 1439, attests to its well-established financial situation. After the anti-Jewish persecutions of 1391, the order to confine the Jews and the Moors in separate sections of the city was rigorously enforced. Several Jews of Guadalajara acted as tax farmers even in the 15th century. The tax levied from the Jews of Guadalajara during the war against Granada was one of the highest paid by any Jewish community, amounting to 104,220 maravedis in 1488 and 90,620 maravedis in 1491.

Guadalajara was a foremost cultural center of Sephardi Jewry and the birthplace of the *Kabbalah in Castile. *Moses de León and other important scholars of the 13th century were active in Guadalajara. *Isaac ibn Sahula, author of the Meshalha-Kadmoni and mystical commentaries on Job, Song of Songs and Psalms, was in practice there as a physician. In Meshal ha-Kadmoni we find for the first time a quotation from the Zohar. Moses de León lived 50 years in Guadalajara. Another Jewish resident of the city in the 13th century was Solomon ben Abraham ben Yaish who wrote on Ibn Ezra's commentary on the Torah. In the 15th century, Guadalajara continued to be an important Jewish cultural center. In Guadalajara between 1422 and 1430 Moses Arragel translated the Bible into Castilian at the request of Luiz de Guzmán, the Great Master of Calatrava. The translation and the notes show the high level of learning that the rabbi from Guadalajara had achieved. This Bible, known as The Alba Bible, is of great artistic, exegetical, and linguistic value. The earliest-recorded Hebrew printing press in Spain was established in 1482 in Guadalajara by Solomon *Alkabeẓ, famous for his poem Lekha Dodi, who produced there in that year the commentary of David *Kimḥi on the later prophets and the Tur Even ha-Ezer of *Jacob b. Asher(1480–82). During the years before the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, residents included Isaac *Abrabanel and Isaac *Aboab II who directed one of the most important yeshivot in Castile. A document of 1499, concerning Jewish property in Guadalajara at the time of the expulsion, lists three synagogues and 36 Jewish houseowners. The exiles from Guadalajara established their own synagogue in Algiers in the early 16th century.

Until 1412 the Jews of Guadalajara lived outside the walls, in what was known as Castil de judíos. From 1412 onwards, the Jews lived near San Adrés, the commercial center of the city, and near San Gil, Santa María de la Fuente, and San Miguel. The judería was not exclusively inhabited by Jews. Following the decision to segregate the Jews in 1480, attempts were made to move the Jews into an area where they could be isolated from the Christian inhabitants. On the eve of the Expulsion, four synagogues are mentioned: Sinagoga mayor, Sinagoga de los Malutes, Sinoga del Midras, and Sinagoga de los Toledanos.


Baer, Spain, index; Baer, Urkunden, index; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index; F. Cantera Burgos and C. Carrete Parrondo, Las juderías medievales en la provincia de Guadalajara, (1975) [rep. from Sefarad, 33–34 (1973–74); for Guadalajara, see Sefarad, 34 (1974), 43–78; 313–70]; F. Cantera Burgos, in: Proceedings of 6th World Congress of Jewish Studies (1976), 2:53–59; J.I. Alonso Campos and J.M. Calderón Ortega, in: Wad al-Hayara, 13 (1986), 401–4; J.E. Ávila Palet, in: Actas del I Encuentro de Historiadores del Valle de Henares (1988), 49–58.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.