About Don Judah de la Cacalleria HaLevi (Benveniste "Cavalier")
Don Judah de la Cavallería, the bailiff of the city, became involved in a dispute with Solomon *Alconstantini. Don Judah remained in office until 1276 and died a short while later. Moses Alconstantini, the alfaquim of Pedro III, was appointed in his place. Don Moses was, however, unable to hold his position in Saragossa, and in 1277 became bailiff of Valencia. During the time of Don Judah the first *blood libel on Spanish soil was circulated in Saragossa (1250); the Jews were accused of the murder of a Christian child and the subsequent agitation reached a dangerous pitch.
Source: jewish Virtual Library
- family tree and a genealogical report of five generations of de la Cavalleria starting with Judah de la Cavalleria in the 13th century and ending in the 15th century with the children of Pedro de la Cavalleria.
Judah aben Lavi De La Cavalleria was born 1230, and died 1286. He was the Bailiff of Saragossa, and administered James I property, and managed judicial matters on behalf of the king.
From 1257 to 1276, Judah was one of the most influential Jews in the kingdom of Aragon.
Descendants of Judah De La Cavalleria
The surname of de la Cavalleria according to the Encyclopedia Judaica was given to the family by the knights Templar who protected the family and the family in turn administered the tax system of the Templars. The family made its mark in Catalonia where they produced administrators and intellectuals. The kingdoms of Castilla and Aragon not only tolerate the Sephardim but allowed them to participate in the "cultural and economic life"
However, Christian tolerance of the Sephardim diminished during the "plague-stricken" mid-fourteenth century. Hatred of the Sephardim was fueled by Christian preachers and culminated in the bloody anti-Jewish riots in Castilla, Aragon, and Catalonia. In 1391 many Sephardim accepted baptism to save their lives or wealth.
Among those who adopted Christianity was Bonafos, a son of Vidal de la Cavalleria. Eventually, many of the newly baptized Sephardim found their way up the social ladder by excelling in commerce, medicine, law, arts, and government. Their wealth and fame opened the door to high society circles and to the court as it was the case of the de la Cavalleria who adopted Christianity.
Although the conversos de la Caballeria found fame and wealth, they created divisions in the family. Bonafos' son Judah became Christian and took the name of Gaspar, but his daughter Reyna remained Jewish.
Much to the grief of the Jewish community, Vidal Joseph, a learned man who had translated classic works into Spanish and had written Hebrew poems, also adopted Christianity.
Pedro de la Cavalleria, a secretary of the royal treasury under King Alfonso V of Aragon, Catalonia, Napoles, y de Sicily (1396-1458), forged a an affidavit of "pureza de sangre" to deny any Jewish blood (Castro 549). Mariana de la Cavalleria. a descendant of the de la Cavalleria who became Christians, married Alonso de Estrada, a royal treasurer of the Spanish crown in the 1520s in México. Etrada was a colorful figure who was supposedly the bastard son of King Ferdinand III (1451-1516) of Aragon. Mariana de la Caballeria was a daughter of Juan Gutierrez de la Cavalleria and Mayor Flores de Guevara. Mariana's grandfather Mene de la Cavalleria relapsed into Judaism. After he died his bones were burned by the Inquisition.
Eventually, as the rest of Sephardim who left Spain rather than convert to Christianity, the members of the de la Cavalleria family who remained faithful to Judaism scattered throughout Europe and the Ottoman empire.
Don Judah de la Cavallería ha-Levi's Timeline