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MEDINACELI , town in Castile, N. Spain, near Sigüenza. A Jewish community existed there as early as the 12th century. The fuero ("municipal charter") of Medinaceli gave the Jews a status equal to that of the Christians and Moors in legal matters. In the 13th century the community numbered 20 to 30 families. Jewish occupations included agriculture, viticulture, commerce, and crafts. In 1280 Abraham of Medinaceli made an agreement, valid for four years, with the bishop of Sigüenza to open and exploit salt mines (see *Salt Trade). The bishop was to supply Abraham with the necessary equipment, finance the project, and provide him with lodging. In 1290 the communities of Medinaceli and Sigüenza together paid annual taxes and services amounting to 34,217 maravedis, which indicates considerable prosperity. The community continued to exist throughout the 15th century. It was taxed 91 castellanos in 1485 as a contribution to the war against Granada. The synagogue, which passed to the Church after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, was restored by the government.


Baer, Spain, 1 (1961), 192, 200; Baer, Urkunden, index; B. Pavón Maldonado, in: Sefarad, 38 (1978), 309–17.

[Haim Beinart]