Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Executive Editor: Norman A. Stillman

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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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Aden Riots (1947)

(456 words)

Author(s): Reuben Ahroni
Relations between Jews and Muslims in the British colony of Aden were generally congenial, and incidents of violence against Jews were very rare. From the beginning of the 1940s, however, growing currents of radical anti-British and anti-Zionist fervor became rife, spurred by the increasing availability of radios and of Egyptian newspapers and magazines. Added to these factors was the Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine, which prepared the ground for the massacre of November 1947. The migration of tens of t…

Adès Family

(323 words)

Author(s): Adam Guerin
A prominent Egyptian family of Sephardi origin, the Adès owned and operated one of the oldest and largest wholesale businesses in Egypt, as well as a chain of department stores in Cairo and Alexandria. Members of the Adès family were active in the textile trade during the latter half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century.       The first Adès department store was founded by the brothers Nessim and David Adès in 1899 with branches in Cairo, Tanta, and Fayum. By 1912 the brothers had split up and organized separate import-export ventures with members of the Sakal family. Ne…

Adibe Family

(311 words)

Author(s): Jose Alberto Tavim
The Adibe family settled in Portugal in the fifteenth century. Some family members began moving to Azemmour in Morocco prior to the Portuguese conquest on September 15, 1514, but Moses Adibe remained in Tavira in southern Portugual as a Christian and did not join them until 1524. The Adibes played an important role in the conquest, and as a reward King Dom Manuel I made Joseph Adibe the town’s chief rabbi (Port. rabi-mor). The family dominated the town rabbinate throughout the period of Portuguese rule. Joseph was succeeded in 1520 by his son Yaḥya, and following Yaḥya’s death in 1534, …


(240 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
What little is known about the poet Adonim is found in Gate 3 of the Taḥkemoni of Judah al-Ḥarīzī, which recounts the history of Hebrew poetry in Spain: “No songs are as illumined by charm’s beam as those of Rabbi Adonim,” and the speaker says: “Oh, the gleam of the poetry of Rabbi Adonim, wisdom’s hoard: he is Learning’s Tabernacle, built socket by board.” In both cases the poet called Adonim is included with other poets of the second half of the eleventh century.The Hebrew name Adonim seems to be equivalent to the name Dunash, possibly of Berber origin (see Berber Jews ), bu…

Aegean Sea, Islands and Coastal Cities

(424 words)

Author(s): Joseph Ringel
The Aegean Sea, situated between modern Greece and Turkey, was a major commercial waterway during the Ottoman period. Attracted by economic opportunity, Jews settled in cities on the Greek and Turkish Aegean coasts and in the Aegean Islands. The mainland port cities of Salonica and Izmir became major centers of Sephardic settlement and culture. Jews also lived in cities located slightly inland, such as Manisa and Aydin, and by the late nineteenth century, small Jewish settlements dotted some of the other towns on the Aegean mainland. The…


(2,442 words)

Author(s): Ben Zion Yehoshua-Raz
1. Historical OverviewAfghanistan is a Sunni Islamic state whose indigenous population mixed with Iranian, Arab, and Mongol conquerors. Western Afghanistan is part of the province of Khurasan. In Hebrew gaonic sources, it described as a penal colony to which convicts were exiled. The large Jewish settlement in Khurasan exasperated Caliph ʿUmar II (r. 717–720), who wanted to limit the construction of synagogues. This proves that the Jewish settlement preceded the Arab conquest. The earliest evidence of Jewish life in Afghanistan is a rock inscription from the year 752 inscribed in J…

Aflalo, Albert

(231 words)

Author(s): Mohammed Hatimi
Albert Aflalo (born ca. 1922), a Moroccan nationalist, was cultural attaché at the U.S. embassy in Rabat and an activist for the Arab-Israeli peace process. He was one of the few Moroccan Jews to favor Morocco’s independence from France early on, and in 1955 he joined the Mouvement National Marocain, a small Jewish group connected to the nationalist Istiqlal Party that sought to mobilize support for the Moroccan nationalist cause. In 1956, the year Morocco attained independence, he co-founded the short-lived al -Wifāq (Entente) organization, which called for a Muslim-Jewish r…


(669 words)

Author(s): Daniel Schroeter
Agadir (Berb. Agadīr, fortified enclosure) is a seaport on the Atlantic coast of southwestern Morocco near the mouth of the Sous River. Founded as a fortified post by a Portuguese nobleman in 1505, and acquired by the Portuguese crown in 1513, Santa Cruz do Cabo de Guer was renamed Agadir when it was conquered by the Saʿdi dynasty in 1541. The town became Morocco’s principal southern seaport, and much of the country’s trade with Europe, especially Amsterdam, was conducted by Jews who settled there. The Dutch relied on Jewish merchants in Agadir for ostrich feathers, indigo, wax, gu…

Agasi, Shimon

(514 words)

Author(s): Shaul Regev
Shimon Agasi (1852–1914) was a Baghdadi rabbinic figure whose family probably came from Persia/Iran. He was closely associated with Joseph Ḥayyim al-Ḥakam (the Ben Ish Ḥayy) and the kabbalist Judah Ftayya, and wrote a commentary on Rabbi Ḥayyim Vital’s Shaʿar ha-Gilgulim that was published in Baghdad in 1908 under the name B'ni Aharon (Heb. My Son Aaron), in memory of his son, who had died in his youth. The book was distributed free of charge.Agasi was a wealthy man and did not earn his livelihood from the rabbinate. He inherited his wealth from his parents, including…


(3 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
SeeDra’aNorman A. StillmanBibliographyn

Agha Najafī

(348 words)

Author(s): Janet Afary
Shaykh Muḥammad Taqī Isfahānī (1845–1914), also known as Agha (Āqā) Najafī, was a wealthy and powerful mujtahid (Ar./Pers. high-ranking Shīʽī jurisprudent) in Isfahan and prayer leader at the Masjid-i Shāh, its most important mosque. With the help of his younger brother, Nūrullāh,  Agha Najafī instigated resistance to the rapid growth of foreign trade and other forms of foreign influence in the last two decades of the nineteenth century under Qajar rule. He participated in the Tobacco Protests of 1891 to 1892, the ca…

Aghion Family

(325 words)

Author(s): Brock Cutler
The Aghions, widely acknowledged to have been one of the great families of the modern Egyptian Jewish community, were one of a number of families from Italy that began laying down roots in Egypt in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. They prospered initially through money-lending and trade with Europe and later through international commerce and banking. Collaborating, working, and marrying with other important families, the Aghions moved into real estate, development, and infrastructure throughout the …

Aghion, Raymond

(261 words)

Author(s): Brock Cutler
Raymond Aghion was an intellectual, political activist, and Communist organizer in Egypt and France. He was born in 1921 in Alexandria into a wealthy Jewish family of Italian origin (see Aghion Family). Active in Communist and anti-fascist intellectual organizations in Egypt as a teenager, he joined with other younger progressives and Communists in 1939 to found the Democratic Union, a legal association and gathering place for young intellectuals. He also purchased al-Majalla al-Jadīda (Ar. The New Magazine) as a forum for leftist political writings and debate, and …

Aghmāṭī, Zechariah ben Judah al-

(690 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
As indicated by his nisba (Ar. gentilic), Zechariah ben Judah (al-)Aghmāṭī was either born or reared in the town of Aghmat, in southern Morocco. He is known from his single extant work—an exegetical compendium arranged primarily around the Halakhot Rabbati of Isaac ben Jacob al-Fāsī. The extant portions of this massive work are contained primarily in British Library MSS Or. 11361 (on BT Berakhot, Shabbat, and ʿEruvin ) and Or. 10013 (on BT Bava Qamma, Bava Meṣiʿa, and Bava Batra ). Also surviving is a small portion on Moʿed Qaṭan. Whether he proceeded beyond Bava Batra and complete…

Agudat Ṣiyyon Society

(5 words)

Author(s): Daniel Schroeter
See TunisDaniel Schroeter
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