This volume of the Documentary History of the Jews in Italy is the ninth of the second series, illustrating the history of the Jews in Sicily based on notarial and court records. It is the sequel to the eight volumes of the first series. Notarial deeds drawn up by public notaries in Palermo and elsewhere and cases brought before the Pretorian Court in Palermo present a kaleidoscopic picture of the private lives of the Jews of Sicily during the last three centuries of their presence on the island. They illustrate the economic, social and religious history of the Jewish minority and the relations with the Christian majority.
Much information is provided on trade and commerce, crafts and professions, religious and family life. Some light is thrown also on the internal life of the communities, particularly the larger ones, including organization and institutions, the synagogue, education, customs and traditions.
Although the surviving legal deeds present only a fraction of the total drawn up in those years, they are copious and abundant. Over 30,000 documents of this group were selected for publication, most appearing here for the first time. While some documents are discussed at length, the majority are only presented in summary form. The volume is provided with additional bibliography and indexes, while the introduction will appear at the end of the series.
Shlomo Simonsohn is Professor Emeritus of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University. He is a former rector of the university and former chairman of the Rectors and Presidents Conference of Israel. He has published extensively on the history of the Jews in Italy, the Papal See and the Jews, and cognate subjects.