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HUESCA (anciently Osca and Wescah; hence the Hebrew ):

City in Aragon. Toward the end of the thirteenth century it contained a specially privileged Jewish community of 160; it also had a rabbinical college of its own (Solomon ben Adret, Responsa, Nos. 300, 1179). The congregation, which had imposed a special tax upon bread, meat, and wine consumed by its members, was obliged, by the indigence of the people, to remit part of such tax in 1257. During the wars of King Alfonso III. of Aragon with Sicily and France it raised such considerable subsidies that in 1288 the king remitted part of the taxes. The Shepherd persecutions threatened the Huesca congregation; in 1391 it was attacked, and many members were baptized. By 1437 the congregation had declined to such an extent that it paid only 300 sueldos in taxes.

The congregation had a regulated communal system; its statutes were enacted and its administrators and syndics (12) appointed with the approval of the king. At the disputation in Tortosa it was represented by Don Todros Alconstantini. Huesca was a seat of Jewish scholarship; here lived, in the thirteenth century, Jacob b. Moses Abbasi and Joseph b. Isaac Alfual, translators of portions of Maimonides' commentary, and contemporaries of Isaac b. Sheshet, Ḥayyim Galipapa, Joseph b. Ḥayyim b. Ardot, Abraham and Ḥayyim b. Solomon ibn Baka, Joseph Cohen, Baruch and Isaac Alitensi, Abraham Bibago, etc. Petrus Alfonsi was baptized at Huesca July 29, 1106. The Usque family, which lived in Italy, probably came from Huesca, which was also the birth-place of the Almosnino family; Abraham Almosnino of Huesca was burned at the stake on Dec. 10, 1489. The Jews of Huesca were engaged in weaving; one of the most important woolen factories at the time of the expulsion was Don Solomon Abenaqua's. The total population in 1887 was 13,041.

Bibliography:
  • Shebeṭ Yehudah, p. 68;
  • Rios, Hist. ii. 149, 155;
  • Jacobs, Sources, Nos. 118, 613, 928, 1193;
  • Isaac b. Sheshet, Responsa, Nos. 217, 400 et seq., 425 et seq., 484 et seq.
G. M. K.
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