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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Carasso (Karasu), Albert

(505 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Albert Carasso (Karasu, 1885–1982)was a Jewish journalist and political scientist in Turkey. Born in Salonica, Carasso learned French from his parents and then attended the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po). After completing his studies, Carasso moved to Istanbul, where in 1918 he founded and edited the French-language daily Le Journal d’Orient (1918–1924, 1926–1971). Carasso intended the newspaper to reach an elite audience in Istanbul; its readership, particularly in later years, consisted mostly of minorities. Albert Av…

Carasso (Karasu), Emmanuel

(1,159 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Emmanuel Carasso (Karasu) (1862–1934) was a lawyer and statesman who was active in the Young Turk movement and a member of the Ottoman parliament during the last years of the empire. Born in Salonica in 1862, Carasso studied law and gained experience in the legal practice of Yudajon Yeni, who also mentored several other successful Jewish lawyers, including Carasso’s relative Emmanuel Raphael Salem (1859–1940) and Vitali Farraggi (or Faraji, 1854–1918), who like Carasso was a member of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP).Carasso became a noted lawyer and taught criminal …


(283 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
Carmona (Ar. Qarmūna) in southwestern Spain, 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Seville, had a flourishing Jewish community in the eleventh century. During the period of the party kings (Ar. mulūk al-ṭawā'if) it was the capital of the small kingdom of the Berber Zenāta tribe, but it lost its independence when annexed by Seville.Like other small taifa states, Carmona was situated in between the great kingdom of Seville and the Berber kingdom of Granada. It survived the hunger for expansion of the ʿAbbādid ruler of Seville, al-Muʿtaḍid, thanks to its alliances with the powerful …

Carmona, Bekhor Isaac David

(928 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Bekhor Isaac David ben Elia Carmona (1773–1826)was an important merchant, courtier, Jewish community leader, and political figure in the Ottoman Empire whose influence reached its peak under Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808–1839). Born in Istanbul to the distinguished Carmona family, which produced a number of prominent figures on the Ottoman political, economic, and social scene during the empire’s last centuries, Carmona built upon the financial and political success of his uncle Moses ben Isaac Carmona, who had founded a bank and obtained a concession for the sale of alum ( şap), succee…

Carmona, Elia Rafael

(1,007 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Elia Rafael Carmona, born October 21, 1869 in Istanbul, was a writer and journalist, who died in 1935. He was the author of many dozens of novellas in Judeo-Spanish and edited the humoristic weekly El Jugeton for over twenty years (1908–1931). A member of the distinguished Carmona family, he was the grand-nephew of the banker Bekhor Isaac David ben Elia Carmona (1773–1826) through the latter’s younger brother Hezekiah.Although Elia Carmona was raised in penury because of his parents’ economic difficulties, his connection with more illustrious Carmonas opened do…

Carmona Family

(846 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
The Carmona family produced a number of prominent Jewish political, economic, and social figures during the last two centuries of the Ottoman Empire and was part of the Jewish elite of Istanbul. The family probably originated in the city of Carmona in southern Spain, but little is known about it until the eighteenth century, when mention is made of the scholar Rabbi Abraham Carmona, who died in Jerusalem in 1739. His contemporary in Istanbul, Isaac Carmona, had two sons, Moses and Elia. The elder son, Moses, engaged in the textile trade in Salonica and then founded a bank, a…

Caro, Isaac Ben Joseph

(426 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Isaac ben Joseph Caro (d. 1518–1535) was a rabbi and scholar of the generation of the expulsion from Spain. Born in Toledo, Caro had a superb religious education and also studied medicine. He was called to become the head of the yeshiva in Lisbon, whence he was exiled in 1497. He then settled in Istanbul, where he established himself as a respected halakhic scholar. It is known that for a while he also lived in the city of Manisa in western Anatolia. If Caro had children, none of them survived childhood, but he raised and educated his nephew Joseph ben Ephraim Caro (1488–1575), the author of…

Caro, Joseph Ben Ephraim

(1,113 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Joseph ben Ephraim Caro (1488–1575), known also by his Hebrew acronym as the Riq, was one of the most important halakhic adjudicators of all time. Honored with the title maran (Heb. our master) or maran ha-meḥabber (Heb. our master the author) for his monumental compilation, the Bet Yosef, he was born in 1488, apparently in the city of Toledo in the Kingdom of Castile. In 1492, when the Jews of Spain were expelled, his family went to Portugal, but after only a few years they were forced to flee eastward and headed to the Ottoman Empire. Caro…


(1,180 words)

Author(s): Vivian Mann
Records from the Cairo Geniza are the earliest indication that North African Jews were involved in selling carpets and prayer rugs. The first evidence is an eleventh-century receipt for prayer rugs sent from *Qayrawan to *Cairo. That Jews became patrons of carpets in the Middle Ages is known from an early fourteenth-century rug in the form of a runner that is also the earliest surviving medieval rug made on the Iberian Peninsula (fig. 1). The basic composition of the rug is of the type known as the “sacred tree,” a central trunk with flowering branches, but it is the form of the “…


(2,437 words)

Author(s): Andre Levy | Daniel Schroeter
The city of Casablanca ([al-]Dār al-Bayḍāʾ, Sp. and Ar. white house), Morocco’s principal seaport, was home to the largest Jewish community in the Maghreb in the twentieth century. Situated on the central Atlantic coast, it was known as Anfā in the Middle Ages. During the decline of the Marinid dynasty, its relative autonomy made it a safe haven for corsairs. The Portuguese destroyed the town in 1468 or 1469, and it was only rebuilt in the latter half of the eighteenth century by Sultan Sīdī Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh, who renamed it al-Dār al-Bayḍāʾ. Grain was its principal expor…

Castro, Jacob

(280 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Jacob ben Abraham Castro was one of the most important rabbis of Egypt during the sixteenth century and the first decade of the seventeenth. Born in 1525, either in Egypt or Jerusalem, into a family of Iberian origin, Castro (known by the acronym Mahariqas) was a pupil of both Levi ben Ḥabib (Ralbaḥ, ca. 1483–1545) and David ibn Abi Zimra, (Radbaz, 1479–1573). Castro stood at the head of the community of Mizraḥi Jews ( Musta‘ribūn) in Egypt throughout the second half of the sixteenth century until his death in either 1612 or 1610. A leading halakhic authority in his …

Castro, Léon

(450 words)

Author(s): Ovadia Yeroushalmy
Léon Casṭro was born in Izmir, Ottoman Turkey, in 1884 and died in Egypt in 1954 (?). A lawyer, journalist, publicist, and Zionist leader, he was one of the founders of the Cairo branch of B’nai B’rith, a leader of the Zionist Organization in Cairo in the 1920s, and president of the Zionist Federation of Egypt from 1944. Also a supporter of the nationalist Wafd Party, he was very close to its leader, Saʿd Zaghlūl, and accompanied him on several journeys to Western Europe to explain the Wafd’s demand for full Egyptian independence. At Zaghlūl’s request he became chief…

Cattan, Albert

(524 words)

Author(s): Habib Kazdaghli
Albert-Daniel Cattan was born in Tunis on March 16, 1875 to a family from Algeria. He died in Pennaroya on September 4, 1932. After attending the Saint-Charles high school and the Lycée Carnot in Tunis, he studied medicine in Lyon, where he participated in demonstrations in favor of Alfred Dreyfus and joined the Human Rights League. With Marius Moutet, he founded the Committee of Socialist Students.After completing his studies, Cattan opened a medical practice in Tunisat a time when the first unions, left-wing movements, and newspapers were emerging, and when sc…

Cattaoui Family

(631 words)

Author(s): Michael Laskier
The Cattaoui (Ar. Qaṭṭāwī) familywas one of several privileged grandes familles of the Jewish aristocracy in Egypt under the Muḥammad ʿAlī dynasty (1805–1952). Several leading families in Cairo and Alexandria distinguished themselves during this period in communal affairs, local politics, the economy, and intellectual life, including, in addition to the Cattaouis, the Mosseris, de Menasces, Suarès, and Rolos. The Cattaouis of Cairo started as moneychangers and moneylenders(Ar. ṣarrāfūn), then entered modern banking and acted as commercial intermédiares between Egypt an…

Caucasus (Mountain Jews)

(1,618 words)

Author(s): Dan D.Y. Shapira
The Mountain Jews are an Iranian-speaking community that took shape in the eastern and northern Caucasus after the areas in which they lived were annexed by Russia from Qajar Iran in 1812 and 1813.  The name “Mountain Jews” derives from an official Russian designation (Rus. gorskije jevrei) intended to differentiate the community from the empire’s Russian (Ashkenazi) and Georgian Jews. The modern designations in Israel are yehudim harariyim and yehude ha-har, both of which are nineteenth-century Hebrew renderings of the Russian term that are regarded as academic a…

Cave Sect

(9 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Maghāriyya, al- (The Cave Sect)Norman A. Stillman

Cazès-Benathar, Hélène

(632 words)

Author(s): Michal Ben Ya'akov
Hélène Cazès Benathar (1898–1979) was the first certified Jewish woman lawyer in Morocco. In 1940 she established the Comité d’Assistance aux Réfugies Étrangers in Casablanca to help Jewish war refugees arriving in Morocco from Nazi-dominated Europe. She cooperated with the Joint Distribution Committee (of which she became a representative), HIAS-HICEM, and the American Friends Service Committee.Cazès-Benathar (Ben-Attar, Benattar, Benatar), HélèneRachel Hélène (Nelly) Cazès was born in Tangier on October 27, 1898, to Miriam Nahon and Amram Cazès, a bus…

Cazès, David

(557 words)

Author(s): Joy Land
David Cazès, (1850–1913), viewed as the doyen of Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) principals, established apprenticeships and workshops in the schools he directed. These enterprises were emulated throughout the AIU system and justified the AIU’s role in promoting the “ régéneration” of Jews in its domain.David Cazès (1850–1913), born in Tetouan, Morocco, ranks as one of the outstanding teachers and directors of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) educational network. He was among the first students to attend the Ecole Normale Isr…

Cazes, Moshe

(560 words)

Author(s): Rivka Havassy
Moshe Cazes (ca. 1890–1943), a journalist/author in Salonica between the two world wars, was an editor and writer for a number of Judeo-Spanish satirical periodicals. He and Sadik Gershon composed popular songs in Judeo-Spanish and performed as Sadik y Gazóz.Moshe Avram Cazes (ca. 1890–1943) was a prolific journalist/author of Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) periodicals in Salonica between the two world wars. Born into a family of modest means, he received a traditional education in havra de kaza (elementary religious school) and a brief Western education at the Alliance Is…

C (Çabaçay, Yuçaf - Cairo Conference on future of Iraq (1921))

(605 words)

Çabaçay, Yuçaf, Joseph al-QarawīCabeça, Isaac, El Jadida (Mazagan)Cachia, Pierre, Mawwāl (Muwwāl, Mawāliya)Cacoun, Maggui, Cacoun, MagguiCaddebostan neighborhood (Istanbul), IstanbulCadima office (Casablanca), Casablanca, Morocco, Morocco, Zionism Among Sephardi/Mizraḥi Jewry, Cadima (Morocco), Cadima (Morocco)Caesarea (Palestine)  Muslim conquest of, Jewish involvement in, Muslim conquests and the Jews Samaritans in, Samaritans under Muslim Rule Le Café bleu (El Maleh), El Maleh, Edmond Amramcafés/coffeehouses  Jewish musicians performing in, Music, …
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