Jews in the Realm of the Sultans: Ottoman Jewish Society in the Seventeenth Century

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Mohr Siebeck, 2008 - Religion - 503 pages
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Jewish society in the Ottoman Empire has not been the subject of systematic research. The seventeenth century is the main object of this study, since it was a formative era. For Ottoman Jews, the 'Ottoman century' constituted an era of gradual acculturation to changing reality, parallel to the changing character of the Ottoman state. Continuous changes and developments shaped anew the character of this Jewry, the core of what would later become known as 'Sephardi Jewry'.Yaron Ben-Naeh draws from primary and secondary Hebrew, Ottoman, and European sources, the image of Jewish society in the Ottoman Empire. In the chapters he leads the reader from the overall urban framework to individual aspects. Beginning with the physical environment, he moves on to discuss their relationships with the majority society, followed by a description and analysis of the congregation, its organization and structure, and from there to the character of Ottoman Jewish society and its nuclear cell - the family. Special emphasis is placed throughout the work on the interaction with Muslim society and the resulting acculturation that affected all aspects and all levels of Jewish life in the Empire. In this, the author challenges the widespread view that sees this community as being stagnant and self-segregated, as well as the accepted concept of a traditional Jewish society under Islam.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Book and Its Methodology
7
Political and Demographic Background
20
The Ottoman City in the Seventeenth Century
30
Dwellings and Lifestyle
44
Jews in the Cities of the Ottoman Empire
54
The Leading Communities
63
The Congregations in the Big Cities
80
Help for the Poor and the Needy
261
Benevolent Societies
270
Religious Endowments
285
Congregational Functionaries
291
The Chief Rabbis Rabbanim Kolelim
304
Economic Aspects
318
Jews in the Economy of the Ottoman State
342
Social Attributes and Processes
351

Center Periphery and Intercommunal Relations
93
Jews in the Ottoman State
99
Provincial Communities and the Central Government
114
Taxation and Taxes
147
The Kahal Its Organization and Leadership
164
Congregational Leadership
190
Congregational Institutions
218
The Religious Court
236
Institutions for Education and Study
251
Diversity and Unity
371
Social Stratification
383
Internal Tensions
405
Cultural Attributes of Ottoman Jewry
412
Religion Culture and Intellectual Activity
433
Mentalite
439
Index of Places
483
Index of Subjects
492
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Yaron Ben-Naeh, Born 1965; 2000 PhD; taught at the TelAviv University, 2002-2005 post-doctoral Mandel Scholar at the Scholion Interdisciplinary Center, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem; spring 2007 fellow in the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, Penn University, Philadelphia; currently tenured senior lecturer for the history of the Jews in Islamic countries in the early modern and modern period at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

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