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C. 1510 - 1569 DONNA GRACIA MENDES NASI (Beatrice de Luna) (Portugal-Italy-Turkey)

Philanthropist and Jewish Leader of Converso extract. She married a banker and merchant, Francisco Mendes, also a Converso, and was widowed with a daughter at age 26. Moving to Antwep to join the banking business with her brother-in-law Diogo Mendes, they established an underground organization to help fleeing Conversos. In Ferrara, she declared her Judaism and took on the name Nasi. She later relocated to Constantinople where she used her wealth for various philanthropies including establishing yeshivot, synagogues, and feeding the poor. When in 1555 the Italian city of rn Ancona burned 25 Conversos, she tried to organize a boycott of the port but was opposed by rabbinical authorities and some merchants including Benvenida Abravanel. She passed on her influence to her son-in-law and nephew, Don Joseph Nasi.




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