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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Madrid

Muslim stronghold - Christian law - restrictions of 1385 - expulsion in 1391 and impoverishment - Conversos and show trials - reestablishment since 1869 - Jews from Europe, NS territories, and Africa - cultural life and institutions

Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Madrid, vol. 11,
                col. 682, Street of the Faith (calle de la Fé), formerly
                the Jewish street of Madrid. Photo: M. Ninio, Jerusalem
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Madrid, vol. 11, col. 682, Street of the Faith (calle de la Fé), formerly
the Jewish street of Madrid. Photo: M. Ninio, Jerusalem

from: Madrid; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 11

presented by Michael Palomino (2010)

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<MADRID (Magerit), capital of Spain.

[Muslim stronghold - Christian occupation in 1083]

Mentioned as a Moorish stronghold, it was a tiny town in the Middle Ages. A small Jewish community existed there in the 11th century. Most of the Jews there were apparently merchants during the Muslim period. Nearby was located the small town of Alluden, whose name is derived from the Arabic al Yahudyin (al-Yahūdyīn) ("the Jews"). Madrid was captured from the Muslims by Alfonso VI in 1083.

The Community's Status.

The community began to flourish during the 13th century, the Jewish quarter being located on the present Calle de la Fé ("Street of the Faith").

The synagogue, which was destroyed during the persecutions of 1391 (see below), was situated next to the church of San Lorenzo. In 1293 a copy of the resolutions passed by the Cortes in Valladolid was sent to Madrid, in which Sancho IV ratified a series of restrictions concerning the Jews. They  were barred from holding official positions, the rate of usury they were permitted to charge was defined, and they were prohibited from acquiring real estate from Christians or from selling them properties already acquired, among other limitations.

In 1307, when Ferdinand VI confirmed these prohibitions at the Cortes in Valladolid, a copy of them was passed to Madrid. They were endorsed by Alfonso XI in 1329. A directive from the time of *Asher b. Jehiel (early 14th century) permitting action to be taken against an *informer who had harmed the community is extant (Asher b. Jehiel, Responsa, Constantinople (1517), ch. 17, no. 6).

The Jews of Madrid owned goods and real estate in the town and its environs. In 1385 John I acceded to the request of the Cortes and delivered a copy of its resolutions to Madrid. He then imposed a series of restrictions concerning the relations between Jews and Christians, prohibiting Jews from holding official positions, canceling debts owed them by Christians for 15 months, and abrogating the right to acquire stolen goods, among other regulations.

Persecutions and Expulsion. [massacres and conversions in 1391 - impoverished new community]

The persecutions of 1391 were disastrous for the Madrid community. Most of its (col. 682)

members were massacred, some adopted Christianity, and community life came to an end. The municipal authorities, in a report sent to the Crown, complained of the pueblo menudo ("little people") who continued the rioting and pillaging for a whole year. Several of the rioters were arrested and tried, but many escaped justice. Apparently the community was later reestablished, although it was greatly impoverished.

[Confirmed compulsive badge - job restrictions]

During the early 1460s, *Alfonso de Espina preached in Madrid against the *Conversos. It was there that he turned to *Alfonso de Oropesa, the head of the Order of St. Jerome, to enlist his support in eradicating judaizing tendencies among them. In 1478 the municipal council complained that the Jews and the Moors there were not wearing a distinctive sign (*badge). The Crown answered the complaint on November 12 and ordered that the offenders should be punished in the prescribed manner. On February 2, Ferdinand and Isabella renewed the restriction issued by John II in 1447 which prohibited the Jews of Madrid from trading in foodstuffs and medicaments and from practicing as surgeons.

[Expulsion of Spain in March 1492]

No details are known as to how the community fared after the decree of expulsion of the Jews from Spain was issued in March 1492. However, on Oct. 7, 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella ordered an investigation into reports of attacks on local Jews by various persons who had promised to assist them in reaching the frontiers in order to go to the kingdoms of Fez and Tlemcen. On Nov. 8, Fernando Nuńez Coronel (Abraham *Senior) and Luis de Alcalá were authorized to collect the debts still owing to Jews.

The Conversos. [show trials in Madrid (autos-da-fé)]

Several Conversos of Madrid were tried by the Inquisition. They were at first tried in Toledo; however, in 1561 when Madrid became the capital of the kingdom during the reign of Philip II, the supreme tribunal of the kingdom was established there and subsequently numerous *autos-da-fé were held in the city. During the 17th century, many Portuguese Conversos were tried there and one of the large autos-da-fé in this period has been painted by Rizzi de Guevara. During the 1630s, Jacob *Cansino negotiated with the Conde-Duque de Olivares concerning the possible return of the Jews to Madrid, after the example of the Jewish community in Rome. However, the talks had no results because of opposition from the Inquisition.

Throughout this period, Madrid was the principal center of the activities of the Portuguese Conversos, several of whom were connected with the court, while others developed diversified business enterprises and maintained relations with the Converso centers outside the Iberian Peninsula. (col. 683)

The Reestablished Community. [constitution of 1869 - Jews from North Africa - Jews from Europe - community since 1920 - refugees of WWI - refugees from NS territories].

Jewish settlement in Madrid was gradually renewed from 1869, with the conferment of the constitution and the arrival of Jews from North Africa, who were joined by Jewish immigrants from Europe. However, it was only during the 1920s that a community was organized. During World War I, Madrid gave asylum to a number of refugees, and Max *Nordau and A.S. *Yahuda, who lectured there in Semitic philology, lived there during this period.

Among the first Jews to settle in Madrid was the Bauer family, whose members played an important part in the organization and development of the community. The law of 1924 which granted citizenship to individuals of Spanish descent encouraged the further development of the community, and in the early 1930s there was an addition of refugees from Nazi Germany.  During the Spanish Civil War, the community underwent much suffering and most of its members dispersed.

[Cultural life and institutions in Madrid]

In 1941, the Arias Montano Institute for Jewish Studies was founded and a department of Jewish studies headed by Professor Francisco Cantera-Burgos was organized within the University of Madrid. It was later headed by Professor F. Perez Castro. Madrid also gave asylum to war refugees, who were supported by the *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. After the war, the community began reorganization. A synagogue was founded in Calle del Cardinal Cisneros. In 1958, a Jewish center with a synagogue was opened. In 1959, while the representative of the World Sephardi Federation, Yair Behar Passy, was visiting Madrid, an exhibition of Jewish culture in Spain was held at the National Library of Madrid.

An Institute for Jewish, Sephardi, and Near Eastern Studies was founded jointly by the Higher Council for Scientific Research and the World Sephardi Federation in 1961. (In 1968 the institute amalgamated with the Arias Montano Institute). Within the framework of the institute, the first symposium on Spanish Jewry was held in Madrid in 1964. Leaders of the Madrid community in the late 1960s included A. Bauer, H. Cohen, L. Blitz, and M. Mazin (the president of the community).

In that year [[1964]] the community numbered over 3,000. It served as a center for Jewish students from abroad coming to study in Madrid. Some Jewish immigrants from North Africa have been integrated within the Madrid community. In 1968 the community inaugurated its new communal center and synagogue.

Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in
                  Madrid, vol. 11, col. 683, synagogue inaugurated in
                  1968: One of the two synagogues of the Madrid
                  community center, opened in 1968. The center also
                  comprises a kindergarten, school, kosher restaurant, a
                  club, and community offices. Photo: M. Ninio,
                  Jerusalem.
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Madrid, vol. 11, col. 683, synagogue inaugurated in 1968: One of the two synagogues of the
Madrid community center, opened in 1968. The center also comprises a kindergarten, school, kosher restaurant,
a club, and community offices. Photo: M. Ninio, Jerusalem.


Dr. B. Garzon was appointed first rabbi of the community, which had a recognized school and a Jewish scout movement.

See also *Spain.

[H.B.]

Bibliography
-- Baer: Spain, 2 (1966), index
-- Baer: Documents (orig. German: "Urkunden"), 2 (1929), index
-- Fita; in: Bulletin of History Academy of Madrid (orig. Spanish: "Boletín de la Academia de la Historia"), Madrid, 8 (1885), 439-66
-- F. Cantera: Spanish synagogues (orig. Spanisch: "Sinagogas espańolas") (1955), 241-2
-- R.T. Davies: Spain in Decline (1957), 76-77
-- AJYB [American Jewish Year Book], 63 (1962), 318-22
-- J. Gomez Iglesias (ed.): Law in Madrid (orig. Spanisch: "El Fuero de Madrid") (1963)
-- Suárez Fernández: Documents (Span.: Documentos), index
-- Ashtor: Korot, 2 (1966), 145
-- H. Beinart: Ha-Yishuv ha-Yehudi he-Ḥadash bi-Sefarad (1969).> (col. 684)

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Sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in
                              Madrid, vol. 11, col. 682
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Madrid, vol. 11, col. 682
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in
                              Madrid, vol. 11, col. 683-684
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Madrid, vol. 11, col. 683-684





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