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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Rhaïs, Elissa (Rosine Boumendil)

(392 words)

Author(s): Julie Strongson-Aldape
Elissa Rhaïs, née Rosine Boumendil, was born in Blida, Algeria in 1876 and died in France in 1940. She first appeared on the French literary scene in 1919, presented by her publisher, Plon, as a barely educated Algerian Muslim girl from a harem. It was later discovered that she was actually Jewish and had no personal experience of a harem. In 1939, when she was about to receive the Légion d’Honneur, a scandal arose surrounding the authorship of her works, alleging that she was illiterate and they had been written by her nephew, Raoul-Robert Tabet. In 1982 Tabet’s son Paul attempted to prove t…


(1,409 words)

Author(s): Marc Angel
The island of Rhodes (Grk. Rhodos; Turk. Rodos) is situated in the eastern Aegean about 18 kilometers (11 miles) southwest of Turkey. Small numbers of Jews have lived in Rhodes since ancient times, but a significant community did not emerge until the Ottoman conquest of the island in 1522. Rhodes remained part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912, when Italy took possession of the island in the Turco-Italian War. In 1944, during World War II, the entire Jewish community was deported by the Nazis; only about 150 survived the concentration camps. A few Jews still live in …

Ribbi, Abraham

(422 words)

Author(s): Mitchell Serels
Abraham Ribbi(1861–1928), an educator and institution builder of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, was instrumental in expanding the organization in Morocco. Born in Izmir (Smyrna), Ottoman Turkey, in 1861, and a graduate of the École Normale Israélite Orientale—the teacher-training school of the Alliance Israélite Universelle in Paris—Ribbi arrived in Morocco in 1881 to become  director of the AIU school in Tetouan (the first Alliance school, established in 1862).In 1889, Ribbi reopened the AIU schools in Tangier, which had been closed for three years because…


(526 words)

Author(s): Aharon Maman
Rich, on the northern bank of the Ziz River in the Tafilalet region of southeastern Morocco, was an oasis settled by Arab and Berber tribes from Aït Merghad and Aït Ḥdiddu. In 1916, the French turned it into a military post and administrative center. Among the Jews from the region who soon settled there were the Chetrit family from Nzala (near the sources of the Ziz), the Maman family from Boudnib, the Ḥamou from Boukhlouf, the ʿAtiyya from Kerrando (Tiʿallalin), the Benguigui from Debdou, and the Tobaly from Sefrou. The Jewish population was relatively constant from the town’s …

Rio di Janeiro

(6 words)

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


(268 words)

Author(s): Amy Horowitz
The Israeli pop rock singer Rita has produced eleven albums, most in collaboration with her artistic partner and former husband Rami Kleinstein, with whom she worked for thirty years until their separation in 2007. They have two children, Meshi (b. 1992) and Noam (b. 2001).Rita was born Rita Yahan-Farouz in Tehran in 1962, but her family immigrated to Israel when she was eight years old. Her stage career began in an Israel Defense Forces performing troupe, followed by acting school. Her first album ( Rita), released in 1986, followed close upon several successful singles, the f…