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LECCE , city in S. Italy. Jews were already settled in Lecce in the 11th century, subsequently being mostly engaged in loan-banking. In 1463, following the anti-Jewish preachings of John of *Capistrano and Fra Roberto Caracciolo, the Jewish quarter in Lecce was set on fire and the Jews were expelled. They returned a few years later, but when the French invaded the kingdom of Naples in 1495 and the Jewish communities in southern Italy were attacked and pillaged, the Jews of Lecce were deprived of all their property and again expelled. In 1497 the local people of Lecce demanded that the synagogue desecrated during the riots of 1495 be consecrated as a church dedicated to the Virgin and to serve also as a foundling hospital. In 1510 the order of expulsion for the kingdom of Naples included the Jews of Lecce, and all the New Christians. Nevertheless, in about 1520 a small Jewish group settled in Lecce for a short time, with special privileges, and remained until the general expulsion from the kingdom of Naples in 1541.


Guerrieri, in: Studi senesi, 17 (1901), 225–52; Roth, Italy, index; Milano, Italia, index; N. Ferorelli, Ebrei nell' Italia meridionale… (1915). add. bibliography: C. Colafemmina, "La giudecca di Lecce nei secoli xv e xvi," in: Archivio Storico del Sannio, N.s. 1 (1996); C. Massaro, "Ebrei e città nel Mezzogiorno tardomedievale: il caso di Lecce," in: Itinerari di ricerca storica, 5 (1991); M.R. Tamblé, "Antisemistismo e infanzia abbandonata: un singolare connubio nella Lecce tardomedievale," in: Sefer Yuḥasin, 16–17 (2000–01), 31–45.

[Ariel Toaff /

Nadia Zeldes (2nd ed.)]