Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

Get access Subject: Jewish Studies
Executive Editor: Norman A. Stillman

Help us improve our service

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. 

Subscriptions: see brill.com

Labaton, Mordechai

(339 words)

Author(s): Yaron Harel
Ḥayyim Mordechai Labaton, son of Rabbi Ḥalfon and Luna Labaton, was born in Aleppo around the year 1780. He engaged in the soap trade to support himself. For many years, he served as deputy to Chief Rabbi Abraham ʿAntebi. Their joint tenure was marked by stability and by efforts to strengthen the standing and authority of the rabbinical court ( bet din), because in the aftermath of the Ottoman reforms (Tanzimat), which left only matters of personal status under its jurisdiction, the court had been somewhat undermined. Their Torah scholarship, the popular belief …

Labi, Simon

(545 words)

Author(s): Moshe Hallamish
Simon ben Labi (Lavi; d. ca. 1585) was a noted kabbalist in sixteenth-century Morocco and Libya. Born into a family of Spanish exiles, Labi was active in Fez during the first half of the sixteenth century. Around 1549, he set out for the Land of Israel, but on arriving in Tripoli he decided to settle there permanently after taking note of its great potential as a site for educational activity. While in Fez, he commenced work on his Ketem Paz (The Finest Gold), a broad-ranging and profound commentary on the Zohar. Labi is unique among commentators in not being influenced …

La Boz de Izmir

(348 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
La Boz de Izmir (The Voice of Izmir) was a Judeo-Spanish political and literary weekly published in Izmir (Smyrna) from 1910 to 1922. Printed in Rashi script, it began under the editorship of Bekhor Ḥannah, who also edited the journal Bayram (The Feast), but from 1916/1917 until 1918/1919, he was replaced by B. Luria. Ḥannah had worked for many years as a clerk for the Austrian Post in Izmir, and later for the Ottoman Post after the Capitulations were abolished. Ḥannah produced La Boz de Izmir with the assistance of Jacques (Ya‘aqov) Ben-Senior, who also wrote for several other Judeo…

La Boz de la Verdad

(229 words)

Author(s): Julia Phillips Cohen
La Boz de la Verdad (The Voice of Truth) was a Ladino newspaper published by Yosef Barishac in Edirne from 1910 until his death around 1922. It initially appeared twice a week but later became a weekly. La Boz de la Verdad described itself as primarily concerned with political and literary subjects, but as the only Jewish newspaper in Edirne for most of its existence, it was obliged to cover local news as well.Although La Boz de la Verdad was the city’s longest-lived Ladino periodical, it was not the first. It was preceded by the Hebrew/Ladino journals Carmi, published from 1881 to 1882 by …

La Boz del Puevlo

(269 words)

Author(s): Julia Phillips Cohen
La Boz del Puevlo (The Voice of the People) was a Ladino newspaper published by Joseph Romano in Izmir (Smyrna) from 1908 to around 1919. In 1910, its editor-in-chief was Efraim Suhami, and its assistant director was Behor Hana, also of La Boz de Izmir (1910–1922). The paper initially appeared twice a week and later became a weekly. It ranged from four to six pages at different times.Romano, a graduate of an Alliance Israélite Universelle school, believed he had a duty to “regenerate” the Jewish community. His paper instructed readers on everything from proper …

La Buena Esperansa (Izmir), 1842

(422 words)

Author(s): Olga Borovaya
La Buena Esperansa (The Good Hope) was the name under which the first Ladino newspaper was to be published in Izmir in the summer of 1842. All the evidence suggests, however, that the project never saw light. Information in contemporaneous local and European papers testifies to the existence only of its prospectus, dated May 21, 1842. The goal of La Buena Esperansa was “to elevate the Jewish character by exciting Israelites to the cultivation of the liberal arts and sciences” ( Voice of Jacob, July 8, 1842). It was intended to be a weekly and promised to report commercial news…
Date: 2015-09-03

La Buena Esperansa (Izmir), 1874-1917

(278 words)

Author(s): Julia Phillips Cohen
La Buena Esperansa (The Good Hope), also known as La Esperansa, published from 1874 to 1917 (?) by Aron de Yosef Hazan, was the longest-lived Ladino newspaper published in Izmir (Smyrna). Initially a weekly, it subsequently appeared twice a week. Each issue had four pages.During its first years, La Buena Esperansa met with significant opposition, and lost readers when conservative members of the Izmir Jewish community rallied against it. In time, however, the paper became an established and influential organ in the city. In addition to reportin…


(5 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Judeo-Spanish LiteratureNorman A. Stillman

La Epoka (Salonica)

(536 words)

Author(s): Olga Borovaya | Julia Phillips Cohen
La Epoka (1875–1911) was a Ladino newspaper published in Salonica. It was founded by Bezalel Saadi Halevy. In 1898 his son, Samuel Saadi Halevy (Sam Lévy), became its editor-in-chief. The paper started  as a weekly, later became a bi-weekly, and eventually appeared five times per week, ranging from four to eight pages in different periods. It defined itself as a “political, economic and literary” publication and had a French counterpart,  Le Journal de Salonique, also run by members of the Halevy family. Between 1907 and 1908, it had a weekly supplement, La Epoka Literaria. La Epo…
Date: 2015-09-03

La Esperanza

(14 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see La Buena Esperansa, Izmir, 1874-1917, La Buena Esperansa, Izmir, 1842Norman A. Stillman

La Gazette d'Israël (Tunis)

(322 words)

Author(s): Mohsen Hamli
La Gazette d’Israël was a two- to four-page weekly newspaper in Tunis published from October 1938 to July 1939 with a circulation of two thousand, and from December 1945 to September 1951 with a circulation of fifteen hundred. (Like all such journals, its readership far exceeded its circulation numbers.) An organ of Revisionist Zionism, it was founded by E. Ganem to fill the gap left by the closing of Le Réveil Juif and Kadima, and was managed consecutively by David Boccara, Raymond Cohen, Victor Haouzi, and André Scemmama. Its editors-in-chief were Henri Emmanuel an…


(586 words)

Author(s): Todd Shepard
Known as Algeria’s gateway to the Sahara, Laghouat (Ar. al-Aghwāṭ), located 400 kilometers (249 miles) south of Algiers on the southern edge of the Atlas Mountains, had a Jewish presence from at least its late sixteenth-century founding into the 1960s. With both Sephardi and indigenous (possibly Berber) roots, its Jews, like other Laghouatis, spoke dialectical Arabic in addition to Judeo-Arabic and, later, French.The city’s modern history began in blood, with the December 4, 1852, French conquest, which annexed it to the département of Algiers. Jews participated actively in …

La Justice (Tunis)

(394 words)

Author(s): Habib Kazdaghli
The Tunisian Jewish newspaper La Justice called for the extension of French jurisdiction, citizenship, and power in Tunisia. Its political opponents attacked the paper as a platform of the “assimilation party.”Founded in Tunis in 1907 by Mardochée Smadja, La Justice was named in homage to Georges Clémenceau and his campaign in favor of Alfred Dreyfus. The newspaper’s subtitle was: “journal for the extension of France’s rights and duties in Tunisia.” It called on the French to naturalize the Jews of Tunisia or at least to place them under the jurisdiction of French courts.With the outbr…

Lalehzari, Iraj

(256 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Dr. Iraj Lalehzari was an Iranian Jewish research scientist in chemistry and pharmacology. Born in 1930, he obtained a doctorate in pharmacology at the age of twenty-one from Tehran University and a second doctorate in organic chemistry in Paris in 1953, where he remained for post-doctoral studies. He returned to Iran in 1958 as professor of chemistry at the University of Tehran, becoming chairman of the department in 1970. In 1973, he was promoted to dean of the College of Pharmacology. In 1975…

La Liberté/El Horria

(491 words)

Author(s): Aviad Moreno
La Liberté/El Horria (French and Arabic, respectively for liberty) was a Jewish newspaper that appeared in Tangier, Morocco, between 1915 and 1922. It was published and printed by Salomon Benaioun (Ben Ayoun) (d. 1921). Originally from Oran, Algeria, Benaioun moved to Tangier in the late nineteenth century, where he issued several publications from his self-owned Imprimerie Française du Maroc printing house. They included the first Moroccan newspaper in French, Le Reveil du Maroc (Tangier) (1880–1899), first published by Benaioun’s predecessor, Abraham Lévy-Cohen. La Liberté/…

La Luz de Israel (Istanbul)

(209 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
La Luz de Israel (The Light of Israel; Istanbul, 1853–?) was a Judeo-Spanish weekly gazette in Istanbul, printed in Rashi script and edited by Léon de Ḥayyim Castro, a member of the Italian Castro family. Founded in 1853, and also known as Or Yisraʾel (The Light of Israel), the paper followed the first major Jewish newspaper to appear in Istanbul, the Journal Israélite (1841–1860). It was devoted primarily to news and reportage on the Crimean War. According to Moïse Franco, Castro owned a printing press and began issuing the paper in 1853 to capitalize on Jewish readers’ …

La Nation (Salonica)

(652 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
La Nation was a bi-weekly, then weekly, and later daily newspaper published in Salonica from 1900 to 1913. Edited by Judah Salomon Asseo, and printed in Judeo-Spanish (using Rashi script) and French, it served as an organ of the Cercle (later Club) des Intimes, a Jewish philanthropic and cultural organization in Salonica, as stated in its subtitle, “Revista Nasional Judea Independiente, organo del Club des Intimes.” The Cercle des Intimes was founded in 1873, and was restructured in 1907 as the Club des Intimes.For a brief period, La Nation flirted with Zionism and printed articles by Vlad…

Laniado Family

(1,310 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ayalon
The Laniado family probably arrived in the Ottoman Empire soon after the expulsion from Spain in 1492. Rabbis from the family appear to have played a central role in Aleppo in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, for they are frequently mentioned and quoted by other scholars throughout this period. Most of what information there is about the lives and official positions of the Laniado rabbis, however, is derived from works by members of the family and therefore is of questionable reliability. This applies most especial…

Lapapa, Aaron Ben Isaac

(964 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Aaron ben Isaac Lapapa (ca. 1604–1667) was a highly regarded rabbi who led the Jewish community of Manisa for many years and then moved to Izmir to share the post of chief rabbi with Ḥayyim ben Israel Benveniste. He was one of the few rabbis in Izmir to oppose Shabbetay Ṣevi. Lapapa was born and grew up in Manisa. He studied at the yeshiva of Abraham Muṭal and under Ḥayyim ben Shabbetay (ca. 1555–1647) in Salonica, then went to Istanbul to study under Joseph ben Moses Miṭrani (Mahariṭ, 1569–1639), who often praised him. Lapapa was already considered an important scholar by the…


(474 words)

Author(s): Isabelle Rohr
The town of Larache (Ar. al-ʿArāʾish) is located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco at the mouth of the river Loukkos (Oued Loukkos), near the ancient town of Lixus, where legend places the Garden of the Hesperides. The first mention of Jews in Larache dates back to 1492. A Basque pirate, Juan López de Marondon (or Narondo), robbed Jewish exiles from Spain on their way to Larache. Throughout the sixteenth century, Larache saw the arrival of crypto-Jews from Portugal who wished to revert to Judaism. In 1542, when Portugal expelled the Jews of Arzila (Ar. Aṣīla), some of th…

Laredo, Abraham Isaac

(248 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Abraham Isaac Laredo (1895–1969) was a leader of the Jewish community of Tangier, serving as secretary and vice-president of the Junta (Jewish Community Council) in 1949 and as its president in 1956. Laredo was active in many communal organizations, including the Société d’Histoire et d’Archéologie de Tanger, the Ligue Anti-Tuberculeuse Entraide National, and the Association pour la Défense des Intérêts de Tanger, and served as president of the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE ) in Tangier until it closed in 1964…

Laredo Family

(455 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
The Laredo family traces its origins to the Spanish town of Laredo, Santander Province of Viejo Castile, although it had roots in Briviesca, Burgos, and Villanueva. The family included rabbinic figures and lay leaders in Tangier, Ksar el-Kébir, and Gibraltar. Family members also served as leaders of the ḥevrat gemilat ḥasidim (Heb. society for acts of loving-kindness), administering the burial and cemetery rituals. They also participated in the benevolent societies that cared for the sick and provided dowries for poor brides.One of the best-known members of the family was Abraham La…

Laredo, Isaac

(258 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Isaac Laredo (1866–1946) was a multilingual writer, journalist, and sociologist in Tangier. As a young journalist, he fought against official misuse of office and for the modernization of the community. He wrote under various pseudonyms, including Omega, el-Bachir, and HaMeliz, and was a founder of La Cronica, a local newspaper . He also wrote for the press in Spain, Gibraltar, and Tangier. Laredo helped to create the Hygiene Commission and from 1888 to 1889 was its first secretary-treasurer. In 1898 he was made honorary vice-president of the Jewish Community Council ( Junta), and in …

La Revue Sioniste (Cairo)

(228 words)

Author(s): Ovadia Yeroushalmy
In March 1917 Jack N. Mosseri (1884–1934) was appointed president of the Zionist Organization in Egypt. As one of his first acts, he provided the organization with an official organ— La Revue Sioniste, a bimonthly French-language journal. Its first issue appeared in January 1918, and it continued intermittently until 1924.Under the editorship of the lawyer and Zionist leader Léon Castro (1884–1954?), La Revue Sioniste reported on the activities of the Zionist movement in Egypt and around the world. In two articles early in 1923, Lucien Magnes called upon Mi…

Lārī, Abū 'l Ḥasan

(421 words)

Author(s): Vera B. Moreen
Abū ʾl Ḥasan Lārī was the central figure in an incident that occurred in the southwestern Iranian town of Lār sometime between 1616 and 1620, as recounted in the Judeo-Persian chronicle Kitāb-i Anusī (The Book of a Forced Convert) by Bābāī b. Luṭf. Its main element was an effort to make the Jews wear demeaning headgear that would distinguish them from Shīʿī Muslims, in keeping with the customs ostensibly initiated by the caliph ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (r. 634-644).According to Ibn Luṭf, the Jews of Lār were concerned about the conflict of interest generated by the circumsta…

Larissa (Yenishehir-i Fenari)

(929 words)

Author(s): Yitzchak Kerem
Larissa is the industrial center of the Thessaly region northwest of Athens, and has been the crossroads for commerce between the cities of Macedonia and Epirus with Morea (the Peloponnesus) since the fifth century. Its Jewish community dated to at least the early Byzantine period, as indicated by a Jewish inscription in Greek, “To the nation peace,” apparently a variant of the Hebrew saying “Peace unto Israel.”Situated in the midst of an agricultural region, Larisa was rebuilt several times in the Byzantine period. Conquered and annexed in 1423, it remained p…

Lashoniyya, Talashont, Taqollit

(681 words)

Author(s): Moshe Bar-Asher
In most places where Jews settled in Morocco, the Arabic they spoke differed from the language of the local Muslims. It was only at the end of the twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first, when the size of the country’s Jewish population had dwindled greatly and Jews no longer lived in closed neighborhoods, that dialectic variations between Jews and Muslims blurred or disappeared. The distinctions were once apparent in every aspect of language—phonology, morphology, syntax, vocabulary, and semantics. For example, the consonant [k] exists in the dialect of Muslims in the Tafil…

Lasry, Marc

(379 words)

Author(s): Alma Heckman
Marc Lasry was born in 1961 in Marrakesh, Morocco. Five years later his family emigrated to the United States, settling in Hartford, Connecticut. His father, Moïse, was a computer programmer; his mother, Elise, a teacher. From this modest background, Lasry rose to become a major figure in hedge-fund management and the broader domain of international finance.Lasry graduated from Clark University in 1981 with a B.A. in history,  and three years later, in 1984, was awarded his J.D. from New York Law School. He initially practiced in bankruptcy law, but…

La Tribune Juive (Cairo)

(470 words)

Author(s): Ovadia Yeroushalmy
La Tribune Juive was a French-language weekly that appeared in Alexandria between 1936 and 1948. It was the most important political journal of the Jewish press in Egypt during the 1940s. Its beginnings go back to  Judea, an unsuccessful journal founded in January 1936 under the editorship of Jacques Rabin (1912–1991), who had many years of journalistic experience in Egypt’s French-language press. In February 1936 a Jew of Polish origin named Mendel Kalkstein submitted a request for a license to publish La Tribune Juive. A short while after its first issues appeared, he emigra…

L'Aurore (Cairo)

(249 words)

Author(s): Ovadia Yeroushalmy
LʾAurore was a pro-Zionist French-language Jewish weekly in Cairo between 1924 and 1941. Its owner and first editor was Lucien Sciuto (1858–1947), a journalist, author, and educator. He had originally begun publishing L’Aurore in Istanbul, but was forced to close because of disputes with the leaders of the local Jewish community. He moved to Egypt in 1919 and there resumed publication of L’Aurore. In contrast to the weekly Israël, which appeared in Cairo during the same period, L’Aurore was critical and even provocative. Its editorial policy soon led to friction between…

L’Aurore (Istanbul)

(614 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
L’Aurore (1908–1920, 1924–1931) was a French-language pro-Zionist newspaper, initially a bi-weekly and then a weekly, that was published first in Istanbul, and later in Cairo. Its founder and publisher, the Salonica-born poet and writer Lucien Sciuto (1868–1947), saw L’Aurore as a newspaper for Jewish readers that would promote Zionism and Ottomanism, which he saw as complementary movements. The first issue came out one day after the proclamation of the 1908 Ottoman constitution and opened with a quotation from Theodor Herzl (1860–1904). L’Aurore quickly established itself a…

La Vara (Cairo)

(181 words)

Author(s): Ovadia Yeroushalmy
La Vara (The Rod) was a biweekly Judeo-Spanish journal published in Cairo in Rashi script from 1905 to 1908. The noted historian, educator, and author Abraham Galanté (1873–1961), its founder and chief editor, had moved to Egypt in 1904 in the aftermath of a dispute with the leaders of the Jewish community in Izmir (Smyrna). The author of dozens of articles and books about Turkish Jewry, Galanté targeted a predominantly Jewish audience, and devoted most of the pages of La Vara to attacks on the institutions and leaders of Ottoman Jewry, especially in Turkey. In the very fir…

L’Avenir Illustré (Casablanca)

(383 words)

Author(s): Yaron Tsur
Published in Casablanca from 1926 to 1940 in French,  L’Avenir Illustré was the first long-lasting Jewish periodical in Morocco. It advocated reforms in the Jewish community and sought to instill the ideals of Jewish nationalism among the increasingly Westernized Jewish elite that had come into being in Morocco during the French protectorate. Its founder and editor was an Ashkenazi Jew, Jonathan Thursz (1895–1976), a native of Poland who was educated in Belgium and settled in Morocco in 1923. The French colonial authorities disapproved of Zionism but were unable to object to L’Avenir…

La Voix des Communautés (Rabat)

(13 words)

Author(s): Daniel Schroeter
see Conseil des Communautés Israélites du Maroc (CCIM)Daniel Schroeter

La Voix d’Israël (Tunis)

(239 words)

Author(s): Mohsen Hamli
La Voix d’Israël(Tunis) was a two- to eight-page Zionist newspaper, originally a weekly, then a bimonthly, that was published in Tunis from March 1920 to February 1930. Subtitled the “Political Organ of Zionism and North African Judaism—special service of daily Jewish information,” La Voix d’Israël was directed by Menahem Bellaïche(also Belaïs ), and edited by his son Jacques Belaïche, one of the founders, along with Jules Bonan, of the Yoshevet Ṣiyyon Society,  formed in 1914, which viewed itself as ideologically in line with the religious Zionism of the Mizrachi movement. Georges N…

La Voix Juive (Alexandria)

(163 words)

Author(s): Ovadia Yeroushalmy
La Voix Juive was a French-language weekly that appeared in Alexandria between 1931 and 1933. Its chief editor was the charismatic Albert Staraselski (1903–1980), who established Revisionist Zionism in Egypt and used the paper to promote the Revisionist program. La Voix Juive had the support of the chief rabbi, David Praṭo (1882–1951), and other Alexandrian Jewish notables. It penetrated wide segments of the Jewish community of Egypt thanks in part to Staraselski’s well-written, carefully organized articles but also to its relatively low price…

Lazarus, Jacques

(716 words)

Author(s): Jessica Hammerman
Jacques Lazarus was the principal advocate for the Jews of Algeria after 1948, and especially during the Algerian War (1954–1962). He was born on September 2, 1916 to Alsatian Jewish parents then living in Payerne, Switzerland, but after World War I his family moved to Colmar, which had become French once again. In pursuit of a military career, Lazarus joined the French Army in the 1930s and served until the 1940 armistice with Germany and the establishment of the Vichy regime, when he was discharged from the army under the Jewish Statute. In 1943 he became a leader of the clandestine Armée Jui…


(3,002 words)

Author(s): Kirsten Schulze
The presence of Jews in Lebanon dates back to biblical times. The first Jews are said to have arrived around 1000 b.c.e. The flourishing trade relations between King Solomon (r. 970–930 b.c.e.) and King Hiram of Tyre attracted other Jews to the area. During the reign of Aristobolus (104–105 B.C.E.), some areas around Mount Lebanon were conquered and forcibly Judaized. During the Roman period, the House of Herod ruled over large parts of Lebanon. In 132, after the Bar Kokhva Revolt, Jews from Galilee migrated to Mount Hermon. They were mainly agriculturalists. In 502 the Beirut synagogue w…

Le Jeune Turc

(426 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Le Jeune Turc was a daily newspaper in French published in Istanbul from 1908 to 1918. It was edited by Sami Hochberg, Vladimir Jabotinsky, and the Turkish journalist Celâl Nuri. The origins of Le Jeune Turc lay in Le Courrier d’Orient, owned by Ebüzziya Tevfik, an outspokenly antisemitic deputy from Antalya. Hochberg, Victor Jacobson, David Wolffsohn, and other Zionists purchased the paper from Tevfik in 1909 and transformed it into an organ sympathetic to the ruling Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). Under their control, the paper promoted the CUP and its program, democrac…

Le Journal de Salonique

(552 words)

Author(s): Olga Borovaya
Le Journal de Salonique (1895–1911) was the longest-lived French-language Sephardi periodical in the Ottoman Empire. It was founded by Bezalel Saadi Halevy in 1895 and after his retirement was run by his son Daout. Its first editor-in-chief was Vitalis Cohen, who was replaced by Lucien Sciuto. In 1898, this position was assumed by the publisher’s youngest son, Shmuel Saadi Halevy (Sam Saadi Lévy). Until mid-1908, Le Journal was a four-page bi-weekly. From 1908 to 1909, it appeared more often, up to five times per week, and often had a free supplement.The program of Le Journal, published …
Date: 2015-09-03

Le Journal d’Orient

(587 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Le Journal d’Orient (1918–1924, 1926–1971), a daily newspaper in French published in Istanbul, was founded and edited by Albert Carasso (Karasu, 1885–1982). A French-educated political scientist born in Salonica, Carasso ran the enterprise with the help of Albert Avram Benaroya (1887–1955), Lea Zolotarevsky, Marsel Shalom, Regenstreif (first name never indicated), and others. In later years, Moşe Benbasat (Benbasan) and Aaron Zonana also contributed.In its early period, Le Journal d’Orient was sympathetic to Zionism but had no formal connection to the movement. …

Le Reveil du Maroc (Tangier)

(317 words)

Author(s): Jamaa Baida
Le Réveil du Maroc was a French-language newspaper in Tangier that appeared for the first time on July 14, 1883, its founder, Abraham Lévy-Cohen, Abraham, having chosen that symbolic date, Bastille Day, as a tribute to France. Nothing on the masthead referred to the newspaper as Jewish, but its founder’s concerns, as well as its content, clearly point to a publication defending Jewish interests in Morocco.     Lévy Cohen was born in Tangier in 1844 to a family originally from Essaouira (Mogador). A businessman and a lawyer, he was also a freemason, a member o…

Le Réveil Juif (Sfax)

(366 words)

Author(s): Mohsen Hamli
Le Réveil Juif was a weekly, French-language, four-page Zionist newspaper published on Fridays in Sfax, Tunisia, from September 1924 to March 1935. Its founder and director was Félix Allouche (1901–1978), its editors-in-chief were Henri Maarek and Elie Louzon, and its editing managers were Michel Loffreda, Jacques Taieb, and Maurice Sitbon. René Cohen-Hadria, Félix Bijaoui, David Chemla, and Jacques Belaïs (from Israel) were its most famous regular contributors. Considered the most important news organ of Revisionist Zionism in Tunisia in its day, Le Réveil Juif was character…

Levi (Abū Saʿīd) ben Japheth

(881 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Levi ha-Levi ben Japheth (Yefet), also known as Abū Saʿīd, flourished in the first half of the eleventh century. He was the younger of the two known sons of Japheth ben Eli , the Karaite Bible exegete par excellence (his brother being ʿAlī Saʿīd, or Saʿadya, ha-Levi). Like his father, Levi apparently resided in Jerusalem, where, according to Ibn al-Hītī , he counted Jeshua ben Judah (Abū ’l-Faraj Furqān ibn Asad) among his pupils. Later Karaite writers sometimes incorrectly refer to Levi as Saʿīd (not Abū Saʿīd) or Saʿ…
Date: 2015-09-03

Levi, Davishon (Davichon Levy)

(197 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Davishon Levi (Davichon Levy), from the city of Ioannina (Janina) in Epirus, was one of the six Jewish deputies in the Ottoman parliament during its second term from 1877 to 1878 (the others were Menahem Salah from Baghdad, Avram from Salonica, Yaver Disraeli and Salamon from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Samuel Molho from Istanbul). During his parliamentary service, Levi  demonstrated great expertise in economics and fiscal policy. He frequently called attention to the Ottoman government’s wasteful spending and rising debts, attacked some of its policies as irres…

Levi (Ha-Levi), Moshe

(1,189 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Moses Levi (Moshe ha-Levi) (c. 1827 - 21 July 1910) served for more than three decades, from 1872 to mid-1908, as acting chief rabbi of the Ottoman Empire, a tenure defined by his own conservatism and that of the Ottoman regime with whom he maintained close ties. Born in Bursa around 1827, Levi was educated at the city’s rabbinic seminary. On the death of Yaqir Geron (Guéron, r. 1863–1872), Levi succeeded to the office of chief rabbi after several days of stormy discussions between various factions in the Jewish community of Istanbul. The appointment of a ch…

Levi, Isaac

(791 words)

Author(s): Edwin Seroussi
Isaac Levy (1919–1977) was born in Manissa, near Izmir, in Turkey. In 1922, he immigrated to Israel with his parents. He studied voice at the Conservatory of Music in Jerusalem and performed as a singer throughout the country. At the same time, he composed songs on biblical and other sacred texts as well as children’s songs in modern Hebrew, some of which became canonical of this genre, such as “Bi-Mdinat ha-Gamadim” (In the Land of the Dwarfs).Very early in his career Levy became interested in collecting, publishing, and disseminating the Sephardi musical heritage. As he put it in h…

Levi, Isaac G.

(480 words)

Author(s): Uri M. Kupferschmidt
Born on January 4, 1878, in the Italian-Jewish community of Istanbul and raised there,Isaac G. Levi obtained a doctorate in law from the University of Naples in 1900, as well as a diploma from the Istituto Orientale in Napoli. In the same year, he went toEgypt where he first practiced law independently, and soon became oriental secretary at the Italian Consulate. In 1905 he joined the Egyptian government’s Department of Statistics, making important contributions to its development and ultimately becoming its director-general. Under his guidance the Annuaire Statistique began to a…

Levi (Le-Vet Ha-Levi) Family, Salonica

(1,986 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
The Sephardi family known as ha-Levi or le-Vet ha-Levi (Heb. of the House of Levi) produced a number of leading scholars and communal leaders in Salonica during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Originating in the Portuguese city of Évora, Solomon (I) ben Joseph (d. ca. 1538), a physician and rabbi, made his way to the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the fifteenth century. He traced his ancestry back to several other distinguished and wealthy physicians, including his grandfather, Moses ben Solomon ben Isaac, and the latter’s great-grandfather, Joseph. Solomon had tw…

Levi, Mario

(287 words)

Author(s): Leslie Abuaf
Mario Levi is a Turkish Jewish author and professor of communications. Born in Istanbul in 1957, he graduated from the Lycée Français Saint Michel in 1975 and subsequently attended Istanbul University, where he pursued a degree in French language and literature, graduating in 1980. Levi’s first experiment in writing was a diary in which he made regular entries. He began his professional career in 1984, contributing articles to numerous magazines and newspapers, including Şalom , Cumhuriyet, Milliyet Sanat, and Cumhuriyet Dergisi. In 1986, he published his first book, a roma…

Lévi-Provençal, Evariste

(528 words)

Author(s): David J. Wasserstein
Evariste Lévi-Provençal (né Maklouf Evariste Lévi) was a distinguished and highly assimilated French-Jewish orientalist who was  born in Algeria in 1894, and taught in Morocco, Algeria, and France. Deprived of his teaching post under the Vichy regime, he spent the war years in Toulouse and then in Cairo, but returned to France and a chair at the Sorbonne after the Allied victory in 1945.Lévi-Provençal was one of the most productive and influential French Islamists of his day, founding or editing several scholarly journals and serving as an editor of the second edition of the Encyclopaedi…

Levi, Shabbetai

(575 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Shabbetai Levi (Istanbul, April 10, 1876 – Ḥaifa, November, 1, 1956) was a noted early Zionist leader. As the first Jewish mayor of Haifa, he oversaw the city’s rapid development during the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Istanbul on April 10, 1876, to Siman-Ṭov Nathan ha-Levi, a merchant and businessman, and Sarah née Pereṣ, he received both a traditional and a modern education and graduated from the Faculty of Political Science and Administration at Istanbul University. He moved to Palestine in 1894 a…

Levi, Suzi Hug

(201 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Suzi Hug Levi was born in 1944 inIstanbul to an Ashkenazi family and is a graduate of Robert College. Since 1980 she has been a professional painter and sculptor. She has won several awards: in 1991 the Year’s Artist award from the Istanbul Paintings and Sculptures Museum; in 1997 the Sharjah Biennial Award of the United Arab Emirates; in 1998, 1999, and 2000 the Year’s Artist award in sculpture from the Ankara Art Institution; in 2002 the Tunis Biennial Award; and in 2004 the IJAYA (International Jewi…

Levi-Tannai, Sara

(404 words)

Author(s): Amy Horowitz
Sara Levi-Tannai (1911–2005) was an Israeli choreographer, founder of the Inbal Dance Troupe, and recipient of the Israel Prize in 1973 for her life’s work in dance. Born in Jerusalem, she lost her Yemenite immigrant parents at a young age and was raised in orphanages, where she was first introduced to Western culture. As a young woman, Levi-Tannai studied early childhood education in Tel Aviv and found a creative outlet composing songs for preschoolers, some of which remain popular to this day.…

Lévy, Alégrina Benchimol

(411 words)

Author(s): Frances Malino
Born in Tetouan, Morocco, in 1885, Alégrina Benchimol was the youngest of three sisters. Together they founded and directed Alliance Israélite Universelle schools in ten cities in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire. Her brothers were also Alliance teachers. In 1900, Alégrina left Tetuan for France to study at a private school in Auteil. She returned to North Africa in 1904 as assistant to her oldest sister, Claire Benchimol Lévy, director of the Alliance school for girls in Tripoli, Libya. When her sister died a year later, Alégrina succeeded her as director,…

Lévy, Benny

(853 words)

Author(s): Dinah Assouline Stillman
Benny Lévy was a French intellectual, essayist, philosopher, and professor at the Sorbonne (Paris VII), best known in France as one of the founders of a Maoist movement in 1968 and for having been secretary to Jean-Paul Sartre from 1973 until the latter’s death in 1980. His trajectory took him from radical politics to Western philosophy to Orthodox Judaism, and ultimately aliya to Israel, where he taught philosophy and in 2000, together with two other French Jewish philosophers, Bernard-Henri Lé…

Lévy-Cohen, Abraham

(409 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Abraham Lévy-Cohen (1844–1888) was born in Tangier, raised in Essaouira (Mogador), and educated in England, where he was naturalized. He also lived in France for eight years. Returning to Morocco as a lawyer, businessman, and journalist, he served as a member of the regional committee of the Alliance Israélite Universelle and representative of the Anglo-Jewish Association in Tangier. Though a British subject, he was a member of the Jewish Francophile elite, devoted to the advancement of French culture and interests in Morocco.On July 14, 1883, Lévy-Cohen began publishing Mor…

Levy, David

(481 words)

Author(s): Zion Zohar
David Levy is an Israeli politician who served for more than thirty-five years in the Knesset (1969–2006). Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1939, Levy emigrated to Israel with his family in 1959 and settled in the peripheral northern town of Beit She’an. As a construction worker at the age of twenty-six, he represented the construction workers union on the Beit She’an workers’ council. The following year he became deputy mayor and later was mayor of Beit She’an from 1964 to 1977. From the mid-1960s through the early 1980s Levy was chairman of the Teḥelet Lavan faction of the Likud in the nation…

Levy, Ḥabῑb

(564 words)

Author(s): Daniel Tsadik
An important community leader in twentieth-century Iran, Ḥabīb Levy attended the Alliance Israélite Universelle school until the age of fourteen and then studied dentistry in Paris until 1913. In 1922 he became a dentist in an Iranian military hospital where Reza Shah (r. 1925–1941) was one of his patients. Later he had his own practice and also became an importer of pharmaceuticals to Iran.Levy was heavily engaged in public activities. He joined the Iranian Zionist movement in 1919, became the head of its Propaganda Commission, and in 1921 was elected to the pres…

Lévy, Messody

(329 words)

Author(s): Frances Malino
Born in Tetouan in 1898, Messody Lévy spent her youth in Tripoli, Libya where her parents, Claire Benchimol Lévy and Maïr Lévy, were the directors of the local Alliance Israélite Universelle schools. When Claire died in childbirth in 1905, Messody’s aunt, Alégrina Benchimol, married her brother-in-law, and together they raised his four children. After graduating from the local Alliance school in Tripoli—she was, her aunt wrote to the AIU in Paris, the most brilliant student she had ever taught—Messody left for Paris to train as an Alliance teacher. She returned to Morocco in 1916 …

Lévy, Messody Coriat

(312 words)

Author(s): Frances Malino
Born in Tetouan, Morocco, in 1881, Messody Coriat came from a prominent although impoverished family. After completing her studies at the local Alliance Israélite Universelle school, she left for Paris and the École Biscoffsheim, a vocational and normal school to which the Alliance sent many of its future teachers. Upon graduation Messody returned to Morocco, where her first assignment was to establish a school for girls in Marrakesh. She remained as director of this school until 1904, and provided the Alliance with reports vividly describing the women of the mellah (Ar. mallāḥ;Jewish…

Lévy, Sadia

(1,143 words)

Author(s): Guy Dugas
Sadia Lévy was born in Sidi bel Abbès, Algeria, to a Jewish family of the acculturated bourgeoisie on 6 September 1875. Two generations earlier the family was in Tetuan, but subsequently settled in Gibraltar. It was in the town of his birth that the young Sadia began his studies at the secondary school, and he continued them with brilliant results at the lycée of Oran. At the age of eighteen he left Algeria for Paris in order to attend the École Libre des Sciences politiques, but it was in fact …

Lévy, Sam

(7 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Halevy, Samuel SaadiNorman A. Stillman

Levy, Samuel-Daniel

(750 words)

Author(s): Mohammed Kenbib
Samuel Daniel Lévy was born in Tetouan on December 4, 1874, and attended the Alliance Israélite Universelle school there. In 1889 he was chosen by the school’s director Abraham Ribbi, to attend the École Normale Israélite Orientale (ENIO) in Paris. Following his graduation in 1893, he was appointed as schoolmaster in Tunis. Later he moved to Sousse (Tunisia) and Tangier. After his promotion to director of the Alliance school in Casablanca (1900–1902), where he opened a new institution for young girls, he took a post in Argentina as director and later inspector of the Jewish…

Lévy, Simon

(410 words)

Author(s): Alma Heckman
Simon Lévy (1934–2011) was born in Fez into a family steeped in the traditional  Jewish culture of northern Morocco. He began to work for Moroccan independence in his late teens, and in 1954 joined the Moroccan Workers’ Union, the National Moroccan Student Union, and the Moroccan Communist Party. During the student uprising in 1965 he was abducted and tortured for eight days.Lévy remained with the Communist Party when Abraham Serfaty’s far-left faction split off during the ongoing political crisis of the 1960s. In the years that followed, as the party wen…

Lévy, Solly

(468 words)

Author(s): Judith Cohen
Solly Lévy (b. 1939), born in Morocco and now a resident of Canada,  is an author, playwright, actor, singer, and educator especially known for his work in the endangered minority Jewish language Haketía (Moroccan Judeo-Spanish).Solly Lévy was born in Tangier, Morocco, on November 1, 1939. He immigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1968, with his wife, Madeleine Gavison Lévy, and their children Claire and Eddy, both also born in Tangier. Lévy holds an undergraduate degree in Hispanic Studies from l’Université de Bordeaux and a master…


(2,529 words)

Author(s): Aharon Maman
1. LexicographyThe Mishna has an abundance of lexicographical material. There are lexicographical elements in definitions such as Ezehu leqeṭ? Ha-nosher bishʿat ha-qeṣira (What are considered gleanings? Whatever drops down at the moment of reaping; Peʾah 4:10); Ezehu pereṭ? Ha-nosher bishʿat ha-beṣira (What is considered a grape? Whatever drops at the moment of vintage; ibid. 7:3); and Ezehu zeroaʿ? Min ha-pereq shel arkubba ʿad kaf shel yad . . . ukhnegdo baregel-shoq (What is a forearm? From the knee-joint to the palm of hand . . . and its counterpart in the leg…

Leyris, Raymond

(300 words)

Author(s): Edwin Seroussi
Raymond Leyris, who was known professionally as Cheikh Raymond, was born in Algeria on July 27, 1912 to a French Catholic mother and a Jewish father from Batna. After his father perished in World War I, he was adopted by a humble Jewish family from Constantine. Early on he began to frequent the fondouks (caravansaries) favored as gathering places by enthusiasts of malouf (Ar. mālūf), the Andalusian musical tradition of Constantine, and there he learned its more popular derivative genres. His mentors were two of the great masters of malouf of the previous generation, Abdelkrim Bestandji…
▲   Back to top   ▲