The Hebrew title nagid, derived from a biblical term meaning ruler (I Kings 1:35), was the designation in the Middle Ages of the head of a Jewish community, first in North Africa and later in al-Andalus, Egypt, and Yemen. In post-medieval and early modern North Africa, it became the standard title for a person recognized by the government as the secular head of a Jewish community, a position known in Arabic as
qāʾid (Tunisia), and
shayk al-yahūd (Morocco and elsewhere).
1. The First Nagids in the Maghreb In the Maghreb, the term nagid first came into use in Ifrī…