by sam and ofi
Alon Shvut, Gush Etizion, Israel
January 6, 2002
Toledo is a very special city for Jews. Though the Jews were
never the majority in Toledo, their presence was important to the city and its
history. Non-Jews knew them as money-lenders, merchants of fine silks, and
intellectuals. Jews stand in awe of the Toledo Talmudic scholars.
A History of Scholarship
Rabbi Jacob ben Asher of Toledo an important Jewish law book
called the "Tur". His father "The Rosh" was a famous scholar
Rabbi Joseph ben Ephraim Caro was born in Toledo and he died
in Safed, Israel. He wrote a commentary on the Tur - his commentary is called
the Bet "Yosef". He left Spain in 1492 as a result of the Spanish
expulsion of the Jews.
At Rabbinical Schools around the world students still study
and memorize the words of these great scholars of Toledo.
Jewish life in Medieval Toledo
In the book "The Jews of Muslim Spain" the author
describes some interesting aspects of Jewish life in Muslim Spain.
What is left today
While it is exciting to visit Toledo - it's sad that its
Jewish history ended in 1492 with the barbaric religious persecution of Jews
through the Spanish Inquisition. Today we found the following:
The feeling of Toledo for Jews is definitely bittersweet.
There were years when life in Toledo was livable for Jews and they managed to
make the most of it. It's unfortunate that now we return only as visitors and
not to see the continuation of that vibrant Jewish life.
From journal "Discover Toledo - city of the middle ages"