The Jewish Story of Pisa, Italy

Although according to historical sources, Pisa is a city of very ancient origins, the great expansion of the mediaeval city seems to have erased most evidence of Etruscan or Roman settlements. When it became a free commune in the 11th century, Pisa was already a maritime power engaged in the struggle against the Saracens and Arab expansion. The Maritime Republic flourished in the following century. Now, the city’s most famous landmark is the cylindrical Tower built from 1173 to the end of the 14th century which, because of subsidence, now ‘leans’. The base is decorated with blind arcades surmounted by six rings of arcades galleries enclosing a staircase of 294 steps leading to the very top of the tower, where Galileo performed his famous experiments on gravity.

Benjamin of Tudela, during his voyage from Spain to Jerusalem, also traveled through Pisa in 1160 and noted in his dairy that he had found around twenty Jews living there. Pisa’s Jewish community is thought to be the oldest in the whole of Tuscany: the first evidence of a mention in a deed dates back to the year 850 CE. The first group settled and increased in numbers over the centuries that followed with several migratory waves. Unlike Florence and Siena where the Medici introduced a ghetto, in the late sixteenth century Livorno and Pisa expressly invited Jews expelled from the Iberian peninsula, offering them freedom and protection so as to boost trade in their maritime territories. Levantine Jews specialized in commerce and manufacturing, and they were soon to become the majority. However, in the same period, money lending was outlawed after centuries of activity, and due to the city’s economic problems the community moved, mainly in Livorno.

Image credit: www.visitJewishItaly.it

During the seventeenth century Pisa’s community dwindled to less than three hundred people, a trend reversed only in the early nineteenth century, when it totaled six hundred people. Over the centuries, the Jewish Community has always actively participated in a range of the city’s activities.

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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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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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