LUCENA, town in Andalusia, in S. Spain, S. of Córdoba; important Jewish community in the 11th century. During the period of Muslim rule Lucena was famous as "the entirely Jewish city," and a tradition states that it was founded by Jews. Several prominent families, including that of the historian Abraham *Ibn Daud, claimed that their settlement in Lucena dated from the time of Nebuchadnezzar. Isaac *Abrabanel linked the derivation of the name of the town with the biblical town of Luz. Until the 12th century Lucena was a cultural center of Andalusian Jewry. In 853 Natronai Gaon wrote "that Alisana (Arabic for Lucena) was a Jewish place with no gentiles at all." In another responsum the gaon asked, "Is there a gentile who prohibits your activities? Why do you not establish an *eruv ḥaẓerot?" (Teshuvot Ge'onei Mizraḥ u-Ma'arav (1888), para. 26). The 12th-century Arab geographer Idrīsī also commented on the Jewish character of Lucena and stated that while Muslims lived outside the city walls, Jews generally lived in the fortified part within the walls. Menahem b. Aaron ibn Zerah reports the same information at the end of the 14th century (Ẓeidah la-Derekh (Ferrara, 1554), 150). The Jews earned their living from olive groves, vineyards, agriculture, commerce, and crafts. Lucena was distinguished by its scholars. In the mid-ninth century *Amram Gaon sent his prayer book in response to a question by a scholar of Lucena. His contemporary Eleazar b. Samuel Ḥurga of Lucena received the titles alluf (demin Ispania) and rosh kallah, and became famous in the Babylonian academies (see A. Harkavy, Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim, Berlin, 1887, para. 386, p. 201, pp. 376–7). In the 11th century Isaac b. Judah *Ibn Ghayyat taught in the yeshivah of Lucena. He was succeeded by Isaac *Alfasi who was followed by Joseph *Ibn Migash. In 1066 the widow of *Joseph b. Samuel ha-Nagid and her son Azariah were among the refugees who came to Lucena in the wake of the anti-Jewish outburst in Granada (Abraham ibn Daud, Sefer ha-Qabbalah – The Book of Tradition, ed. G. Cohen (1967), 77). The last king of the Zirid dynasty, Abdallah, reported an uprising of the Jews of Lucena during his reign – at the time of the expedition against the Almoravides (c. 1090). At the turn of
M. Maimonides, Iggeret Teiman, ed. by A.S. Halkin (1952), xxix, 100f.; Neuman, Spain, index; Ibn Daud, Tradition, index; Baer, Spain, index; Ashtor, Korot, 1 (19662), 202f.; 2 (1966), 88–91; H. Schirmann, in: Sefer Assaf (1953), 496–514; E. Lévi-Provençal, in: Al-Andalus, 4 (1936), 113–6 (Fr.); Cantera Burgos, in: Sefarad, 13 (1953), 112–4; 19 (1959), 137–47; Cantera-Millás, Inscripciones, 168–70; Torres-Balbas, in: Al-Andalus, 19 (1954), 190. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Arjona Castro, in: Lucena; nuevos estudios históricos (1983), 65–88; J.L. Lacave, in: Sefarad, 47 (1987), 181–82; F. Díaz Esteban, in: J. Peláez del Rosal (ed.), The Jews in Cordoba (X–XII Centuries) (1987), 123–37; J. Peláez del Rosal (ed.), Los judíos de y Lucena; historia, pensamiento y poesía (1988).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.