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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Garish, Aaron

(561 words)

Author(s): Naḥem Ilan
Rabbi Aaron Garish lived in Aleppo at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Since he is mentioned once by the cognomen al-Ṣafadī, it would appear that one of his ancestors was born or lived in Safed, Palestine. Other considerations, however, support the hypothesis that his family emigrated from the Christian West (perhaps Spain).Garish wrote several liturgical poems (Heb. piyyuṭim ), but his reputation is based mainly on his commentary on the Pentateuch, Meṣaḥ Aharon ("Aaron's Forehead"- see Ex. 28:38), written in Judeo-Arabic and containing many expressions in th…

Garjī, Mullah Asher

(372 words)

Author(s): Ben Zion Yehoshua-Raz
Mullah Asher Garjī, born in Herat in 1882, was the son of Mullah Matityah Garjī, who provided him with a quality education meant only for rabbis’ sons. In 1896, at the age of fourteen, he and his father made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land on foot. Mullah Asher married at seventeen. He helped his father publish Ha-Azharot, Siman Tov Melammed’s Hebrew and Judeo-Persian poetical composition on the 613 commandments. After his father's emigration to Palestine in 1908, Mullah Asher, then twenty-six years old, was appointed to lead the community, and he did so for the next forty years unt…

Garjī, Mullah Benjamin

(175 words)

Author(s): Ben Zion Yehoshua-Raz
Mullah Benjamin Garjī, born in Herat in 1902, was the son of Mullah Joseph Garjī and the grandson of Mullah Matityah Garjī. He emigrated to Palestine in 1911 and eventually replaced his father as leader of the Afghan Jewish community in Jerusalem. A darshan (preacher) who charmed his audiences, he taught in Talmud Torah schools in the Bukharan quarter of Jerusalem for fifty years and raised up generations of pupils and admirers thanks to his liberality and humanism. Mullah Benjamin headed the ’Ahavat Ḥesed (Love of Charity) aid organization, which extended discrete help to th…

Garjī, Mullah Joseph

(482 words)

Author(s): Ben Zion Yehoshua-Raz
Born in Herat in 1869, Mullah Joseph Garjī Melamed was the son of Mullah Mattityah Garjī. He was the rabbi of the Jewish community of Herat and later of the Afghan community in Jerusalem. In 1903, he set out for Palestine. When he reached Merv (Marv, Mary) in present-day Turkmenistan, the local Bukharan, Afghan, and Mashhadī Jews pleaded with him to remain, and he agreed to remain as their leader, rabbi, teacher, mohel (circumciser), and ritual slaughterer for seven years. In 1911 he finally arrived in Jerusalem, where he served as spiritual guide to the Bukharan a…

Garjī, Mullāh Mattityah

(577 words)

Author(s): Ben Zion Yehoshua-Raz
Mullāh Mattityah Garjī, the son of Mullāh Mordecai Garjī and grandson of Mullāh Abraham Garjī, was born in Herat, Afghanistan, in 1845 and died in Jerusalem in 1917. He was descended from a family of rabbis and teachers that was among the forced converts ( anusim) to Islam ( Jadīd-i Islām ) who fled from Mashhad, Iran, to Herat, in 1840, where they were able to openly return to Judaism. His family name, Garjī, indicates that his ancestors were transferred to Mashhad from Georgia by Nādir Shāh (r. 1732–1747), together with Kurds, Sunnīs, Armenians, and other minorities from Qaz…

Gatigno, Elyakim Ben Isaac

(197 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Elyakim ben Isaac Gaṭigno (d. 1781 or 1795) was a rabbi and scholar in Izmir (Smyrna) in the eighteenth century. A scion of the Gaṭigno (Gaṭṭigno, Gaṭeigno) rabbinical family of Iberian origin, he was born in Salonica, but spent most of his life in Izmir, where he was a leading rabbi in the Jewish community until his death. Gaṭigno authored a number of works, including Toʿafot Reʾem (The Lofty Horns of the Wild Ox; Livorno, 1761), a commentary on the commentary on Rashi by Rabbi Elijah ben Abraham Mizraḥi, known as the Reʾem (d. 1526); Agura be-Ohalekha (I Will Abide in Thy Tabernacle; Sal…

Gatigno Family

(1,011 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
The Gaṭigno (Gaṭṭigno, Gaṭeigno) family, of Iberian origin, produced numerous rabbis and scholars who held leadership positions in Salonica and Izmir (Smyrna) from the seventeenth century on. Originally from Aragon, the Gaṭignos lived in Denmark before settling in Salonica in the early seventeenth century, when Moses Gaṭigno served as rector of the Majorca synagogue.Ḥayyim Abraham (I) ben Benveniste Gaṭigno (1672–1730) was a kabbalist who studied under his uncle Joseph ben Abraham (d. Jerusalem, 1709) before becoming a rabbi and communal leader in Salonica. He authored Ṭirat Ke…

Gavison Family

(575 words)

Author(s): Marc Angel
The Gavison (Gavishon, Gavizon) family attained prominence in the Jewish community of medieval Seville. After several members were killed in the anti-Jewish riots in 1391, the survivors settled in Granada, where they continued to be persecuted because of their Jewish faith. When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, the Gavisons, led by Abraham and Jacob Gavison, made their way to the city of Tlemcen in Algeria.Abraham Gavison (d. 1506) was a rabbi and poet. Jacob Gavison (d. after 1521), also a rabbi, wrote a tract entitled Derekh ha-Sekhel (The Way of Wisdom) in defense of Ma…

Gelbmann, Hortense

(218 words)

Author(s): Joy Land
Hortense Cohen Gelbmann (Guelbmann) was an educator in the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) school system. She was born in Hagueneau, province of Alsace, France, in 1861, and died in 1932. After earning the diploma of brevet supérieur (teaching certificate granted after four years of normal school), she was appointed to a teaching post in Tangier, where she remained from 1878 to 1881. She married in 1882, and served as principal of the AIU School for Girls in Tunis from 1896 to 1900, when she was transferred to Salonica as principal of the School for Girls there. She retired in 1918.Gelbm…


(5 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Cairo GenizaNorman A. Stillman

Gerez, Yosef (Yusef) Habib

(405 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Yosef Habib Gerez (b. 1926) is a Turkish Jewish artist and poet. After graduating from Kabataş Erkek Lisesi, a high school for boys in Istanbul, he studied law at Istanbul University and at the same time attended the Academy of Applied Fine Arts in Istanbul as a guest student. With the encouragement of his teacher, Nurullah Berk, Gerez began to draw and paint. In 1972 he opened the Beyoğlu City Gallery in Istanbul. That same year, his paintings were shown at a gallery in Milan. Later, he became …

Geron (Gueron) Family

(604 words)

Author(s): Leah Bornstein-Makovetsky
The Geron (Gueron) family produced many rabbis, judges, and communal leaders in Edirne (Adrianople) in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The first known member of the family was Mordecai Geron, a well-to-do merchant in Edirne who died after 1680. The Gerons reappear in the sources in the eighteenth century. After Abraham Ṣarfati, the chief rabbi of Edirne, died in 1722, the Jewish community could not agree on a single successor. One faction selected Menahem ben Isaac Ashkenazi as its chief rabbi. The other chose Ṣarfati’s son-in-law, Raphael Jacob Abraham Geron (d. 1751).…

Geron (Gueron), Yakir Astruc

(401 words)

Author(s): Leah Bornstein-Makovetsky
Yakir Astruc ben Eliakim Geron (1813–1874) was born into the distinguish Geron family of rabbis in Edirne (Adrianople). Early in his career he served as a rabbi in Bucharest. After his return to Edirne, he sojourned for a time in Rustchuk (Ruse, Bulgaria) and helped the Jewish community there reach a compromise on a major (but now unknown) issue. Geron left so strong an impression that in 1852 the community named a synagogue after him, Qahal Qadosh Geron (The Holy Congregation of Geron). When his father died in 1835, Geron inherited the rabbinate of Edirne from him. He helped rees…

Gershon, Sadik

(503 words)

Author(s): Rivka Havassy
Sadik Gershon (ca. 1888–1943) was a musician, arranger, composer, and choir director in Salonica, as well as an oud player and the leader of a çalgı (traditional Turkish ensemble). He and Moshe Cazes composed popular songs in Judeo-Spanish and performed as Sadik y Gazóz.Sadik Gershon (ca. 1888–1943) was a musician, arranger, composer (mainly of liturgical music), and synagogue choir director. Born in Salonica, Gershon was blind from an early age and was known as Sadik el Ciego (Sadik the blind). An expert in Turkish music and also versed in European music, Gershon was a…

Gerush Synagogue, Bursa

(202 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
The Gerush (Heb. exile) Synagogue in the Turkish city of Bursa (Prusa) was built in the early sixteenth century by Jewish exiles from Spain. The synagogue is located on Arap Şükrü Street, near Sakarya Boulevard. It has a seating capacity of 100 to 150 people. Its strong and well-maintained structure suggests that the synagogue was most likely restored after the shattering earthquake of 1855. An inscription next to the prayer hall of the synagogue is dated to the year 5632 (1872), possibly the ti…

G (Gabbai, Ezekiel ben Joshua (1824–1896) - The Geonim of Babylonia and the Shaping of Medieval Jewish Culture (Brody))

(1,209 words)

Gabbai, Ezekiel ben Joshua (1824–1896), Sassoon FamilyGabbai, Ezekiel ben Ṣālị (1812–1887), Sassoon Family gabba’im (official responsible for charity), Ottoman EmpireGabbay, Abraham ben Jedidiah, Printing and Printers, Printing and Printers, Printing and PrintersGabbay, Ezekiel I (Baghdadli) (d. 1823 or 1826?), Ottoman Empire, Aciman, Isaiah (Yeşaya), Carmona, Bekhor Isaac David, Gabbay Family (Iraq), Gabbay, Ezekiel (Baghdadli), Ocak BazirganiGabbay, Ezekiel II (1825–1898), Gabbay Family (Iraq), Gabbay, Ezekiel II, Jurnal Izraelit, IstanbulGabbay, Ezra, Gabbay…

G (geonim/gaonate - Gil, Moshe: on Tustarī family)

(1,528 words)

geonim/gaonate, Gaon and Gaonate and Abbasid caliphs, Gaon and Gaonate appointment/selection of, Hay (Hayya) Gaon, Yeshivot in Babylonia/Iraq, Ibn al-Dastūr, Samuel ben ʿAlī authority/influence of, Gaon and Gaonate, Yeshivot in Babylonia/Iraq, David ben Daniel ben Azariah, Elḥanan ben Shemariah  in al-Andalus, Al-Andalus  role in yeshivot, Yeshivot in Babylonia/Iraq of Babylonian yeshivot, Iraq, Gaon and Gaonate, Ibn al-Dastūr, Samuel ben ʿAlī  appointment and selection of, Iraq, Gaon and Gaonate, Ibn Sarjado, Aaron (Khalaf) ben Joseph ha-Kohen  authority/infl…

G (Gilan (province, Iran) - linguistics)

(1,320 words)

Gilan (province, Iran), Gilan Jewish communities in, Gilan Gilda Stambouli souffre et se plaint (Paula Jacques), Jacques, PaulaGilou, Thomas, Cinema, French, North African Jewish Actors and Characters in gimel, Judeo-Arabic - History and Linguistic Description Gindin, Thamar, Tafsīr of Ezekiel (Jud.-Pers. Tafsīr-i Yehezkel) Ginnat Bitan (Isaac ben Abraham ha-Kohen), MysticismGinzberg, Louis, Historiography/Historical Writing, Naṭronay bar Ḥavivay on origins of Babylonian yeshivot, Yeshivot in Babylonia/Iraq Ginze ha-Melekh (Abraham ben Esquira Mas‘ūd), Myst…

G (Grana communities (Jews from Livorno) - Guzmán y Meneses, Don Enrique Péres de (duke of Medina Sidonia))

(1,313 words)

Grana communities (Jews from Livorno), Livorno (Leghorn) in Algiers, Grana (Livornese), Livorno (Leghorn) in Tunisia, Grana (Livornese), Sephardi Impact on Islamicate Jewry  as agents of modernity, Grana (Livornese)  in French colonial period, Grana (Livornese)  growth of, Grana (Livornese)  influence of Italy on, Grana (Livornese)  Italian citizenship of, Tunisia  merchants, Tunisia  protégé status of, Tunisia  relations with Twānsa community, Grana (Livornese), Grana (Livornese), Sephardi Impact on Islamicate Jewry  Sousse, Sousse  Tunis, Jerba, Tu…
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