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CERVERA ():

Hill-town in Catalonia, Spain, which in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries had a Jewish community. In 1328 a quarter near the San Miguel place was assigned by King Alfonso IV. to the Jews, who enjoyed full commercial freedom; but four years later, because of their increased trade, they received permission to live in the "Calle de Vent" (the Traders' street). At the time of the Black Death, in 1349, the Jews were attacked and plundered during a riot, and eighteen of them were killed. The rest fled, but returned to Cervera after order had been restored.

The liberality and benevolence of Don Juan II. won for him the hearts of his Hebrew subjects; and upon his death, in Jan., 1479, the Jewish communities of Agramont, Belpuig, Tarrega, and certain other places assembled at Cervera for memorial services. All were dressed in black. The most distinguished Jews of Cervera carried a coffin decorated with the royal escutcheon and covered with a silken pall. Four men bearing huge torches preceded it. Singing psalms and extracts from the Jewish liturgy, the procession marched from the "Calle de Mayor," the main street, to the market-place. There the coffin was set upon a platform erected for the purpose, with torches at the two ends; and men and women joined in antiphonal dirges. Crescas ha-Kohen, physician to the king, delivered the memorial address, dwelling on the virtues of the deceased monarch; and the impressive services were closed with more dirges.

Bibliography:
  • Jacobs, Sources, Nos. 179, 1021, 1042;
  • Joseph ha-Kohen, 'Emeḳ ha-Baka, p. 66;
  • Balaguer, Historia de Cataluña, xviii. ch. 27.
G.M. K.
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