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Love, Work and DeathJewish Life in Medieval Umbria$
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Ariel Toaff

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774198

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774198.001.0001

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Love of Life and Intimations of Mortality

Love of Life and Intimations of Mortality

(p.36) 2 Love of Life and Intimations of Mortality
Love, Work and Death

Ariel Toaff

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Jewish cemeteries, wills, and funerals. One of the first religious requirements of each Jewish community in Umbria, whatever its size, was its own cemetery; the cemetery boundary expanded and contracted in line with the community's growth or decline. While Christians chose their last resting-place in the churches or in their adjacent cemeteries, Jews were allotted peripheral burial-places, well out of town. This physical separation of the dead in some sense highlighted the difference in status between ‘established’ Christian citizens and Jews, who were merely tolerated and granted temporary citizenship. Meanwhile, for Italian Jews, a will was not only a private legal deed settling the inheritance of property; it was also a religious act through which the believer expressed their desire to be buried in the Jewish cemetery, acknowledged their sins, and redeemed them through appropriate bequests. The chapter then studies Jewish funerals. Jewish funeral processions sometimes aroused people's most aggressive instincts, and on such occasions, the Jews became the target not only of insults, obscenities, and boorish comments, but of vicious and even fatal stonings.

Keywords:   Jewish cemeteries, Jewish wills, Jewish funerals, Jewish funeral processions, Jewish communities, Umbria, Christians, Italian Jews, burial places, inheritance

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