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Hisham III (1027–1031) was overthrown . Beset by factionalism, the caliphate crumbled into a number of independent taifas or small principalities. The Umayyads had ruled with stability for 250 years. However, they never recovered from the Berber invasion and the sacking of Cordova twenty years earlier.Due to the general instability, many Jews emigrated to the Castile region especially to Toledo, or to Saragossa in Aragon. Others went to Leon or south to Almeria, and still others left for Egypt. As Jews moved away from established communities it led in many cases in a loosing of ties with the Jewish community, resulting in a rise in assimilation.

1033 May, FEZ (Morocco)

The Jewish community was decimated when the rebel Abul Kamal Tumin conquered the city. Six thousand Jews were killed.

1033 December 12, EARTHQUAKES (Eretz Israel)

A series of earthquakes caused major damage to Ramla, Jerico, and Nablus. Jewish farmers, especially in the Sharon Valley, suffered great losses due to an earthquake. When extra taxes were issued to non-Moslem landowners, almost all of the remaining Jews were forced to leave agriculture.

1034 WORMS (Germany)

A Byzantine-style synagogue was built by Jacob ben David and his wife Rachel. It is one of the oldest synagogues still standing today.

1034 DEATH OF SAMUEL BEN CHOFNI (Hofni) (Babylon)

Probably the Last Gaon of Sura.A prodigious writer of 65 titles, his works (all in judeo-arabic) included an introduction to the Talmud with 145 chapters a well as a book of Laws. Thus ended the long line founded by Rav almost 800 years previously. Some historians believe that the Sura geonate moved to Egypt and continued there for another few decades.

1035 - 1094 ISAAC BEN BARUCH IBN ALBALIA (Cordova, Spain)

Talmudist and Jewish leader, he also served as the astronomer to Al Mutamed, King of Seville.

1035 - 1106 NATHAN BEN YECHIEL (Rome, Italy)

Author of the Aruch (order), a lexicon of Hebrew. He explained the translations, various interpretations and difficulties surrounding words taken from the entire Bible, Talmud, Midrash and Targums in Hebrew and Aramaic. He was frequently quoted by Rashi (see 1040).

1035 - 1094 ISAAC (BEN BARUCH) IBN ALBALIA (Spain)

Mathematician, astronomer, and Talmudist. Ibn Albalia began to write his commentary, Kupat Harochelim "The Peddler's Basket" on intricate passages in the Talmud, but unfortunately didn’t live to see it completed. He was present in Granada in 1066 during the riots, and barely escaped with his life. The ruler of Seville, Mohammed ibn Abbad al-Mu'tamid (1040-1095), appointed him court astronomer and later Nasi or chief Rabbi. Although he had strong disagreements with Isaac Alfasi, before he died he asked his son Baruch to go to Lucena and study with him. Alfasi adopted Baruch who eventually became a well known scholar.

1035 CASTROJERIZ (Castile, Spain)

King Sancho the Great was killed during a revolt. Four officials and sixty Jews were put to death during that revolt, because the locals considered Jews to be "property" of the crown.


Jewish leader, diplomat and scholar. He had studied in Kairouan under Rabbi Nissim Gaon and eventually married his daughter. Joseph ibn Naghrela was also a gifted poet composing both religious and secular verse. He was appointed to succeed his father Samuel Hanagid by the Berber king Badis al-Muzaffar (r.1038-1073) of Granada. He was in contact with Jews in many countries and did what he could to help them. Unfortunately , despite his recognized talents he was also arrogant. This played into the hand of his Moslem enemies who were jealous of his position, and eventually led to his downfall

1037 SPAIN

Ferdinand I of Castile seized the province of Leon. This marked the beginning of the reconquest of Spain.

1038 (20 Nissan 4795) DEATH OF HAI GAON (Pumbedita, Babylon)

Marked the end of the Geonic period. It also ended because the spread of rabbinical authority throughout Europe and North Africa meant that there was no longer just one center for Jewish thought. Hai Gaon wrote over 100 responsa as well as a civil law codification of the Talmud. Heskiah succeeded him at the Pumbedita academy, but its prestige and importance were on the wane.


Rabbi poet philosopher, and biblical commentator. He is said to have written more than four hundred poems, as well as hundreds of Piyutim (liturgical poems). His commentary on the Talmud, Sefer ha-Ner (Book of the Lamp), covered at least nine Talmudic tractates, although most are not extant. Among his many pupils were his son Judah, and Moses ibn Ezra. Some believe that Isaac Alfasi was also one of his pupils.

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