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Gagin (Gagine), Ḥayyim

(408 words)

Author(s): Jane Gerber
Ḥayyim Gagin was born in Fez, Morocco, around 1460 and died there after 1535. He was a leader of the city's indigenous Jews, or toshavim , and the author of ʿ Eṣ ayyim (Heb. Tree of Life), a chronicle and halakhic polemic describing their conflict over the correct mode of examining and slaughtering meat (Heb. sheḥiṭa) with the megorashim -the Sephardi newcomers who settled in Fez after the expulsion from Spain. The sheḥiṭa controversy began in 1523 and raged for many years in the Jewish quarter, pitting the two segments of the Jewish populace against each other. Ul…

Ibn Danan Family

(609 words)

Author(s): Jane Gerber
The records of the Ibn Danan (Aben Danan) family date to at least the fourteenth century, but some of the family’s traditions are even older. An Ibn Danan tradition records the sojourn of Moses Maimonides in the Moroccan city of Fez and their kinship with him. In either 1438 or 1465, Maimon ibn Danan fled from Fez during a pogrom and settled in Granada. During its stay there the Ibn Danan family continued to be Arabic-speaking, as it had been in Fez.Saʿadya ben Maimon ibn Danan was the last rabbi of Granada. Well versed in many fields in addition to jurisprudence, he was es…

Rute (Rote, Roti) Family

(712 words)

Author(s): Jane Gerber
The Rute (Rote, Roti) family was one of the most prominent and powerful Sephardi families in the Kingdom of Fez in Morocco in the sixteenth century. They may have originated in the Spanish town of Rute on the Gulf of Cádiz. Several members of the family served as heads ( negidim) of the Jewish community and courtiers (see Court Jews) in Fez.Jacob Rute, the first member of the family to play a prominent political role in Jewish and Muslim circles, was a grain trader, arms dealer, and official translator in the Portuguese possession of Safi in the 1520s and…


(1,315 words)

Author(s): Jane Gerber
Migration between the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa was a constant feature of medieval Jewish life, waxing and waning depending upon local political and economic conditions as well as the attitude of the ruling dynasties in both locales toward their Jewish subjects. Jews from Spain sought a refuge in Morocco as early as the time of the Visigothic persecutions in the seventh century. During the era of the Almohads (twelfth century), Jews in both countries again sought refuge in flight, cross…

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…