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ABULAFIA Origin of surname

ABULAFIA, ABULAFFIA, ABULEFIA, ABUALEFIA

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name derives from an occupation, profession or trade (also connected with raw material, finished product or implements associated with that trade). Abulafia derives from the Arabic Abu Al'afiya, literally "father of good health/well-being", a surname which was borne by Muslim and Jewish physicians. Spanish documents record several spellings and variants of Abenafia, Abinafia and Abenyafia; in the 14th century - Afia, Abelafia, Abolafia (associated particularly with the region of Cordova in Spain) and Affia, and in the 15th century - Abinjaffia, Abolafio, Habulafia and Abonafia. Italian forms comprise Bolaffi, which is closely related to the English Bolaffey.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish family name Abulafia include the Spanish talmudic commentator and poet, Meir Abulafia (1170-1244), head of the Jews of Castile; the Spanish philosopher, Abraham Ben Samuel Abulafia (1240-1291), one of the first kabbalists; and the 13th century Spanish scientist, engineer and translator, Samuel Ha-Levi Abulafia.
ID Number:
223191
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Jerez de la Frontera

A city in Andalusia, southwest Spain.

It had an important Jewish community. Jerez was captured from the Muslims by Alphonso X of Castile in 1255. His register of the apportionment of property (repartimiento) there shows that in 1266 Jews owned 90 buildings given to them by the King. Among those who received properties, there were Jewish inhabitants of Toledo and other towns in northern Castile who had already received similar grants in Seville. They included Todros Abulafia, his son Joseph, and Judah b. Moses Ha-Kohen. Several of the beneficiaries are described as ballestero ("archer", "guard", "constable"). The Jewish quarter was situated near the Calle de San Cristobal and ran parallel to the city wall. There were two synagogues, almshouses, and a house for the rabbi. The principal occupations of the Jews were commerce and viticulture, as well as the crafts customarily pursued by Jews. In 1290, the community paid an annual tax of 5,000 gold coins, a small sum in proportion to its means. The Jews of Jerez were exempted from various customs duties and enjoyed additional privileges, which were confirmed by Ferdinand IV and Alfonso XI (1332). The community of Jerez, which then numbered 90 families, was attacked during the persecutions of 1391. Those who survived as Jews sold part of their cemetery to the Dominican monastery. The names of 49 Jews who abandoned Judaism during that period are known.

The community was, however, to regain its strength. In 1438 it paid an annual tax of 10,700 maravedis in old coin.

About 1460, an accusation was brought against the Jews by the monks that they had interred a converso within the cemetery precincts. Solomon Ibn Verga gives a description of his relative Judah Ibn Verga, one of the last Jewish tax collectors, who saved the Jews of the town by enlisting the help of the Duke of Medina Sidonia. The community still paid 1,500 maravedis in 1474 and 1482. In 1481, the inquisition in Seville sent emissaries to confiscate the property of conversos who had fled the town. Information that the Jews were to be expelled from Andalusia reached Jerez as early as January 1483. The corregidor and council requested a postponement since they considered that the decree would bring about the economic ruin of the town. The Jews began to sell their property, but the municipal authorities prohibited people from buying it. The expulsion was postponed for six months. In 1484, some Jews are still mentioned as inhabitants of the town, but by 1485 the community had ceased to
exist.

Several autos-da-fe, each lasting some days, were held in Jerez in 1491 and 1492. Some sanbenitos (penitential garments) of repentant conversos were still hanging in the parochial Church of San Dionisio in the 18th century. After the edict of expulsion of 1492 Jews passed through Jerez on their way to exile in North Africa. In 1494, after an outbreak of plague, Christians were ordered to refuse shelter or admittance to their homes to any stranger in the town who had formerly been a Jew.

Murcia

Capital and city of the former Kingdom of Murcia, S.E. Spain.

 

21st Century

Initiated in 2000, the Murcia: Three Cultures festival was launched to celebrate the interfaith harmony of medieval days, the epoch when Murcia was ruled as a semi-autonomous Kingdom. When racism recently arose in the area the Three Cultures festival was seen as an act to mitigate these. Similarly, the region was also from where some al-Qaida suspects had come from. The 2003 festival featured a number of Klezmer bands, Israeli artist David Broza and Sephardi performers alongside opera singer African-American Barbara Hendricks. Historically, Jews in the adjacent city of Lorca had acted with as intermediaries between the Muslim and Christian populations.

The only Mediaeval synagogue in the southern area of arid Murcia was discovered in the city of Lorca. Glass, ceramic and metal pieces from the inhabitants of the Jewish quarter were also unearthed. The 14th century synagogue is located within fortified walls of a Mediaeval castle. The complex is rectangular shaped with two entries and adjacent to a courtyard with one entry leading to a foyer with a fountain used to cleans hands in preparation for prayer. The central area held the aron ha-kodesh (holy ark) with the torah scrolls on the eastern wall. The bima (reading platform) was on the other side and between the Via Sacra. On top the matroneum (women’s gallery) has entry through a further entry. Also unique is that this castle synagogue is the only non-reused religious building, as was hardly the case in the history of the 13-15th centuries Spain. Commonly found for the Reconquista period (722-1492) was for churches to be constructed on top of mosques. In the case of the Mediaeval synagogue, it was built underground to provide for the law as not to exceed the height of the churches. Thus this synagogue was exceptionally preserved providing for an agreeable touring of the streets of this archeological Jewish quarter.

Reconstructing medieval synagogues in the Iberian Peninsula is a complex task with scarce materials remaining. A new method of studying synagogues in the Iberian area has been proposed. Given lacking Responsas (written decisions and rulings given by legal scholars) to provide with information and only the synagogue of Tomar in Portugal and the El Transito synagogue of Toledo having been preserved, other methods have been applied. Synagogues consecrated in the Sepharadi diaspora, in Europe, Asia, Americas provide for ideas about rituals, interior design and construct of synagogues.

First candles of Channukah were lit in the newly discovered synagogue of Lorca in December 2012 after over five centuries.

 

History

The Kingdom was first taken from the Muslims (1243) during the reign of Ferdinand III of Castile. After the revolt of the Muslims, it was reconquered by James I, King of Aragon, who handed it over to Castile in 1265.

Among those who assisted the King in his conquest of the region were Judah de la Cavalleria, who lent money for outfitting the navy in the war against the Muslims, and Astruc (or Astrug) Bonsenyor (d. 1280), father of Judah Bonsenyor, who conducted the negotiations with the Muslims for their capitulation, and who was also translator of Arabic documents in the Kingdom. Jewish officials of the Kingdom of Aragon met with Jewish officials of the Kingdom of Castile in the town, and in 1292 Moses Ibn Turiel of Castile held important administrative positions there.

Alfonso X of Castile (1252-84), son-in-law of James I, allocated a special quarter for the Jewish community, explicitly ordering that Jews were not to live among the Christians. However, at the time of their settlement various Jews received properties in the Jewish quarter and beyond it, in the town itself. A site was also allocated for the Jewish cemetery. Once the regulations of the settlement had been stipulated, an annual tax of 30 dinars was imposed on every Jew. Jews were also compelled to hand over tithes and the first fruits of all their possessions and herds to the cathedral, as was customary in Seville. In 1307 jurisdiction over the Muslims of the Kingdom of Murcia was entrusted to Don Isaac Ibn Vaish, the last Jew to hold such a function. Toward the close of the 14th century, several Jewish tax farmers were active in the Kingdom and in the town, among them Solomon Ibn Lop, who settled in Majorca after 1378 and who was granted the special protection of the King of Aragon.

During this period, the Jews of Murcia were noted for their generosity in the redemption of prisoners and for their participation in maritime trade; this was in addition to their usual occupations in commerce, crafts, and agriculture. Although there are no details available on how the Jews of the town fared during the persecutions of 1391, the community continued to exist after that time. Some 2,000 Jews earned their livelihood in a great variety of activities. Close mutual relations were maintained with the Christian population, and two of the community elders attended the meetings of the municipal council. Throughout the 15th century Jews of Murcia were often tax farmers, both in the Kingdom of Murcia and in other towns near and distant. In 1488 Samuel Abulafia was taken under the protection of the catholic monarchs for two years in appreciation of his services to the crown during the war against Granada.

Solomon b. Maimon Zalmati printed Hebrew books in Murcia in 1490. Details on the departure of the Jews from Murcia at the time of the expulsion are unknown but it may be assumed that they left from the port of Cartagena. After the expulsion, debts owed by Christians to the Jews were transferred to Fernando Nunez Coronel (formerly Abraham Seneor) and Luis de Alcala for collection. Murcia also had conversos, some of whom remained faithful to Judaism. Conversos even used to come there in order to return to Judaism; one such case is mentioned in the La Guardia trial (1490). At an early date, an inquisition tribunal was established at Murcia.

Burgos

City in Spain, formerly capital of Old Castile.

Information about Jewish settlement in the neighborhood of Burgos dates from 974, and in Burgos itself from the 11th century. The Jews then resided close to the citadel of Burgos, while in the 12th century they moved to the fortified enclosure of the castle. It was here that the emissaries of the Cid raised a loan from certain Jews to finance his campaigns. In 1200 a Burgos Jew was acting as almoxarife (collector of revenues) and Todros b. Meir Abulafia, also connected with the court, was living here at this time.

During the 13th century the Burgos community became the largest Jewish center in North Castile. Some 120-150 families lived there at the end of the century, occupied as merchants, tax farmers, and physicians, and owning real estate and vineyards. During the reign of Ferdinand III (1217--1252) they paid a regular tax of 30 denarii to Burgos cathedral, and from 1282 also a tithe to the church. The rabbis of Burgos appointed the administrative officers (muqaddimin) of the Sahagun community, a day's journey distant, and the bet din of Burgos also served Sahagun. The non-Jewish authorities assisted in enforcing adherence to Jewish observances by the community when necessary, and sometimes imposed fines on offenders. In the second half of the 13th century the Kabbalist Rabbi Moses b. Solomon b. Simeon, a disciple of Rabbi Jacob Ha-Kohen, was living in Burgos, while many kabbalists were to be found in the small towns of the vicinity. In 1325 Alfonso XI bestowed an annual grant of 4,000 maravedis on the convent of Santa Maria La Real, out of the yearly tax paid by Burgos Jewry; the grant was subsequently increased by a further 1,000 maravedis from the same source.

During the Civil War for the Crown of Castile (1366-68) the city supported Pedro. When Henry captured Burgos he to meet this demand the community was forced to sell the crowns and ornaments on all the torah scrolls, except the celebrated Scroll of Ezra the Scribe. In addition Henry declared a moratorium on Jewish loans to Christians, ruining the Jewish creditors. When Henry was forced to leave Castile, Burgos again passed to Pedro, and on Henry's second entry he was attacked from the Jewish quarter and the fortress, which only surrendered after the walls had been destroyed. In 1379 new restrictions were enforced and Jewish trading outside the Juderia was prohibited.

During the persecutions of 1391, the Jews of Burgos took refuge in the houses of the Christian merchants. A small number were martyred. Some were baptized and later settled in a special quarter for conversos. In 1414 many Jews became converted through the activities of Vincente Ferrer.
During the 1440s only 23 heads of families are recorded as liable to pay tax. Several Jews are known to have practiced as physicians in the 1450s and 1460s. In 1485 the Jews of Burgos and district paid 56.5 castellanos toward the cost of the war with the Moors in Granada, and both Jews and Moors were forbidden to engage in commerce, ostensibly in order to keep prices low. Toward the end of the 1480s even more severe restrictions were imposed on the Jewish residents, until the municipality was directed by the crown to alleviate their condition. The majority of the Jews of Burgos adopted Christianity after the edict of expulsion of 1492; those who remained in the faith left, presumably for Portugal. The conversos in Burgos adapted themselves to Christianity, and few were tried by the inquisition.

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ABULAFIA Origin of surname
ABULAFIA, ABULAFFIA, ABULEFIA, ABUALEFIA

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name derives from an occupation, profession or trade (also connected with raw material, finished product or implements associated with that trade). Abulafia derives from the Arabic Abu Al'afiya, literally "father of good health/well-being", a surname which was borne by Muslim and Jewish physicians. Spanish documents record several spellings and variants of Abenafia, Abinafia and Abenyafia; in the 14th century - Afia, Abelafia, Abolafia (associated particularly with the region of Cordova in Spain) and Affia, and in the 15th century - Abinjaffia, Abolafio, Habulafia and Abonafia. Italian forms comprise Bolaffi, which is closely related to the English Bolaffey.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish family name Abulafia include the Spanish talmudic commentator and poet, Meir Abulafia (1170-1244), head of the Jews of Castile; the Spanish philosopher, Abraham Ben Samuel Abulafia (1240-1291), one of the first kabbalists; and the 13th century Spanish scientist, engineer and translator, Samuel Ha-Levi Abulafia.
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Burgos
Murcia
Jerez de la Frontera

Burgos

City in Spain, formerly capital of Old Castile.

Information about Jewish settlement in the neighborhood of Burgos dates from 974, and in Burgos itself from the 11th century. The Jews then resided close to the citadel of Burgos, while in the 12th century they moved to the fortified enclosure of the castle. It was here that the emissaries of the Cid raised a loan from certain Jews to finance his campaigns. In 1200 a Burgos Jew was acting as almoxarife (collector of revenues) and Todros b. Meir Abulafia, also connected with the court, was living here at this time.

During the 13th century the Burgos community became the largest Jewish center in North Castile. Some 120-150 families lived there at the end of the century, occupied as merchants, tax farmers, and physicians, and owning real estate and vineyards. During the reign of Ferdinand III (1217--1252) they paid a regular tax of 30 denarii to Burgos cathedral, and from 1282 also a tithe to the church. The rabbis of Burgos appointed the administrative officers (muqaddimin) of the Sahagun community, a day's journey distant, and the bet din of Burgos also served Sahagun. The non-Jewish authorities assisted in enforcing adherence to Jewish observances by the community when necessary, and sometimes imposed fines on offenders. In the second half of the 13th century the Kabbalist Rabbi Moses b. Solomon b. Simeon, a disciple of Rabbi Jacob Ha-Kohen, was living in Burgos, while many kabbalists were to be found in the small towns of the vicinity. In 1325 Alfonso XI bestowed an annual grant of 4,000 maravedis on the convent of Santa Maria La Real, out of the yearly tax paid by Burgos Jewry; the grant was subsequently increased by a further 1,000 maravedis from the same source.

During the Civil War for the Crown of Castile (1366-68) the city supported Pedro. When Henry captured Burgos he to meet this demand the community was forced to sell the crowns and ornaments on all the torah scrolls, except the celebrated Scroll of Ezra the Scribe. In addition Henry declared a moratorium on Jewish loans to Christians, ruining the Jewish creditors. When Henry was forced to leave Castile, Burgos again passed to Pedro, and on Henry's second entry he was attacked from the Jewish quarter and the fortress, which only surrendered after the walls had been destroyed. In 1379 new restrictions were enforced and Jewish trading outside the Juderia was prohibited.

During the persecutions of 1391, the Jews of Burgos took refuge in the houses of the Christian merchants. A small number were martyred. Some were baptized and later settled in a special quarter for conversos. In 1414 many Jews became converted through the activities of Vincente Ferrer.
During the 1440s only 23 heads of families are recorded as liable to pay tax. Several Jews are known to have practiced as physicians in the 1450s and 1460s. In 1485 the Jews of Burgos and district paid 56.5 castellanos toward the cost of the war with the Moors in Granada, and both Jews and Moors were forbidden to engage in commerce, ostensibly in order to keep prices low. Toward the end of the 1480s even more severe restrictions were imposed on the Jewish residents, until the municipality was directed by the crown to alleviate their condition. The majority of the Jews of Burgos adopted Christianity after the edict of expulsion of 1492; those who remained in the faith left, presumably for Portugal. The conversos in Burgos adapted themselves to Christianity, and few were tried by the inquisition.

Murcia

Capital and city of the former Kingdom of Murcia, S.E. Spain.

 

21st Century

Initiated in 2000, the Murcia: Three Cultures festival was launched to celebrate the interfaith harmony of medieval days, the epoch when Murcia was ruled as a semi-autonomous Kingdom. When racism recently arose in the area the Three Cultures festival was seen as an act to mitigate these. Similarly, the region was also from where some al-Qaida suspects had come from. The 2003 festival featured a number of Klezmer bands, Israeli artist David Broza and Sephardi performers alongside opera singer African-American Barbara Hendricks. Historically, Jews in the adjacent city of Lorca had acted with as intermediaries between the Muslim and Christian populations.

The only Mediaeval synagogue in the southern area of arid Murcia was discovered in the city of Lorca. Glass, ceramic and metal pieces from the inhabitants of the Jewish quarter were also unearthed. The 14th century synagogue is located within fortified walls of a Mediaeval castle. The complex is rectangular shaped with two entries and adjacent to a courtyard with one entry leading to a foyer with a fountain used to cleans hands in preparation for prayer. The central area held the aron ha-kodesh (holy ark) with the torah scrolls on the eastern wall. The bima (reading platform) was on the other side and between the Via Sacra. On top the matroneum (women’s gallery) has entry through a further entry. Also unique is that this castle synagogue is the only non-reused religious building, as was hardly the case in the history of the 13-15th centuries Spain. Commonly found for the Reconquista period (722-1492) was for churches to be constructed on top of mosques. In the case of the Mediaeval synagogue, it was built underground to provide for the law as not to exceed the height of the churches. Thus this synagogue was exceptionally preserved providing for an agreeable touring of the streets of this archeological Jewish quarter.

Reconstructing medieval synagogues in the Iberian Peninsula is a complex task with scarce materials remaining. A new method of studying synagogues in the Iberian area has been proposed. Given lacking Responsas (written decisions and rulings given by legal scholars) to provide with information and only the synagogue of Tomar in Portugal and the El Transito synagogue of Toledo having been preserved, other methods have been applied. Synagogues consecrated in the Sepharadi diaspora, in Europe, Asia, Americas provide for ideas about rituals, interior design and construct of synagogues.

First candles of Channukah were lit in the newly discovered synagogue of Lorca in December 2012 after over five centuries.

 

History

The Kingdom was first taken from the Muslims (1243) during the reign of Ferdinand III of Castile. After the revolt of the Muslims, it was reconquered by James I, King of Aragon, who handed it over to Castile in 1265.

Among those who assisted the King in his conquest of the region were Judah de la Cavalleria, who lent money for outfitting the navy in the war against the Muslims, and Astruc (or Astrug) Bonsenyor (d. 1280), father of Judah Bonsenyor, who conducted the negotiations with the Muslims for their capitulation, and who was also translator of Arabic documents in the Kingdom. Jewish officials of the Kingdom of Aragon met with Jewish officials of the Kingdom of Castile in the town, and in 1292 Moses Ibn Turiel of Castile held important administrative positions there.

Alfonso X of Castile (1252-84), son-in-law of James I, allocated a special quarter for the Jewish community, explicitly ordering that Jews were not to live among the Christians. However, at the time of their settlement various Jews received properties in the Jewish quarter and beyond it, in the town itself. A site was also allocated for the Jewish cemetery. Once the regulations of the settlement had been stipulated, an annual tax of 30 dinars was imposed on every Jew. Jews were also compelled to hand over tithes and the first fruits of all their possessions and herds to the cathedral, as was customary in Seville. In 1307 jurisdiction over the Muslims of the Kingdom of Murcia was entrusted to Don Isaac Ibn Vaish, the last Jew to hold such a function. Toward the close of the 14th century, several Jewish tax farmers were active in the Kingdom and in the town, among them Solomon Ibn Lop, who settled in Majorca after 1378 and who was granted the special protection of the King of Aragon.

During this period, the Jews of Murcia were noted for their generosity in the redemption of prisoners and for their participation in maritime trade; this was in addition to their usual occupations in commerce, crafts, and agriculture. Although there are no details available on how the Jews of the town fared during the persecutions of 1391, the community continued to exist after that time. Some 2,000 Jews earned their livelihood in a great variety of activities. Close mutual relations were maintained with the Christian population, and two of the community elders attended the meetings of the municipal council. Throughout the 15th century Jews of Murcia were often tax farmers, both in the Kingdom of Murcia and in other towns near and distant. In 1488 Samuel Abulafia was taken under the protection of the catholic monarchs for two years in appreciation of his services to the crown during the war against Granada.

Solomon b. Maimon Zalmati printed Hebrew books in Murcia in 1490. Details on the departure of the Jews from Murcia at the time of the expulsion are unknown but it may be assumed that they left from the port of Cartagena. After the expulsion, debts owed by Christians to the Jews were transferred to Fernando Nunez Coronel (formerly Abraham Seneor) and Luis de Alcala for collection. Murcia also had conversos, some of whom remained faithful to Judaism. Conversos even used to come there in order to return to Judaism; one such case is mentioned in the La Guardia trial (1490). At an early date, an inquisition tribunal was established at Murcia.

Jerez de la Frontera

A city in Andalusia, southwest Spain.

It had an important Jewish community. Jerez was captured from the Muslims by Alphonso X of Castile in 1255. His register of the apportionment of property (repartimiento) there shows that in 1266 Jews owned 90 buildings given to them by the King. Among those who received properties, there were Jewish inhabitants of Toledo and other towns in northern Castile who had already received similar grants in Seville. They included Todros Abulafia, his son Joseph, and Judah b. Moses Ha-Kohen. Several of the beneficiaries are described as ballestero ("archer", "guard", "constable"). The Jewish quarter was situated near the Calle de San Cristobal and ran parallel to the city wall. There were two synagogues, almshouses, and a house for the rabbi. The principal occupations of the Jews were commerce and viticulture, as well as the crafts customarily pursued by Jews. In 1290, the community paid an annual tax of 5,000 gold coins, a small sum in proportion to its means. The Jews of Jerez were exempted from various customs duties and enjoyed additional privileges, which were confirmed by Ferdinand IV and Alfonso XI (1332). The community of Jerez, which then numbered 90 families, was attacked during the persecutions of 1391. Those who survived as Jews sold part of their cemetery to the Dominican monastery. The names of 49 Jews who abandoned Judaism during that period are known.

The community was, however, to regain its strength. In 1438 it paid an annual tax of 10,700 maravedis in old coin.

About 1460, an accusation was brought against the Jews by the monks that they had interred a converso within the cemetery precincts. Solomon Ibn Verga gives a description of his relative Judah Ibn Verga, one of the last Jewish tax collectors, who saved the Jews of the town by enlisting the help of the Duke of Medina Sidonia. The community still paid 1,500 maravedis in 1474 and 1482. In 1481, the inquisition in Seville sent emissaries to confiscate the property of conversos who had fled the town. Information that the Jews were to be expelled from Andalusia reached Jerez as early as January 1483. The corregidor and council requested a postponement since they considered that the decree would bring about the economic ruin of the town. The Jews began to sell their property, but the municipal authorities prohibited people from buying it. The expulsion was postponed for six months. In 1484, some Jews are still mentioned as inhabitants of the town, but by 1485 the community had ceased to
exist.

Several autos-da-fe, each lasting some days, were held in Jerez in 1491 and 1492. Some sanbenitos (penitential garments) of repentant conversos were still hanging in the parochial Church of San Dionisio in the 18th century. After the edict of expulsion of 1492 Jews passed through Jerez on their way to exile in North Africa. In 1494, after an outbreak of plague, Christians were ordered to refuse shelter or admittance to their homes to any stranger in the town who had formerly been a Jew.