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Santa Coloma de Queralt

SANTA COLOMA DE QUERALT, town in Tarragona province, N.E. Spain. Santa Coloma de Queralt's Jewish community was a typical small community in Catalonia. There were many such small communities which were hardly mentioned in the central archive of the Kingdom of Aragon, the Arxiu de la Corona d'Aragó. The information we have on the Jews of Santa Coloma comes from the most extensive notarial protocols kept today in the Archivi Histórico Provincial de Tarragona. In the 13th century 30 Jewish families were allowed to dwell in Santa Coloma, which was under the jurisdiction of the House of Queralt. Santa Coloma de Queralt was a village of 150 houses in the 14th century. The Jews engaged in agriculture, commerce, and crafts, and at the beginning of their settlement they already owned slaves. The richest Jews, constituting less than 10% of the local Jews, were moneylenders whose activities and transactions are fully recorded. The sources offer interesting details about Jewish life and important information about some of the leading members of the community. The notarial acts contain valuable information on the internal life of the Jews, on marriage contracts, education, social welfare, and communal organization. There were two synagogues, one in Carrer Major, called Scola de Judeus, and the other was the Beth Midrash in Carrer dels Jueus. The Jewish quarter was situated in the area today known as Carrer de los Quarteres. In the Baixada de la Presó, the Jews had their espital, which served visitors and poor Jews. In 1328 the Jewish population numbered seven families, while by 1347 there were already 30 Jewish families. At some point in the 14th century the Jewish population reached a maximum of 100 families.

In the 1370s and 1380s a Jewish female physician, *Floreta Ca Noga, was known among the inhabitants of the town. She treated the queen in 1381 and was greatly esteemed by the royal court. In Santa Coloma lived the Jewish poet Astruc Bonafeu. Culturally, the community must have been quite developed. Contracts with private teachers and the impressive library of Solomon Samuel Azcarell are good illustrations. The persecutions of 1391 affected the town, and there were subsequent problems connected with conversions, such as the case of an apostate who appeared before a government official in 1391 and accused his wife of refusing to convert and live with him as a Christian. In the records of the local notary additional cases are noted where Jewish women demanded conversion while the husbands remained faithful to Judaism. According to the records of the notary, the couples were separated by agreement. In spite of all this, the community continued to exist until after the *Tortosa Disputation, and it may have continued until the days of the expulsion.


J. Segura y Valls, Historia de la villa de Santa Coloma de Queralt (1879), 59ff., 82f.; Baer, Urkunden, 1 (1929), index; A. Cardoner Planas, in: Sefarad, 9 (1949), 443; F. Cantera, Sinagogas españolas (1955), 282ff.; A.J. Soberanas i Lleó, in: Boletín Arqueológico de Tarragona, 67–68 (1967–68), 191–204. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Y. Assis, in: Proceedings of the 8th World Congress of Jewish Studies (1982), 2:33–38 (Hebrew section); idem, in: Y. Kaplan (ed.), Jews and Conversos; Studies in Society and the Inquisitiion, (1985), 21–38; idem, The Jews of Santa Coloma de Queralt: An Economic and Demographic Study of a community at the End of the Thirteenth Century, (1988); G. Secall i Güell, La comunitat hebrea de Santa Coloma de Queralt (1986).

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