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JEWISH Toledo

Jewish city story of Toledo

Toledo, close to Madrid, is famous for its walls and its historical success in silk and sword production. It was one of the most important Jewish cities of medieval Europe, and was even Spain's capital, before this was transferred to Madrid in 1561. Toledo is home to some of the largest Jewish archives in Europe. The ancient Jewish quarter of Toledo housed the famous Escuela de Traductores (School of Translators), allowing the local population to capitalize on the Jews' knowledge of Arabic and Hebrew and translate important works into Latin and Spanish.

Famous personalities:

Samuel Halevi (1320-1361)

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Jewish Quarter

The “Sephardic Jerusalem” is known around the world for the beauty of its synagogues and its Jewish quarter. The memory of the community has remained vivid in Toledo; historians have from the thirteenth and fourteenth century onward been able to supply fairly precise information about the location and history of the city’s Jewish community. Toledo is a city of great historical and artistic importance and is listed here as a World Heritage Site. At the time of its greatest splendor, just before 1391, Toledo had ten synagogues and five to seven yeshivot. In 1492 there were five grand synagogues, two of which survive: the Tránsito, now the Sephardic Museum, and Santa María la Blanca. The quarter can be reached through a gate. One of the many entrances is the gate Puerta de Assulca, which has in its vicinity in flea market where oil, butter, chickpeas, lentils and everything necessary for daily life are sold. Then it enters the streets, adarves (dead-end streets) and squares of the quarter. The main street is called Calle del Mármol and connects the Jewish quarter with the rest of the city. There is a market, places to pray, public baths, bread ovens, palaces and a wall. Near the Tagus river is the neighborhood Barrio del Degolladero, so named because here was the designated place for the ritual slaughter (shechitah) of beef-cattle. In the neighborhood Barrio de Hamazelt the richest Jewish families lived and in the street known today as San Juan de Dios, lived the best known Jew of Toledo: Samuel ha-Levi. He was the treasurer of the king Peter of Castile and ordered the building of a big synagogue, that later was known as the "Synagogue of el Tránsito". And as in all the Jewish houses, features a mezuzah containing passages from Deuteronomy affixed to its door-post. Two Jewish places of worship are preserved today (both as museums), Santa María la Blanca (formerly the Synagogue of Ibn Shushan) and El Tránsito. In a bygone age, every Friday before sunset, a rabbi sounded the shofar (a goat's horn) three times announcing the arrival of the Sabbath.  

Sites

Samuel ha-Levi Statue

Samuel ben Meir Ha-Levi Abulafia was a public figure, the treasurer of king Pedro I "the Cruel" of Castile and founder of the Synagogue of El Transito in Toledo, Spain. He was a member of the powerful Abulafia family, who provided leadership to the Jewish community of Toledo and Castile more generally since around 1200. Samuel's parents died of plague shortly after arriving in Toledo. Subsequently, he worked as an administrator to the Portuguese knight Juan Alfonso de Alburquerque, but soon became recognized enough to achieve employment at the court of Pedro I of Castile, first as camarero mayor (chamberlain), later as almojarife (treasurer), and as oídor (judge). His employment came to an end when the enemies of Pedro I, led by Henry of Trastámara, organized a pogrom against the Toledan Jewry, enabling them to assume possession of the royal treasures. The king, accompanied by Samuel Ha-Levi, marched to Toro to demand the return of his belongings. Following this, Samuel Ha-Levi supported the King in reclaiming Toledo for the crown, and in the establishment of a peace treaty with the Portuguese at Évora in 1358. In Toledo, he lived in the palace that is today the Museo de El Greco, and with the considerable riches bestowed upon him by his employer he founded the Synagogue of El Transito between 1355 and 1357. The building, still around today, was one of ten synagogues serving Toledo's large Jewish population. The building is architecturally exquisite and has features in common with the Muslim architecture of King Pedro's palace in Seville and the Alhambra palaces in Granada, even including inscriptions in Arabic as well as Hebrew. Its construction was opposed by the Catholic church, but King Pedro permitted it. The King was constantly criticized by his rivals for his permissive stance towards Jews, compelling him to turn against Samuel, having him incarcerated and tortured on suspicion of embezzlement in 1360. He died under duress of torture. The prominence of Samuel Ha-Levi Abulafia at Pedro's court is cited as evidence of his supposed pro-Jewish sentiment, but Don Samuel's success did not necessarily reflect the general experience of the Spanish Jewry in this period which was often marked by discrimination and pogroms. Even Samuel's career showed that the opportunities for Jews were restricted to certain offices and positions whereas other forms of advancement were denied to them.

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Summary
Toledo - Early in the morning, I cross the roundabout that separates me from the Bisagra Gate, focusing on its Triumphal Arch, designed by Covarrubias to glorify Charles V and Philip II. Yet, my attention is drawn mainly to the traffic, which, on this hot August morning in the plateau city of Toledo, is as intense as ever. I pass through the Gate of the Sun and walk along the edge of the Toledo Jewish Quarter, entering through the Corral de la Campana to wander the streets until I reach Zocodover Square
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The Jewish community in Spain has a long and rich history that stretches back some 2,000 years to Roman times when Jews left Jerusalem and dispersed throughout the world. One of the largest contingents of Jews settled in the land of Sepharad (or Sefarad) as Spain was called in Hebrew language.
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Despite global challenges, travel and Jewish education continue to adapt and thrive, navigating through travel advisories. WJT provides a secure and informative alternative to physical travel via our Education and Scholars page. So, get ready to level up your educational game and discover a world of knowledge and opportunities from home ✈️📚 We've got it all covered! What are you waiting for? Grab your digital passport and join us on this exciting journey towards knowledge and success!
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Despite global challenges, travel and Jewish education continue to adapt and thrive, navigating through travel advisories. WJT provides a secure and informative alternative to physical travel via our Education and Scholars page. So, get ready to level up your educational game and discover a world of knowledge and opportunities from home ✈️📚 We`ve got it all covered! What are you waiting for? Grab your digital passport and join us on this exciting journey towards knowledge and success!
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To learn more and to stay updated on what's happening in Israel click the link in our bio!

#AskHerzl #EducatingTheWorld #worldjewishtravel #JewishVirtualEducation

As a result of the current travel risks, now more than ever, it`s important to educate ourselves, advocate, and stand with Israel. Ask Herzl is the perfect place to take your knowledge and understanding to new heights as you embark on a fun and interactive learning journey. Whether you`re a student hungry for knowledge, a teacher looking to inspire, or simply a curious soul eager to explore, Ask Herzl has got you covered! 🙌🌟 From engaging events to downloadable resources, they`ve cracked the code for educational excellence. 📝 So why wait? Join the tribe of Israel enthusiasts and let your passion for education pave the way towards advocacy for Israel! 🇮🇱💪
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Click the link in our bio to learn more about Qesher and stay updated on what's happening in Israel

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In light of the travel warnings, travel has come to a halt. This is where the beauty of virtual learning becomes invaluable, and Qesher is the perfect platform to unleash your potential on your own terms! 🌟 With Qesher`s self-paced online courses, tailoring your learning journey has never been easier. But Qesher offers more than just courses... it`s a community! 🤝💫 Engage in lively discussions in the Discussion Forums, connect with like-minded peers during Networking Sessions, and supercharge your growth with the incredible Mentorship Program 🤝. No matter where you are in your educational journey, Qesher is here to empower you every step of the way. 💪 Embrace the power of connections, amplify your knowledge, and unlock new horizons today!
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