In Egypt the Jewish community had protected status and could practise their religion in relative freedom. This was not always the case in Syria-Palestine. This letter, from Syria to Egypt, describes an outbreak of anti-Jewish persecution in Damascus. It occurred when a Bedouin tribe replaced Fatimid rule. Described as ‘tyrants’, the new rulers imposed harsh restrictions against the ancient Jewish community: cutting off access to the water supply, forbidding the slaughter of animals according to Jewish law, and imposing additional taxation. A new Fatimid governor overturned the measures, but only after the community was forced to pay hefty bribes.
Hebrew, paper, Damascus, c. 1050 CE