This chapter concludes that the story of the formation of Sephardic Diaspora and the long and difficult resettlement of Iberian Jewry in the lands of the sixteenth-century Mediterranean offers valuable insights into the essential nature of Jewish communal organization and the self-fashioning of communal identities. Key to a better understanding of these issues is the recognition that they transcend the question of the Jews' political and religious relationships to their host societies. Indeed, although outside forces determined the general contours of Jewish society, the primary challenges to executing the rabbinic ideal of autonomous government came from within. In many ways, this communal instability was a central feature of Hispano-Jewish life that carried over into its diaspora.
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