LEIRIA, city in W. central Portugal. Its Jewish community first came to notice in 1378 when the Jews complained to the king of their ill-treatment by the gentile inhabitants, particularly during Holy Week. In 1492 after the expulsion from Spain, a Hebrew printing press was set up in the town by Samuel b. Abraham de Ortas, assisted by his sons. Works published included Proverbs, with Targum and the commentaries of Levi b. Gershom and Menahem b. Solomon Meiri (1492); Former Prophets, also with Targum and Levi b. Gershom's commentary and that of David Kimḥi (1494). This press may also have been responsible for the edition of Jacob b. Asher's Tur Oraḥ Ḥayyim (1495) which has an engraved border on the opening pages possibly by a Jewish artist. The De Ortas firm also produced in 1496 a Latin and Spanish translation of Abraham *Zacuto's Ḥibbur ha-Gadol under the title Almanach Perpetuum – the most important of the seven known Latin incunables printed in Portugal. After the expulsion of 1497, Leiria was a Converso center and numerous inquisitional martyrs came from there.
M. Kayserling, Geschichte der Juden in Portugal (1867), 27, 90; M.B. Amzalak, A tipografia hebraica em Portugal no século XV (1922), 35ff.; King Manoel of Portugal (Catalogue of Early Portuguese Books, no. 6); C. Roth, in: Sefarad, 14 (1954), 122–25. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: S.A. Gomes, História & crítica, 13 (June 1986), 53–58.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.