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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Rolo Family

(393 words)

Author(s): Adam Guerin
The Rolos were an important and politically influential Jewish banking family in Alexandria in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Arriving in Egypt as Sephardi immigrants, the Rolos settled in the Jewish quarter of Cairo before moving to Alexandria sometime around 1850. The family was originally engaged in money-lending but slowly moved into modern banking and investment by the late nineteenth century. Ruben  Rolo (1820-?) directed a prosperous trading company that imported indigo. Jacob/Giacomo (1847–1917), with his brother Simon and several other partners, op…

Romanelli, Samuel

(581 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
Samuel Romanelli was born in Mantua on September 19, 1757. Little is known about his youth, but clearly he had a superb Jewish and secular education in the Italian Jewish tradition. An accomplished linguist, he was fluent in ten languages. He was a poet, playwright, and translator of European literature into Hebrew. In 1786, while returning home to Italy from London, he was stranded in Gibraltar (see Gibraltar) and, strapped for funds, accepted an offer to accompany a merchant on a business trip to Morocco. Losing his passport, Roman…

Romania (Ottoman)

(4,132 words)

Author(s): Yitzchak Kerem
The Ottoman Empire gained control of what is now Romania, including the principalities of Moldavia, Wallachia, Transylvania, and the Banat, in the mid-sixteenth century. By the turn of the eighteenth century, it was forced to withdraw from some of these territories: Alba Iulia in Transylvania (at that time the only officially recognized Jewish community) in 1711, and Temeşvar in the Banat in 1716, but it held Moldavia and Wallachia until 1878. The overwhelming majority of the Jews in the Romanian principalities lived in Moldavia (now Moldova) and Wallachia. Until t…

Romaniots (Bene Romania)

(1,238 words)

Author(s): Steven Bowman
The term Romaniot stems from the self-identification of the Greek-speaking Orthodox Christian population of the Balkans as Rhomaioi (Romans), that is, descendants of the citizens of the Roman Empire, which continued in its Byzantine incarnation until 1453. As citizens of the empire, the Jews were also Rhomaioi (Greek) or Romani (Latin), hence Romaniot (Heb. romaniotim). As a minority in a hostile Christian environment, the Romaniot Jews were subject to restrictive laws and constant harassment by the Orthodox Church, which treated them as a foil to the triumphalism of Ch…

Romano, Joseph

(474 words)

Author(s): Maurice Roumani
Joseph Romano, born in Libya in 1940 (where the family name was Roumani before they emigrated to Israel in 1949), was a member of Israel’s national weightlifting team and the first athlete killed in the Arab terrorist attack on the team’s quarters at the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany, at 4:10 a.m., September 5, 1972. He was one of the eleven Israeli athletes and coaches killed in the raid, the first being the wrestling coach, Moshe Weinberg.The attack was carried out by the Palestinian terrorist organization Black September, whose members came from refugee camps in Lebanon a…

Romano, Marco

(212 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Marco Romano, born in *Plovdiv (Filibe) in 1872, was a Bulgarian publisher, lawyer, and Zionist leader. He was exposed to Jewish studies and Zionism at a very young age. In 1898, he attended the first Zionist convention in Plovdiv , where he argued against the Alliance Israélite Universelle schools on the grounds that they did not represent the ideal Jewish national character. His lobbying led to the replacement of many of the teachers in the Alliance schools of Bulgaria with more traditional Hebrew educators.            Romano was the Bulgarian representative at several Zioni…


(4 words)

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


(709 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
Ronda (Ar. Runda) is a small Andalusian city about 105 kilometers (65 miles) northwest of Malaga. It is situated in a very mountainous area 701 meters (2,300 feet) above sea level and is divided in two by the river Guadalevín, which carves out a steep canyon. The old Celtic settlement of Arunda had commercial contacts with the Phoenicians and Greeks, and then was under Roman rule. For more than one and a half centuries the city was part of the Visigothic kingdom. Some remains from this time show that there were Jews living there, but very little is known about them; for ins…

Rosales, Jacob

(445 words)

Author(s): Jane Gerber
Jacob Rosales was a Jewish merchant, perhaps of Portuguese New Christian origin, who lived in Fez, Morocco, in the early sixteenth century. His name appears in the diplomatic annals of Portugal and the records of the Jews of Fez in the 1520s. He is also mentioned in the diary of David Reubeni in 1526.Rosales rose to prominence as a spice trader and shipowner. His goods and ships moved back and forth between Iberia, the Portuguese settlement of Goa, the New World, and Morocco. His presence in Portugal in the 1520s and 1530s is noteworthy because no Jew was permitted to reside in P…

Rosanes (Rosales) Family

(854 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
The Rosanes (Rosales) family was a noted Sephardi family of rabbis, scholars, and merchants who flourished in the Ottoman Empire from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century. The family probably originated in the small town of Castallvi de Rosanes in Catalonia, not far from Barcelona. After the expulsion in 1492, some members of the family went to Portugal, where their name became Rosales. After 1497, the members of this branch became anusim (crypto-Jews), some of whom later returned to Judaism and gained prominence in Morocco (see Rosales, Jacob). Others ma…

Rosanes, Salomon Abraham

(1,090 words)

Author(s): Jacob Barnai
Salomon Abraham Rosanes was a historian of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans. He was born in Ruschuk (Ruse, Tur. Rusçuk) in Bulgaria on April 14, 1862, to Abraham and Rachel Rosanes. His parents were both descendants of the Rosanes family, whose members had filled leadership positions in Sephardic Jewish communities in the Ottoman Empire down the centuries. Their number included Abraham Rosanes (d. ca. 1680) and Judah Rosanes (d. 1727), who both served as rabbis in Istanbul, and another Abraham Rosanes (d. 1748), as well as…

Rosenthal, Joseph

(331 words)

Author(s): Adam Guerin
Joseph Rosenthal (1867–1927) was born in Beirut to an immigrant family of Russian Ashkenazi origin. Early in his youth Rosenthal moved to Alexandria, and by the late 1890s he was active in socialist study groups and workers’ organizations. A jeweler by profession, Rosenthal was a charter member of the first socialist group in Egypt, the Groupe d’Etudes Sociales. In 1921, together with Salāma Mūsā, Muḥammad ‘Abd Allāh ‘Inān, and Maḥmūd Ḥusnī al-‘Arabī, he helped found the Egyptian Socialist Party, which the next year changed its name to the Communist Party of Egypt (CPE). The Britis…

Rosh ha-Seder

(242 words)

Author(s): Marina Rustow
Rosh ha-seder(head of the row), a venerable title in the Babylonian yeshivot, connoted the bearer’s position as first in one of the seven rows in the Iraqi academies (whether in the academy of the exilarch specifically is unknown). Already in amoraic times, Abba Arikha and Rav were referred to as resh sidra, the Aramaic equivalent of rosh ha-seder (B.T. Ḥullin 137b; Seder ʿOlam Zuṭa, in Neubauer, p. 77). In the Cairo Geniza documents from the late tenth and eleventh centuries, rosh ha-seder seems to have been an honorific granted to leaders outside Iraq, probably by the exil…

Rouche, Isaac (Ishaq)

(223 words)

Author(s): Sarah Frances Levin
Born in Tlemcen, Algeria, in 1906, Isaac Rouche was assistant chief rabbi of Oran, and teacher and mentor of a circle of Jewish intellectuals dismissed from their jobs by the Vichy government in the early 1940s. Serving as chief chaplain of Jewish North African volunteers and as a captain in the French army, Rouche went to Morocco in 1943. There he worked with Reuben Tajouri, Samuel-Daniel Levy, and Jules Braunschvig of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) and a team of his disciples reunited from Oran to found the Ecole Normale Hebraïque in Casablanca, a secondary and teacher-…

Rozental, Izel

(264 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Izel Rozental is a Turkish cartoonist and humorist. He was born in 1951 in Istanbul and is of Ashkenazi descent. After graduating from the French Saint Joseph Lycée, he went to work in the private sector. He is currently a partner and general manager of Scrikss Maden ve Plastik Sanayi Inc., a manufacturer, importer, and distributor of fountain and ballpoint pens. He is, in addition, the director of the Ashkenazi-sponsored Schneidertemple Art Center of Istanbul, and a member of the Ashkenazi Community Board.In 1991, Rozental began drawing cartoons for Şalom, the newspaper of the Tur…

R (Ra’anaḥ Elijah ben Ḥayyim - Raqqa (Syria): in Turkey/Ottoman Empire)

(1,164 words)

Ra’anaḥ seeElijah ben ḤayyimRab Simḥa Synagogue (Cairo), Karaism, Karaism, Karaite Synagogues of Jerusalem and Cairo, Karaite Synagogues of Jerusalem and CairoRabat Institute for Higher Rabbinic Studies, Monsonego, Aharon Rabat-Salé (Morocco)  Almohad rule of, Rabat-Salé decline of, Rabat-Salé French rule of, Rabat-Salé Jewish community in, Rabat-Salé  artisans, Rabat-Salé   dayyanim,Elmaleh (al-Māliḥ) Family, Toledano Family (Moroccan Branch)  decline of, Rabat-Salé  education, for girls, Pariente-Elmaleh, Messody  Jewish quarters, Rabat-Salé, Rab…

R (Rashi (Solomon Yitzhaki) - La résistance africaine à la romanisation (Bénabou))

(1,370 words)

Rashi (Solomon Yitzhaki)  commentaries on, Tlemcen commentaries/exegesis by, Bertinoro, Obadiah da, Bible Exegesis, Bible Exegesis, Bible Exegesis, Aghmāṭī, Zechariah ben Judah al-, David ben Zakkay II, Mizraḥi, Elijah ben Abraham  criticism of, Bible Exegesis Rashīd al-Dīn Ṭabīb (Faḍl Allāh, vizier, ca. 1247–1318), Iraq, Iran/Persia, Iran/Persia, Zoroastrians, (Jewish relations with), Ḥakīm, Hamadan, Hamadan, Rashīd al-Dīn Ṭabīb, Saʿd al-Dawla writings of, Iran/Persiaal-Rashīd (Mawlāy) (Moroccan sultan, 1666–1672), Fez, Iligh, Ben ʿAṭṭār (or Ibn ʿA…

R (responsa - Rolo, Robert J.)

(1,260 words)

responsa, Responsa from Algiers, Algiers on Bible commentaries, Responsa in Cairo Geniza, Cairo Geniza, Responsa collections/volumes of, Responsa, Responsa  additions of other genres to, Responsa  identification of authors in, Responsa  Karaite, Responsa copying of, Responsa early, Responsa on education of children, Bengualid (Ben Walīd), Isaac on forced conversion and Jewishness, Ibn Danan Family, Sar Shalom ben Boaz on founding of new congregations, Bengualid (Ben Walīd), Isaac on gaonate, Sherira Gaon of geonim, Gaon and Gaonate, Gaon and Gaonate…

R (Rolo, Robert S. - Ryvel (Raphaël Lévy): writings of)

(1,383 words)

Rolo, Robert S., Rolo FamilyRolo, Ruben, Rolo FamilyRolo, Simon, Rolo FamilyRolo, Valentine, Rolo FamilyRolo family, Rolo FamilyRoman, Joseph, La Boz del PuevloRoman Empire  art of, influences on Jewish art, Art of Islamic Lands Christian, Jews in, Romaniots (Bene Romania) rule of Anatolia by, AnatoliaRoman script seelatin scriptRomance (medieval Latinate dialects/Mozarabic)   kharjas in, Kharja use of, in al-Andalus, Al-Andalus romancero (ballads), by Ottoman Jews, Judeo-Spanish LiteratureRomanelli, Samuel, Meknes, Mimouna, Music, Romanelli, Samuel, Tangi…

Rūjī, Solomon and Menahem, al-

(3,124 words)

Author(s): Norman Golb
Solomon ibn al-Rūjī and his son Menahem led one of the more enduring and widespread messianic movements of the medieval period, from the end of the eleventh century through the first half of the twelfth, centered in the Kurdish province of Hakkāri (Çölamerik) in what is today southeastern Turkey. They were merged over the course of later literary tradition into a single legendary figure known as David Alroy.The earliest source describing the messianic pretensions of the al-Rūjīs is the memoir of Obadiah the Proselyte, who apparently learned about them while sojournin…
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