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Angel, Leon Victor

(923 words)

Author(s): Racheline Barda
Leon Victor Angel was born in Alexandria, Egypt on May 15, 1900, in a poor Jewish family of Greek descent. His parents, Victor Angelou and Olga Piperno, struggled to make a living. According to family lore, his father used to smuggle hashish along the Nile and Angel had to go to work from a young age. He married Esther Cohen, also born in Alexandria.  Angel had no prior stage or screen experience when he was discovered by famed filmmaker Togo Mizrahi in 1930. Mizrahi, an Egyptian-born Italian Jew, was one the founding fathers of Alexandrian cinema in the thi…

Aharoni, Ada

(404 words)

Author(s): Racheline Barda
Ada Aharoni, writer and poet, was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1933 and now lives in Haifa. She emigrated to Israel shortly after her matriculation from the Alvernia School in Cairo. She later attended London University, where she received her M.Phil. in English literature (1967), and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she was awarded her Ph.D. on the works of Saul Bellow (1975). She taught English literature at Haifa University and sociology at the Technion, and has published several novels,…

Food and Drink - Modern Period - Egypt

(2,259 words)

Author(s): Racheline Barda
Egyptian Jewish cuisine was fundamentally shaped by the peregrinations of the Jews in that part of the world. It kept the imprint of local culinary traditions, while maintaining an overall Mediterranean flavor within the framework of Jewish dietary laws and the richness of Sephardic ritual. There was a continuous Jewish presence in Egypt for over twenty-five centuries. However, during Egypt’s “cosmopolitan moment” (Naguib, p. 37) between the 1840s and the 1950s, and unlike other Jewish communities in Arab lands, Egyptian Jewry grew mainly …
Date: 2023-10-26


(517 words)

Author(s): Racheline Barda
With the implementation of the White Australia policy in 1901, Jews from non-European countries were classified as undesirable immigrants. Nevertheless, a small and ethnically diverse Mizraḥi community began to emerge in the post–World War II era. The first wave of Mizraḥim came from Asia, predominantly Baghdadis dislodged by the war and postwar independence movements. Following a secret report in 1948 warning that many of the Indian Jews who wished to immigrate were “coloured,” the Immigration Ministry, under Arthur Calwell, decided to prohibit entry to all Jews from As…


(10,873 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket | Racheline Barda
1. Medieval PeriodFrom Arab Conquest to Fatimid Conquest (640–969)When the Arabs conquered Egypt between 640 and 642, there was a large Jewish community that dated back to the Hellenistic era, mainly in Alexandria. According to the early Arab chronicler Ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥakam(d. 871), the conqueror ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ wrote to the caliph ʿUmar that there were forty thousand tax-paying Jews in Alexandria. The true figure was probably more like four thousand heads of households, but the exaggerated number is a good indication of the Bedouin Arabs’ se…

Diaspora Communities

(5,672 words)

Author(s): Racheline Barda | Alanna Cooper | Leah R. Baer | Ruth Fredman Cernea | Mikhael Elbaz | Et al.
1. BukharaIn the mid-nineteenth century, after Bukhara came under Russian control, its Jews developed new contacts, both cultural and commercial, with Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere. Taking advantage of improved conditions for trade and travel, a cosmopolitan nouveau-riche class emerged, primarily engaged in financing, producing, and selling textiles. Between the 1890s and 1920s, small numbers of Bukharan Jews relocated from Central Asia. A thousand or so settled in Moscow, Paris, and London. Another  two thousand at most moved to Palestin…