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Rescue the Surviving SoulsThe Great Jewish Refugee Crisis of the Seventeenth Century$
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Adam Teller

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161747

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161747.001.0001

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David Carcassoni’s Mission to Europe

David Carcassoni’s Mission to Europe

The Sephardi Philanthropic Network

(p.132) Chapter Thirteen David Carcassoni’s Mission to Europe
Rescue the Surviving Souls

Adam Teller

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the mission of a young rabbinic scholar, David ben Natan'el Carcassoni, to visit the major Sephardi communities of Europe in person and raise the funds needed to ransom the Jewish captives from eastern Europe. David Carcassoni's mission plunged him into the complex world of Mediterranean Jewish philanthropy that raised money for a number of different purposes, which formally did not include the needs of the Istanbul Jewish community. In order to succeed, Carcassoni needed to access the general pidyon shevuyim funds collected by most communities and ensure that as much as possible was sent back home to help the ransoming effort. He faced two major problems. First, he was by no means the only person traveling around the Jewish communities asking for money to help relieve the suffering of the Polish Jews. Second, the Jewish communities of Venice were the controlling force of the Jewish Mediterranean philanthropic network; they were the clearing house to which most funds were sent, and one of their roles was to determine where the money was most needed and to send it there. Without Venetian support, Carcassoni would find it very difficult to raise the sums he needed.

Keywords:   David Carcassoni, Sephardi communities, Jewish captives, Mediterranean Jewish philanthropy, pidyon shevuyim, Jewish communities, Istanbul Jewish community, Polish Jews

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