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CHAPTER VI PROTECTED

by Salo W. Baron
CHAPTER VI PROTECTED COMMUNITY HE rise and expansion of Islam injected a powerful new element into Jewish communal history. The dual-ism of Rome and Persia was now replaced, and on a much wider scale, by that of Christendom and Islam. For centu-ries Muslim countries harbored the overwhelming majority of world Jewry. Even after the Mongolian invasions of the East and the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula, they included a substantial minority. The expansion of the Ottoman Empire, extending to Budapest and to the fron-tiers of India and Morocco, soon opened new economic and cultural opportunities for the harassed western as well as eastern Jewries. After Caliph Omar’s memorable conquests, Muslim lands thus served as a reservoir of biological, economic and cul-tural strength for the entire people, or as places of refuge and shelter for its stranded fragments. Islam, always includ-ing Babylonia and, except for the brief interlude of the early Crusades, Palestine, also long embraced the chief intellec-tual and communal leadership of world Jewry. Even when its decline, concomitant with Christendom’s rise to heights of economic and cultural power never before achieved by man, entailed the loss of such unified leadership, Palestine remained the cynosure of all eyes. It still attracted settlers, pil-grims and donors from all the Jewish world, strengthening, in return, the moral backbone of the people and fortifying 157 T   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C For use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. To purchase Scholar PDF version with advanced functionality, go to www. publishersrow. com

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CHAPTER VI PROTECTED COMMUNITY HE rise and expansion of Islam injected a powerful new element into Jewish communal history. The dual-ism of Rome and Persia was now replaced, and on a much wider scale, by that of Christendom and Islam. For centu-ries Muslim countries harbored the overwhelming majority of world Jewry. Even after the Mongolian invasions of the East and the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula, they included a substantial minority. The expansion of the Ottoman Empire, extending to Budapest and to the fron-tiers of India and Morocco, soon opened new economic and cultural opportunities for the harassed western as well as eastern Jewries. After Caliph Omar’s memorable conquests, Muslim lands thus served as a reservoir of biological, economic and cul-tural strength for the entire people, or as places of refuge and shelter for its stranded fragments. Islam, always includ-ing Babylonia and, except for the brief interlude of the early Crusades, Palestine, also long embraced the chief intellec-tual and communal leadership of world Jewry. Even when its decline, concomitant with Christendom’s rise to heights of economic and cultural power never before achieved by man, entailed the loss of such unified leadership, Palestine remained the cynosure of all eyes. It still attracted settlers, pil-grims and donors from all the Jewish world, strengthening, in return, the moral backbone of the people and fortifying 157 T < < C h a p t e r >> Home | T O C For use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. To purchase Scholar PDF version with advanced functionality, go to www. publishersrow. com
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Varda Books - 1-59045-193-7


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