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Area in any city or town inhabited only by Jews. The term “ghetto” has many explanations: the Republic of Venice passed a law in 1516 ordering all Venetian Jews to be limited to one particular section of Venice, known as Ghetto; the word is derived from a Venetian workshop known as Geto, where weapons were made; it is an abbreviation of the Italian borghetto, meaning suburb.

From the first days of Exile, wherever Jews have lived they have kept to separate neighborhoods by their own choice as well as by decree. Jews often made their living from trade and preferred to live near the marketplace or other such sources of livelihood. Their religious and social needs also caused them to settle in groups. The idea of separating Jewish inhabitants from the rest of the population was conceived by the Catholic Church. But it was not until 1179 that the Third Lateran Council issued an edict forbidding Jews and Christians to live side by side. For a long time this decree was not carried out, but in the 13th century some countries began to limit the Jews to special districts. In 1239, King James I of Aragon relocated the Jews of Valencia in a specific district known as Juderia. In 1276, London Jews were assigned a special area called Jewry. In Germany, in the 13th century, Jews were limited to living in streets named Judengasse. In some towns in the south of France under the rule of the pope, the Lateran decree went into effect in the 14th century and the ghetto in these places was called Juiverie. In 1555, Pope Paul restricted the Jews of Rome to a dilapidated quarter beside the Tiber river known as Giudecca. Later, ghettos were instituted in other Italian towns as well, such as Toscana, Padua, and Mantua.

In the 15th century there were ghettos in various cities in Poland

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