Jerez de la Frontera

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JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA , city in Andalusia, southwest Spain. No information is available on Jews under Muslim rule. Under Christian domination, it had an important Jewish community. Jerez was captured from the Muslims by Alphonso x of Castile in 1255. His register of the apportionment of property (repartimiento) there shows that in 1266 Jews owned 90 buildings given to them by the king. Among those who received properties, there were Jewish inhabitants of Toledo and other towns in northern Castile who had already received similar grants in *Seville. They included Todros *Abulafia, his son Joseph, and Judah b. Moses ha-Kohen. Several of the beneficiaries are described as ballestero ("archer," "guard," "constable"). The Jewish quarter was situated near the Calle de San Cristóbal and ran parallel to the city wall. There were two synagogues, almshouses, and a house for the rabbi. The principal occupations of the Jews were commerce and viticulture, as well as the crafts customarily pursued by Jews. In 1290, the community paid an annual tax of 5,000 gold coins, a small sum in proportion to its means. The Jews of Jerez were exempted from various customs duties and enjoyed additional privileges, which were confirmed by Ferdinand iv and Alfonso xi (1332).

The community of Jerez, which then numbered 90 families, was attacked during the persecutions of 1391. Those who survived as Jews sold part of their cemetery to the Dominican monastery. The names of 49 Jews who abandoned Judaism (see *Conversos) during that period are known. The community was, however, to regain its strength. In 1438 it paid an annual tax of 10,700 maravedis in old coin. About 1460, an accusation was brought against the Jews by the monks that they had interred a Converso within the cemetery precincts. Solomon *Ibn Verga gives a description of his relative Judah ibn *Verga, one of the last Jewish tax collectors, who saved the Jews of the town by enlisting the help of the duke of Medina Sidonia. The community still paid 1,500 maravedis in 1474 and 1482. In 1481, the Inquisition in Seville sent emissaries to confiscate the property of Conversos who had fled the town. Information that the Jews were to be expelled from Andalusia reached Jerez as early as January 1483. The corregidor and council requested a postponement since they considered that the decree would bring about the economic ruin of the town. The Jews began to sell their property, but the municipal authorities prohibited people from buying it. The expulsion was postponed for six months. In 1484, some Jews are still mentioned as inhabitants of the town, but by 1485 the community had ceased to exist.

Several *autos-da-fé, each lasting some days, were held in Jerez in 1491 and 1492. Some sanbenitos ("penitential garments") of repentant Conversos were still hanging in the parochial church of San Dionisio in the 18th century. After the Edict of Expulsion of 1492 Jews passed through Jerez on their way to exile in North Africa. In 1494, after an outbreak of plague, Christians were ordered to refuse shelter or admittance to their homes to any stranger in the town who had formerly been a Jew.

Nowadays, there is still a street called "Judería." It is near the city wall and next to where "Puerta de Sevilla" had been. The judería included more streets, including San Cristóbal and Alvar López.


Baer, Spain, index; Baer, Urkunden, index; F. Fita, España Hebrea, 1 (1889), 32–50; A. Muñoz y Gómez, Noticias históricas de las calles de Xerez de la Frontera (1903); H.S. de Sopranis, in: Sefarad, 2 (1951), 349–70; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, 68, 81. add. bibliography: M. González Jiménez, El libro del repartimiento de Jerez de la Frontera, studio y edición, (1980), lx–lxv, 187–95.

[Haim Beinart]