Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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(450 words)

Specifically Jewish residential quarters, whether established by law or by custom, were found in towns and cities in many parts of the Islamic world. Depending on the locality, the Jewish quarter was designated as ḥārat al-yahūd, qāʿatal-yahūd, qāʿa, or maḥalla. The name used in Morocco since the fifteenth century is mallāḥ.

Though often conflated with the European ghetto, the mallāḥ (Mor. Ar. mellāḥ) has a sufficiently distinct origin, morphology, and history to be considered an exclusively Moroccan institution. The term is derived from the salt marsh area in Fez where the first s…

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Emily Gottreich, “Mallāḥ”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_SIM_0014530>
First published online: 2010

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