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1580 DAVID ABRABANEL (Netherlands)

W Survived a massacre by the Spanish which killed his family as they sailed to the new world. David joined the Royal Navy and won fame as a privateer attacking Spanish vessels. He was known as “Captain Davis” and named his ship Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). Abrabanel was purportedly one of the people who discovered Easter Island.

1580 DOM ANTONIO (Prior of Crato) (Portugal)

Laid claim to the Portuguese throne after Henry II died without leaving an heir. Dom Antonio was the grandson of King Manual, whose son Dom Luiz married a Converso. King Phillip II of Spain quickly annexed Portugal. A French, and later English expedition backed by Converso funds, to take Portugal, ended in failure. Antonio later blamed the Marrano community for his failure and turned against them, especially against Roderigo Lopez (see 1525) accusing him of treason.

1580 - 1651 HAVA BACHRAH (Bacarach) (Prague)

The granddaughter of R. Judah Loew ben Bezalel (the Maharal) of Prague (15251609), she was renowned for her knowledge and teaching, especially the Bible with its commentaries and Apocrypha . Her husband Samuel the Rabbi of Worms, was killed during a pogrom in 1615 and she never remarried. Hava's grandson Yair Hayyim Bacharach named his responsa (published in 1699) Havot Yair in acknowledgment of her scholarship .


Joachim Gaunse of Prague, a professing Jew, had been invited to England to help oversee and develop mining operations. He was accused of heresy when he denied believing in Christianity, but whether he was punished for this is unknown.


The retorts was published by Rabbi Jacob from Belzhytz (near Lublin) as an answer to Martin Czechowiczs (1532-1613), attacks on Judaism. Czechowicz was a leader within the Anti-Trinitarians Christians in Poland. These heretical groups included the Arians (named after Arius of Alexandria 320 ce.) and Socinians named after the Italian Faustus Socinus. The Church attacked them as "Judaizers". Partly in response, Czechowicz had published vociferous attacks arguing against basic Jewish tenets.

1581 March 30, POPE GREGORY XIII

Issued a Bull banning the use of Jewish doctors. This did not prevent many popes from using Jews as their personal physicians.

1581 June 1, BULL ANTIQUA JUDAEORUM IMPROBITAS (The ancient dishonesty of the Jews)

Was enacted by Pope Gregory XIII. It granted jurisdiction to the inquisition of Jews within Rome in cases of blasphemy or possession of forbidden books.rn


Translated a report regarding the Wiener Gesera (see 1421) into Yiddish. This was an early effort to provide historical literature in Yiddish. It was republished in Cracow in 1609. Other tragedy's such as blood libels also made their way into this branch of literature. rn

1583 February 19, ROME (Italy)

Three Portuguese Conversos from Ferrara were burned in Rome's Campo dei Fiori at the command of Pope Gregory XIII. One of them, Joseph Saralbo, proudly proclaimed that he had helped 800 Conversos return to Judaism. According to reports, he asked the Jews of Rome not to mourn for him stating "I am on my way to meet immortality."


Pope Gregory XIII issued his bull Sancta mater ecclesia "Instruction on the Historical Truth of the Gospels", ordering the Jews of Rome to send 100 men and 50 women every Saturday afternoon to listen to a conversion sermon given in Hebrew in a local church . This was over a third of the local Jewish population.


Scholar and wife of Solomon Modena (15221580). She was knowledgeable in Torah, Talmud, Midrash, and Jewish law,. She was even well read in kabbalistic literature, including the Zohar. Evidently her sister Diana Rieti of Mantua, was also well educated. At the age of 75, after the death of her husband, Fioretta immigrated to Safed where she died.

1586 YEMEN

Since the Ottoman conquest some 40 years earlier tensions had risen between the Turks and the local Zaydi population - with the Jews in the middle. The Zaydi Iman al-Mutahhar accused the Jews of aiding the Turks and reinforced regulations regarding special Jewish dress and head coverings, especially in Sana.

1586 - 1677 (26 Shvat 5427) DAVID BEN SAMUEL HALEVI (Poland)

Called the Taz after his commentary, Turai Zahav (Rows of Gold). This, together with works by the Bach (Joel Sircus 1650), and the Rama (Moses Isserles 1520-1572), formed the most important halachic commentaries upon which most of modern halacha is based.

1586 October 22, POPE SIXTUS V (Italy)

Gregory's successor. He revoked Gregory's policies allowing Jews to reside in the Papal states and to print the Talmud. These policies were reinstated upon his death and lasted until 1870.

1587 - 1643 SALAMONE DE ROSSI (Italy)

The leading Jewish composer of the late Italian Renaissance and the musical director to the Ducal court of Mantua. He was an innovator of polyphonic music and the most noted Italian-Jewish musician of his time. He had his own orchestra which was invited by Alessandro, Duke of Mirandola, as "the Jew Salamone and his company". His most famous compositions are Ha-Shirim Asher li-Shelomo, 33 pieces of traditional Hebrew texts, and other religious poems for the synagogue service.


Was defeated by England. Spain's position was significantly weakened. As a by-product, the Inquisition was less powerful, especially in the Netherlands.

1589 January 14, FRANCIS KETT (England)

An Anglican clergyman was burned alive. Kett (c.15471589), was accused of heresy by the Church for suggesting that Jesus was not divine, but a good man and that Jews would one day return to the Holy Land.

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