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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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Transregional Contexts

Transregional Contexts

(p.191) Chapter Seventeen Transregional Contexts
Rescue the Surviving Souls

Adam Teller

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how the transregional aspects of the captive crisis gave it great significance for the Jewish world. The appearance on the slave markets of Istanbul of thousands of Jews, destitute and desperate, as well as the news coming in of the enormous destruction in Poland–Lithuania and the stream of emissaries and refugees traveling from town to town in search of help, forced Jewish communities across Europe to make a concerted effort to step up their charitable activity on their behalf. At the heart of all the activity was a transregional fundraising network run by the Jewish communities of Venice, the major Jewish center in the eastern Mediterranean. The Polish crisis put this system under great pressure. The calls on it multiplied and came from a number of different directions. Averse to turning away these needy Jews empty-handed, it adopted the policy it used for supporting the Jewish communities in the Land of Israel. The needs of the Polish Jewish captives challenged the fundraising network in other ways. For example, the fundraising crossed the cultural border within Jewish society, since Sephardi Jews were being called on to support Ashkenazim. Even more striking, however, was the way the network positioned itself vis-à-vis the political borders of Europe and the Mediterranean world. These were, perhaps, the first steps toward the development of an institutional Jewish world.

Keywords:   captive crisis, Jewish world, Poland–Lithuania, Jewish refugees, Jewish communities, transregional fundraising network, Polish Jewish captives, Jewish society

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