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1410 MEIR ALGUADES (Spain)

The chief rabbi and former physician to King Henry III (Castile) was accused by Paul de Santa Maria ( see 1398) of desecrating the host. He was tortured until he "confessed". Then he was killed and the synagogue was converted into a church.


A combination of the anti infidel laws, Vincent Ferrer's crusade, and the Tortosa debate led to a loss of heart among many Jews. Approximately 50,000 Jews ďvoluntarily " converted. Typical among them was Don Vidal de La Caballeria a noted poet and diplomat. He converted under pressure by the king of Aragon who then rewarded him with a new position.rnrn

1412 January 2, LAWS OF VALLADOLID (Castile, Spain)

Under the direction of Fra Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419) and Paul of Burgos (de Santa Maria) the government of Castile issued 24 edicts against the Jews, with its goal being to drive them to Christianity. These included a ban on working in handicrafts, trading in wine, flour, meat or bread, carrying arms, shaving, leaving the country, etc. Punishment was 100 lashes and a fine. Ferrer, a Dominican friar, traveled around Castile preaching anti-Jewish sermons, and compelling Jews under duress to convert. In many cases Jews were forced to listen to him preach in synagogues with a Torah in one hand and a cross in the other. He then would often consecrate the synagogue as a church. There was no strong central rule at the time since King, John II, was a child ruled by his mother Catherine and his uncle, Ferdinand I of Aragon. John only took control of the throne in 1418. Ferrer was canonized in 1455.

C. 1413 MOSES BOTAREL (Spain)

Philosopher and false Messiah. Botarel wrote a non kabalistic commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah ( The book of Creation") .He was a self described saint and pious Rabbi. He invited all Rabbis to send him questions which he would answer.


Under Under King Vladislav Yagilu (Jagiello) the "privileges" of the Jews were temporarily reduced.

1413 February 7, TORTOSA DISPUTATION (Aragon, Spain)

Vincent Ferrer , assisted by the apostate Joshua (Ha)Lorki (Geronimo de Santa Fe/ Hieronymus de Sancta Fide), known to the Jews as Hamegadef (the Blasphemer), convinced Pope Benedict XIII to stage a disputation at Tortosa over messianic doctrine . It was presided over by the pope himself and lasted for a period of twenty-one months in sixty-nine sessions. The Jews, led by Vidal Benvenisti, Astruc Halevi and Joseph Albo, were faced with an opening salvo by Benedict in which he made the expected outcome clear. Sante Fe also attacked the Talmud as anti-Christian and urged its banning. Few of the Jews' counter-arguments were officially recorded.

1415 SOLOMON ALAMI (ibn-Lachmish) (Spain)

Wrote his Iggert Musar (" Letter of Ethical Rebuke"). Alami brought up the question of " why bad things happen". Though not the first to address the issue, he believed it was the result of the flaws within the Spanish Jewish community . He placed the blame on social inequities, lack of care for the poor, and both moral and religious failings. He also criticized the leadership as cut off from the common people , and the court Jews with what he perceived as their misuse of wealth.


Was enraged by the lack of a greater number of ‚Äúvoluntary‚ÄĚ conversions after the Christian "victory" at the Tortosa disputation. Benedict XIII (not to be confused with Pope Benedict XIII (1649-1730), published his Bull Etsi Doctoribus Gentium. In it, he banned owning or studying of the Talmud, the right to bake and sell unleavened bread, and engaging in any vocational or medical professions. He instituted forced Christian sermons (where Jews were forced to listen to conversion sermons each Sunday), and prohibited Jews from leaving the country.

1416 JEWISH SYNOD (Bologna, Italy)

Tried to formulate a plan of defense against Vincent Ferrer.

1418 May 18, REGIONAL CONFERENCE (Flori, Italy)

Representatives from the Jewish communities of central and northern Italy met to discuss raising funds for self-defense as well as instituting sumptuary regulations so as "not to show off in the presence of Gentiles." It is plausible that the issuing of these sumptuary regulations, influenced Pope Martin V to issue a protective Bull the following year.

1419 - 1436 HUSSITE WARS (Germany)

Occurred after the Church executed John Huss for his outspoken criticisms. The Jews were attacked by the anti-Hussite Catholics, who were urged onward by the Dominican preachers.


With the ascension of Alfonzo V of Aragon (r.1416-1468), John II of Castile (r.1406-1454), as well as the rule of Pope Martin V, many of the anti-Jewish edicts were repealed. Copies of the Talmud were returned and a number of synagogues we placed again in Jewish hands. In many communities local governments refused to follow the kings declarations. Despite some efforts by the government, Jews no longer lived in Barcelona or Valencia. Most were concentrated in Castile. The Jewish community was impoverished monetarily and spiritually and had no influence on the King and his court.

1419 SARAH OF WUERZBURG (Bavaria, Germany)

Received a license from Archbishop Johann II von Nassau (1396-1419) to practice medicine, making her one of the few women allowed to do so. Other Jewish women physicians during this age included Sarah La Migresse, Sara de Saint Gilles and Rebekah Zerlin of Frankfort. For the most part, women were limited to helping other women.


Pope Martin V after receiving payment, published a brief protecting the Jews and against forced baptism. Three years later he received additional payment for another bull - this one specifically addresses to monks.

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