The wave of conversions following that of Shabbatai Tzevi provided many of the elite the opportunity to "shed the burden of leadership and improve their economic and social standing under the guise of an act of faith" (p. 195). [...] over the course of the seventeenth century, congregations in the major Ottoman cities grew weaker as unions of all the city's congregations into one body headed by a supreme leadership emerged. [...] by the end of the seventeenth century, Jews had assimilated Ottoman culture, forging the Jewish public into an Ottoman Jewry as reflected in its unique language, music, folktales, popular beliefs, moral norms and values and esthetic ideals, material culture, lifestyle, gender norms, and even religious piety and practice.
Reviews of Books 773 counted even if it must be admitted that there must be a measure of “truth” to the suspicious ac
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