NÁJERA (Najara, Nagara, Naiera), city in Castile, N. Spain. It had an old and important community which maintained relations with the Babylonian geonim. Letters from the community have been found in the Cairo *Genizah. As early as the beginning of the 11th century, the community enjoyed a fuero ("municipal charter"), which later served as a model for similar grants of privileges to other localities. The blood price for a Jew as specified in the charter was equal to that paid for killing a knight or a member of the clergy. The charter was ratified in 1136 by Alfonso VII, and in the 13th century was included in the fuero of Castile. The Jewish quarter of Nájera was located near the city wall and the marketplace in the southern part of the city, and remains of the synagogue have been discovered there. The Jews of Nájera owned land and vineyards in the vicinity of the city. The importance of the community toward the end of the 13th century is shown by the tax levied upon it, which amounted in 1290 to 30,318 (according to another source 24,106) maravedis. In 1360, during the civil war between Peter the Cruel and Henry of Trastamara, Henry's supporters attacked the Jews in Nájera and many were killed. The community suffered once more at the time of Peter's victory over Henry in 1367 near Nájera. During the 15th century the position of the community in Nájera, as well as of the others in the kingdom, deteriorated, although at the beginning of the century some Jews still owned land and real estate in the old city. During the war against Granada a special levy of 18½ gold castellanos was imposed on the Jews of Nájera, San Millán de la Cogolla, and Cañas. No details are known about the fate of the community at the time of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
Baer, Spain, 1 (1961), 43, 53, 366; Baer, Urkunden, index; F. Cantera, Sinagogas españolas (1955), 252–3; idem, in: Sefarad, 2 (1942), 326; 22 (1962), 89; L. Serrano, Cartulario de San Millán de Cogolla (1930), 219; J. González, El Reino de Castilla en la época de Alfonso VIII (1960), 132; F. Cantera Orive, Un cartulario de Santa María la Real de Nájera del año 1209 (1960); Suárez Fernández, Documentos, 69, 76, 101; Ashtor, Korot, 2 (1966), 20; Ashtor, in: Sefarad, 24 (1964), 44ff.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.