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Poverty and Welfare Among the Portuguese Jews in Early Modern Amsterdam$
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Tirtsah Levie-Bernfeld

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113577

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113577.001.0001

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Financing Charity

Financing Charity

(p.136) Chapter Five Financing Charity
Poverty and Welfare Among the Portuguese Jews in Early Modern Amsterdam

Tirtsah Levie Bernfeld

Liverpool University Press

This chapter evaluates the financial support for poor-relief institutions in the Portuguese community, which continued for two centuries. This was made possible by a combination of measures: a constant process of ad hoc adaptation and revision; extracting promises of legacies from the rich; the productive investment of capital; and, finally, taking out loans from other charitable institutions and from individuals. Curbing expenditure and stimulating income became the basis of financial policy. Although the growing tax burden increased the risk both of losing affluent existing members of the community and of failing to attract the well-to-do from other parts, more income had to be generated by higher taxation. Private charity also constituted an important supporting element in the reception and relief of the poor. Contributions to charity were not confined to the elite, but came from various income groups. By and large, it would seem that the average contribution donated by non-Jewish philanthropists was far exceeded by that made by Portuguese Jews.

Keywords:   financial support, poor-relief institutions, Portuguese community, taxation, private charity, non-Jewish philanthropists, Portuguese Jews

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