Jewish Economics in the Venice Ghetto

September 8, 2022 | Henry Abramson
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In the 16th century, Venice was one of Europe’s great commercial centers, and home to a significant, and very diverse, Jewish population. It was also the place where Jews were first confined by law to a ghetto—a word that referred to a specific Venetian neighborhood before it came to mean an area to which Jews were restricted. Besides regulating where Jews could live, the municipal government also strictly circumscribed which trades they could ply. Venetian Jews nonetheless flourished, working as bankers, dealers in secondhand clothes and other used items, and sometimes as doctors. Henry Abramson explains. (Video, 13 minutes.)

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