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CALAHORRA , city in Castile, N. Spain, near the border of Navarre; its Jewish community was one of the most ancient in Castile. In 1145, Joseph Rayuso served as merino ("royal official") in Calahorra, and according to some sources, Abraham *Ibn Ezra died there in 1167. Jewish owners of vineyards, real estate, and shops are found in Calahorra from the beginning of the Jewish settlement. The community grew in size and importance in the course of the 12th and 13th centuries. Some of its members occupied official positions, arousing Christian opposition. In letters to the church authorities at Tudela (1252) and Burgos (1264) Popes Innocent iv and Urban vi requested them to oblige the Jews and Moors of Calahorra to pay a tithe to the diocese on property acquired from Christians. Hebrew deeds of the 13th–14th centuries record the conveyance of vineyards, gardens and real estate by Jews to members of the city council and local ecclesiastical institutions. Documents from the Archivo de la Catedral show the extensive real estate held by local Jews. In this period there were over 50 Jewish families living in Calahorra. At the end of the 13th century, there were about 400 Jews living there. In 1290 the tax paid by the community amounted to 14,590 maravedis. According to a document from 1320, two Jews and two Christians were appointed to supervise the building of a new mill, for which the Jewish community contributed a sum of 750 maravedis. From 1323 the community paid an annual levy of 200 maravedis for the war with Granada. In 1327 Alfonso xi imposed a special levy of 100 maravedis on each synagogue in the town, as well as on every church and mosque, for the war against the Moors. A distinctive local administrative arrangement was the method of collecting the annual impost of 30 denari on the Jewish *badge which the community itself contracted to levy and farmed out on an eight-year term.

In 1370 a large number of Jews left Calahorra for the kingdom of Navarre. Queen Joanna of Navarre gave the refugees protection and also exempted them from the annual tax of two florins for the first two years. No details about the Calahorra community during the anti-Jewish riots in Spain of 1391 are available. Their economic position deteriorated in the 15th century: in 1439 it was agreed that instead of paying 5,202 maravedis annually the community would pay a lump sum of eight maravedis of silver from 1434 to 1439, afterward reverting to the original sum. Toward the end of the reign of Henry iv the annual tax was reduced to 3,000 maravedis (1474) because of the difficult times. In the second half of the 15th century, the number of Jews in Calahorra was about 350–400. At the expulsion from Spain, the Jews left Calahorra on July 2, 1492. On August 7, Ferdinand of Castile ordered the conversion of the synagogue into a church and offered it to the Cathedral. It became the hermitage of San Sebastián. Later it was given to the Franciscans to erect their convent. Persons who settled in the Jewish quarter received special tax relief and in 1497 the king granted them exemption from taxes.


Baer, Spain, 1 (1961), 394, 450; Baer, Urkunden, index; Cantera, in: Sefarad, 6 (1946), 37–61; 15 (1955), 353–72; 16 (1956), 73–112; 18 (1958), 219–313; 22 (1962), 83ff.; idem, Sinagogas Españolas (1955), 185; León Tello, in: Instituto Tello Téllez de Meneses, 25 (1966), 45, 154. add. bibliography: I. Reguera, La Inquisición española en el País Vasco (el Tribunal de Calahorra, 1513–1570) (1984); E. Cantera Montenegro, Las juderías de la dioceses de Calahorra en la Baja Edad Media (1987).

[Haim Beinart /

Yom Tov Assis (2nd ed.)]