חיפוש מתקדם
>Poverty and Welfare Among the Portuguese Jews of Early Modern Amsterdam
מידע נוסף
שנה:
2012
דאנאקוד:
45-113577
ISBN:
978-1-904113-57-7
עמודים:
590
שפה:
משקל:
1000 גר'
כריכה:
קשה

Poverty and Welfare Among the Portuguese Jews of Early Modern Amsterdam

תקציר

Early modern Amsterdam was a prosperous city renowned for its relative tolerance, and many people hoping for a better future, away from persecution, wars, and economic malaise, chose to make a new life there. Conversos and Jews from many countries were among them, attracted by the reputed wealth and benevolence of the Portuguese Jews who had settled there. Behind the facade of prosperity, however, poverty was a serious problem. It preoccupied the leadership of the Portuguese Jewish community and influenced its policy on admitting newcomers: the struggle to keep poverty under control and ensure that finances were available for welfare was paramount.

Tirtsah Levie Bernfeld looks at poverty and welfare from the perspective of both benefactors and recipients. She analyses benefactors' motives for philanthropy and charts its dimensions; she also examines the decision-making processes of communal bodies and private philanthropists, identifying the cultural influences that shaped their commitment to welfare. At the same time her detailed study succeeds in bringing the poor to life: she examines what brought them to Amsterdam, aspects of their daily life in the petitions they sent to the different welfare institutions, and the survival strategies offered by work, education, and charity. She also considers the related questions of social mobility and the motivation of the poor for joining the Amsterdam Portuguese community. Her research takes her, finally, beyond the margins of the established community to the small but active groups of Sephardi bandits who formed their own clandestine networks. Special attention is also paid to poor women, whether arriving alone or left behind and sometimes heading small family units, who were often singled out for relief. In this way the book makes a much-needed contribution to the study of gender, in Jewish society and more generally.

This ground-breaking, multi-faceted study of the dynamics of the relationship between the rich and the poor adds a nuanced new dimension to our understanding of Jewish life in the early modern period.

National Jewish book awards winner  

ביקורות ועוד

'The first systematic study of the poor and poor relief in Sephardic Amsterdam . . . a pioneering work . . . based on a thorough grasp of all the archival and historical sources . . . convincingly shows that the poor made up an increasingly greater percentage of the population than previously thought . . . this major study of Dutch Jewry is highly recommended.'
Harvey Sukenic, Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews

‘Explores and maps new territory in such an astonishingly thorough manner . . . a splendid example of prodigious research producing a result that illuminates an important aspect of a great Jewish community.’
Marc Saperstein, European Judaism