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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Bar-Moshe, Yiṣḥaq

(471 words)

Author(s): Nancy E. Berg
Born in 1927, Yiṣḥaq Bar-Moshe grew up in a middle-class religious family in Baghdad. After graduating from the Jewish community’s Rahil Shahmoun School, he attended a government high school before studying law at the Baghdad Law College. Briefly involved with the Communist movement, Bar-Moshe subsequently affiliated with the Zionist underground. Arriving in Israel during the mass exodus, he was housed in a transit camp (Heb. maʿabara) for three years. In 1958, he joined the Israeli Arabic broadcasting station, becoming head of its political department, before founding Al-Anbāʾ, …

Barnatán, Marcos Ricardo

(416 words)

Author(s): Naomi Linstrom
Marcos Ricardo Barnatán is an Argentine-born writer of Syrian parentage who has resided in Madrid since 1965. His central concerns include Kabbala, other mystical and occult systems, the Sephardic past, and Jorge Luis Borges.Marcos Ricardo Barnatán is a prolific and wide-ranging Argentine-Spanish creative writer, cultural critic, biographer, and student of Jewish mysticism. He was born on December 14, 1946 in Buenos Aires into a Sephardic family whose ancestors had settled in Syria following the expulsion from Spain. Sephardic …

Barouh, N. Izidor

(318 words)

Author(s): Aksel Vansten
N. İzidor Barouhwas born in Istanbul in 1915. In 1932, at the age of seventeen, he joined Turkey’s first advertising agency, İlancılıkLtd., as a customer representative. He rose quickly up the ranks and within a year ended up owning the majority of the company’s shares. Although the business depended solely on newspaper ads at the beginning, Barouh brought limitless dynamism to the Turkish advertising sector, adapting competitively and amenably to new market conditions, such as the use of radio and later television. His clients include such giants as the C…

Barouh, Yakup

(277 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Yakup Barouh is a Turkish advertising executive and a leader of the Jewish community. Born in Istanbul on February 7, 1945, he graduated from Robert College with an M.A. in marketing. He is a partner and executive vice president of Ilancilik Advertising Agency, the oldest advertising agency in Turkey, founded in 1909. He is also general secretary of the Executive Committee of the Turkish Advertising Agency Association and a member of the Turkish Advertising Self-Regulation Board.Barouh first began to work with Turkish Jewish community youth organizations in 1962. A mem…


(4 words)

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

Bar Saṭya, Joseph ben Jacob

(496 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
In the famous Epistle of Sherira Gaon (Heb. Iggeret Rav Sherira Ga’on), Joseph ben Jacob is described as “a son of geonim, grandson of the officiants, the priests,” from which it has now been established that Joseph’s father was Jacob ha-Kohen ben Naṭronay (not Jacob ben Mordechai, as per Ibn Da'ud in his Book of Tradition), the gaon of Sura from around 911 to 924. Joseph was appointed gaon of Sura in 930 by the exilarch David ben Zakkay I in apparent retaliation against the presiding gaon, Saʿadya ben Joseph, for his support of the a…
Date: 2015-09-03

Bar, Shlomo

(634 words)

Author(s): Edwin Seroussi
Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1943, Shlomo Bar (né Ben Ghoush) moved to Israel with his family in 1948, settling in the village of Be’er Yaʿacov, near Ramla. He dropped out of school at an early age and worked in construction, but sang and played the drums in his free time, absorbing the many musical traditions of the settlers in the Ramla vicinity (notably those from India). His breakthrough occurred in 1976 when he performed his own songs in Joshua Sobol’s Kriza (Heb. Crisis), a seminal play about the social discrimination against mizraḥi (Heb. oriental) Jews in Israel.A year later in 1977,…

Barukh, Marco

(392 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
Marco (Joseph Marcou) Barukh, an early apostle of pre-Herzlian Zionism in the Muslim world, was born in Constantinople in 1872. He studied at several European universities and because of his involvement in radical student groups was under police surveillance for much of his brief adult life. His involvement with Jewish nationalism began in 1893 when he joined the Kadimah student association in Vienna. The following year he was in Algeria, where he tried to propagate the Jewish national idea among the rapidly assimilating Algerian Jews. He published a short-lived journal,  Le Juge, bu…

Basola, Moses

(761 words)

Author(s): Abraham David
An Italian Jewish sage descended from a French family, Moses Basola (1480–1560) lived in several different cities in central and northern Italy. From the age of nine he resided in Soncino, where his father, Mordechai Basola, was employed as a proofreader by the Joshua Soncino press. At an unknown date, Basola moved to Pesaro, where he was employed as a teacher and tutor in the household of the eminent banker Moses Nissim of Foligno; he also spent time as a teacher in Fano. In 1535 or shortly thereafter, Basola received rabbinical ordination from Azriel Diena in Sabionetta. He then moved to Anco…


(1,860 words)

Author(s): Orit Bashkin
Basra (Ar. al-Baṣra) is a city in southern Iraq on the Shatt al-Arab waterway formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It lies 420 kilometers (279 miles) southeast of Baghdad. The site of the town has moved somewhat since the Middle Ages. The present site (New Basra) dates back to the eighteenth century. 1. Medieval PeriodThe Jewish community of Basra was one of the oldest and most prosperous in Iraq. Although most studies of Iraqi Jewry tend to focus on the Baghdadi community, Basran Jews played an important role in Iraq and throu…

Baṣrī, Me'ir (Mīr)

(667 words)

Author(s): Shmuel Moreh
Meir (Mīr) Baṣrī was born in Baghdad in 1911 and died in London on January 4, 2006. The scion of two distinguished families of rabbis and businessmen, the Baṣrīs and the Dangoors, he was the last president of the Jewish Community in Iraq. As the one of the older generation of Jewish officials and businessmen who considered themselves to be Iraqi patriots, he remained in Iraq until forced into exile in 1974 by the Baʿath regimeBaṣrī was educated at the Alliance School in Baghdad, where he studied French, English, and Hebrew. Later he privately studied economics and cont…

Bassan Yeḥiel

(233 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Jehiel ben Ḥayyim Bassan was born into a Romaniot family in Rhodes in 1550, and moved to Istanbul in the 1580s after his wife died. He became one of the prominent rabbis of the city, and possibly also the head ( av bet din) of its rabbinical court during the first quarter of the seventeenth century. Together with Elijah Mizraḥi, Bassan disagreed with Samuel de Medina in a controversy over the right of a majority to impose its will upon the minority with regard to a communal ordinance (Heb. haskama) that had negative financial consequences for the minority. Bassan held that it was im…


(490 words)

Author(s): Walker Robins
Once featuring a substantial Jewish population, Batna is a relatively new Algerian city nestled into a break in the Aures Mountains of northeastern Algeria a little over 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Constantine. It lies in the middle of the Chaouia Berber region. Although now rapidly growing, Batna began as an unpromising settlement around a French military encampment during the conquest of Algeria in the 1830s. It was declared a city in 1848, and was already home to a Jewish population of thirty-si…

B (Bā Aḥmad (grand vizier, Morocco) - Bagratids (Bagrationi) dynasty)

(1,382 words)

Bā Aḥmad (grand vizier, Morocco), Corcos, Joshua ben Hayyim, Ohana, Jacob Ba-Yeshishim Ḥokhma: Arba‘im Sippure ‘Am mi-pi Yehude Iran-Paras (Wisdom Is Among the Elderly: Forty Folktales from the Jews of Iran-Persia, Ḥanina Mizraḥi), Ḥanina MizrahiBa‘al ha-Battim (Master of the Houses) seeḤamawī, AbrahamBa‘al Shem Tov, Israel (the Besht), MysticismBaalbek (Lebanon), Jewish community in, leadership of, Lebanon ba‘ale miqra (masters of, or adherents to, the Hebrew Scripture), Benjamin al-Nahāwandī Ba‘ale Rivi She‘u (poem by Abraham ibn Ezra in honor of Barukh ibn Ja…

B (Bahaism - Barāl, Azīza)

(1,239 words)

Bahaism, Bahaism, Conversion to conversion of Jews to, Bahaism, Conversion to, Iran/Persia, Kashan, Hamadan, Kirmanshah, Mysticism/Sufism (Iran)  forced, in Iran, Tehran  in Shiraz, Shiraz Jewish adeherents of, Bahaism, Conversion to, Conversion, Isfahan Jewish campaign against, Mizraḥi, Mullāh Ḥayyim Eleazar in Palestine, Bahaism, Conversion toBahar, Beki Luiza, Bahar, Beki L.Bahar, Ivet, Bahar, IvetBahar, Mois, Bahar, MoisBahā’ullah seeNūrī, Mīrzā Hụsayn ‘AlīBahbout, Shabtai, BeirutBaḥīrā, Polemics (Muslim-Jewish)Bahloul, Joëlle, Academic Study of …

B (Baransel, Nil - Beit She’an (Israel): scholars in)

(1,362 words)

Baransel, Nil, Acıman, EliBarasch, Judah Julius, BucharestBarāsh (Yemen), SanʿaBarazani, Asenath, Kurdistan, Mosul, Kurdish (Neo-Aramaic) Literature, Kurdish (Neo-Aramaic) Literature, Barazani (Barzani), AsenathBarazani, Muṣṭafā, KurdistanBarazani, Nathaniel, KurdistanBarazani (Barzani) family, Kurdistan, MosulBarbarossa, ‘Arūj, AlgeriaBarbarossa, Khayr al-Dīn, AlgeriaBarcelona  Jewish community in, Perfet, Isaac ben Sheshet, Tarragona, Barcelona Muslim rule of, BarcelonaBardavid, Beki, Bardavit, Beki Barefoot (music album, Habrera Hativeet), …

B (Beit Zilkha Yeshiva (Baghdad) - Bendjelloul, Mohamed Salah)

(1,860 words)

Beit Zilkha Yeshiva (Baghdad), IraqBeja, Isaac ben Moses, Beja, Isaac Ben MosesBéja (Portugal), Muslim conquest of, Muslim conquests and the JewsBéja (Tunisia), Jewish community in, BéjaBéjaïa (Algeria), Jewish community in, Béjaïa (Bougie, Bijāya)Bejaoui, Joseph, Kol Siyyon (La Voix de Sion) (Tunis)Bejerano, Bekhor Ḥayyim Moşe (Moses) (1846–1931), Edirne (Adrianople), Haham Başı (Chief Rabbi), Millet, Ottoman Empire, Turkish Republic, Bejerano (Becerano), Bekhor Hayyim, Guéron, Angèle, Italian Synagogue, Galata, Istanbul, Saban, Rafael DavidBekache, Shalom, Beka…

B (Bene Aharon (The Sons of Aaron, Aaron Lapapa) - Bet Aharon Synagogue (Skopje))

(1,436 words)

Bene Aharon (The Sons of Aaron, Aaron Lapapa), Lapapa, Aaron Ben Isaac Bene Binyamin ve-Qerev Ish (The Sons of Benjamin and the Inner [Thought] of [Every] Man, Benjamin Navon), Navon family bene ‘edot ha-mizraḥ (members of the ‘edot from the East), usage of term, Mizraḥim (‘Edot ha-Mizraḥ; names of Mizraḥim in Israel)Bene Israel (Children of Israel) Jews, India, India in Bombay, Bombay (present day Mumbai) in Maharashtra, PakistanBene Israel (Children of Israel) party (Ottoman Empire), Nahoum (Nahum), Haim (Ḥayyim) Bene Melakhim (The Sons of Kings, Eliahou Raphael Marcian…

B (Bet Av (House of the Father, Isaac ben Shabbetai ‘Antebi) - Binyan Na‘arim (Upbuilding of Youth, Amram ben Judah Elbaz))

(1,704 words)

Bet Av (House of the Father, Isaac ben Shabbetai ‘Antebi), ʿAntebi (Antibi) Family bet din see rabbinic courts bet din gadol (grand/central rabbinic court), Berab, Jacob Bet Dino shel Shelmo (Solomon’s Court, Raphael Solomon Laniado), Kassin Family Bet El kabbalists, Meyuḥas Family, Palestine, Abbadi, Mordechai, Farḥi, Isaac, Azriel, Aaron, Sharʿabi, Abraham Shalom Aleppo wing of, Duwayk (Douek, Dweck), Ḥayyim Saul charters of fellowship of, Bet El Kabbalists contemplative prayer of, Bet El Kabbalists influences of Mish‘an on, Mishʿan, Elijah leadership of, Algazi fa…

B (biographies - Boujad (Morocco): synagogues)

(1,146 words)

biographies  of Ezra ha-Bavli, Ezra ha-Bavli Hebrew, Literature, Hebrew Prose (medieval) of Maimonides, Moses, Maimonides, MosesBiqqur Ḥolim synagogue (Izmir), Izmir, Synagogues in the Islamic World Bir Şehre Gidememek (Inaccessible City, Mario Levi), Levi, Mariobird motifs  as decorations on marriage contracts ( ketubbot), Ketubba Artistic Traditions in jewelry, Jewelry Smithing Birkat Avraham (Abraham’s Blessing, Abraham ben Moses Maimonides), Maimonides, Abraham ben Moses, Daniel ben Saʿadya ha-Bavlibirth rates, of Jews in Turkey, Turkish Republicbirth ritual…
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