In 1517, when the Ottoman Turks conquered Palestine, Sephardic Jews living in Ottoman Salonika were allowed to move to the Holy Land. Many of these Jews had been expelled from Spain in 1492. Hakham Malkiel Ashkenazi purchased a walled compound in Hebron and founded the Abraham Avinu Synagogue which became a center of study for Kabbalah. Malkiel was a respected authority in Jewish law, and his decisions on religious matters were widely accepted, also outside of Hebron.
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