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MAQUEDA , small town in Castile, central Spain, on the territory of the Order of *Calatrava. Because of the resemblance to the biblical name of Makkedah (Josh. 10: 10, 28, etc.), some Jewish commentators (cf. Isaac *Abrabanel's commentary to Kings) asserted that the Spanish city had been founded by Jews from Makkedah who had been exiled by Nebuchadnezzar. Conversely, Moses *Arragel tried to demonstrate to the head of the Order of Calatrava that Makkedah in Ereẓ Israel had been founded by the king of Maqueda in Spain. The beginning of Jewish settlement in Maqueda probably coincided with the transfer of the region to the ownership of the Order of Calatrava in 1177.

In 1238, Ferdinand iii ordered the community to make the Church an annual payment of 30 denarii symbolizing the amount of money received by Judas Iscariot. In 1290 the community paid an annual tax of 11,162 maravedis. During the reign of Ferdinand iv (1295–1312), the tax was reduced from 8,000 to 5,000 maravedis to dissuade the Jews from leaving Maqueda. Alfonso xi confirmed this reduction in 1316, but the amount of tax for services collected from the Jews there remained unchanged. The Jews earned their livelihood from the same occupations as the other inhabitants of the region, including agriculture.

During the persecutions of 1391 its two synagogues were sacked. In 1415, the antipope *Benedictxiii answered an appeal sent by the apostate rabbi of the community, who had been maintained from the vineyards and fields which it owned and was left without means of subsistence. Benedict authorized him to take possession of the synagogue appurtenances and property.

By the beginning of the 15th century, the community had been reestablished, and in 1430 Moses Arragel completed there the translation of the Bible into Spanish commissioned by Don Luis de Guzman, head of the Order of Calatrava. The role played in 1464–65 by R. Maymaran, rabbi of Maqueda, in persuading Conversos to return to Judaism, emerges from the trial of Ḥayyim Fichel by the Inquisition held at *Huesca in 1489. The community still paid 50,000 maravedis in taxes in 1491. The status of the community may be gauged from the fact that a meeting of representatives of the communities of Castile was convened there in the fall of 1484, when important decisions concerning the practice of usury by the Jews in the kingdom were passed. After the decree of expulsion of 1492 was issued, Ferdinand ordered that inquiries should be made among the Jews of Maqueda to discover whether they were ready to adopt Christianity. The king ordered that watch should be kept over the synagogue until its future was decided and that a register should be made of Jewish property, of the debts owed to Jews, and those they owed to others. In the folklore of the Sephardim, stories were preserved about simpleminded Jews of Maqueda of the same type as those recounted about the Jews of *Chelm.


Baer, Urkunden, index; Beinart, in: Tarbiz, 26 (1956/57), 78; idem, in: Estudios, 3 (1962), 7–10; F. Cantera, Sinagogas españolas (1955), 243–4; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index; C.O. Nordström, Duke of Alba's Castillian Bible (1967), 12, 16, 20, 32, 234. add. bibliography: H. Beinart, in: Zion, 56 (1991), 239–53.

[Haim Beinart]