Cretan Jews were Greek-speaking and Romaniote in their traditions and it seems that they were fairly idiosyncratic in aspects of Jewish religious observance. The Takkanoth Kandiyah form a major source of information about Crete’s elite Jewish culture during the Venetian period.

Edited and partly commented on by Rabbi Elijah Capsali in the mid-16th century, they represent an organized, chronological collection of Hebrew legislative texts relating to the leadership of the Heraklion community that were issued by successive communal leaders between the early 13th and late 16th centuries. Capsali’s intention was to impart a lasting testimony to the long-established rule of law in his community and also to celebrate the generations of its Jewish leaders.

The statutes address problems connected to the specifics of Jewish religious law such as observance of the Sabbath and the proper preparation of kosher food and wine, alongside interpersonal relations in matters of daily life within the community, with their Orthodox neighbours and the Venetian authorities. Questions of communal policy, most notably the responsibilities of community leaders, the mechanisms for their election and executive processes are also addressed.

Photos 1, 2
Source: public domain

Section from the Takkanoth Kandiyah

English translation of section from the Takkanoth Kandiyah

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