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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(5 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Great BritainNorman A. Stillman

Long-Distance Trade

(4,408 words)

Author(s): Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman | Thomas Park
1.   MedievalEven before the rise of Islam, Jewish merchants were involved in long-distance trade.Early sixth-century sources record that the Jewish king of Ḥimyar killed Byzantine traders who passed through his country on their way back from India. Jewish merchants in this period specialized in importing raw silk from Persia and India, and often manufactured clothing in Beirut and Tyre. Notwithstanding Pirenne’s 1937 thesis that the Islamic conquest led to the collapse of long-distance economic ties, chronicles and documentary evidence establish thatRādhānite merchants pl…

Longo, Saʿadya

(298 words)

Author(s): Pamela Dorn Sezgin
Saʿadya ben Abraham Longo was a scholar and poet during Salonica’s Golden Age of Sephardic life in the late sixteenth century. He was a contemporary of the poet Israel Najara, as well as a close friend of Don Joseph Nasi, at whose funeral he delivered a eulogy he had composed for the occasion. Longo was the author of a collection of eulogies and poems, Shivre Luḥot ( The Fragments of [the] Tables), published in 1594 in Salonica. Joseph Nehama considered Longo to have been one of the most important poets of Salonica, the famed “Jerusalem of the Diaspora,” a city whose cul…

Lonzano, Menahem Ben Judah De

(445 words)

Author(s): Pamela Dorn Sezgin
Menahem ben Judah de Lonzano was a religious scholar and poet who died in Jerusalem in 1608. His origins are unknown but it is believed that he was from Italy or Greece. His life was replete with difficulties and poverty despite his importance as a midrashic scholar. He pursued a peripatetic path, marrying in Jerusalem, relocating to Istanbul, living in Italy, and finally returning to Jerusalem. Lonzano was known to Ottoman Jews for his poetry, such as Derekh Ḥayyim (Way of Life; Istanbul, 1574), a moral poem of 315 verses. His hymns for synagogue and home, pizmonim (songs) and baqqashot (su…


(382 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
Lorca (Ar. Lūrqa) is located in eastern Iberia to the southwest of the capital city of Murcia. One of the earliest mentions of Lorca during the Muslim penetration of the Iberian Peninsula is found in a capitulation treaty between ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz and the Visigothic ruler of the region, Theodomir (Ar. Tudmīr), who settled in Orihuela. The treaty passes power to the Arabs and cedes seven cities, among them Lorca. Later on, during the taifa period, Lorca was a frontier city disputed by the kingdoms of Valencia, Murcia, Granada, and Almeria. Under the rule of Muḥammad al-Muʿtaṣim (1050-1091) Lo…

Los Angeles

(8 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see United States of AmericaNorman A. Stillman

Los Pasharos Sefaradis

(184 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Los Pasharos Sefaradis, based in Istanbul, is a Sephardic vocal and instrumental group whose four members have been working and performing together since 1978: Karen Gerşon Şarhon (voice), İzzet Bana (voice), Selim Hubeş (voice, oud, guitar), Yavuz Hubeş (voice, kanun, oud). They have produced six albums of Judeo-Spanish secular songs: Los Pasharos Sefaradis, 3 vols. (1985), La Romansa de Rika Kuriel (1988), Kantikas Para Syempre (1995), and Las Puertas (2005), as well as an album of the liturgical music of Istanbul’s synagogues, Zemirot: Turkish-Sephardic Synagogue Hymns (2002)…

Lotrâ'ī (Lotorâ'ī )

(438 words)

Author(s): Haideh Sahim
Lotrâ' ī is an interesting linguistic phenomenon among the Jews of Iran. As a generic term, it designates the languages called Luflâ'i in Hamadan and Kashan, Lutrâ'i in Gulpāygān, Lutru'i in Kirmanshāh , and Lotrâ'i, Lutlâ'i, or  Lutarâ'i in other cities, all of which are corrupt forms of the Hebrew lo tora (not the [language of] Torah). In classical Persian texts, where the term first appeared as early as the tenth century in reference to the language of the people of Astarābād, it is referred to as Lotarâ'i or Lutarâ and is defined as a secret language to prevent outsiders from un…

Louk, Haim

(139 words)

Author(s): Mark Kligman
Haim Louk, born 1942 in Casablanca, Morocco, is a rabbi and  ḥazzan (cantor) who specializes in the Andalusian mode of singing piyyuṭim (liturgical poems). He sang in a children’s choir in his synagogue in Morocco and later studied with the great Moroccan Muslim singer Abdessadek Chkara. Moroccan Jewish music is closely wedded to Andalusian classical music sung in Arabic; many piyyuṭim are adaptations of Andalusian Arabic songs set with Hebrew words. Haim Louk sings both Arabic and Hebrew songs in this style. The tradition is learned orally, and vocal i…

Lubavitch Schools

(510 words)

Author(s): Michael Laskier
The Lubavitch schools are an integral part of the Ḥabad religious movement. Also known as Ohale Yosef-Yiṣḥaq (Heb. The Tents of Joseph-Isaac), they are present worldwide wherever there are Jewish communities. In 1950, the OYI educational network of primary schools( ḥadarim) and yeshivot for boys and girls was extended to Morocco. Together with the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) and the Orthodox Sephardi Ozar Hatorah schools, the OYI set about improving Jewish education and “saving Jewish souls.” Its schools functioned under the direction of Rabbis Shlomo Matusof and Michael…


(1,193 words)

Author(s): Jonathan P. Decter
The city of Lucena in southern Spain, an important intellectual and cultural center of Andalusian Jewry, is located approximately 64 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Cordova, with which it maintained a dynamic relationship. According to the chronicler Joseph ibn Ṣaddīq, Lucena “was entirely Jewish. We hold a tradition that the original settlers were from the remnant of the exile of Jerusalem who built the city,” evoking the myth that the Jews of Iberia were descended from exiles who arrived after the Babylonian conquest of Jerusa…

L’Union Marocaine (Casablanca)

(252 words)

Author(s): Yaron Tsur
Published in Casablanca from 1932 to 1940 in French, L’Union Marocaine was founded by members of the local Jewish establishment, with the help of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) and French Jewish leaders, to counteract the influence of the pro-Zionist L’Avenir Illustré . Edited by Elie Nataf, the Tunisian-born secretary of the Casablanca community and a former principal of AIU schools, L’Union Marocaine defended Yahya Zagury and the small group of notables who comprised the communal leadership against attacks accusing them of being undemocratic, pa…

Luria, Isaac

(909 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ayalon
Isaac ben Solomon Luria Ashkenazi (1534–1572), also known as ha-Ari (The Lion; acronym for ha-Elohi [the Godly] Rabbi Yiṣḥaq) was born to a father of Polish or German origin who settled in Jerusalem in the early sixteenth century and there married a Sephardi woman. Luria’s father died shortly after he was born, and his mother took him to Egypt, where he was brought up and educated. Luria studied under David ibn Abi Zimra (Radbaz; d. 1573) and Bezalel Ashkenazi(d. ca. 1594). By the age of twenty, he was already a learned scholar, familiar with rabbinic…