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


(3,340 words)

Author(s): Maurice Roumani
Under the official name of Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya is an Islamic state in North Africa bordering Egypt to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Algeria and Tunisia to the west, and Sudan and Chad to the south. With an area of 1,759,540 square kilometers (694,984 square miles), 90 percent of which is desert, Libya is the fourth-largest country in Africa. Its population is about 5,700,000, mostly concentrated in the northern coastal region, and almost three-quarters liv…

Libyan Judeo-Arabic

(2,548 words)

Author(s): Yoda Sumikazu
Arabic-speaking Jewish communities existed in the coastal cities of Libya and some of its inland villages. The Judeo-Arabic of the city of Tripoli shows many phenomena not found in surrounding Arabic dialects, but the linguistic situation of the entire Libyan territory has not yet been thoroughly investigated.Jewish Dialects of LibyaThis article mainly discusses the Arabic dialect of the Jews of the city of Tripoli (hereinafter TJ). Where necessary the IPA transcription notation is used (in some cases somewhat simplified).The cities or towns in Libya where Jews once lived…

LICA (La Ligue Internationale contre l'Antisémitisme Allemand)

(440 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
LICA was the acronym of La Ligue Internationale contre l’Antisémitisme Allemand Formée par Toutes les Oeuvres et Institutions Juives en Egypte. It was founded in April 1933 under the name of La Ligue Contre l’Antisémitisme Allemand Formée par Toutes les Oeuvres et Institutions Juives en Egypte in conjunction with mass protests organized by the B'nai B'rith lodges in Cairo and Alexandria to counter increasing Nazi activity and propaganda in Egypt. The league was headed by a committee of important Jewish public figures. One of the founders was Léon Castro, a lawyer, journalist, and Wafd P…

Life Cycle Practices

(4,048 words)

Author(s): Shalom Sabar
The life cycle of the Jews who resided in the lands of Islam was characterized by a wide range of multifaceted ceremonies, which very often were observed differently from one community to another, and, in the same community, from one generation to the next. Even in the same time and place, people of different social classes did not celebrate certain events in the same ways. Accordingly, the picture depicted here is a generalized one, highlighting the most central rituals in selected communities.As defined by anthropologists, life cycle rituals in a traditional society are a…

L’Information Juive (Algiers)

(247 words)

Author(s): Colette Zytnicki
L’Information Juive was founded in 1948 by Jacques Lazarus, the director of the Comité (Juif) Algérien d’Études Sociales, to defend the interests of the Jewish community in Algeria. Lazarus edited the publication along with Haïm Cherki and Emile Touati. L’Information Juive welcomed contributions from Jewish intellectuals in Algeria (Raymond Bénichou, Henri Chémouilli) and France (Emmanuel Lévinas, Arnold Mandel, Armand Lunel, André Neher). It took a nuanced position during the Algerian War: it favored peace and a solution that would take legitimate Musl…


(368 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
Lisbon (Ar. al-Ushbūna; Port. Lisboa), today the capital city of Portugal, situated on the Atlantic coast at the mouth of the Tagus River, was in the earliest Islamic period part of the province of Beja, but later was part of a separate province with Santarem and Sintra. During the Muslim period the Jewish communities of Portugal (Roman Lusitania) were small, sparse, and not well documented. Jews settled first in the neighboring city of Santarem, 65 kilometers (40 miles) to the northeast up the Tagus from Lisbon, and their quarter was in the heart of the city. In Lis…

LISCA (La Ligue Internationale Scolaire contre l'Antisémitisme)

(16 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see LICA (La Ligue Internationale contre l'Antisémitisme Allemand)Norman A. Stillman

Literature, Hebrew Prose (medieval)

(3,607 words)

Author(s): Yosef Tobi
Apart from Hebrew liturgical poetry, our knowledge of nonreligious Jewish literature (belles lettres) from before the time of Saʿadya Gaon (882–942) is very sparse. The oldest known pieces are four-line strophes with the simple rhyme scheme aaaa/ bbbb, such as the “strophes ( ḥaruzot) of the masoretic grammar” included in the masoretic literature of the eighth and ninth centuries, or the anti-traditional Polemics of Ḥīwī al-Balkhī (Ḥayawihi of Balkh, Afghanistan) from the mid-ninth century. Ḥīwī’s strophes questioned the holiness of the Bible and the claim…

Literature, Judeo-Arabic

(4,322 words)

Author(s): Yosef Tobi
1.    Ancient Judeo-Arabic literature and scriptThe first literary pieces in Arabic by Jews, most probably oral and comprising both poetry and translations from the Bible, were composed in pre-Islamic Arabia. Judeo-Arabic poetry, mainly the works of al-Samawʾal ibn ʿAdiyāʾ of Tayma (d. 560), the greatest Jewish poet of the Jāhiliyya (the pre-Islamic era; lit. "the time of ignorance"), but also including writings by several less important poets, was exclusively preserved in Muslim sources, appearing first in the Kitāb Ṭabqāt al-Shuʿarāʾ (The Classes of the Poets), a compila…

Livorno (Leghorn)

(1,420 words)

Author(s): Matthias Lehmann
Livorno (Leghorn), a port city in the Italian region of Tuscany, was home to one of the largest Sephardicommunities in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and a major crossroads linking Jewish communities in Europe with those in North Africa and the Ottoman Levant. In 1591 and 1593, Ferdinand I, the Medici grand duke of Tuscany, issued two charters (known as the livornine) granting ample privileges and religious freedom to attract foreign merchants and thus to develop the port of Livorno. Promising immunity from the Catholic Inquisition, among other things, this wa…

L (La Hare conte (Ryvel) - Laredo, Abraham M.)

(1,072 words)

La Hare conte (Ryvel), Ryvel (Raphaël Lévy) La-Menaṣeaḥ David (To the Chief Musician David, David Pardo), Bosnia, Bosnia-HerzegovinaLa‘asri, Abraham ben Aaron, ʿAllūsh (Allouche), Sīdī BahiLabaton, Ḥayyim Mordecai, ʿAntebi (Antibi) FamilyLabaton, Mordecai, Labaton, Mordechai labbeh (necklace), Clothing, Jewelry and Make-upLabi, Simon, Libya, Mysticism, Labi, Simon  piyyuṭim of, Labi, Simon labor camps for Jews in World War II  in Algeria, Internment Camps (WWII), Internment Camps (WWII), Libya, Djelfa in Libya, Internment Camps (WWII), Libya, Gharian, Yefren in Mo…

L (Laredo, Isaac - Leqeṭ Avraham (Abraham’s Gleaning, Khalfon))

(1,225 words)

Laredo, Isaac, Laredo, IsaacLaredo, Joseph, Laredo FamilyLaredo, Mordecai, Laredo FamilyLaredo, Salomon J., Laredo FamilyLaredo de Benelbaz, Ledicia, Laredo FamilyLaredo family, Laredo FamilyLaredo el Ḥasid, Abraham, Laredo FamilyLarguèche, Abdelhamid, Scemmama, Nessim Lārī, Abū ’l Ḥasan, Clothing, Jewelry and Make-up, Iran/Persia, Kitāb-i Anusī, Shiraz, Lārī, Abū 'l Ḥasan, Allāhverdī Khān [I], Eleazar, Faraḥābād, ʿAbbās I, Shāh Larissa (Greece)  blood libel cases in, Larissa (Yenishehir-i Fenari) Jewish community in, Greece (pre-1824), Larissa (Yenisheh…

L (Leqeṭ ha-Qaṣir (Harvest Gleaning, Khalfon) - linguistics: grammar)

(1,494 words)

Leqeṭ ha-Qaṣir (Harvest Gleaning, Khalfon), Khalfon, AbrahamLerma, Judah ben Samuel, Belgrade, Serbia, Kalai, Mordechai Ben Solomon Leshon Limmudim (Language of Instruction, David ibn Yaḥya), Ibn Yaḥya, David ben Solomon Leshon Limmudim (Language of Instruction, Jacob Aben Ṣur), Aben Ṣur, Jacob, Elbaz, Samuel ben Judah Leshon Limmudim (Language of Instruction, Raphael Berdugo), Berdugo, Raphael ben Mordechai, Judeo-Arabic - History and Linguistic Description, Lexicographyletters seecorrespondence Letters (Lady Mary Wortley Montagu), Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley on Je…

L (Linjān (Iran) - London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews (LJS): schools of)

(1,168 words)

Linjān (Iran)  Jewish cemetery at, Serah bat Asher synagogue at, Serah bat AsherLippman, Joseph, BalkansLipschütz, L., Mishael ben UzzielLipsker, Michael, Toledano Family (Moroccan Branch), Lubavitch Schools Liqquṭe Amarim (Collected Dicta, Raphael Kassin), Kassin Family Liqquṭe Dinim (Collected Judgments/Rulings, Isaac ben Abraham Solomon), Solomon, Isaac ben Abraham Liqquṭe Qadmoniyot (Pinsker), Historiography/Historical Writing Lisān al-‘Arab, ʿArūbī Lisbon  Jewish community in, Lisbon  rabbis of, Ibn Yaḥya, David ben Solomon, Ibn Yaḥya, Jacob Tam ben David To…

L (Longo, Sa‘adya ben Abraham - Lyons (France), Jewish community in, merchants/businessmen)

(668 words)

Longo, Sa‘adya ben Abraham, Balkans, Ibn Yaḥya, Gedaliah ben Jacob Tam, Levi (Le-Vet Ha-Levi) Family, Salonica, Levi (Le-Vet Ha-Levi) Family, Salonica, Longo, SaʿadyaLonzano, Menahem ben Judah de, Lonzano, Menahem Ben Judah De commentaries and poems by, Lonzano, Menahem Ben Judah DeLopez, Roderigo, Ben Yaʿesh (also Ibn Yaʿish or Abenæs), SolomonLópez de Marondon, Juan, LaracheLópez Penha, Abraham, ColombiaLorca (Spain), Jewish community in, LorcaLoreley, Angèle (Angela Ruto), Carasso (Karasu), Albert, Le Journal d’OrientLoria, Jacques, La Nation (Salonica)Loria, Zhak…