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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(540 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
The Hebrew term haʻataqa (transmission) was used from the eleventh century onward to denote the Karaite tradition of halakha (religious laws and practices), often coinciding with the Hebrew term sevel ha-yerusha (inherited tradition). In some ways this concept parallels the Rabbanite notion of received tradition (Oral Law; Heb. tora she-be-ʻal-pe). Scholars formerly translated sevel ha-yerusha as “burden of inheritance” or “endurance of tradition” (e.g., Poznański, 1914; Nemoy, 1963; Ankory, 1955), but it has since been demonstrated that it should …


(1,779 words)

Author(s): Laurence Loeb
The town of Habban (Ar. Ḥabbān; Coll. Ar. Ḥabbēn) was the easternmost and possibly the oldest Jewish community in South Yemen. It was once a trading town on an important incense route connecting Dhofar via the ancient port of Cana with highland Yemen. The area has long been politically unstable and was a tempting target for the nearby Awāliq chiefdom as well as strong pastoral tribes.Habban is located in what was once known as the Wahidi Sultanate on the western edge of the British-designated East Aden Protectorate. It is 275 kilometers (171 miles) east by no…

Ḥabshūsh family

(499 words)

Author(s): Alan Verskin
The Ḥabshūsh (Ḥibshūsh) family, based in Ṣan‘ā, produced several prominent merchants and rabbis who made important contributions to Yemenite Jewish literature and religious life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The family name is probably derived from the Arabic noun ḥabash (Abyssinia) and might indicate that the family once had Abyssinian commercial contacts.Shalom ibn Yaḥyā Ḥabshūsh (1825–1905) was appointed head of the Ṣan‘ā yeshiva after the death of Yaḥyā Badīhī in 1887. As the yeshiva closed permanently during the Turkish siege of…

Ḥabshūsh, Ḥayyim

(802 words)

Author(s): Alan Verskin
Ḥayyim ben Yaḥyā (Yiḥye) Ḥabshūsh (Ḥibshūsh) al-Futayḥī was born in 1839 in Sanʿāʾ to a well-known Yemeni rabbinical family. His work as a coppersmith gave him an interest in the ancient Sabean copper inscriptions, which he initially collected for their magical properties. When the French orientalist Joseph Halévy went to Yemen in 1869 in search of these inscriptions, Ḥabshūsh offered to be his guide. His encounter with Halévy was transformational. Ḥabshūsh developed a lifelong fascination with European thought and the writing of history. He also came to believe that the fate of Yemeni…

Hadassi, Judah

(627 words)

Author(s): Daniel J. Lasker
Judah ben Elijah Hadassi ha-Avel (“the Mourner,” fl. 1148–1149) was the outstanding Karaite of twelfth-century Byzantium. Although he lived in a Christian country and very likely did not know Arabic, his major opus, Sefer Eshkol ha-Kofer (The Cluster of Henna, Song of Songs 1:14) serves as a summa of Karaite Judaism as it had developed under Islam from the proto-Karaite ʿAnan ben David to the demise of the Jerusalem Karaite community in 1099. It provides an overview of Karaite law, polemics, theology, heresiology, and much more. …
Date: 2015-09-03

Haddad de Paz, Charles

(276 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Charles Haddad de Paz was the last president of the Tunisian Jewish community. Born in 1910, he studied at the Alliance Israélite Universelle school in Tunis and became a teacher there in 1928. He was also a lawyer and a member of the Chamber of Advocates. He was very active in Jewish communal institutions from the late 1930s, was elected vice-president of the Jewish Community Council in 1947, and was its president from 1951 to 1958, the year when the Tunisian government (following independence in 1956) decided to abolish the council.In 1958 Haddad left Tunisia for Marseilles. Ther…

Haddad, Ezra

(402 words)

Author(s): Lital Levy
Ezra Ḥaddād (1900?-1972) was a prominent Baghdadi Jewish educator, author, journalist, and translator. He received both a traditional education at the Midrash Talmud Torah and a modern one at the Al-Taʿāwwun school (later renamed after Rachel Shaḥmon), where he studied Turkish, Persian, and French. Beginning in 1922 he taught Arabic, English, and history in the Talmud Torah school. From 1923 (or 1924) to 1928, he was headmaster of the Al-Waṭanīyya Jewish secondary school; from 1928 to 1933 he was vice-headmaster of the Shammash school. He again served as headmas…

Haddad, Hubert Abraham

(837 words)

Author(s): Dinah Assouline Stillman
Hubert Abraham Haddad, a noted poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright, as well as an art historian and painter, was born in Tunis on March 10, 1947 and accompanied his parents into exile in France at the age of five. One of his novels, Le Camp du bandit mauresque (The Camp of the Moorish Bandit, 2005), describes their drab existence in the poor neighborhoods of Paris and its suburbs and his search for identity. Years later, speaking in an interview of his Judeo-Berber heritage and his Tunisian-French identity, he said: “There can only be h…

Haddad, Sarit

(300 words)

Author(s): Amy Horowitz
Sarit Haddad (Sarah Hodedtov) is an Israeli singer born in 1978, the youngest of the eight children of a Caucasian-Jewish family originally from Azerbaijan. Haddad showed an early interest in music, releasing her first album (with estimated sales of over 50,000 copies) when she was sixteen. While subsequent albums (in 1996 and 1997) brought her increasing popularity among fans of Mizraḥi music, it was a duet of “Tipex” in 1997 with Kobi Oz  that introduced her to the Israeli mainstream. In 1997, Haddad toured for one month in Jordan under an alias, performing mater…


(527 words)

Author(s): Annie Greene
The first newspaper in Iraq was also the first Jewish newspaper in Iraq. Ha-Dover (The Speaker) was printed and published in Baghdad from March 1863 to September 1871. It is the only known Hebrew newspaper to be printed by a lithographic printing press. It also was known as Dover Mesharim (Speaker of Righteousness). Ha-Dover was printed twice a month by its owner and editor Jewish Baghdadi journalist Barukh Moses Mizraḥi. Ha-Dover had a six-month hiatus in 1864 and then another interruption for five months in 1868. These administrative suspensions were ad hoc app…


(4 words)

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

Hagège, Daniel

(390 words)

Author(s): Yosef Tobi
Born in Tunis on July 15, 1892, Daniel Hagège (Ḥajjāj) completed his schooling in 1904 and began working in a printing house with Ya‛aqov Ha-Kohen on the weekly al-Shams and the daily al-Ṣabāḥ . On October 21, 1910, he was appointed chief editor of the weekly Ḥayāt al-Janna. On August 1, 1913, he founded a magazine called  al-Nuzha al-tūnisiyya. In 1914, he published an important book entitled Anwār Tūnis (Flowers of Tunis) that included the article “Sabab taqwīn ḥarb Urupa” (Causes of the Development of the European War), the story “al-‛Ishq wa-al-ḥubb mā fihi…

Hagiz, Moses

(579 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Moses ben Israel Jacob Ḥagiz (Ḥagis) was a halakhic scholar, rabbinical emissary ( shadar), kabbalist, and vigorous opponent of the Sabbatean heresy. He was born in Jerusalem in 1672 into a family of North African origin and was the son of Israel Jacob ben Samuel Ḥagiz (1620–1674), one of the leading rabbis of Jerusalem. Due to his father’s untimely death, however, he was educated by his maternal grandfather, Moses ben Jonathan Galante the Younger (1620–1689). Ḥagiz married the daughter of the scholar-physician Raphael Mordecai Malkhi and was…

Haham Başı (Chief Rabbi)

(2,524 words)

Author(s): Avigdor Levy
Haham başı, also spelled hahambaşı, has been the title of a government-appointed chief rabbi in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey since 1835. The title, of Ottoman Turkish provenance, combines haham, the Turkish form of Hebrew ḥakham (wise man, sage), used by Sephardi Jews as a title for their rabbis, and Turkish baş (head, chief) in the qualifying relationship construct başı. The Hebrew counterpart of haham başı is ḥakham bashi.The Christian communities in the Ottoman Empire were under the religious and civil leadership of their ecclesiastical heads, the patri…

Hahamhane Nizamnamesi (General Regulations of the Rabbinate)

(771 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
In July 1863, in furtherance of the Ottoman Tanzimat reforms, Fuad Pasha, the grand vizier, ordered the acting chief rabbi of Istanbul, Yakir Geron, to embark on a process of restructuring the Jewish community and the rabbinate. Geron organized a committee for this purpose. Led by the influential philanthropist Abraham de Camondo and consisting of fourteen regional representatives from Istanbul, the committee selected twelve lay administrators and four rabbis to formulate a reform statute. Their proposals were presented to Sultan Abdüleziz in …

Haïm, Shemu’el

(466 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Popularly known as "Mister Haïm" or "Monsieur Haïm," Shemu'el Haim was a modernist communal leader of Iranian Jewry at the beginning of the twentieth century. He was also a journalist, a Zionist, and a member of the Majlis, the Iranian parliament. Shemu'el Haïm was born in Kirmanshah in 1891 and was educated in the school of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, where he acquired a thorough command of English and French.In 1914 Haïm entered the customs service in Kirmanshah. While working there he became a political consultant to the British embassy, but his connec…

Haïm, Soleiman

(378 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Soleiman Haïm, born in the Jewish quarter of Tehran in 1886, was an Iranian Jewish scholar, lexicographer, playwright, and the editor of a series of bilingual dictionaries that earned him  the nickname ustād-i kalām (Pers. master of words). He died in Tehran in 1970.Haïm grew up in stark economic conditions. His early education was in a traditional Jewish elementary school (Pers. maktabkhāneh) . In 1906 he entered the American College of Tehran (a secondary school run by Presbyterian missionaries), and he began teaching English there in 1915.  He was brie…

Ha-ʿIvri ha-Tzair (Egypt)

(657 words)

Author(s): Ruth Kimche
Ha-‘Ivri ha-Tzair  (Heb. Ha-ʿIvri ha-Ṣa’ir - The Young Hebrew), the first pioneer youth movement in Egypt, was an affiliate of ha-Shomer ha-Tzair (The Young Guard), a worldwide Socialist Zionist movement. Five veteran leaders of the Maccabi scout movement established Ha-ʿIvri ha-Tzair  in 1932, on the initiative of Mordechai Albagli, who had become acquainted with the kibbutz enterprise while visiting Palestine. Another of the five, Aaron Liscovitch, had learned about the movement from members of ha-Shomer ha-Tzair in Tunis with whom he corresponded, and he …

Hājjī Riżā

(204 words)

Author(s): Vera B. Moreen
Ḥājjī Riżā was a minor official during the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I (1571–1629), one of the most important monarchs of the Ṣafavid dynasty in Iran. As such, he is symbolic of a number of other such officials who took it upon themselves, not necessarily with court approval, to persecute Jews. According to the Judeo-Persian chronicle Kitāb-i Anusī (The Book of a Forced Convert) by Bābāī ibn Luṭf , sometime in 1625 a wave of persecutions struck the Jewish community of Isfahan. It had formerly paid a yearly jizya (see Taxation; Dhimma) of forty tūmāns, but Ḥājjī Riżā, one of the stewards of th…

Ḥakak, Balfour

(284 words)

Author(s): Ori Kritz
Balfour Medad Ḥakak, writer, poet, and editor, was born in Baghdad in 1948. Israel became his home in 1950. Fifteen years later he won the International Bible Contest. After receiving an M.A. in Bible Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1977), he began working in the Curriculum Department of the Ministry of Education and Culture. He edited numerous books and the teachers’ magazine Ḥinnukh ʿal ha-Pereq (Education in Action, 1986–99). Since 2005 he has been chair of the Hebrew Writers Association.Ḥakak published his first poem, Be-Qarov (Soon), at age fifteen in Maʿariv la-No…
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