LUCCA (Hebr. ):

City of Tuscany, Italy. Its Jewish community is known in literature especially through the Kalonymus family of Lucca, whose ancestor saved the life of the German emperor Otto II. after the battle of Cotrone in Calabria (982), and seems thereupon to have settled at Mayence, where the family had extensive privileges. In the twelfth century the community again appears in literature in the person of Abraham ibn Ezra, who lived at Lucca for a time while writing his grammatical works "Yesod" and "Sefat Yeter," as well as his commentary on the Pentateuch and Isaiah. He seems to have given instruction here in Hebrew grammar and Biblical science; one of his pupils, Ḥayyim, he mentions by name. The community was not a large one at that time; for Benjamin of Tudela, who visited it in 1165, found only forty Jews, under the leadership of R. David Samuel and R. Jacob.

In 1431 permission was granted to Angelo di Gaio, a Jew from Forli, to settle in Lucca and to open a bank for loans. A dispute arose, however, when King Sigismund, as he passed through Lucca, forcibly imposed a tax of 1,500 gold florins on the Jew, and Di Gaio left the city, while his son Gaietro opened a bank elsewhere. Later a similar permission was granted in Lucca to Isaac Manuelli & Co., who with others had settled in the city, and had a synagogue in a private house, besides a cemetery. Certain enemies of the Jews lodged a complaint against them with Pope Nicholas V.; but he, annulling the constitutions of Clement V. and a decree of the Bishop of Lucca, declared himself in favor of the Jews and confirmed their privileges. Other Jews who had banks in Lucca were David Dattali or da Tivoli and Vitale Isaac. In 1489, however, as a result of the anti-Jewish preaching of Bernardino da Feltre (in whose way many difficulties were placed at first in order to protect the Jews), the community decided to open a mont-de-pietà, and the Jews, who had objected to its establishment, were obliged to pay a fine of 1,300 florins.

Since their residence in Lucca was neither profitable nor secure, the Jews abandoned the city; according to some sources they were driven from it. After 1500 they returned, but they were in general not permitted to stay more than fifteen days consecutively. There are records, dated as late as May, 1728, of the names of Jews who had permission to make an extended residence in the city. After the French Revolution the Bacciochi family desired in vain to attract to the principality Jews who would buy property from the state.

Lucca has never had a Jewish community of any importance, and at present (1904) only about thirty Jews live there.

  • Aronius, Regesten, Nos. 70, 136;
  • Rosin, Die Religionsphilosophie des Abraham ibn Esra, in Monatsschrift, xlii. 21;
  • Benjamin of Tudela, Itinerary, ed. Asher, i. 37, ii. 16;
  • Depping, Die Juden im Mittelalter, pp. 368 et seq.;
  • Regio Archivio di Stato di Lucca, i. 208, 210-211, 362;
  • iii. 387-388, s.v. Ebrei.
G. I. E. V. C.
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