OCAÑA, town in central *Spain, in New Castile. Its community maintained close relations with the city of *Toledo. The Fuero Juzgo laws on the settlement of debts owed by Christians to Jews did not apply to Ocaña, and King Ferdinand IV prohibited their enforcement in the town (1296). In 1313 King Alfonso XI granted the income from the taxes of the Jews of Ocaña to the commander of the Order of Santiago for life; previously they had paid their taxes together with the community of Toledo. A similar income, amounting to 4,000 maravedis benefiting this order, was ratified in 1386 by King John I. The community of Ocaña suffered during the riots of 1391, but it recovered soon after. Subsequently, there was also a group of Conversos which maintained close links with the local Jews. Some of the Jews who were expelled from Andalusia in 1483 found refuge in Ocaña. Among the refugees was Judah ibn Verga, one of the last Jewish tax-farmers, who lived in Ocaña from 1488 to 1491. He may have been identical with the Rabbi Judah ibn Verga portrayed by Solomon *Ibn Verga in his Shevet Yehudah. The rabbi of Ocaña at that time was Isaac de *Leon, one of the last distinguished Spanish rabbis. It was he who maintained relations with Don Alfonso de la Cavallería, when the latter stayed in the town from 1488 to 1489 along with the king's retinue. Information is available on ten Inquisition trials held in Ocaña at the close of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th; from this, close contact between the Jews of the town and the Conversos from the pre-Expulsion period can be inferred. Ocaña also attracted Conversos during the 16th and 17th centuries.
A. Jellinek, Philosophie und Kabbala (1854), 15; Baer, Urkunden, index; Baer, Spain, index; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.