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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Eisenbeth, Maurice

(447 words)

Author(s): Brock Cutler
Maurice Eisenbeth was the grand rabbi of Algeria from the early 1930s until his death in 1958. Apart from his official duties, he was a highly regarded and prolific historian and chronicler of North African Jewry. His first studies, appearing in the early 1930s, combined historical and demographic data to trace the changing fortunes of the Jewish community of Algiers. In his capacity as grand rabbi, Eisenbeth was a popular social and political figure, reportedly enjoying the full support of the Jewish community, especially during the years of the Vichy r…

Elbaz Family

(1,756 words)

Author(s): Shalom Bar-Asher
The Elbaz (or al-Bāz) family of Morocco traced its roots to Iberia. It produced numerous Sephardi intellectuals, rabbinic jurists ( dayyanim), poets, and religious functionaries in Tarundant, Fez, and Sefrou from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. Moses ben Maimon Elbaz (known also as Rambam Elbaz) was an intellectual and commentator in Tarundant during the sixteenth century. He was a Spanish exile who journeyed as far as the Sous province in order to escape persecution by the Spanish Inquisition. He was known primarily for his Hekhal ha-Qodesh (The Holy Sanctuary; Amsterdam…

Elbaz, Moses ben Maimon

(570 words)

Author(s): Moshe Hallamish
Moses ben Maimon Elbaz (al-Bāz), also known by his Hebrew acronym as Rambam Elbaz, was a noted rabbi and kabbalist of the late sixteenth century in Morocco (see also Elbaz Family). He lived in Tarudant, in the Darʿa (Draa) region, but famine and plague made him a wanderer from place to place. He headed  a group of kabbalists, the most famous of whom were Judah ben Ḥanin (Ḥunayn), who went to Algeria, Isaac ben Abraham ha-Kohen, and Jacob ben Isaac Ifargan, who frequently cited and praised him. Elbaz’s major work was his detailed commentary on Jewish prayer, Heykhal ha-Qodesh (The Holy Sanctu…

Elbaz, Samuel ben Judah

(530 words)

Author(s): Ephraim Hazan
Samuel ben Judah Elbaz was born in Sefrou, Morocco, in 1790 and died there in 1844. He was a payṭan and the scion of a distinguished Sephardi family of rabbinical scholars and poets, among them Amram Elbaz and Raphael Moses Elbaz. His compositions have not yet been published and are extant in manuscript in the possession of his family and in various libraries. Some of his songs were copied into manuscripts, e.g., Jewish Theological Seminary (New York) no. 3182, and Ben-Zvi Institute no. 2155. Among the poetic works of Samuel Elbaz is Noʿam Siaḥ (Heb. Pleasantness of Speech), a collection of
Date: 2015-02-17

Eldad ha-Dani

(400 words)

Author(s): David J. Wasserstein
Eldad ha-Dani (Eldad the Danite) was a quasi-messianic adventurer who turned up in Qayrawān, Ifrīqiya (present-day Tunisia), apparently in 883, claiming to belong to the ancient Israelite tribe of Dan (hence “ha-Dani”). The name Eldad is scarcely found at this time; tribal identities had disappeared a thousand years earlier; and Dan was in any case one of the so-called Ten Lost Tribes taken away in the eighth century B.C.E. and disappearing from history. Thus, both name and affiliation can safely be regarded as inventions. So too the assertions that he …

Eleazar

(252 words)

Author(s): Vera B. Moreen
Eleazar, whose full name remains unknown, was the leader of the Jewish community of Faraḥābād (Pers. Abode of Joy) during the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I (1587–1629). The town, built by the shah as a winter retreat on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea, was inhabited by people the shah forcibly relocated from elsewhere, primarily Georgia, which he invaded twice (1614–1615 and 1616–1617). Eleazar and his community were among the “colonists.” According to the Judeo-Persian chronicle Kitāb-i Anusī  (The Book of a Forced Convert) by Bābāī ibn Luṭf, they appear to have been favo…

Eleazar ben Ḥalfon ha-Kohen

(547 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Eleazar (Elʿazar) ben Ḥalfon ha-Kohen came to the attention of modern scholars as a poet separate and distinct from other poets named Elʿazar ha-Kohen only with the publication in 1954 of five of his poems discovered by Alexander Scheiber among the leaves and fragments of the Kaufmann Geniza Collection (see Cairo Geniza). Since then a total of twenty-two poems by Eleazar, most of them complete, have been discovered and published by Scheiber,  Jefim (Ḥayyim) Schirmann, and Ezra Fleisher from the remnants of four MSS: (1) Kaufmann MS…

Eleazar ben Jacob ha-Bavli

(773 words)

Author(s): Wout van Bekkum
Eleazar ben Jacob ha-Bavli, known as Eleazar the Gnostic, lived in Baghdad in the first half of the thirteenth century. He was a productive poet during the years before the Mongol invasion, but only recently has scholarly interest in his oeuvre revived. Eleazar’s impressive poetic output consisted of more than four hundred secular compositions, with a striking preponderance of panegyrics, laments, epigrams, and homonymic poems. Other genres, such as gnomic aphorisms and girdle poems, are virtual…

Eleazar Ḥayyim ben Rabbi Mullah Elijah

(268 words)

Author(s): Vera B. Moreen
Eleazar (Lālehzar) Ḥayyim ben Rabbi Mullah Elijah, the learned son of a great Iranian rabbi who was active in Hamadan between 1840 and 1860, was himself a rabbi and dayyan (Heb. religious judge), and apparently a haughty and controversial figure. Only one of his works has so far come to light, a short Judeo-Persian treatise (ca. 23 pages in ms. JTS 1455) entitled Ḥovot Rafa’el (Heb. The Duties of Raphael). The treatise is an introduction to Judah ben Eleazar’s philosophical work Ḥovot Yehuda (Heb. The Duties of Judah) and, in fact, is the only known source that refers to Ḥovot Yehuda. In it El…

E (l’Égypte Contemporaine (periodical, Egypt) - emissaries: in Yemen)

(2,142 words)

l’Égypte Contemporaine (periodical, Egypt), Levi, Isaac G. l’Égypte Industrielle (periodical, Egypt), Levi, Isaac G. Ehrenpreis, Marcus (Mordechai), Kalef (Kalev), Yehoshua Eibenschutz, David Solomon, Romania (Ottoman) Eidels, Samuel, Elbaz Family Einfeld, D., Australia Eisenbeth, Maurice, Algeria, Algiers, Eisenbeth, Maurice Eisenstadt, Samuel, Academic Study of Islamicate Jewry El Amaneser (supplement to Şalom, Turkey), Istanbul, Nasi, Gad, Şarhon, Karen Gerşon El Amigo del Pueblo (newspaper, Serbia), Belgrade El Avenir (The Future, periodical, Salonica), …

El Fassia, Zohra

(9 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Music Norman A. Stillman

Elghanian (Elqāniān), Habībullāh

(452 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Habībullah Elghanian (Elqāniān),  was a major industrialist and factory owner in Iran prior to the Revolution of 1979. With his brothers, he built one of the country’s largest and most successful, diversified manufacturing conglomerates. Born in 1911 in Tehran, Elghanian was educated in the Alliance Israélite Universelle school and after graduation managed a hotel on Ferdowsī Boulevard that belonged to his uncle Hajjī ʿAzīz Elghanian. Later he became the manager of several shops on Lālehzar Street tha…

Elḥanan ben Ḥushiel

(11 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
see Ḥananel ben Ḥushiel Michael G. Wechsler

Elḥanan ben Shemariah

(516 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
Elhanan ben Shemariah ben Elhanan, a member of a leading Fustat family, began to play a major role in the community during the lifetime of his father, Shemariah ben Elḥanan, who prepared him for a position of leadership. Both father and son apparently spent some time at the Pumbedita Yeshiva in Babylonia, where they were designated by the gaon to be the leaders of the Babylonian congregation (Heb. qahal) in Fustat and responsible for contacts with the yeshiva. When Shemarya died in 1011, Elhanan was in Damascus in the course of a wide-ranging tour of the Jewish …

Elijah ben Abraham

(605 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
Elijah ben Abraham was a Karaite scholar, historian, and author in the eleventh to twelfth century. According to a questionable tradition, he lived in Palestine, but little is known of his life and works. The only known text attributed to him is a composition entitled Ḥilluq ha-Qara’im veha-Rabbanim (The Division of the Karaites and the Rabbanites, ed. Pinsker, 1860). This work provides a historical overview of Rabbanite-Karaite relations and an elementary explanation of the dissent between them. According to Elijah ben Abraham, as a result of this dissent Isr…

Elijah ben Baruch Yerushalmi

(385 words)

Author(s): Daniel Frank
Elijah ben Baruch ben Solomon ben Abraham Yerushalmi (ca. 1620–before 1712) was a Karaite author, copyist, and communal leader born in Istanbul. Like other Turkish and Crimean sectarians, he studied both Karaite and Rabbanite Hebrew texts. In his youth, he traveled to Jerusalem, garnering the honorific Yerushalmi (Jerusalemite), and there copied old sectarian manuscripts. He subsequently emigrated to the Crimea, where he resided for several decades before making a final pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1696. O…

Elijah ben Ḥayyim

(344 words)

Author(s): Samuel Morell
Elijah ben Ḥayyim (ca. 1530–ca. 1610), known by the acronym Ra’anaḥ, was a halakhic authority of the Romaniot community. Originally from Adrianople (Edirne), he moved to Istanbul sometime between 1565 and 1575, and rose to become its chief rabbi. Ra’anaḥ carried on a wide correspondence with his rabbinic peers and wrote numerous responsa. He regularly delivered sermons, which have yielded a great deal of written homiletic material, and also produced commentaries on most of the tractates of the Talmud. Unfortunat…

Elijah ben Solomon ha-Kohen

(388 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
Elijah ben Solomon ha-Kohen was gaon of the Palestinian yeshiva from 1062 till his death in 1083. His father, Solomon, had served as gaon for barely one year, in 1025, and Elijah’s elder brother, Joseph, was av beit din of the yeshiva during the gaonate of Daniel ben Azariah. After Joseph’s death in 1053, Elijah took over as av bet din, and he succeeded to the gaonate on the death of Daniel ben Azariah in 1062. The period during which Elijah held office was a time of severe crisis in Palestine. Between 1071 and 1073 the Seljuks wrested the country from the Fatimids, remaining in control un…

Elijah ben Zechariah

(550 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
Elijah ben Zechariah was a very popular jurist of Palestinian ancestry in the Egyptian town of Fustat. In 1228, following the death of Samuel ben Jacob, the need for a communal judge arose in Alexandria. The town notables looked locally for a suitable replacement. When the favored candidate, Abū ʿAlī ben Ḥanīkh, turned out to be unsuitable, it was proposed, as a compromise, to appoint Elijah ben Zechariah to serve with Abū ʿAlī. Elijah would hold the title of dayyan, act as the town’s judge in practice, and receive the position’s salary, while Abū ʿAlī would be titular com…

Elisha ben Samuel (Rāghib)

(433 words)

Author(s): Dalia Yasharpour
Elisha ben Samuel, the Iranian Jewish poet active in the latter half of the seventeenth century, was a versatile author inspired by the Jewish poets of medieval Spain and his Iranian Jewish predecessors. He wrote Judeo-Persian narrative verse, Hebrew religious poetry, and Judeo-Persian prose and verse commentaries on liturgical poems. His pen-name, Rāghib (Jud. Pers. The desirous one), which appears in his narrative compositions, has mystical connotations. No definitive information has been found re…
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