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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(443 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
The Judeo-Spanish newspaper Avanté (Forward), initially a weekly, then a daily, was published in Salonica from 1912 to 1934, printed in Hebrew Rashi characters. Avanté promoted the interests of the city’s Jewish workers and its pages are an important source for the history of the Jewish labor movement. The paper was founded by Avraam Benaroya, a socialist leader and head of the Workers’ Socialist Federation of Salonica (Selanik Sosyalist Işci Federasyonu), to replace his Turkish newspaper Mücadele after the Greeks took control of Salonica. (Previously he had published La Solidarida…

Av Bet Din in the Ottoman Empire

(348 words)

Author(s): Leah Bornstein-Makovetsky
In the Jewish communities of the Ottoman Empire, the congregational rabbi ( marbiṣ tora) also often served as av bet din, or head judge, of a rabbinical court, assisted by two other judges in criminal cases. Thus the number of avot batte din in each community corresponded to the number of congregations. Large communities, such as Salonica, Istanbul, and Safed, had dozens of rabbis in that office. Bursa (Prousa) and Patras in the sixteenth century each had four avot batte din. Jews from small- and middle-seized communities often turned to the avot batte din of the larger communities, w…

Avigdor, Jacob

(242 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Jacob Avigdor (1794(?)–1874), a renowned talmudist, was chief rabbi (Turk. hahambaşi) of Istanbul from 1860 to 1863. He succeeded Ḥayyim ha-Cohen and was instrumental in modernizing the administration of the Ottoman Jewish community. Avigdor and the influential banker Abraham Camondo created a council of Jewish notables, the meclis peqidim, to manage the financial affairs of the Jewish community of Istanbul. In addition, Avigdor sought to unify the old rabbinical courts (Heb. batte din) of Balat and Hasköy, the two main Jewish quarters of Istanbul, by establishing a…


(423 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
The biblical term aviv refers to the stage in the ripening of barley grain when its seeds have reached full size and, being already filled with starch, have not yet dried (e.g., Exodus 9:31). Accordingly, the “month of the aviv” (e.g., Exodus 13:4, Deuteronomy 15:1) in the biblical calendar denotes the month in which the ears of barley reach this stage, which since the Babylonian captivity has been called Nisan (e.g., Nehemiah 2:1). Only at a later historical stage did the term aviv come to denote the season of spring, which is its main sense in Modern Hebrew. The month of Av…

Aviyente, Viktorya

(88 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Viktorya Aviyente was born on February 9, 1950 in Istanbul. She earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Bosporus University in Istanbul in 1983 and is currently professor of chemistry in the same university. She conducts research in the fields of physical and computational chemistry, and as of 2009 has published over eighty articles in scientific journals, all of which can be found in the Science Citation Index. She has participated in several international conferences. In addition to Turkish, she is fluent in French and English.Rifat BaliBibliographyhttp://www.geocities.com/…

Avshalumov, Hizqil

(349 words)

Author(s): Dan D.Y. Shapira
Hizqil (Yeḥezqel) Avshalumov was a Soviet author and editor in Dagestan, who wrote in Judeo-Tātī (Juhūrī) and Russian. He was probably the most important promoter of the de-Judaizing (“Tatizing”) of  the Mountain Jews of the Caucasus region in the late Soviet era.  The son of a Jewish farmer, Avshalumov was born in 1913 in Nügdi, Dagestan, and began writing for the Judeo-Tātī newspaper Zahmetkash (The Worker) in the 1930s. In 1940 he published his first novel in Judeo-Tātī, Besguni Djovonho (The Victory of the Young), and edited a collection of Judeo-Tātī folktales that included fab…

Ayache, Germain

(577 words)

Author(s): Jamaa Baida
Germain Ayache (1915–1990) was born into a Jewish family in Berkane, in northeastern Morocco near the Algerian border. His family had French citizenship, obtained under the Crémieux Decree after his grandfather spent time in Algeria on business at the end of the nineteenth century. Educated in Berkane, Oujda, Rabat, and Bordeaux, Ayache earned his university teaching qualification ( agrégation) in literature and was assigned to teach in Casablanca at the Lycée Lyautey (renamed Mohammed V after independence). In 1936, he joined the Communist Party and was active in recruiting …


(343 words)

Author(s): Joseph Ringel
The city of Aydın (known as Güzelhisar under the Seljuqs and their successors, and as Tralleis in pre-Islamic times) is situated near the coast of western Anatolia (southwest of Izmir). It had a Jewish community in Roman times, but whether Jews lived there continuously until the Ottoman era is uncertain. Ottoman records from the early seventeenth century indicate that Aydın had an established Jewish community and a rabbi. Ottoman census records from the late nineteenth century put the number of Jew…

ʿAyyāsh Family

(515 words)

Author(s): Yossef Charvit
The ʿAyyāsh (also ʿAyāsh or Ayache) family was a noted rabbinical family that flourished in North Africa and Jerusalem during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.The paterfamilias, Judah ben Isaac ʿAyyāsh (Algiers, 1700–Jerusalem, 1761), a noted pupil of  Raphael Jedidiah Solomon ben Joshua Ṣeror (1681–1737), was one of the foremost scholars in Algeria during the eighteenth century and indeed in all the lands of Islam. As a religious decisor (Heb. poseq), ʿAyyāsh’s masterworks were his collections of responsa, Bet Yehuda (Livorno, 1746), Leḥem Yehuda (Livorno, 1745), Maṭṭe…

ʿAyyāsh, Judah

(5 words)

Author(s): Daniel Schroeter
see ʿAyyāsh FamilyDaniel Schroeter

Azankot, Saʿadya

(966 words)

Author(s): David Doron
Saʿadya ben Levi Azankoṭ was a scribe, poet and translator from Hebrew to Arabic and from Arabic to Hebrew. A native of Marrakesh, Azankoṭ did the bulk of his work in the Netherlands during the first half of the seventeenth century. There is no evidence to support the claim that he was a resident of Jerusalem.Azankoṭ’s only published literary work was Iggeret ha-Purim (Purim Epistle), a version of the Book of Esther in liturgical Hebrew richly interwoven with biblical phrases. It was printed in Amsterdam in 1647 at the press of Joseph ben Israel, the son of Manasseh ben Israel (1604–1657). The I…

Azemmour (Azammūr, Azamor)

(705 words)

Author(s): Jose Alberto Tavim
Located on the central Atlantic coast of Morocco at the mouth of the Oum Er-Rbia River, Azemmour (Azammūr, Azamor) was a destination for Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1496. Among the latecomers was the Adibe Family, who helped the Portuguese to take the city in 1513. The Adibes were rewarded by King Dom Manuel I with the local chief rabbinate, which became hereditary in the family. Many of the soldiers who captured Azemmour were converted Jews from Alentejo in southern Portugal, where Dom Jaime de Bragança, the expedition’s leader, had large estates. Some of t…

Azikri, Eleazar b. Moses

(294 words)

Author(s): Pinchas Giller
A prominent kabbalist, ethicist, and composer of liturgical poetry of the late Safed renaissance, Eleazar ben Moses Azikri was born in 1533, apparently in Safed (Ḥayyim Joseph David Azulay’s claim that he came from Istanbul has been discredited), and was ordained by Jacob Berab in 1596. In his masterwork, the Sefer Ḥaredim (Heb. Book of Those Who Tremble [before God]), Azikri refers to Joseph Sagis, a well-known associate of Isaac Luria and Joseph Caro, as his principal teacher. Azikri himself was also a student of Karo and Luria, and, as well, of Moses ben Josep…


(4 words)

Author(s): Daniel Schroeter
see Atlas MountainsDaniel Schroeter

Azoulaï-Hasfari, Hanna

(278 words)

Author(s): Amy Kronish
Hanna Azoulaï-Hasfari was born in Beersheva to Moroccan parents. She attended the Boyer High School, a Jerusalem boarding school, did her army service in the Army Theater Troupe, and studied at Tel Aviv University. She grew up to become a leading figure of Israeli stage and screen, both as an actress and as a screenwriter. In one of her earliest films, Nadia (1986), she played the title role, portraying an Israeli Arab teenager attending a primarily Jewish boarding school. Azoulaï-Hasfari collaborated with her husband, director Shmuel Hasfari, on the screenplay for the feature film Pra…

Azoulay, André

(379 words)

Author(s): Mohammed Hatimi
André Azoulay (b. 1941), a trained economist and journalist, has been an adviser to the king of Morocco since his return from Europe in 1991. Previously, he lived in Paris and was a director of the Paribas bank. As adviser to King Hassan II and King Mohammed VI, Azoulay helped to formulate the political, economic, and financial reforms that have been implemented in Morocco since the early 1990s.Originally a political dissident, Azoulay was involved in student demonstrations against the Moroccan monarchy in Paris in 1965. He was also a  activist for peace and for dialogue between Arabs an…

Azoulay, Maxime

(226 words)

Author(s): Mohammed Hatimi
Maxime Azoulay was born in Casablanca in 1917. An Arabist and graduate of the Institut des Hautes Etudes Marocaines, he became a prominent lawyer and jurist. He served as adviser to the Haut-tribunal chérifien (the High Court of Morocco), presiding judge (criminal and civil) of the Supreme Court, and a member of both the Consultative Council on Human Rights and the Constitutional Chamber, becoming president of the latter. He was decorated with the Order of the Throne.Azoulay’s public duties did not prevent him from being active in the Jewish community of Rabat. In his ongoing effor…

Azriel, Aaron

(325 words)

Author(s): Pinchas Giller
Aaron Azriel, born in Jerusalem in 1809, was the grandson of Avigdor Azriel, the author of Zimrat ha-Areṣ, a student of Shalom Sharʿabi, and a rabbinical judge alongside Yom Tov Algazi. Aaron Azriel was a student of Yedidya Raphael Ḥayy Abulafia and so was inducted into the school of Bet El Kabbala by birth and personal affiliation.Azriel was a leading Jerusalem scholar in both halakha and Kabbala. After Ibn Ṣaddīq, Joseph Abulafia's death, he became the leader of the Bet El kabbalists. Among his students was R. Yaʿaqov Meir, the future Sephardic chief r…

Azubib Family

(432 words)

Author(s): Yossef Charvit
The Azubib (or Azoubib) family was an old rabbinical family in Algiers that produced a number of prominent scholars and leaders for the city’s Jewish community. The paterfamilias was the jurist (Heb. dayyan) and community head (Ar. muqaddam ) Nehoray Azubib (1610–1690). His son Saʿadya Azubib (1650–1730) was a member of the rabbinical court (Heb. bet din) of Solomon Ṣeror (1660–1740) in Algiers. Saʿadya fought against the Sabbatean heresy that took shape in Algeria under the leadership of Nehemiah Ḥiyya ben Moses Ḥayon (ca. 1655–1730); the Sabbatean movement was one of th…

Azugh, Barukh Kohen (Barukh al-Kabīr)

(262 words)

Author(s): Oren Kosansky
Little is known about the life of Barukh Kohen Azugh, an eighteenth-century figure whose importance in Moroccan Jewish hagiography derives primarily from his status as the father of David Ben Barukh ha-Kohen Azugh and progenitor of a line of Jewish saints. In this capacity, Barukh Kohen was the central person in a lineage that purportedly extended back in a direct line, through the First Temple era, to Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, the first high priest, and forward to the present through several generations of revered Moroccan Jewish saints.By some accounts, Barukh Kohen was b…
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