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Francos

(1,442 words)

Author(s): Dina Danon
The Francos were Jews of Italian (and other European) descent who settled in the Ottoman Empire in the seventeenth century and afterward in search of commercial opportunities. They generally did not consider themselves part of the communities where they settled or subject to their ordinances, but were instrumental in sustaining the communities financially and in fostering their transition into modernity. From the seventeenth century on, Jewish merchants of Italian-Livornese extraction began to settle in communities across North Africa and the Levant. They were known locally as se…

Charity and Social Services in the Ottoman Empire

(1,834 words)

Author(s): Dina Danon
Ottoman Jewish communities continued the charitable practices of the medieval period, but incorporated new mechanisms, such as benevolent societies, introduced by Iberian Jews. In the last century of Ottoman rule, Jewish communities adopted the modern approach of seeking to eradicate poverty rather than simply provide relief. The Jewish communities of the Ottoman Empire developed and sustained robust networks and institutions for the purposes of charitable assistance. Their charitable activities were largely a communal affair administered b…