This text was prepared by William Gross:
The beginning of the Jewish community in Amsterdam is rooted in the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions at the end of the 16th century. During this period, many of the large number of Jews whose ancestors had been forcibly converted almost one hundred years earlier and labeled "New Christians" were being hounded and accused of heresies. Some of these chose to leave and found a friendly refuge in the Protestant city of Amsterdam. As more and more of them arrived and sought to return to their Jewish roots, the need arose for fundamental Jewish texts that would be comprehensible to an audience ignorant of Hebrew.
Isaac Hezekiah ben Jacob de Cordova came from a Sephardic family with a printing trade tradition. His father Jacob Chaim de Cordova was born in Brazil, and following his arrival in Amsterdam learned the the printing trade and worked at several Jewish presses there. From c.1706 Isaac printed Hebrew and Spanish books at his own press. In 1709 he moved his press to Hamburg where he purchased some more printing equipment. He printed a total of 6 works in Hamburg before returning to Amsterdam and resuming operations there in 1714. He remained in the printing business for a further 15 years, until 1730, both printing and selling books. From time to time he printed in Yiddish as well.