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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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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

The Daily Life of the Poor

The Daily Life of the Poor

(p.187) Chapter Seven The Daily Life of the Poor
Poverty and Welfare Among the Portuguese Jews in Early Modern Amsterdam

Tirtsah Levie Bernfeld

Liverpool University Press

This chapter highlights the various aspects of the daily lives of the poor. In Amsterdam, the poor among the Portuguese Jewish community ranged from the highly educated to the illiterate. On the one hand there were those whose sense of honour debarred them from asking for poor relief, and on the other there were those described as inveterate beggars. There were men and women; large, complete families and fragmented units; and there were people left completely on their own. Some were healthy or young or both, others old or sick or both, with all sorts of variations between them. Many applied for poor relief no more than occasionally; others relied permanently on outside help. The poor relief provided by the Portuguese community constituted no more than a supplement to income from work, private funds, and legacies, and help from friends, relatives, private charity, and other sources. Sephardi Jews who had no access to these sources, or who missed out in other ways, found themselves forced to seek their fortune elsewhere sooner or later.

Keywords:   poor Jews, Amsterdam, Portuguese Jewish community, poor relief, inveterate beggars, Sephardi Jews, charity

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