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Middle Ages and Early Modern Era The guilds of the Middle Ages in Europe were thoroughly Christian in character and the Jew had no place in them Since few Jews in Ashkenaz practiced crafts they did not organize their own guilds while the Jewish merchants were restricted in their professions and arranged their affairs through the general communal regulations In the Byzantine Empire in the 12th century an authorization was granted to jewish craftsmen by Manttel 11 143- 1180 to establish guilds in their towns In Sicily there were Jewish guilds of silk weavers dyers and carpenters during the 12th to 15th centuries In 1541 the tailors guild of Rome reached an agreement with the Christian guild of the city In Christian Spain the occupations of the Jews were highly diversified and many engaged in crafts They established associations tavtirct active in the economic social and religious spheres Solomon b Abraham Adret clearly formulated the legal character of the guilds every company which has a common interest is to he regarded as a town apart this was customary in all the holy communities and no one ever raised any doubts as to this Rashha Resp vol 4 no 185 The responsa of 1 Asher 6 Iehiel Solomon 5Adret and Isaac b Sheshet Perfet provide information on the structure and activities of the companies in Spain The regulations presented to the king by the company of Ievish shoemakers in Saracossa in 1336 for ratification include arrangements for financial assistance to colleagues in times of sickness a compulsory arrangement for the visiting of the sick and participation in the rejoicing and mourning of members modeled on the arrangements of the Christian euilds Also recorded are institutions for charitable pur-poses and special prayer designed for craftsmen such as in Perpignan and Saragossa and the 6cC rnidrasht of the weavers in Catatayud which were set aside for the individuals of the company and were not consecrated for
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