Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Subject: Jewish Studies

Executive Editor: Norman A. Stillman

The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World Online (EJIW) is the first cohesive and discreet reference work which covers the Jews of Muslim lands particularly in the late medieval, early modern and modern periods. The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World Online is updated with newly commissioned articles, illustrations, multimedia, and primary source material. 

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Pahlavi Dynasty and Islamic Republic

(11 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Iran/Persia Norman A. Stillman


(416 words)

Author(s): Shalva Weil
In the first half of the twentieth century, approximately a thousand Jews lived in pre-state Pakistan’s major urban centers: Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, and Lahore. The majority were members of the  Bene Israel community of Maharashtra who had come to Pakistan with the British as railroad workers or as soldiers. They spoke Marathi, Urdu, and Englis…

Palermo and Sicily

(2,301 words)

Author(s): Nadia Zeldes
Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, was conquered from the Byzantines by the Aghlabid dynasty of Ifrīqiya (medieval Tunisia) during the nin…


(20,529 words)

Author(s): Ruth Lamdan | Yoram Erder | Joseph Drory
1. The first Muslim Period (634-1099) In general historiography, the period under discussion is called the first Muslim period, whereas in the context of Jewish history it is referred to as the gaonic period. The present survey will begin with a general overview and briefly clarify the significance of the gaonic period for the Jews of Palestine, the Land of Israel (Heb. Ereṣ Yisraʾel) .  Interface between Islamic and Gaonic Periods        The first Muslim period extended from the Arab conquest of Byzantine Palestine (634–641) to the Crusader conquest (1099). Islamic rule during this period was not monolithic, for the Muslims were occupied not only with their sweeping conquests throughout and beyond the Middle East, but were also engaged in shaping the structure and canon of their new religion. Theological conflicts within Islam and struggles for political power brought about governmental changes in Palestine as in the other…
Date: 2015-09-03

Pallache Family (Moroccan Branch)

(1,026 words)

Author(s): Mercedes García-Arenal
The  Pallaches were a Sephardi family perhaps descended from the Bene Palyāj mentioned by the twelfth-century chronicler Abraham Ibn Da’ud as “the greatest of the families of Cordoba.” The family name had numerous variants, among them Palacios, Palacio, de Palatio, al-Palas, and Palaggi. Following the expulsions from Iberia, members of the family went both to North Africa and to the Ottoman Empire. Several members of the family served the Saʿdian sultans of Morocco as merchants, diplomatic envoys, translators, and personal secretaries from around 1608 till the end of the dynasty half a century later. The first member of the Moroccan branch of the family to appear frequently in documents was Samuel Pallache, who was born in Fez around 1550 and died in the Hague in 1616. Details of his early life are fragmentary. The first open Portuguese minyan in Amsterdam met in his house for Yom Kippur services in 1596. Samuel was in Spain in 1603 buying precious stones for …

Pallache Family (Turkish Branch)

(1,479 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
The Pallache (Palaggi, Palache, Palacci) family originated in the Iberian Peninsula and had branches in many places along the Mediterranean littoral. It produced several leading rabbinical scholars in the Ottoman city of Izmir (Smyrna) during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Two of them, Ḥayyim ben Jacob and his son Abraham, served as chief rabbi ( haham başı) and became the focus of a fierce dispute that engulfed the town’s Jewish commu…

Pallache, Ḥayyim

(432 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Ḥayyim ben Jacob Pallache (Palache, Palaggi), known by the Hebrew acronyms Ḥabif and Maharḥaf, was a chief rabbi of the Ottoman city of Izmir (Smyrna). Born in Izmir in 1788, he was educated by his father, who was a well-known rabbi and kabbalist, as well as by his grandfather Joseph Raphael ben Ḥayyim Ḥazzan (Ḥazzan, 1741–1820), who was also a chief rabbi of Izmir. Ḥayyim Pallache was already a rabbi in 1813, when he was but twenty-five years old; by the time he reached forty in 1828, he had been appointed head of the …

Pallache, Samuel b. Isaac I

(12 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Pallache Family Norman A. Stillman


(533 words)

Author(s): Margalit Bejarano
Panama, a republic in Central America, is unique in the ethnic composition of its Jewish community: the oldest communal organization was founded by Sephardim of Portuguese descent from the Caribbean islands; the largest group is made up of  Jews from the Middle East; Ashkenazim are a small minority in a community dominated by Sephardim and …

Papo, Eliezer

(371 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Eliezer ben Isaac Papo, born in Sarajevo in 1785, was the rabbi of the small Jewish community in Silistre and one of the best-known Jewish scholars in the Balkans in the early nineteenth century. His fame derived primarily from his Peleʾ Yoʿeṣ (Wonderful Counselor), an important work on morals and ethics ( musar) published in his lifetime (Istanbul, 1825) and many times thereafter down to the present. In addition to the numerous Hebrew editions, it has appeared in Judeo-Spanish, Judeo-Arabic, and Yiddish, as well as in abr…

Pariente-Elmaleh, Messody

(625 words)

Author(s): Frances Malino
Messody Pariente was born in 1877 in Tetouan into an aristocratic Jewish family. Her uncle Shemtob (Semtob) Pariente played an important part in extending the influence of the Alliance Israélite Universelle in Turkey. After attending the local Alliance school, Messody left Tetouan for Paris to train as an Alliance teacher. Returning to North Africa in 1895, she became an assistant teacher in the Alliance schools in Tangier and Tetouan (1897–1902) and married Amran Elmaleh (born in Tangier in 1879), a fellow teacher. In 1903 Messody and her husband left for Beirut. T…

Pariente, Shemtob

(287 words)

Author(s): Joy Land
Shemtob (Semtob, S.T.; J.) Pariente (1849–1907) was an educator in the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) network and director of colonies for the Jewish Colonization …


(1,562 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ayalon
The Hebrew term parnas (pl. parnasim), which first appears in rabbinic sources (BT Sanhedrin 82a), denotes leadership status. In medieval Europe, the parnas was the head of the community, elected for a fixed period that, depending on locality, could be as brief as a month or as much as several years. In the eastern Mediterranean and the Arab world, the parnasim were lay leaders of the community who functioned alongside the rabbis. Their position was therefore similar in many ways to that of “the seven good men of the city” ( shivʿa ṭove ha-ʿir) in the Talmud (BT Megilla 26a–27a). Parnasim are …

Partnership, commercial/industrial

(605 words)

Author(s): Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman
Commercial and industrial partnerships (Ar. shirka; Med. Heb. shutafut) were the primary form of economic cooperation in the lands of medieval Islam. Classical Islamic and Jewish legal sources and documents from the Cairo Geniza reveal the breadth of the partnership arrangements employed throughout the Middle Ages. Partnerships had many economic functions. In addition to being a vehicle for craft production in which both partners would contribute investment capital as well as physical effort, partnership bypassed the traditional prohibition on granting…

Passi, David

(330 words)

Author(s): Benjamin Arbel
David Passi was a Jewish businessman, presumably of Portuguese origin, who was active as a secret agent and political councilor in the eastern Mediterranean between the late 1560s and the mid-1590s. In 1569 he was in Ragusa, wherefrom he sent intelligence to Venice concerning Ottoman political and military intentions. During the war between Venice and the Ottomans (1571–1573) he acted as a Venetian agent in Ragusa, providing intelligence on Ottoman affairs. After the conclusion of the war, Passi must have spent several years in Venice before moving on to Istanbul. …

Patras (Balya Badra)

(8 words)

Author(s): Avigdor Levy
see Morea Avigdor Levy


(839 words)

Author(s): Thomas Park
In the Islamic world, Jews who made their living by peddling sold both to Jews and to Muslims. In dealing with the latter, the Jewish peddler (known as a dewwās in Morocco, ṭawwāf in Libya, and dore-gard in Iran) relied upon the protection of local Muslim notables who would be dishonored if the peddler was harmed. Jewish peddlers had certain advantages over Muslim competitors intrinsic to their lowly status in the Islamic world. Their presence in Muslim homes posed little threat to family honor, because an affair or elopement with a Muslim woman was unthin…

Peraḥya, Aaron Ben Ḥayyim Abraham ha-Kohen

(177 words)

Author(s): Leah Bornstein-Makovetsky
Aaron ben Ḥayyim Abraham ha-Kohen Peraḥya(1627?–1697) was born in Salonica into a well-known family of Italian origin. He studied with Rabbis Asher ben Ardut ha-Kohen, Ḥasday ha-Kohen Peraḥya, and Ḥayyim Shabbetay. In 1689, he succeeded Elijah Covo (see Covo Family) as chief rabbi of Salonica. Aaron was the author of Paraḥ Maṭṭe Aharon (Aaron’s Staff Blossomed; 2 vols., Amsterdam 1703), a collection of responsa; Pirḥe Kehunna (Flowers of Priesthood; Amsterdam, 1709), a commentary on tractates Bava Qamma, Bava Meṣiʽa, Ketubbot, Giṭṭin, ʽAvoda Zara, and Qiddush…

Perahya, Eli (Elie)

(189 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Eli Perahya was a leader of the Turkish Jewish community, a writer, and a Judeo-Spanish poet. He was born in Istanbul in 1913 and was educated at the Saint Joseph French Lycée. A retired accountant and financial professional, he has worked since an early age in the social  institutions of the Turkish Jewish community. From 1957 to 1983, he was a member of the lay council of the Turkish chief rabbinate and in 1983 was elected its vice president. From 1974 to 1976 he was president of the Society to Protect the Poor (Fakirleri Koruma Derneği), a successor to the B'nai B'rith Lodge of Constantinop…
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