Nachmanides
A wall mural of Rabbi Moses ben Nahman in Acre. Photo by Yuval Y. via Wikimedia
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On this day in 1391, anti-Semitic rioting came to an end in Barcelona as it began a bit north of there in the Catalonian city of Gerona. Although the Jews were only expelled from Spain a century later, in 1492, persecution, forced conversions and killings were common from the middle of the 14th century.

They reached a peak in 1391, with anti-Jewish rioting from spreading from Seville in the south, northwest to Cordova and Toledo and then into Aragon and Catalonia and even the island of Majorca. Jews had been in Gerona since the 9th century, and during the 13th century, the city became a center of kabbalistic studies.

Numerous teachers worked there, most prominently Rabbi Moses ben Nahman (Nahmanides), who in 1263 appeared before the king in a disputation with a priest who had converted from Judaism. (Nahmanides won, but three years later, left Spain for Palestine.)

In the 1391 riots, most of those Jews in Gerona who didn’t leave the city chose martyrdom over conversion.