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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Tabib, Mordechai

(750 words)

Author(s): Ori Kritz
Mordechai Tabib, an author, poet, and reviewer, was born in Shivat Zion, a Yemenite neighborhood of Rishon LeZion, Israel, on December 14, 1910. He attended ma‘lama, the traditional Yemenite school, until age thirteen. His father wanted him to become a shoḥeṭ (ritual slaughterer), but Mordechai went to public school for several months before he was forced to leave to help support his underprivileged family. Although he was unable to return to school to obtain a formal education, he read widely on his own. In 1938 he began publishing poetry in the literary section of the daily Davar, and in…

Tafilalet

(1,213 words)

Author(s): Moshe Bar-Asher
Tafilalet (Tafilalt; Ar./Berb. Tāfīlālt) is a fertile region in southeastern Morocco, situated in the Ziz River basin on the northern edge of the Sahara Desert. It is famous for its date palm industry, and is the patrimonial home of the Filālī ( nisba or adjectival form) sharīfs (Cl. Ar. shurafā’; Coll. Mor. Ar. s horfa), the rulers of the  Moroccan Alawid dynasty since the seventeenth century. Tafilalet was also the name of an administrative district under the French. Jews lived in the Tafilalet region at least as early as the end of the first millennium, when there was a Jewish community in…

Tafsīr of Ezekiel (Jud.-Pers. Tafsīr-i Yehezkel)

(396 words)

Author(s): Thamar E. Gindin
The Tafsīr of Ezekiel ( Tafsīr-i Yeḥezkel), the longest known early Judeo-Persian text (MS Firkovitch Yevr.-Arab. I 1682), is 226 pages long and was written by four different authors in two different dialects of early Judeo-Persian. It was introduced by Salemann in 1900 and published by Gindin in 2007. The first pages are missing, and the manuscript begins in the middle of the commentary on Ezekiel 1:21. It ends neatly at the end of Ezekiel 39, with no colophon. Based on paleography, language, one historical reference, and one geographical reference, Tafsīr of Ezekiel probably dates fr…

Tagaost (Tagawst) 

(380 words)

Author(s): Aomar Boum
In the fifteenth century, Tagaost (Tagawst) was the most important commercial entrepôt in southern Morocco. Situated in the southwestern part of the Sous region in the Oued Noun Valley about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) west of modern Goulimine, it included three settlements: Agaos, Tisegnane, and Aït Moussi. According to Leo Africanus, these villages, referred to as El Qsabi (walled villages), comprised the largest walled settlement in southwestern Morocco at the end of the fourteenth century. The population numbered eight thousand households, w…

Tahala

(427 words)

Author(s): Sarah Frances Levin
Tahala (Tahāla) is an agglomeration of small villages in the Ammeln Valley in Morocco’s Anti-Atlas, in the Berber-speaking region (Tashelḥit dialect) called the Sous (Sūs). The exact origins of its Jewish community are unknown. Historical accounts hold that by the late fifteenth century there was a mellah (Ar. mallāḥ ), or Jewish quarter, in Tizi n’Aoussift (one of Tahala’s villages), probably founded by Jews from neighboring areas. Neither the villages nor the mellah of Tahala were walled. The Jewish population was estimated at 750 at the end…

Tahdhīb (Cairo), al-

(280 words)

Author(s): Lital Levy
Al-Tahdhīb (Edification), published in Cairo from 1901 to 1903, is probably the oldest extant example of a Jewish periodical in standard Arabic. It was founded, edited, and largely written by the Egyptian Karaite lawyer and writer Murād Farag (Faraj) (1866–1956), who utilized it as a platform to promote reform in the local Karaite community. The paper addressed the community’s identity and cultural orientation, and endorsed legal and educational reforms. Its eclectic content included didactic essays exhorting moral behavior and dispensing advice,…

Tāhertī Family

(1,200 words)

Author(s): Marina Rustow
The Tāhertīs were a Maghrebī merchant family active in the period from 1010 to 1075. Together with the houses of Ibn ʿAwkal,  al-Tustarī, and Nahray ben Nissim, the Tāhertīs were, in terms of volume of trade, one of the largest and most powerful mercantile operations of their era. While most business endeavors rarely involved cargoes exceeding the value of a few hundred dinars, the Tāhertīs and their counterparts routinely invested in merchandise worth several thousand dinars or more. They were connected to the other g…

Taïeb, Zizi

(156 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Zizi (Léon Youda) Taïeb was one of Tunisia’s finest Jewish competitive swimmers. Born in Tunis on September 19, 1916, he belonged to the Maccabi sports club. He swam all styles—butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, crawl—and during the 1930s and 1940s participated in almost every swimming competition held in Tunisia and North Africa. His most outstanding achievement was his 1934 victory in the 100-meter crawl to become the champion of France. He qualified for the 1936 Berlin Olympics in the 400-meter freestyle.  His coach in Tunisia was the famous Henry Schaeffer. Taïeb’s brother, Gi…

Taʿizz

(974 words)

Author(s): Ari Ariel
Taʿizz, the most important city in southwestern Yemen, is the country’s economic and industrial capital. It is located on an important historical crossroads with Ibb, Yarim, Dhamar, and Sanʿa, 195 kilometers (121 miles) to the north, Mocha to the southwest, and Aden, 140 kilometers (88 miles) to the southeast. Taʿizz sits on the northern foot of Mount Sabir, at an altitude of 1,400 meters (4,593 feet), in the center of a highly productive agricultural area. Terraced cultivation is made possible …

Tajer, Rabbi Shelomo ben Moses

(807 words)

Author(s): Albert Kaganovitch
Solomon ben Moses Tajer (Tājir, Tagger, and other variants), a rabbi and communal activist in Central Asia, Lebanon, and Syria, was born in Jerusalem in 1866 and died in Damascus in 1935. His father, Rabbi Moses ben Isaac Tadjer (d. 1910), was the head of the Sephardi religious court in Jerusalem and visited Bukhara as a shadar or meshullaḥ (Heb. rabbinical emissary) in the last third of the nineteenth century. Solomon Tajer was educated in the yeshivot of Jerusalem and grew close to the city’s Bukharan Jewish community after his marriage in 1889 to Miriam, a citizen of Bukhara. From 1883 to …

Tajouri (Tadjouri), Ruben

(370 words)

Author(s): Mohammed Kenbib
Ruben Tajouri was a central figure in the development of the Alliance Israelite Universelle system in Morocco. Born in Libya in 1895 and educated at the Ecole Normale Israélite Orientale in Paris, he began his career in 1918 as a teacher in the AIU school in Meknes and the Franco-Israelite school in Salé. (While in Salé, he published an ethnographic study of Jewish marriage customs there.) From 1926 to 1939 he was director of the Narcisse Leven School group in Casablanca. After the death of Yomtob Sémach in 1940, he became the AIU delegate in Morocco. Despite the restrictive polices of the Vichy…

Talavera

(520 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
Talavera de la Reina is a city located 89 kilometers (55 miles) northwest of Toledo, at the confluence of the Alberche and Tagus rivers, in the center of the Iberian Peninsula. Neolithic remains have been found in the area, and there were Iberic and Celtic settlements on the site. The city was founded in pre-Roman times. Its first Latin name was Caesarobriga (182 b.c.e.), changed in time to Ebora, a name with Celtic roots. In Roman times the city was an important agricultural and ceramics center. The Muslims arrived in 712, putting an end to the Visigothic kingdom. The city’s Ara…

Tamanart

(406 words)

Author(s): Aomar Boum
Tamanart is a region in western Bani of the southwestern Sous region of Morocco that includes the oases of Icht, Aguerd, Foum El Hassan, and Kasba Ait Harbil. It was one of the last stations in Bani for trans-Saharans caravans before they entered the desert. The region included two major dry rivers, Oued Tamanart and Oued Icht.  Before the political and economic emergence of Akka, Tamanart was the most important settlement of the lower Anti-Atlas Mountains. The village of Aguerd, one of the main oases of Tamanart, was controlled by the Ait Tamanart (Berb. ait, also ayt or ayt, people of) bef…

Tamentit

(820 words)

Author(s): Jacob Oliel
Tamentit (Berb. Tamanṭīṭ) is a modest village of 260 inhabitants in southwestern Algeria located 11 kilometers (7 miles) from Adrar. An agglomeration of fortified hamlets (Ar. qṣūr), it lies within the vast Touat oasis. The Berber toponym, from aman (water) and tit (source), attests the importance of water in the establishment of the town. According to traditions mentioned by Arab historians, it was once the capital of a Jewish kingdom. Jews are said to have arrived there at the beginning of the common era. In 118, the Roman emperor Trajan persecuted and expelled the Jews of Cyrenai…

Tamnougalt

(7 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Dra’a Norman A. Stillman

Tangier

(1,998 words)

Author(s): Susan Gilson Miller
It was known in antiquity as Tingis or Tinga, a name most likely derived from the local Berber (Tamazight) language. Jews probably lived in Tangier during the Roman and Byzantine periods, when the town was a commercial center, but we have no record of their presence.  Nor do we have evidence of their reaction to the arrival of the Muslim armies in the seventh century, or to the upheavals that accompanied the process of Islamization. The negative impact of the Almohad persecutions on the Jews of …
Date: 2015-09-03

Tanḥum ben Joseph ha-Yerushalmi

(1,327 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Tanḥum ben Joseph ha-Yerushalmi was unknown to Western scholars until the latter half of the seventeenth century, when the English orientalist Edward Pococke(1604–1691) brought several manuscript copies of Tanḥum’s writings to Europe from the Near East and published extracts from them in several of his own works. Tanḥum’s works make frequent eulogistic references to a host of medieval authorities, from Saʿadya Gaon (d. 942) down to Joseph Ibn ʿAqnīn (d. ca. 1220), and the attested date of the ol…
Date: 2015-09-03

Tanzimat Reforms, Period

(1,154 words)

Author(s): Onur Yildirim
The Tanzimat (Tur. tanzîmât, Ar. tanẓīmāt; lit. organizations)was an era of reforms in the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century. It is conventionally considered to have extended from 1839 to 1871. The Tanzimat extended the reforms begun by  Sultans Selim III (r. 1789–1807) and Mahmud II (r. 1808–1839), which had focused primarily on modernization of the army and the bureaucracy. Inaugurated by Sultan Abdülmecid I (r. 1839–1861) and implemented under the leadership of Westernizing officials like Reşid Pasha (1800–1858), Ali Pasha (1815–1871), and Fuad P…

Tapiero, Charles

(394 words)

Author(s): Alma Heckman
Charles Tapiero was born in the city of Safi on Morocco’s Atlantic coast on August 11, 1943. His father was a scion of a prominent old family from Essaouira (Mogador), related to the Corcos and Abulafia families, who long acted as diplomats and merchants for the sultan. Tapiero’s father died of typhus in 1944, and some years later the family moved to Paris.  Although most of his relatives were secular, Tapiero became religious at the age of twelve and soon after joined his brother Haim in Israel, remaining there until age eighteen. He e…

Ṭārab-Maslaton Family

(428 words)

Author(s): Yaron Harel
The Ṭārab-Maslaton family is one of the most famous Jewish families of Damascus. Over the years it has produced many outstanding Torah scholars, some of them served as spiritual leaders in Syria, Lebanon, and the Syrian communities in Egypt, the United States, and Israel. Ezra ben Elijah Ṭārab-Maslaton was an eminent scholar in Damascus in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth. After the dismissal of Isaac Abulafia from the post of chief rabbi and the appointment of Solomon Eliezer Alfandari in his place, Ezra was nominated as head of the ra…
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