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1530 ROME (Italy)

After a long siege, the Republican government was finally disposed and Jews were allowed to return.


After three years of pressure by local merchants and officials, King Sigismund I agreed to ban Jews from having stores in the market place. The official rationale given by the merchants was that the presence of Jews might lead to "great temptations and even to seduction from the path of the “true faith."


Opened the first Hebrew printing house in Cracow. In 1537 they converted to Christianity and petitioned King Sigismund I to force the Jews to buy their books (which the Jews had boycotted since their conversion). (See 1539)

1530 August 12, GERMANY

A charter was granted to the Jews despite the protests of Martin Luther. Josel of Rosheim, the famous shtadlan or interceder, was instrumental in its passing.


Poet, scholar and traveler. Dahiri traveled for ten years throughout the east including India, Persia, Syria, and Eretz Israel. He provided essential details of Jewish life in Safed and Tiberius. In 1568 upon his return to Yemen he was imprisoned for a short while with other Jews. It was then, that he began his travelogue Sefer Hamusar. Aside from describing the places he visited and the great luminaries he met (Joseph Caro, Moses Cordovero, Moses di Trani), he also provided us with a window into the difficult life of Jews in Yemen. He wrote other works including Tzeida Laderekh ( Provisions For The Way) a commentary on the Pentateuch.

1531 December 17, PORTUGAL

Under pressure from King John III, Pope Clement VII appointed Frei Diogo da Silva, the king's confessor, as the Inquisitor General. Frei Diogo never took up his post, and was accused of being in the pay of the New Christians.(see 1533).


Were arrested by Charles V. Molcho was accused of being a Church renegade and burned at the stake in the first Auto da Fe held in Evora, Portugal on November 7 of that same year. Reuveni was sent to Spain where he was also probably burned at the stake, probably at Badajoz Spain in 1538.

1533 - 1600 ELEAZAR BEN MOSES AZIKRI (Safed, Eretz Israel)

Kabbalist, ascetic scholar and poet. Azikri divided his waking ours into two-thirds writing and one-third silent contemplation. His Sefer Hareidim arranged the commandments according to time and the limbs of the body. His best known poem was Yedid Nefesh (Faithful Friend) which is in all prayer books and recited in most synagogues and homes on Shabbat. Another well-known poem ascribed to him is Bilvavi Yivneh beitcha (In my heart I will build your house).

1533 - 1594 ISAAC BEN ABRAHAM OF TROKI (near Vilna Lithuania)

Karaite scholar, physician, and writer. He was fluent in a number of languages including Latin and Polish and was well versed in Christian texts and arguments. These he used to write his famous Chizuk Emunah, “Fortification of Faith” a two volume work which defended Judaism against Christian polemics. His book (which was praised even by Voltaire) was unique and had a strong influence on both Jews and anti clerical non Jews. It was translated into Latin, Yiddish, German, Spanish, and even English.

1533 April 5, DUARTE DE PAZ (Portugal)

An emissary of the New Christians of Portugal succeeded in gaining from Pope Clement VII a postponement of the establishing of the Inquisitions against New Christians in Portugal. The pope issued the , Bulla de Perdao, which was essentially a pardon for all past offenses. Unfortunately, the pope died a few years later, and the Inquisition was officially established (1536).

1534 CRACOW (Poland)

The first book to be printed in Yiddish, a biblical dictionary and concordance Mirkevet HaMishnah Sefer Rebbi Anshel was published. The earliest works in Yiddish, mostly verse and biblical epics, were composed probably 100 years earlier.

1534 - 1572 (5 Av 5332) ISAAC LURIA (HaAri Hakadosh - Sacred Lion) (Egypt-Eretz Israel)

Born in Jerusalem, he moved as a child to Egypt where he became a scholar and began to study Kabbalah. There he spent seven years in isolation on an island on the banks of the Nile, visiting his family only on the Sabbath. He wrote a commentary on Sifra di- Zeniuta, an important section of the Zohar. In 1569 he moved to the "Holy City" of Safed, and became known as the founder of modern Kabbalah. His most famous pupil was Hayim Vital. Joseph Caro also studied Kabbalah with him. The latter was responsible for disseminating his ideas. The Ari was also known as a liturgical poet and many of his songs were published in a manuscript called Har Nof. Some of these hymns (including Yom Ze LeYisrael) are still sung on Shabbat during the meals in many Jewish homes.

1535 - 1612 (3 Adar II 5372) MORDECAI BEN ABRAHAM JAFFE (Prague, Bohemia)

Rabbi, halachist and Jewish leader. Jaffe, a student of Moses Isserles and Solomon Luria, was one of the important codifiers of Jewish Law. He also studied philosophy and astronomy. His work Levushim (Garments), taken from the scroll of Esther 8:15, included opinions as well as the decisions of Beit Joseph. He wrote it from concern that Caro's Shulchan Aruch was too abbreviated. Jaffe was instrumental in setting up the Council of the Four Lands and was the successor of Judah Lowe (The Maharal) to the chief court (Av Bet Din) of Prague.


Pope Paul III issued a charter to the (mostly foreign) Jews of Ancona. One of the most expansive of its kind, it included allowing them to bear arms and not to be forced to hear conversationalist sermons. A similar but more limited charter was also written for the Jews of Rome the same year.

1535 July 21, TUNIS

Was sacked by the Spaniards. The Jewish community was destroyed.


Were granted the right to live in the Netherlands by Charles V.

1536 May 23, PORTUGAL

Pope Paul III, acting upon the petition of King John III, issued a Bull providing for the establishment of an Inquisition based on the Spanish archetype to begin in 1539. The first inquisitor was John de Mello a doctor of Papal law. The first grand inquisitor was Diogo da Silva but he was soon asked to resign being considered "too weak". In 1544, after numerous bribes, it was again postponed for three years but reestablished permanently in 1547. The last Auto da Fe in Portugal was held in October 1791. Over the years (until 1821) there were more then 40,000 recorded cases tried before the Portuguese Inquisition, with 30,000 condemnations (though many of these were reconciled).

1538 smicha controversy (Safed Eretz-Israel)

Rabbi Jacob Berab basing himself on a Maimonides commentary, decided to reinstitute in the city of Safed the rabbinical ordination known as smicha ( the figurative laying on of hands) which had fallen into disuse around the 4th century. Berab convinced Rabbis Alkevetz, Alsich and Caro, of his position. He was adamantly opposed by Rabbi Levi ibn Habib, the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. Berab was forced to leave the country by the ottomans , who were told that his activities were seditious . Prior to departing he succeed in ordain four Rabbis including Joseph Caro.. Today smicha refers to a test of knowledge. rn

1538 - 1639 JOSEPH (di) TRANI ( Greece

Rabbi and Scholar known as the MaHarit . He authored a major responsa entitled She’elot u-Teshuvot as well as novella on parts of the Talmud.


New constitution prohibited Jews from being tax collectors. They could also no longer deal in trade without a special license, from the king or the city council.

1538 SINAN REIS (Ciphut Sinan) (Greece)

A Jewish pirate and second in command to Barbarossa. He destroyed much of the Spanish fleet off the port in Pleveza, Greece. A short while afterwards his son was captured by Charles V and send to Elba. In 1544 Barbarossa sailed to Elba and demanded his release. Upon being refused, he attacked the fort and returned the boy to his father. Sinan flew a flag sporting a six pointed star which he called the Seal of Solomon

1539 February 7, PLACARDS IN LISBON

Were found on the wall of many churches claiming, "The Messiah has not come. Jesus was not the true Messiah." Expansive rewards were offered to find the perpetrator. The Conversos fearful of the possible repercussions, posted an announcement declaring that, "I the author, am neither Spaniard nor Portuguese, but an Englishman" Despite this, the author Manuel da Costa was caught and confessed after his hands were cut off and he was stretched on the rack. Then he was publicly burned. Diogo da Silva, the grand inquisitor, resigned soon afterwards.


Born a catholic, and married to a local councilman (Melchior Weigel) she converted late in life to Judaism. Catherine was imprisoned at the age of 70 for denying the basic tenants of Christianity, and argued her case before the Polish Sejm (1538–1539) She was kept in prison for 10 years. At the age of 80 upon the order of the local bishop Peter Gamrat, and with the approval of the Queen of Poland Bona Sforza, she was burnt at the stake in the Cracow market place. She refused to recant.

1539 December 31, KING SIGISMUND I (Poland)

Ordered the Jews of Cracow, Posan and Lemberg (Lvov) to buy 3,350 Jewish books from the Printing house of the apostate Helitz brothers. The Jews bought the books as ordered - and then destroyed them all.

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