LISBON

LISBON
LISBON, capital of portugal . -The Middle Ages Jews were apparently settled in Lisbon in the 12th century, at the time of the conquest of the territory from the Moors and the establishment of the kingdom of Portugal by Affonso I (1139–85). For a period of two centuries they appear to have lived in tranquility, sharing the lot of their coreligionists in the rest of the country. Many Jews were prominent in court circles as tax farmers, physicians, or astronomers; the almoxarife Dom Joseph ibn Yaḥya, descendant of a family founded by a Jew who accompanied the first king on his conquest of the country, constructed a magnificent synagogue at his own expense in 1260. The great esnoga of Lisbon was built by the Arraby Mór Dom Judah son of Guedalya in 1306–7, according to the foundation stone that was discovered after the earthquake of 1755. This was the synagogue where Isaac Abrabanel and his family prayed. The synagogue was situated in Vila Nova, which was previously known as Judaria Grande. When the religious and political organization of the communities of Portugal was revised by Affonso III (1248–79), Lisbon became the official seat of the arraby mór , or chief rabbi. The most important incumbent of this office was Dom Moses Navarro, physician to Pedro I (1357–67), who, with his wife, acquired a large landed property near Lisbon. This initial period of prosperity came to an end in the reign of Ferdinand I (1367–83). When Lisbon was captured by the Castilian troops in 1373, the Jewish quarter was sacked and many Jews killed. After the king's death, the Jews were considered by the populace to be at the root of the rapacious policies of the queen dowager Leonora – notwithstanding the fact that she had deposed the Jewish collector of taxes at Lisbon, as well as Dom Judah, the former royal treasurer. A popular revolt led to the accession to the throne of the master of Aviz, the first of a new dynasty. The feeling in Lisbon against the Jews became extreme, and the people wished to take violent steps to discover the treasures left by the late instrument of royal greed. An anti-Jewish reaction followed in the political sphere. Nevertheless, the new king (known as John I) did his best to protect the Jews against actual violence, though they were henceforth excluded from the positions of trust they had formerly occupied and were forced to make disproportionate contributions to the gift exacted by the city for presentation to the new king. Toward the close of his life, the latter became a little more tolerant. There was a reaction, however, under his   son, Duarte (1433–38), who attempted to enforce the complete separation of Jews and Christians. This led to a protest by the community of Lisbon, and as a consequence the severity of the recent decree was mitigated (1436). -Persecution and Expulsion Popular feeling, nevertheless, continued to be antagonistic. In 1455, the Côrtes of Lisbon demanded restrictions against the Jews. The Portuguese sovereigns had not permitted the wave of rioting which swept through the Iberian Peninsula in 1391 to penetrate into their dominions. Nevertheless, as a result of some disorder in the fish market, there was a serious anti-Jewish outbreak in Lisbon toward the close of 1449 which led to many deaths, and another (in the course of which isaac abrabanel 's library was destroyed) in 1482. Owing to the tolerant if grasping policy of John II, a number of the exiles from Spain were allowed to enter Lisbon after the expulsion of 1492. Their crowded living conditions led to an outbreak of the plague and the city council had them driven beyond the walls. Royal influence, however, secured the exemption from this decree of Samuel Nayas, the procurator of the Castilian Jews, and Samuel Judah, a prominent physician. When in 1496/97 the Jews were to be expelled from Portugal, Lisbon alone was assigned to them as a port of embarkation. Assembling there from every part of the country, they were herded in turn into a palace known as Os Estãos, generally used for the reception of foreign ambassadors; here the atrocities of forced conversion were perpetrated. Some were killed, including well-known rabbis, such as Rabbi Shimon Maimi, originally from Segovia, who was killed in 1497. Thus, the community of Lisbon, with all the others of Portugal, was driven to embrace a titular Christianity. In the period immediately before and after the general expulsion, however, some individuals managed to escape. They probably contributed a majority of the members to the "Portuguese" synagogues in various places in the Turkish Empire, such as Smyrna (izmir ), while at salonika and elsewhere they established separate congregations which long remained known by the name of "the kahal of Lisbon" or "kahal Portugal." Lisbon was the seat of the most tragic events in converso history during the course of the subsequent period. On Whitsunday, 1503, a quarrel in the Rua Nova (the former Jewish quarter) between some new christians and a riotous band of youths led to a popular uprising, which was suppressed only with difficulty. In 1506, on the night of April 7, a number of New Christians were surprised celebrating the Passover together. They were arrested, but released after only two days' imprisonment. On April 19 trouble began again, owing to the conduct of a Converso who scoffed at a miracle which was reported to have taken place in the Church of Santo Domingo. He was dragged out of the church and butchered, and a terrible massacre began – subsequently known as A Matança dos Christãos Novos ("The slaying of the New Christians"). The number of victims was reckoned at between two and four thousand, one of the most illustrious being João Rodriguez Mascarenhas, a wealthy tax farmer and reputedly the most hated man in Lisbon. Sailors from the Dutch, French, and German ships lying in the harbor landed to assist in the bloody work. The king, Manoel, sharply punished this outbreak, temporarily depriving Lisbon of its erstwhile title "Noble and Always Loyal," fining the town heavily, and executing a number of the ringleaders. -The Inquisition The visit of david reuveni (c. 1525), and the open conversion to Judaism of Diogo Pires (subsequently known as solomon molcho ), created a great stir amongst the Lisbon Conversos. They were foremost in attempting to combat the introduction of the Inquisition into Portugal, but their efforts were in vain. Lisbon itself became the seat of a tribunal of the Holy Office and on Sept. 20, 1540, the initial Portuguese auto-da-f é took place in the capital – the first of a long series which continued over more than two centuries. Throughout this period, the Lisbon tribunal was the most active in the whole country. Inquisitional martyrs who perished there included luis dias , "the Messiah of Setúbal," together with his adherents, the pseudo-prophet Master Gabriel, and the mystical poet Gonçalo Eannes Bandarra, an "Old Christian" (1542 etc.); Frei Diogo da Assumpçao (Aug. 3, 1603); António Homem , the "Praeceptor Infelix," and others of his circle (May 5, 1624); manuel fernandes villareal , the statesman and poet (Dec. 1, 1652); isaac de castro tartas , with other Conversos captured in Brazil (Dec. 15, 1647); António Cabicho, with his clerk Manoel de Sandoval (Dec. 26, 1684); Miguel (Isaac) Henriques da Fonseca, with António de Aguiar (alias Aaron Cohen Faya), and Gaspar (Abraham) Lopez Pereira, all of whom were mourned by Amsterdam poets and preachers as martyrs (May 10, 1681). At times during the Inquisition period, the New Christians as such suffered. Thus, for example, when in 1630 a theft occurred at the Church of Santa Engrácia at Lisbon, suspicion automatically fell on the New Christians. A youth named Simão Pires Solis was cruelly put to death; the streets of the capital were placarded with inflammatory notices; the preachers inveighed from the pulpits against the "Jews"; and 2,000 persons are said to have fled from Lisbon alone. Similarly, in 1671, when a common thief stole a consecrated pyx from the Church of Orivellas at Lisbon, suspicion again fell on the Conversos and an edict was actually issued banishing them from the country (but not put into effect). From the accession of the House of Bragança in 1640 the power of the Portuguese Inquisition had been restrained in some measure, and its suspension by Pope Clement X in 1674 gave the New Christians some respite, but it proved little less terrible than before on its resumption in 1681. After the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), there seems to have been a recrudescence of inquisitional power, and, in the subsequent period, it became customary to send to Lisbon for punishment all those persons found guilty by the other tribunals of the realm. An auto-da-fé held at Lisbon in 1705 was the occasion   of the famous and savage sermon of the archbishop of Cranganur, which in turn provoked david nieto 's scathing rejoinder. At the Lisbon auto-da-fé of Sept. 24, 1752, 30 men and 27 women were summoned – all but 12 for Judaizing. In addition to these, three persons were burned in effigy. The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 allowed many Conversos, together with those incarcerated in the dungeons of the Inquisition, to escape, and prompted others to make their way to open communities overseas. After this, no further Judaizers suffered in the capital; the last victim of the Lisbon tribunal was Father Gabriel Malagrida – a Jesuit. The reforms of the Marquês de Pombal put an end to all juridical differences between Old Christians and New (1773), and the Conversos of Lisbon disappeared as a separate class, although there were many families who continued to preserve distinct traces of their Jewish origin. -The Renewed Community The close association of Portugal with England, and the position of Lisbon as an intermediate port between Gibraltar and England, made it inevitable that a Jewish settlement would be established in the city as soon as Jews could land with safety. By the middle of the 18th century, some individuals had found their way there and began to practice Jewish rites privately, under the security of British protection. Most of them originated from Gibraltar, though there were some from North Africa and one or two families direct from England. In 1801, a small piece of ground was leased for use as a cemetery. The services rendered to the city by certain Jewish firms at the time of the famine of 1810 improved their status, and in 1813, under the auspices of a certain R. Abraham Dabella, a congregation was formally founded. The condition of the Jews in Lisbon at this period is unsympathetically portrayed by George Borrow, in his classical The Bible in Spain (1843); while Israel Solomon, an early inhabitant, gives an intimate glimpse in his memoirs (F.I. Schechter in AJHSP, 25 (1917), 72–73). A little later in the century, two other synagogues (one of which is still in existence) were founded. In 1868, the community received official recognition for the first time. It was, however, recognized as a Jewish "colony," not "community," and the new synagogue (Shaare Tikvah) constructed in 1902 was not allowed to bear any external signs of being a place of worship. Complete equality was attained only with the revolution of 1910. Until the outbreak of World War I, the vast majority of the community was Sephardim, mostly from Gibraltar and North Africa, and many of them still retained their British citizenship. Subsequently, however, there was a very large Ashkenazi influx from Eastern Europe. During World War II, about 45,000 refugees from Nazi persecution arrived in Portugal, and passed mainly through Lisbon, on their way to the free world. In Lisbon they were assisted by a relief committee headed by M. Bensabat Amzalak and A.D. Esagny. The Jews of Lisbon numbered 400 in 1947, and 600 in 2005. In addition to the two synagogues, there was a cultural center and a home for the aged. -Scholars In the Middle Ages, Lisbon did not play a very important part in Jewish scholarship. The most illustrious scholars associated with it are the ibn yahya family. It was also the birthplace of Isaac Abrabanel, who did much of his literary work there, while joseph vecinho , abraham zacuto , and other notable scholars are associated with the city in the period after the expulsion from Spain. Levi b. Ḥabib also passed his early years in Lisbon. Many of the most illustrious Conversos who attained distinction in the communities of Amsterdam or elsewhere were also natives of Lisbon – men like Moses Gideon Abudiente, zacutus lusitanus (Abraham Zacuto), Paul de Pina (reuel jesurun ), Abraham Farrar, Duarte Nunes da Costa, Duarte da Silva, and perhaps manasseh ben israel . The outstanding figure in the modern community of Lisbon was Moses Bensabat Amzalak, who was important in public, economic, and intellectual life, as well as being a prolific writer on Jewish subjects. -Hebrew Printing A Hebrew printing press was active in Lisbon from 1489 to at least 1492 (see incunabula ) and was closely connected with that of Híjar , Spain, from which it took over the excellent type, decorated borders, and initials. After 1491 a new type was used. The founder of the Lisbon press was the learned and wealthy Eliezer b. Jacob Toledano (in whose house it operated), assisted by his son Zacheo, Judah Leon Gedaliah, Joseph Khalfon, and Meir and David ibn Yaḥya . Their first production was Naḥmanides' Pentateuch commentary (1489); in the same year Eleazar Altansi brought out David Abudraham's prayer book. Other works printed in Lisbon are Joshua b. Joseph of Tlemcen's Halikhot Olam (1490); the Pentateuch with Onkelos and Rashi in 1491 (text with the vowel and cantillation signs); Isaiah and Jeremiah with David Kimḥi's commentary (1492); Proverbs with David ibn Yaḥya's commentary Kav ve-Naki (1492); Tur Oraḥ Ḥayyim (also 1492?), and Maimonides' Hilkhot Sheḥitah. No other productions have been preserved apart from a fragment from a Day of Atonement mahzor, which may have come from this press. On the expulsion from Portugal in 1497, the printers – taking their type, tools, and expertise with them – found refuge in constantinople , salonika , and fez where they continued to produce beautiful books. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Roth, Marranos, index; J. Mendes dos Remédios, Os judeus em Portugal, 2 vols. (1895–1928), index; S. Schwarz, Inscripções hebraicas em Portugal (1923); M.B. Amzalak, Tipographia hebraica em Portugal no século XV (1922); M. Kayserling, Geschichte der Juden in Portugal (1867); J.L. d'Azevedo, Históa dos Christãos Novos Portuguêses (1921), index; King Manuel (of Portugal), Early Portuguese Books: 14891600 (1929), 1, 23–43; J. Bloch, Early Printing in Spain and Portugal (1938), 32–35; B. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Italyah (19562), 102–4. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Schwarz, A sinagoga de Alfama (1953); H.B. Moreno, "O assalto à judiaria grande de Lisboa em dezembro de 1449," in: Revista de ciências do honem, 3 (1970), 207–53 (=reprinted in: idem, TensoLISBONes sociais em Portugal na idade media (1977), and in: idem, Marginalidade e conflitos   sociais em Portugal nos séculos XIV e XV (1985), 89–132); Y.H. Yerushalmi, The Lisbon Massacre of 1506 and the Royal Image in the "Shebet Yehudah" (1976); T. Metzger, Les manuscrits hébreux copiés et décorés à Lisbonne dan les dernières décennies du XVe siècle (1977); A. de Vasconcelos Simão, in: Armas e troféus, 3, sér., 6 (1977), 216–35; A.M. Salgado, in: Cultura, história e filosofia, 5 (1986), 653–69; R. Faingold, in: Zion, 54 (1989), 118–24; E. Lipiner, Two Portuguese Exiles in Castile (1997), 148–58.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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