Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

Get access Subject: Jewish Studies
Executive Editor: Norman A. Stillman

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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(554 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
The Hebrew term haʻataqa (transmission) was used from the eleventh century onward to denote the Karaite tradition of halakha (religious laws and practices), often coinciding with the Hebrew term sevel ha-yerusha (inherited tradition). In some ways this concept parallels the Rabbanite notion of received tradition (Oral Law; Heb. tora she-be-ʻal-pe). Scholars formerly translated sevel ha-yerusha as “burden of inheritance” or “endurance of tradition” (e.g., Poznański, 1914; Nemoy, 1963; Ankory, 1955), but it has since been demonstrated that it should …


(1,808 words)

Author(s): Laurence Loeb
The town of Habban (Ar. Ḥabbān; Coll. Ar. Ḥabbēn) was the easternmost and possibly the oldest Jewish community in South Yemen. It was once a trading town on an important incense route connecting Dhofar via the ancient port of Cana with highland Yemen. The area has long been politically unstable and was a tempting target for the nearby Awāliq chiefdom as well as strong pastoral tribes. Habban is located in what was once known as the Wahidi Sultanate on the western edge of the British-designated East Aden Protectorate. It is 275 kilometers (171 miles) east by no…

Ḥabshūsh family

(510 words)

Author(s): Alan Verskin
The Ḥabshūsh (Ḥibshūsh) family, based in Ṣan‘ā, produced several prominent merchants and rabbis who made important contributions to Yemenite Jewish literature and religious life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The family name is probably derived from the Arabic noun ḥabash (Abyssinia) and might indicate that the family once had Abyssinian commercial contacts. Shalom ibn Yaḥyā Ḥabshūsh (1825–1905) was appointed head of the Ṣan‘ā yeshiva after the death of Yaḥyā Badīhī in 1887. As the yeshiva closed permanently during the Turkish siege of…

Ḥabshūsh, Ḥayyim

(815 words)

Author(s): Alan Verskin
Ḥayyim ben Yaḥyā (Yiḥye) Ḥabshūsh (Ḥibshūsh) al-Futayḥī was born in 1839 in Sanʿāʾ to a well-known Yemeni rabbinical family. His work as a coppersmith gave him an interest in the ancient Sabean copper inscriptions, which he initially collected for their magical properties. When the French orientalist Joseph Halévy went to Yemen in 1869 in search of these inscriptions, Ḥabshūsh offered to be his guide. His encounter with Halévy was transformational. Ḥabshūsh developed a lifelong fascination with European thought and the writing of history. He also came to believe that the fate of Yemeni…

Hadassi, Judah

(636 words)

Author(s): Daniel J. Lasker
Judah ben Elijah Hadassi ha-Avel (“the Mourner,” fl. 1148–1149) was the outstanding Karaite of twelfth-century Byzantium. Although he lived in a Christian country and very likely did not know Arabic, his major opus, Sefer Eshkol ha-Kofer (The Cluster of Henna, Song of Songs 1:14) serves as a summa of Karaite Judaism as it had developed under Islam from the proto-Karaite ʿAnan ben David to the demise of the Jerusalem Karaite community in 1099. It provides an overview of Karaite law, polemics, theology, heresiology, and much more. …
Date: 2015-09-03

Haddad de Paz, Charles

(285 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Charles Haddad de Paz was the  last president of the Tunisian Jewish community. Born in 1910, he studied at the Alliance Israélite Universelle school in Tunis and became a teacher there in 1928. He was also a lawyer and a member of the Chamber of Advocates. He was very active in Jewish communal institutions from the late 1930s, was elected vice-president of the Jewish Community Council in 1947, and was its president from 1951 to 1958, the year when the Tunisian government (following independence in 1956) decided to abolish the council. In 1958 Haddad left Tunisia for Marseilles. Ther…

Haddad, Ezra

(409 words)

Author(s): Lital Levy
Ezra Ḥaddād (1900?-1972) was a prominent Baghdadi Jewish educator, author, journalist, and translator. He received both a traditional education at the Midrash Talmud Torah and a modern one at the Al-Taʿāwwun school (later renamed after Rachel Shaḥmon), where he studied Turkish, Persian, and French. Beginning in 1922 he taught Arabic, English, and history in the Talmud Torah school. From 1923 (or 1924) to 1928, he was headmaster of the  Al-Waṭanīyya Jewish secondary school; from 1928 to 1933 he was vice-headmaster of the Shammash school. He again served as headmas…

Haddad, Hubert Abraham

(847 words)

Author(s): Dinah Assouline Stillman
Hubert Abraham Haddad, a noted poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright, as well as an art historian and painter, was born in Tunis on March 10, 1947 and accompanied his parents into exile in France at the age of five. One of his novels, Le Camp du bandit mauresque (The Camp of the Moorish Bandit, 2005), describes their drab existence in the poor neighborhoods of Paris and its suburbs and his search for identity. Years later, speaking in an interview of his Judeo-Berber heritage and his Tunisian-French identity, he said: “There can only be h…

Haddad, Sarit

(307 words)

Author(s): Amy Horowitz
Sarit Haddad (Sarah Hodedtov) is an Israeli singer born in 1978, the youngest of the eight children of a Caucasian-Jewish family originally from Azerbaijan. Haddad showed an early interest in music, releasing her first album (with estimated sales of over 50,000 copies) when she was sixteen. While subsequent albums (in 1996 and 1997) brought her increasing popularity among fans of Mizraḥi music, it was a duet of “Tipex” in 1997 with Kobi Oz  that introduced her to the Israeli mainstream. In 1997, Haddad toured for one month in Jordan under an alias, performing mater…


(7 words)

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

Hagège, Daniel

(396 words)

Author(s): Yosef Tobi
Born in Tunis on July 15, 1892,  Daniel Hagège (Ḥajjāj) completed his schooling in 1904 and began working in a printing house with Ya‛aqov Ha-Kohen on the weekly al-Shams and the daily al-Ṣabāḥ . On October 21, 1910, he was appointed chief editor of the weekly Ḥayāt al-Janna. On August 1, 1913, he founded a magazine called   al-Nuzha al-tūnisiyya. In 1914, he published an important book entitled Anwār Tūnis (Flowers of Tunis) that included the article “Sabab taqwīn ḥarb Urupa” (Causes of the Development of the European War), the story “al-‛Ishq wa-al-ḥubb mā fihi…

Hagiz, Moses

(584 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Moses ben Israel Jacob Ḥagiz (Ḥagis) was a halakhic scholar, rabbinical emissary ( shadar), kabbalist, and vigorous opponent of the Sabbatean heresy. He was born in Jerusalem in 1672 into a family of North African origin and was the son of  Israel Jacob ben Samuel Ḥagiz (1620–1674), one of the leading rabbis of Jerusalem. Due to his father’s untimely death, however, he was educated by his maternal grandfather, Moses ben Jonathan Galante the Younger (1620–1689). Ḥagiz married the daughter of the scholar-physician Raphael Mordecai Malkhi and was…

Haham Başı (Chief Rabbi)

(2,556 words)

Author(s): Avigdor Levy
Haham başı, also spelled hahambaşı, has been the title of a government-appointed chief rabbi in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey since 1835. The title, of Ottoman Turkish provenance, combines haham, the Turkish form of Hebrew ḥakham (wise man, sage), used by Sephardi Jews as a title for their rabbis, and Turkish baş (head, chief) in the qualifying relationship construct başı. The Hebrew counterpart of haham başı is ḥakham bashi. The Christian communities in the Ottoman Empire were under the religious and civil leadership of their ecclesiastical heads, the patri…

Hahamhane Nizamnamesi (General Regulations of the Rabbinate)

(783 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
In July 1863, in furtherance of the Ottoman Tanzimat reforms, Fuad Pasha, the grand vizier, ordered the acting chief rabbi of Istanbul, Yakir Geron, to embark on a process of restructuring the Jewish community and the rabbinate. Geron organized a committee for this purpose. Led by the influential philanthropist Abraham de Camondo and consisting of fourteen regional representatives from Istanbul, the committee selected twelve lay administrators and four rabbis to formulate a reform statute. Their proposals were presented to Sultan Abdüleziz in …

Haïm, Shemu’el

(476 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Popularly known as "Mister Haïm" or "Monsieur Haïm," Shemu'el Haim was a modernist communal leader of Iranian Jewry at the beginning of the twentieth century. He was also a journalist, a Zionist, and a member of the Majlis, the Iranian parliament. Shemu'el Haïm was born in Kirmanshah in 1891 and was educated in the school of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, where he acquired a thorough command of English and French. In 1914 Haïm entered the customs service in Kirmanshah. While working there he became a political consultant to the British embassy, but his connec…

Haïm, Soleiman

(385 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Soleiman Haïm, born in the Jewish quarter of Tehran in 1886, was an Iranian Jewish scholar, lexicographer, playwright, and the editor of a series of bilingual dictionaries that earned him  the nickname ustād-i kalām (Pers. master of words). He died in Tehran in 1970. Haïm grew up in stark economic conditions. His early education was in a traditional Jewish elementary school (Pers. maktabkhāneh) . In 1906 he entered the American College of Tehran (a secondary school run by Presbyterian missionaries), and he began teaching English there in 1915.  He was brie…

Ha-ʿIvri ha-Tzair (Egypt)

(666 words)

Author(s): Ruth Kimche
Ha-‘Ivri ha-Tzair  (Heb. Ha-ʿIvri ha-Ṣa’ir - The Young Hebrew), the first pioneer youth movement in Egypt, was an affiliate of ha-Shomer ha-Tzair (The Young Guard), a worldwide Socialist Zionist movement. Five veteran leaders of the Maccabi scout movement established Ha-ʿIvri ha-Tzair  in 1932, on the initiative of Mordechai Albagli, who had become acquainted with the kibbutz enterprise while visiting Palestine. Another of the five, Aaron Liscovitch, had learned about the movement from members of ha-Shomer ha-Tzair in Tunis with whom he corresponded, and he …

Hājjī Riżā

(207 words)

Author(s): Vera B. Moreen
Ḥājjī Riżā was a minor official during the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I (1571–1629), one of the most important monarchs of the Ṣafavid dynasty in Iran. As such, he is symbolic of a number of other such officials who took it upon themselves, not necessarily with court approval, to persecute Jews. According to the Judeo-Persian chronicle Kitāb-i Anusī (The Book of a Forced Convert) by Bābāī ibn Luṭf , sometime in 1625 a wave of persecutions struck the Jewish community of Isfahan. It had formerly paid a yearly jizya (see Taxation; Dhimma) of forty tūmāns, but Ḥājjī Riżā, one of the stewards of th…

Ḥakak, Balfour

(293 words)

Author(s): Ori Kritz
Balfour Medad Ḥakak, writer, poet, and editor, was born in Baghdad in 1948. Israel became his home in 1950. Fifteen years later he won the International Bible Contest. After receiving an M.A. in Bible Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1977), he began working in the Curriculum Department of the Ministry of Education and Culture. He edited numerous books and the teachers’ magazine Ḥinnukh ʿal ha-Pereq (Education in Action, 1986–99). Since 2005 he has been chair of the Hebrew Writers Association. Ḥakak published his first poem, Be-Qarov (Soon), at age fifteen in Maʿariv la-No…

Ḥakak, Herzl

(305 words)

Author(s): Ori Kritz
Herzl Eldad Ḥakak, poet and writer, was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1948. His family immigrated to Israel in 1950. In 1965, at seventeen, Ḥakak won first prize in the National Bible Contest and second prize in the International Bible Contest. He earned an M.A. in Bible Studies in 1977 from the Hebrew University. After teaching high school for fifteen years, he went to work for the Israel Postal Authority and became the editor of its journal, Ḥadashot ha-Do’ar (Postal News). Among his other social, cultural and political activities, he was president of the Hebrew Writers Asso…

Ḥakak, Lev

(351 words)

Author(s): Ori Kritz
Lev Ḥakak, critic, editor, poet, and prose writer, was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1944. He lived in Israel from 1951 to 1971, during which time he obtained a B.A. in Hebrew literature and political science (1967) and an LL.B. (1971) from the Hebrew University. He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in modern Hebrew literature at UCLA (1974) , where he is teaching Hebrew language and literature. Although admitted to the state bar of California (1980), he does not practice law. Ḥakak’s most significant contributions in creative and critical writing were about Iraqi Jewry. He was one o…


(9 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Judeo-Spanish - Haketia Norman A. Stillman

Hakham Bashi

(11 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Haham Başı (Chief Rabbi) Norman A. Stillman

Ḥakham, Joseph Ḥayyim ben Elijah al- (Ben Ish Ḥayy)

(1,295 words)

Author(s): Zvi Zohar
Joseph Ḥayyim ben Elijah al-Ḥakham, also known as the Ben Ish Ḥayy, was Iraq’s greatest rabbinic scholar since the gaonic period. Born in 1835, he was came from a distinguished family. His father, Elijah, was a scholar; and his grandfather Moses Ḥayyim  (b. 1750) served as chief rabbi of Baghdad for fifty-two years, from 1787 to 1839. Joseph showed extraordinary promise from an early age, and his brothers made him a silent partner in their business to provide him with a steady income so that he could devote hi…


(681 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
The term ḥakīm (Ar./Pers. physician) was used by both Jews and Muslims in Iran to designate Jewish physicians. The profession of ḥakīm was highly respected in Iran. As elsewhere in the Islamic world, the practice of medicine provided an entrée to the royal court. Few Jews made their living from medicine, and most of those who did were autodidacts or learned their skills from family members. The profession and its associated high social status were usually passed down from father to son. Jewish physicians generally s…

Ḥākim bi-Amr Allāh, al-

(443 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
The Fatimid caliph al-Ḥākim bi-Amr Allāh succeeded his father, al-ʿAzīz, in 996 as a boy of eleven. Extremely pious, he was, even as a child, given to strange behavior. He began to strictly enforce the dress code ( ghiyā r) for dhimmīs (see Dhimma) in 1004. The following year, he banned the production of wine, and in 1009 he ordered Christians to wear a large cross and Jews a bell around their necks when in the public baths. He began to persecute Christians more directly in 1009/1010, destroying the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. but was less severe with the Jews…

Ḥakīm Yazghel Ḥaqnaẓͅar

(327 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Ḥakīm Yazghel, known as Ḥakīm Ḥaqnaẓͅar (Ar. True-sighted), was the court physician of the Qājār rulers Muḥammad Shāh (r. 1834–1848) and Nāṣir al-Dīn Shāh (r. 1848–1896). He had a close relationship with Nāṣir al-Dīn Shāh’s mother and with Jayrān, one of the shah’s wives. His grandfather, also a physician, came to Tehran from Khunsār in 1821. Haqnaẓͅar was the founder of the Ḥakīm synagogue in Tehran’s Jewish quarter.  He had three brothers who were also court physicians. One of them, Ḥakīm Mūsa (d. 1881), also served Muḥammad Shāh and Nāṣir al-Dīn Shāh. Haqnaẓͅar excelled …

Hakko, Vitali

(282 words)

Author(s): Romina Meric
Vitali Hakko was born in Istanbul in 1913. He attended the school of the French (Jesuit) Frères until the age of ten, but in 1923, following the proclamation of the Turkish Republic, had to drop out because of his family’s financial troubles. At the age of thirteen, he began working in Mahmutpaşa, one of the busiest bazaars of the time, to contribute to his family’s income. In 1934, Hakko founded a modest hat store called Şen Şapka (Merry Hat) and officially entered the fashion industry. In 1938, he expanded his business and began selling scarves. That same ye…

Ha-Kohen ben Al-Mudarram

(387 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Ha-Kohen ben al-Mudarram was an Andalusian Hebrew poet and grammarian. According to Moses ibn Ezra in his work on the art of poetry, Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ʾl-Mudhākara (p. 58), Ben al-Mudarram was a scholar related to the first generation of Hebrew authors of the tenth century. He was specifically included in a second group that sprang up within the first group and that followed and overtook the prose writers, poets, and other writers who came before them. He is mentioned after Isaac ibn Qapron, disciple of Menaḥem ibn Sa…

Ha-Kohen Ha-Itmari, Elijah ben Solomon Abraham

(396 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Elijah ben Solomon Abraham ha-Kohen, known as ha-Itmari because of the fame of his Midrash ha-Itmari(Constantinople, 1695), was a scion of a rabbinical family in Izmir (Smyrna). His brother Isaac moved to the Holy Land and died there at an early age. Elijah was active as a rabbi, kabbalist, and exegete in the last quarter of the seventeenth century and the first quarter of the eighteenth. Especially noted as a preacher, he had a strong tendency toward kabbalistic Hasidism, and his homilies on the commandment of charity ( ṣedaqa) reveal a great sensitivity to social injustice. He ap…

Halali, Salim

(361 words)

Author(s): Samuel Reuben Thomas
The musician Salim (Shlomo, Simon) Halali, a celebrated bandleader, singer, and percussionist in post-independence Morocco, was born on July 30, 1920 in Annaba, Algeria and claimed to be a descendant of the Chaouia Berber tribe. He began his career in 1930s Paris, quickly becoming a sought-after singer of Spanish-inflected music. To avoid Nazi deportation during the World War II occupation, Halali obtained a certificate of conversion to Islam from the rector of the Paris mosque, Kaddour Benghrabit. While in France, Halali released a recording as bandleader,   Halali en Arabe , that p…

Haleva, Izak

(288 words)

Author(s): Rifat Sonsino
Born in 1940 in Istanbul,  Isak Haleva graduated from the Jewish High School in Galata and continued with his rabbinic studies at the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he was ordained as a rabbi. Among his teachers there were Ovadia Yosef and Shimon Baadani. After serving in the Turkish army from 1961 to 1963 as a reserve officer in Manisa and Kayser, Haleva was appointed to the chief rabbinate, serving as a member of its bet din, and later on, for seven years, as deputy to the ailing chief rabbi, David Asseo. Over the years from 1963 to 2002, Haleva also taught courses in Hebrew and in…


(8 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see also Levi Norman A. Stillman

Ha-Levi, Abraham

(229 words)

Author(s): Leah Bornstein-Makovetsky
Abraham ha-Levi (d. 1837), also known as Hezekiah and Nissim, was the first chief rabbi ( haham başı) of the Ottoman Empire. He became a  dayyan in the Jewish court in the Balat district of Istanbul in 1820, and later served as its chief judge ( av bet din). In 1834 he was a dayyan in the court of the Istanbul community ( bet din issur ve-heter). In January 1835, Sultan Maḥmūd II issued an imperial decree ( ferman) appointing Halevi the empire’s first chief rabbi. He served in this office only a short time, possibly because of blindness, and was replaced in September of…

Halevī, Menaḥem Shemu’el

(508 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Menaḥem Shemu’el Halevi was born in 1884 in Hamadan. He was educated at the local religious maktab (Heb. ḥeder) and then at the traditional primary school of the Alliance Israélite Universelle when it opened in 1900. He was subsequently employed at the Alliance school for twelve years, first as a teacher, later as its vice-principal (1907) and principal (1910). His education and communal activism soon made him the Jewish community’s civil leader and representative to the municipality of Hamadan as well as its chief rabbi. Halevi fought zealously against assimilation and conversi…

Ha-Levi, Ṣemaḥ

(392 words)

Author(s): Yosef Tobi
Ṣemaḥ ben Nathan ha-Levi, a distinguished scholar and the author of books in both Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic, was born in Tunis in 1868 and died there in 1928. His respected family originally came from Gibraltar after having lived for a long while in Austria. His father was a cousin of the millionaire R. Nathan Ha-Levi, one of whose daughters married Joseph Valensi, who was the Austrian vice-consul in Tunis and the father of both the Zionist leader Alfred Valensi, and  the well-known lawyer Theodor…

Halevy, Bezalel Saadi

(440 words)

Author(s): Olga Borovaya
Bezalel Saadi Halevy (Ashkenazi) (1819–1903) was a publisher, journalist, and musician in Salonica . He inherited his press from a long line of printers in his family, the first of whom came to Salonica from Holland in 1731. Halevy published religious and secular texts, including his own poems and songs composed for holidays, weddings, and special occasions. Though his formal education was limited to a few weeks of traditional schooling, Halevy was a passionate supporter of modern …
Date: 2015-09-03

Halévy, Joseph

(514 words)

Author(s): Dan D.Y. Shapira
Joseph Halévy, born in 1827 in Edirne (Adrianople), was an Ottoman/French Jewish educator, orientalist, and traveler. In his early years Halévy was a teacher in Jewish schools in Edirne and later in Bucharest (where one of his students was the great scholar Moses Gaster) and a Hebrew journalist. In 1867, thanks to his proficiency in oriental languages, the Alliance Israélite Universelle appointed him to travel to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) to ascertain and report on the situation of the Falasha/Beta-Israel. This Judaic religious minority, targeted by Christian mis…

Halevy, Samuel Saadi

(563 words)

Author(s): Olga Borovaya
Samuel Saadi Halevy (Sam Lévy), born in Salonica in 1870, was known to most educated Sephardim in his time as the editor-in-chief of La Epoka (1875–1911) and Le Journal de Salonique (1895–1911), both founded by his father Bezalel Saadi Halevy. A passionate advocate of Ladino as the legitimate language of Eastern Sephardim, Lévy took pride in contributing to its development by publishing La Epoka. He was opposed to Zionism and encouraged Sephardim to become useful members of the societies in which they lived. Lévy was educated in Salonica at the Alliance Israélite Universelle s…
Date: 2015-09-03

Ḥalfon ha-Levi ben Manasseh

(631 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
Ḥalfon ha-Levi ben Manasseh (Abū Saʿid Ḥalfon ha-Levi ben Manasseh Ibn al-Qaṭāʾif) was the most important and prominent rabbinical court clerk (Heb. sofer bet din) in Fustat during the first half of the twelfth century. The Cairo Geniza contains numerous documents and letters in his handwriting and bearing his signature, dating from the years 1100 to 1138. These include at least 255 acts of the rabbinical court recorded in his hand and preserved in full or in fragmentary form, but it is likely that the total number of …

Halimi, Gisèle

(752 words)

Author(s): Jessica Hammerman
Gisèle Halimi (b. 1927) is a French lawyer, author, and activist. Born to observant Jewish parents in La Goulette, Tunisia, she grew up fearing God and with the understanding that her life was driven by fate. In her first memoir, translated into English as Milk for the Orange Tree, Halimi recalled that her parents urged her “not to ask questions” because “God decides” (p. 27). Her early rebellion against God’s authority began a life in which she constantly questioned the status quo, and as a teenager she became concerned about women’s rights,…

Ḥalimi, Sidi Fredj

(417 words)

Author(s): Yossef Charvit
Rabbi  Sidi Fredj ben Abraham Ḥalimi was born in Constantine in 1876 and died there in 1957. He was a dayyan (judge) of the rabbinical court of Constantine during the last generation of the Algerian Jewish community prior to the mass exodus (see Bet Din and Dayyanim). His fellow judges were Simeon Doukhan (Dukhan, 1875–1948) and Joseph ben David Renassia (1879–1962). Ḥalimi possessed a clear talmudic orientation. He became a dayyan at the tender age of eighteen and was head of the rabbinical court in Constantine by the time he turned thirty. He was respected by the community’s o…

Ḥaliwa, Solomon

(567 words)

Author(s): Yossef Chetrit
Solomon Ḥaliwa was born in Meknes, Morocco, and died there toward the end of the eighteenth century when he was around sixty years old. The three qinot (elegies) he wrote on the death of the famous Hebrew poet David ben Aharon Hassin (1728-1792), who also lived in Meknes, indicate that Ḥaliwa was the younger of the two. They show that Haliwa admired Ḥassin’s work and used it as a model but was more innovative. Although Ḥaliwa wrote hundreds of poems, addressing a great diversity of themes and displaying a unique richness of language, his writings did not spread across…


(2,007 words)

Author(s): Haideh Sahim
Hamadan (Pers. Hamadhān; Ar. and archaic Pers. Hamadhān; ancient Agbatana or Ekbatana) is a city in western Iran situated on the eastern slope of the Alvand massif, and the capital of a province by the same name. One of the oldest cities in Iran and the capital of the ancient Medes, its name appears in inscriptions as Hamgmatāna, meaning “place of gathering.” An ancient Pahlavi text attributes the building of the city to the Jewish queen Shūshāndukht, the daughter of an exilarch, who became the wife of the Sasanian king Yazdigird I (r. 399–420 c.e.) and the mother of Bahrām Gūr (420–438). The Bi…

Ḥamawī Family

(628 words)

Author(s): Yaron Harel
The roots of the Ḥamawī family lead to the city of Ḥama, situated midway between Damascus and Aleppo. Some members of the family left Ḥama and settled in Aleppo. Many members of the family were famous rabbinical scholars. Abraham Shalom Ḥay ben Raphael Ḥamawī was born and raised in Aleppo in the mid-nineteenth century; the date of his death is unknown. After studying in the yeshiva, he left Aleppo and journeyed across North Africa, Western Europe, Baghdad, India, and Palestine. Wherever he wandered he sought libraries and ancient m…

Hamdānī , Rabīʽ Mushfiq

(314 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Rabīʽ Mushfiq Hamadānī was born in 1912 in Hamadan and attended both the Alliance Israélite Universelle school and the elite Dār el-Funūn school. He translated two works of philosophy into Persian before the age of twenty. Hamadānī studied to be a French high-school teacher and completed his higher education in two years of philosophical and cultural studies, during which time he also served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Not long after, he was appointed head of the Pars news agency. Hamadānī’s journalistic career began at the Iranian newspapers Mehr and Mehrgān. On the eve of th…

Ha-Mevasser, Istanbul, 1909-11

(614 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Ha-Mevasser (The Herald [of Good Tidings]), a Hebrew weekly published in Istanbul from December 21, 1909 to December 3, 1911,  was founded by a group of Zionist leaders that included Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, Victor Jacobson, and Nahum Sokolow. The paper was managed and edited by Sami Hochberg with the assistance of Aharon Ḥermoni, who largely set the editorial tone. During its two-year life, Ha-Mevasser was Istanbul’s only entirely-Hebrew periodical. The scarcity of printers of Hebrew in Istanbul at the time rendered printing an expensive venture, and indeed Ha-Mevasser suffer…

Hamon, Aaron

(385 words)

Author(s): Cengiz Sisman
Aaron ben Isaac Hamon, who lived in Istanbul and Edirne (Adrianople) in the first half of the eighteenth century, was a poet, composer, and physician. He was a descendant of the famous Hamon family, which produced many court physicians and diplomats in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Unlike his forefathers, Aaron was more famous as a musician, and in the world of Turkish music he was better known as Yahudi Harun (Aaron the Jew). He was one of many renowned composers produced by Ottoman Jewry from the seventeenth century…

Hamon Family

(374 words)

Author(s): Cengiz Sisman
The Hamons were the most prominent Ottoman Jewish family of physician-diplomats. The family was originally from Spain, where Isaac Hamon had been a physician at the court of ʿAbd Allāh (Boabdil), the last Nasrid amīr of Granada (r. 1482–1484, 1487–1492), but they settled in Turkey after the 1492 expulsion. As was true for many other Jewish families, medicine was the hereditary profession of the Hamons. This was an era when marranos and professing Jews who had studied at the universities of Christian Europe were bringing their expertise to the Ottoman …

Hamon, Joseph

(246 words)

Author(s): Cengiz Sisman
Joseph Hamon (d. 1517/18), born and raised in Granada, was the founder of the Hamon family in the Ottoman Empire. He settled in Istanbul after the 1492 expulsion, and as a son of the famous Andalusian court physician Isaac Hamon, he became a physician at the imperial court (see Court Jews). It is unknown where he received his medical education, but various sources suggest that he studied medicine either in al-Andalus or Christian Europe. Sultan Bayazid II (r. 1481–1512) is said to have urged him to embrace Islam, but it appears that he preferred to remain Jewish. Some Italian sources accuse…

Hamon, Moses

(878 words)

Author(s): Cengiz Sisman
Moses Hamon (d. 1554) was the most influential of the Ottoman Jewish court physicians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Born around 1490 in Granada, he was the chief Jewish physician of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–1566) as well as a medical scholar, patron of Hebrew learning, and a leader of the Jewish community. His father,  Joseph Hamon, and other members of his family also served as court physicians. Historical sources imply that Moses became one of the team of court physicians right after the death of his father in 1518, but the earliest…

Ḥananel ben Ḥushiel

(1,192 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Ḥananel ben Ḥushiel was resh be rabbanan and dayyan in Qayrawān in the first half of the eleventh century. Other than the statement of Abraham Ibn Da’ud in his Sefer ha-Qabbala (sec. 7, beg.) that Ḥananel was born in Qayrawān sometime after his father was redeemed from captivity, having been captured at sea by the Umayyad commander Ibn Rumāḥiṣ, there is no definitive information about the place and date of his birth. On the other hand, insofar as Ḥananel and Ḥushiel’s son Elhanan are taken to be the same person (on which see below), it is clear that Ḥananel was already at least thirty years old …
Date: 2015-09-03

Ḥananel ben Samuel

(838 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Ḥananel ben Samuel, the most prominent member of the Ibn al-Amshāṭī family of Egypt during the Middle Ages, was a halakhic scholar, jurist ( dayyan), merchant, and, apparently for a short time, nagid of Egyptian Jewry who lived from the last quarter of the twelfth century (he is referred to as a “distinguished scholar” (Heb. ḥakham nehdar) in a letter written in 1211) to the mid-thirteenth century (see below). A native of Fustat , Ḥananel made his living there as a perfumer (like his father) and merchant. His role as a dayyan—and perhaps even av bet din (chief judge) under the nagid Abraha…
Date: 2015-09-03

Handali, Esther

(321 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Esther Kira Ḥandali (Esther Kyra), the wife of Elijah Ḥandali, was one of the best-known Jewish women to bear the title kira (Turk. dame, lady). These women exercised political influence through her contacts with women in the harems of four Ottoman sultans: Süleyman I the Magnificent (r. 1520– 1566), Selim II (r. 1566– 1574), Murat III (r. 1574–1595), and Mehmet III (r. 1595–1603). Esther was regularly admitted to the harem to sell jewelry, perfumes, and other items, and she also ran errands or performed services for the women outside the palace. Thanks…

Ḥanina Mizrahi

(209 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Ḥanina Mizraḥi was born in Tehran in 1886. His father was Rabbi Ḥayyim Eleazar Mizraḥi, the spiritual leader of the Jewish community of Tehran. The family emigrated to Palestine in 1895, and there Ḥanina Mizraḥi attended the Lemel school in Jerusalem, the Mizraḥi seminary for teachers, and Yeshiva Tiferet Yerushalayim. A teacher, educator, and public figure,  Mizraḥi wrote the first  works about the folklore and customs of the Jews of Iran. His books are   Ba-Yeshishim Ḥokhma: Arba'im S ippure ʿA m mi-pi Yehude Iran-Paras (Wisdom Is Among the Elderly: Forty Folktales from the J…

Hanin, Roger

(495 words)

Author(s): Dinah Assouline Stillman
Roger Hanin (born Roger Lévy), French actor, film director, playwright and novelist, was born in Algiers on October 20, 1925.  His father was a postal worker and his maternal grandfather a rabbi.  Hanin was a student in lycée when the Vichy regime’s anti-Semitic laws (see Anti-Judaism/Antisemitism/Anti-Zionism) were put into effect, and he poignantly describes in his autobiography the day he and the other Jewish students in his class were called by name and told to leave:  “I got up.  Within me there was a pain made of humiliation, of f…
Date: 2016-10-14

Hanoch ben Moses

(426 words)

Author(s): M.J. Cano
Hanoch ben Moses (d. 1014) was a rabbi and talmudist in early eleventh-century al-Andalus. He was the son of Moses ben Hanoch, who came to Iberia probably from southern Italy and was one of the scholars mentioned in the story of the Four Captives related by Abraham ibn Daʾud in his Book of Tradition. Benefiting from the patronage of the nasi of the Jewish community in Cordova and  court physician of ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān III (r. 912–961), Ḥasday ibn Shapruṭ, Hanoch’s father became the city’s rabbi and dayyan. When his father died sometime around 965, Hanoch succeeded him as rabbi and dayyan despite …

Hanoun, Marcel

(881 words)

Author(s): Dinah Assouline Stillman
The film director Marcel Hanoun was born in Tunisia on October 26, 1929, moved to France just after World War II, and died in Créteil, France, on September 22, 2012. In the 1950s in Paris, he was fascinated by photography, cinema, and theater, and studied aeronautical engineering. Working as a photographer and journalist, he was awarded the Grand Prix de l’Eurovision in Cannes in 1959 for his first feature-length movie, Une Simple Histoire. Jean-Luc Godard, who admired Hanoun’s revolutionary aesthetic choices, often sponsored his low-budget productions. After completing Le Huitième…

Ḥara Kebira

(533 words)

Author(s): Jacques Taïeb
Ḥara Kebira (Ar. ḥāra kabīra, the large quarter) is the larger of the two Jewish villages on the island of Jerba in Tunisia. Until the mid-twentieth century, about three-quarters of the island’s Jewish population lived there. The time of its founded is unknown; its buildings date back to the seventeenth century, but the town already existed in the sixteenth century, as can be inferred from an Italian map of 1587. At that time, there were two villages on the island, one of which, called Zadaica, was located in the same place as Ḥara Kebira. It is possible, if not probable, that …

Ḥāra of Tunis

(735 words)

Author(s): Margaux Fitoussi
From the thirteenth century, the Jews of Tunis lived in their own neighborhood, which like many other Jewish quarters in the Arabic-speaking lands was called the Ḥāra, the “neighborhood” in the northeast of the medina. In Arabic, ḥāra simply signifies neighborhood, but in Tunisia the word refers exclusively to the Jewish quarter. The neighborhood was enclosed but also porous and structurally indistinguishable from other areas in the medina. The streets of the Jewish quarter connected to a wider …

Harari-Raful, Nissim ben Isaiah

(268 words)

Author(s): Pinchas Giller
Nissim ben Isaiah Harari-Raful (d. 1870) was one of the giants of the Aleppo rabbinate. He was a noted  talmudist but also was distinguished in the field of Kabbala, particularly in respect to the kavvanot (Heb. prayer “intentions”) instituted by Shalom Sharʿabi and his acolytes in the Bet El community of the Old City of Jerusalem. Harari’s study partner in Aleppo was Elijah Mishʿan. When the two of them visited Jerusalem, they made a strong impression on the reigning kabbalist of the time, Moses Ibn Sasson, who contended that their exposition of Kabbala was beyond his underst…

Harari, Sir Victor Pasha and Ralph

(384 words)

Author(s): Uri M. Kupferschmidt
Sir Victor Harari Pasha (1858–1945), the son of immigrants from Lebanon, was born in Cairo. After receiving a modern elementary education, he pursued studies for eight years in France and England. In 1876 he entered the Egyptian Ministry of Finance. He advanced rapidly to the high post of inspector of the budgets division of the accounting department and then of the Treasury itself. He was also involved in a reform of the public waqf supervision system. After his retirement from the Ministry of Finance, he served on the boards of the Light Railways and, later, the State Railway…

Ḥara Ṣeghira

(541 words)

Author(s): Jacques Taïeb
Hara Seghira (Ar. ḥāra ṣa ghīra, the small quarter) is the smaller of the two Jewish villages on the island of Jerba, Tunisia, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) from Houmt Souk, the island’s principal town, and 6 kilometers (3.5 miles) from Ḥara Kebira, the other Jewish village—both located farther north of Houmt Souk. A 1587 map in Italian shows a tiny village called Giudei (Jews[town]). It is probably Hara Seghira, although it was located southeast of Ḥara Kebira and not in the south, as shown on the ma…

Hardoon, Silas Aaron (Ṣāliḥ Hārūn)

(494 words)

Author(s): Maisie Meyer
Silas Aaron (Ṣāliḥ Hārūn) Hardoon was born in Baghdad around 1851 and emigrated with his father to Bombay in 1865. He worked for David Sassoon & Company (see Sassoon Family) in Hong Kong from 1870 to 1874, then moved on to the International Settlement of Shanghai, where he at first held a lowly job. Although he had no formal education, his exceptional business acumen enabled him to become a partner and manager of E. D. Sassoon and Company (1890–1911). He branched out, dealing mainly in property. When he died his estate, which included most…

Harel-Dagan, Anda

(420 words)

Author(s): Lev Hakak
Anda Harel-Dagan (née Andrée Wahba) was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1934, and immigrated to Israel with her family in 1949. She lived on a kibbutz and studied at the teachers’ college of the kibbutz movement (Seminar ha-Kibbutzim), Tel Aviv University, and the Sorbonne. Harel-Dagan writes lyrical poetry. The themes of her first two volumes, Yamim Rabbim (Many Days - Tel Aviv: Sifriyyat Poʿalim, 1972) and  Avraham Hayah (Abraham Was - Tel Aviv: Ṭraklin, 1974)and the fourth, Minshar  (Sexpoems - Tel Aviv: Alef, 1986) include reflections about family, her father, nature, love…

Ḥarīzī, Judah ben Solomon al-

(1,633 words)

Author(s): Jonathan P. Decter
Judah al-Ḥarīzī (ca. 1166–1225) was a central author of medieval Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, and classical Arabic literature as well as an important translator of Arabic and Judeo-Arabic literary, legal, and philosophical texts into Hebrew. Born in Toledo, then still a highly Arabized city in the Christian kingdom of Castile, al-Ḥarizi left around 1208 to travel to Provence and the Islamic East, going as far as Baghdad and ultimately settling in Ayyubid Aleppo, where he died. Information concerning al…

Harrus, Elias

(433 words)

Author(s): Sarah Frances Levin
A prominent leader of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) educational network in Morocco, Elias Harrus was born September 19, 1919, in Beni Mellal, Morocco. He was formally trained in pedagogy and agriculture in France and Algeria. After serving as director of the AIU school in Demnat from 1940 to 1945, he became director of the AIU’s École Professionelle Agricole in Marrakesh in 1946. He continued in this post until 1958, but at the same time was also responsible for founding and supervising AIU  schools throughout the Atlas Mountains and the Saharan oases. His photographs of the Ber…

Ḥasan ben Mar Ḥasan

(160 words)

Author(s): Josefina Rodríguez Arribas
Hasan ben Mar Hasan, also known as ʿAlī ibn Mar Hasan was born somewhere in al-Andalus in the tenth century. He was dayyan (judge) of Cordova in the late tenth century. He wrote three books on the calendar and intercalation that are no longer extant, but which are referred to in the writings of Isaac Israeli ( Yesod ʿ Olam), Abraham bar Ḥiyya ( Sefer ha-ʿIbbur), and Abraham ibn Ezra ( Sefer ha-ʿIbbur). The date he used in his astronomical calculations (972), in which he followed the system of the Arab astronomer al-Battānī (d. 929), is the only certain reference we have to date his lifetime. Josefin…

Ḥasan (Ḥusayn) ben Mashiaḥ

(371 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
Ḥasan (Ḥusayn, Ḥassūn) ben Mashiaḥ was a tenth-century Karaite scholar who probably lived in Baghdad. According to Ibn al-Hītī, he disputed with the Christian scholar-physician Abū ʿAlī ʿIsā ibn Zurʿa (d. 1009), the author of a polemical work against the Jews entitled Epistle to Ibn Shuʿayb. He also wrote refutations of Saʿadya Gaon. Although it is unlikely from a chronological standpoint, Ibn al-Hītī states in his chronicle that Ḥasan ben Mashiaḥ was a contemporary of Salmon ben Jeroham and Saʿadya Gaon, and Sahl ben Maṣliaḥ even asserts …

Ḥasday ibn Shaprūṭ

(1,340 words)

Author(s): M.J. Cano
Ḥasday ben Isaac ibn Shaprūṭ (ca. 905–ca. 975) was a scholar, physician, and trusted adviser at the court of the Umayyad caliphs ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III and al-Ḥakam II in Cordova. As patron of the first Jewish intellectuals and poets in al-Andalus, he played a decisive role in fostering a brilliant Jewish cultural effloresence that assimilated many elements of Arabic high culture. 1. Courtier Ḥasday was a scion of a rich and influential family. His father, Isaac, had moved the family from its home in Jaen to Cordova, the caliphal capital, and there founded a synagogue. As secretary Isaac hired Me…


(397 words)

Author(s): Tudor Parfitt
Throughout the 1930s and during the first years of the Second World War, a trickle of Jews arrived in the British Crown Colony of Aden from the Yemen. They were housed in a variety of insalubrious quarters mainly outside Aden city. In 1944, however, the Aden government agreed to lease an abandoned army camp to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee at a nominal rent for the use of Jewish refugees. The camp, known as Hashid, was about 10 kilometers (6 miles) inland from Aden’s wharf area of Maala, not far from the main road and slightly more than 1.6 kilom…

Hāṣid (Baghdad), al-

(395 words)

Author(s): Orit Bashkin
Al-Ḥāṣid (The Reaper), one of Iraq’s finest literary and cultural journals, was edited by the Jewish intellectual and lawyer Anwār Sha’ūl (1904–1984). The first issue appeared in February 1929, and it continued until April 1938. Al-Ḥāṣid symbolizes, perhaps more than any other cultural and literary artifact of the period, the Jewish community’s desire to be integrated into Iraqi society, and the openness of the Iraqi cultural field to the participation of Arab Jews in the creation of a new national culture. Al-Ḥāṣid published the works of Iraq’s leading intellectuals, including…

Haskala Movement

(2,859 words)

Author(s): Yossef Chetrit | Lital Levy
1. Maghreb European colonialism, which led to the French conquest of Algeria in 1830 as well as the expansion of the protégé system through the foreign consulates in the Maghreb, exposed Jewish communities in the area to the influence of European culture and lifestyles. In Algeria, young Jews were attending French schools as early as 1846; in Morocco, the first school of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) opened in Tetouan in 1862, with many more following in other communities. In Tunisia, the first AIU school opened in 1879, and in Tripoli (Libya) in 1890.       Concurrent with th…


(1,048 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
From the sixteenth century on, the fundamental rules guiding the life of the Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire were based upon legal decrees known as haskamot (sing. haskama,also askama) or taqqanot (sing. taqqana). Both terms were used in medieval Iberia and were carried over into the Sephardi diaspora following the expulsion. Taqqanot (Heb. ordinances) formulated to cope with new needs and changing realities organized and ensured the management and proper functioning of the community for the benefit of its members. The most important taqqanot determined the unchallengeab…


(444 words)

Author(s): Cengiz Sisman
The town of Hasköy is located at the upper part of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, facing the Balat quarter. Its history dates back to the early Byzantine period. Over the centuries, a number of  Jewish communities are known to have resided there. Karaites seem to have been the first Jewish settlers, and their old underground synagogue still functions as the  only Karaite synagogue in Istanbul. The town’s Jewish presence grew significantly in the Ottoman period with the arrival of Sephardi expellees after 1492. By the seventeenth century, Hasköy had the larg…

Hassoun, Jacques

(365 words)

Author(s): Aimée Israel-Pelletier
Jacques Hassoun was born in Alexandria in 1936 and died in Paris in 1999. He was a psychoanalyst and a political activist with Marxist leanings. Born into an observant family, he was knowledgeable in Jewish law and remained attached to Judaism and to Egypt throughout his life. He spoke Arabic and French fluently. A militant from the age of fifteen, Hassoun was member first of Dror, a Marxist Zionist group and later of Hadeto, the clandestine movement for the liberation of Egypt led by Henri Curiel. His Communist activities led to his arrest at eighteen, a six-month jail sentenc…

Hatchuel, Sol (Lalla Solika)

(430 words)

Author(s): Sharon Vance
The execution of Sol Ḥatchuel, a young Jewish girl from Tangier, shocked Jewish communities throughout Morocco. It was the subject of at least one French painting (Alfred Dehodencq, Exécution de la Juive, 1852) and was written about in both Jewish and European languages. Sol, or Solika as she was also known, lived with her family in Tangier on a street shared by Muslims and Jews. According to European sources, she was given sole responsibility for housework and her mother was a strict disciplinarian whose wrath she often escaped by taking refuge with…

Hatef (Hātif)

(179 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Hatef (Hātif; Pers. The Crier), a Jewish women’s organization in Iran, was active in the 1960s and 1970s. It was led by Dr. Azīza Barāl and functioned in cooperation with Sāzmān-i Bānovān-i Yahudī-yi Irānī (Pers. The Jewish Women’s Organization of Iran). Hatef concentrated its efforts on women in Tehran’s Jewish neighborhood and engaged in social, family, cultural, health, and economic activities. It had branch offices in other cities, among them Isfahan, Shiraz, and Ārak. The organization taught women to read and write as w…

Hatt-ı Humayun (Islahat Fermani), 1856

(798 words)

Author(s): Onur Yildirim
The Hatt-ı Hümâyûn (imperial decree) was promulgated on February 18, 1856, to reaffirm the stipulations of the Hatt-ı Sherif of Gülhane (1839), which had introduced sweeping changes in Ottoman law and administration, and ushered in a new era of reforms known as the Tanzimat. After the deposition of Grand Vizier Mustafa Reşid Pasha, the chief architect of the Tanzimat, in 1852, domestic reaction against the reforms from both Muslim and non-Muslim clerics brought the process of change to a standstill. It was only because of the abysmal state in w…

Hatt-ı Sherif of Gülhane (Tanzimat Fermanı)

(668 words)

Author(s): Onur Yildirim
The Hatt-ı Sherif of Gülhâne (Imperial Decree of the Rose Chamber) was an edict ( ferman) signed by Sultan Abdülmecid I (r. 1839–1861) on November 3, 1839, and read aloud by Grand Vizier Mustafa Reşid Pasha to an assemblage of bureaucrats, foreign dignitaries, and the heads of the empire’s non-Muslim communities, including Chief Rabbi Moses Fresco (r. 1839–1841), in the Imperial Garden of Gülhâne, outside the walls of the Topkapi Palace. The proclamation came at a time when the Ottoman Empire was severely threatened by the advancing forces of Ibrāhīm Pasha, the son of Mehmet Ali (Mu…

Ḥaver (Fellow of the Palestinian Yeshiva)

(584 words)

Author(s): Marina Rustow
The title ḥaver was granted to fellows (members) of the Palestinian yeshiva who in turn served as heads of their local Jewish communities. The full title was ḥaver ba-sanhedrin ha-gedola or ḥaver be-sanhedrin gedola (member of the Great Sanhedrin, i.e., the yeshiva; the Palestinian yeshiva referred to itself as the ḥavura). The title ḥaver (equivalent to the Babylonian alluf ) and the associated duties reflect the network of relationships the central yeshivot cultivated in the outlying Jewish communities. Ḥaverim who served as heads of the Palestinian Jewish communit…

Ḥaviv ha-Sephardi

(11 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Amatus Lusitanus (Amato Lusitano) Norman A. Stillman

Hayatizâde Mustafa Efendi

(12 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Abravanel, Moses ben Raphael Norman A. Stillman

Ḥayāt al-Rūḥ

(431 words)

Author(s): Vera B. Moreen
Ḥayāt al-rūḥ (The Life of the Soul) was Siman Ṭov Melammed’s most important contribution to Judeo-Persian literature. A learned dayyan ( judge), communal leader, poet, mystic, and philosopher, Melammed died in either 1800, 1823, or 1828. His works have not yet been thoroughly studied.              The exact date of composition of Ḥayāt al-rūḥ is unknown, but 1778 is suggested by the fact that the printed edition (Jerusalem, 1898) mentions that it was in manuscript form for 120 years.  Thus it may have been written while Melammed was living in Herat (Afghanistan), as suggested by his…

Hay (Hayya) Gaon

(838 words)

Author(s): Robert Brody
Hay (properly Hayye or Hayya) ben Sherira was one of the greatest of the geonim (heads) of the central rabbinic academies (yeshivot) and has been described as “the last of the geonim in time and the first in rank.” His death in 1038 has often been taken to mark the end of the gaonic period, which began about the middle of the sixth century C.E. Today we know that this is not strictly correct, for he was survived by at least one gaon of the academy of Sura, but he may well have been the last head of the Pumbedita academy to bear the title gaon. The circumstances of Hay's appointment as gaon were quite ex…

Ḥayk, Uzziel al-

(515 words)

Author(s): Jacques Taïeb
Uzziel al-Ḥayk, the son of David al-Ḥayk,  a renowned intellectual from a family of Grana rabbis, was born in Tunis in 1740 and died there around 1810. Well versed in Arabic language, Islamic law, rabbinic matters, and economic issues, he was involved in many legal decisions made by the Tunis rabbinic courts. These provide much information about daily life at that time, and on fundamental legal matters such as the right to own and acquire property and private assets (Ar. mulk). Al-Ḥayk wrote two major books in Hebrew that were published posthumously. Mishkenot ha-Roʿim (The Shepherds’ D…

Hayon, David (Bubi)

(234 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
David Hayon, known in the art milieu as Bubi, is a prominent Turkish Jewish painter. He was born on August 5, 1956 in Istanbul. He studied psychology and anthropology at Istanbul University and is a self-trained artist. He has participated in numerous collective exhibitions. Until 1970, he used the letters BDH as his signature, the acronym of Bubi David Hayon. After 1970, he signed his works simply as Bubi. Renowned in the world of modern art for his anarchistic style, Bubi is famous for his “ Cages” ( Kafesler), a unique artistic creation in which he makes use of unconventional ma…

Ḥayon, Nehemiah Ḥiyya ben Moses

(381 words)

Author(s): Matthias Lehmann
Nehemiah Ḥiyya b. Moses Ḥayon (Ḥayyūn) was an itinerant kabbalist whose neo-Sabbatean ideas generated one of the great rabbinical controversies of the eighteenth century. His family was originally from Sarajevo; Ḥayon, who was born around 1655, grew up in Nablus and Jerusalem. In the 1690s, he was for a short time rabbi of the Macedonian city of Skopje (Uskub) but then returned to Palestine. His extensive travels in subsequent years led him to Rosetta (Egypt), Izmir (Smyrna), Livorno (Leghorn), Venice, Prague, Berlin, and Amsterdam. He died around 1730.  It was in Amsterdam, where he …

Ḥayyim Ben Abraham ha-Kohen

(247 words)

Author(s): Pinchas Giller
Ḥayyim ha-Kohen of Aram Ṣoba (Aleppo) was born in Egypt in 1585, with an ancestry that traced back to Spain by way of Baghdad and Jerusalem. He moved to Safed, where he encountered Hayyim Vital at the height of the latter’s influence. A letter from Shlumiel of Dreznis, the earliest chronicler of the Safed renaissance, notes the powerful rabbi/disciple relationship of the two scholars. Ḥayyim ha-Kohen subsequently relocated to Aleppo and presided over the rabbinical court there until 1653. While seeing to the publication of his works in Livorno, he initiated Nathan Neta Hanover into th…

Ḥayyim, Samuel

(673 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Samuel ben Moses Ḥayyim (ca. 1760–ca. 1842) was a rabbinical jurist ( dayyan) and teacher in Istanbul, and a chief rabbi ( haham başi) of the Ottoman Empire. One of the city’s most learned scholars, Ḥayyim studied in a yeshiva where his teachers were Rabbis Elijah Palombo (b. 1762), Menahem Ashkenazi, and Raphael Jacob Asa. He spent most of his life in Balat, the Jewish quarter in the Fatih district of Istanbul, where he headed his own seminary. As early as 1798, he was recognized as an authority on the laws of divorce ( giṭṭin), and in consequence he supervised many such cases in the bet din headed…

Ḥayyūj, Judah (Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā) ben David al-Fāsi

(2,022 words)

Author(s): José Martínez Delgado
1. Life Judah Ḥayyūj (Abū Zakariyyā Yaḥyā) ben David al-Fāsi established the triliteralism of the Hebrew verb and was one of the few scholars who appears to have approached the Bible with the sole intention of making a morphological analysis of verbal forms in the search for a valid methodology. He was also the first Jewish author from al-Andalus to write in Arabic. The nisba al-Fāsi indicates that Judah Ḥayyūj was from Fez in Morocco, a city he left for Cordova, possibly because as a writer he was attracted by the cultural movement fostered by Ḥasday ibn Shaprūṭ and the splendor of the m…

Ḥayyun, Gedaliah

(306 words)

Author(s): Pinchas Giller
Born in Istanbul, Gedaliah Ḥayyun settled in Jerusalem’s Old City in 1736 at the age of forty with the aim of pursuing his studies in Kabbala. He was a student of Ḥayyim Alfandari, (see Alfandari Family) who initiated him into the mysteries of the Lurianic system of Kabbala, which dominated his theology, and he was influenced halakhically by Judah Rosanes (see Rosanes (Rosales) Family), the chief rabbi of Istanbul. His halakhic opinions are cited by Ḥayyim Joseph David Azulay and others of the period. Ḥayyun briefly returned to Istanbul to organize a committee of support for th…

Hazan, Aron de Yosef

(295 words)

Author(s): Julia Phillips Cohen
Aron de Yosef Hazan (1848–1931) was a Sephardi journalist, teacher, translator, and community activist in Izmir (Smyrna). He came from a long line of scholars and rabbis. His grandfather, Hayyim David Hazan, was chief rabbi in Jerusalem. His brother, Elijah Bekhor Hazzan, became chief rabbi of Alexandria. After receiving a traditional Jewish education, Hazan attended a school in Izmir founded by Jacques Mizrahi, where he studied Turkish, French, and Italian. Upon completing his studies, he taught Turkish at the Alliance Israélite Universelle school and later at the local T…

Haza, Ofra

(537 words)

Author(s): Amy Horowitz
Ofra Haza (1957–2000) was an Israeli singer who rose from poverty to international acclaim. Born in the Shkhunat ha-Tikva neighborhood of Tel Aviv, to traditional parents who had immigrated from Yemen to Mandatory Palestine in 1944, she grew up at the height of the struggle against ethnic discrimination on the part of Israeli Jews from the Islamic world. Haza began performing at neighborhood events as a child and at twelve was invited by the activist/producer Bezalel Aloni into his Hatikva Quarter Theater Workshop. In 1973, Haza’s Gaʿaguʿim (Longing) won first place in Israel’s h…

Ḥazzan, Elijah Bekhor

(1,268 words)

Author(s): Zvi Zohar
Elijah Bekhor Ḥazzan, one of the foremost Sephardic halakhists and religious thinkers of his time, was born in Izmir (Smyrna) around 1846 and died in Alexandria on June 20, 1908. The son of Joseph Ḥazzan,  he accompanied his grandfather Ḥayyim David to Jerusalem in 1855. In addition to the excellent rabbinic education provided by his grandfather,  who was chief rabbi of Jerusalem from 1861 to 1869, Elijah also learned Arabic, French, Italian, and Spanish. Taking great interest in events in the world at large as well as in its Jewish communities, he w…

Ḥazzan, Elijah Isaac

(455 words)

Author(s): Zvi Zohar
Born in Iraq, Elijah Isaac Ḥazzan became rabbi and principal of the community school in the town of Ḥilla around 1885. He introduced the study of modern literary Arabic and modernized the school’s administration. In 1906 he left Ḥilla and went to Hong Kong to serve as rabbi and cantor of the  Ohel Leah synagogue of the Iraqi Jewish community there. From then on he was known as Ḥazzan (i.e., cantor) rather than Shammash, the surname with which he was born. When the Ohel Rachel synagogue of the Iraqi Jewish community in Shanghai was completed in 1920, he was commissioned to serve there. …

Ḥazzan family

(1,029 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
The Ḥazzans (Ḥazan) were a Sephardi rabbinical family first mentioned in seventeenth-century Izmir (Smyrna). Several members of the family served as rabbis in communities of the Ottoman Empire from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century.  Joseph ben Elijah Ḥazzan (d. after 1694) was a pupil of Joseph di Ṭrani (Mahariṭ; d. 1638) in Istanbul. After some time in Izmir, he settled in Jerusalem. He was the author of several works, including ʿEn Yosef (The Face of Joseph; Izmir, 1675), a collection of homilies on the weekly Torah portions,and ʿEn Yehosef (The Face of Jeho…

Ḥazzan, Solomon

(543 words)

Author(s): Naḥem Ilan
Solomon Ḥazzan was born in 1799, either in Safed or Algeria, and died in Malta in 1855/56. Little is known about his life. For some time he was the principal of the Talmud Torah in Bulaq, on the outskirts of Cairo. After the death of Rabbi Jedidiah Israel in 1831, he became chief rabbi of Alexandria, serving from 1832 until 1855 or 1856, when he fell ill. He set out for Malta to recuperate, but died en route and was buried in Malta. Around 1850, Ḥazzan acted to restore the Eliahou Hannabi synagogue in Alexandria. His books were published in 1893, shortly after the death of his wife, Sarah, by their son Da…

Ḥebra (Israʾel)

(407 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 and the process of modernization it introduced provided the momentum that impelled educated young Jews in Tehran to work together to further their interests. Under the leadership of an older man, the intellectual Yequtiel Kāshānī, and his assistant, Ayyūb Loqmān Nehūrāy (1882–1952), an association of young people was organized on the eve of the Constitutional Revolution. Using as its name the familiar Hebrew/Aramaic term Ḥebra Qadisha (holy association or sacred society), the organization remained active until the bomb…

Hebrew Poetry in the Medieval Islamic World

(3,638 words)

Author(s): Raymond Scheindlin
Jews acquired familiarity with Arabic poetry as the regions they inhabited became Arabized. In 772, an exilarch’s son belonged to a circle of Arabic poets in Basra; in the early tenth century, one of the exilarchs composed Arabic poems in honor of the caliph. A ninth- and tenth-century Karaite author complains that Jews have adopted Arab social patterns, including practices associated with poetry. Throughout the period, cultivated Jews were familiar with Arabic poetry, though evidence of Jews composing poetry in Arabic is only occasional. But by the tenth century, Jews in Islam…
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