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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Karmi Shelli (Edirne)

(377 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Karmi Shelli (My Own Vineyard), called Bağım in Turkish, was a Hebrew and Judeo-Spanish monthly published in Edirne (Adrianople) from 1890 to 1891, but printed in Vienna and Belgrade. It was founded by Baruch ben Isaac Miṭrani (di Trani) (1847-1919), an intellectual and writer born in Edirne in 1847, as a literary and national journal to promote the idea of national rebirth and Jewish colonization of Ottoman Palestine. It was a successor to an earlier monthly, Karmi (My Vineyard), which he had published in Edirne (and Pressburg) from 1881 to 1882. Both Karmi and Karmi Shelli were printed …

Kasabi, Joseph ben Nissim

(453 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Joseph ben Nissim Kaṣabi (Qaṣṣabi) ( ca. 1625- ca. 1690) was a rabbi and scholar in the Ottoman Empire. Born in Istanbul around 1625 and educated at the yeshiva of Joseph ben Moses Ṭrani (Miṭrani) the Elder (1569–1639), Kaṣabi was one of the foremost religious teachers in the Ottoman capital and often sought to obtain the agreement of other prominent rabbis on matters that he taught his students. He maintained a close friendship with Abraham ben Meʾir Rosanes (ca. 1635–1720) and corresponded with other important rabbinical figures of the time, receiving queries on hal…

Kasba Tadla

(9 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Atlas Mountains Norman A. Stillman


(1,566 words)

Author(s): Haideh Sahim
Located south of Teheran and north of Isfahan, Kashan (Pers. Kāshān) in central Iran is one of the country’s oldest cities. The origin of its Jewish population is unknown, but its dialect, Central or Median, points to its antiquity.  Little is known about the history of Kashan’s Jews until the Safavid period (1501–1736). Kashan was a flourishing city before the Mongol invasion in the early part of the thirteenth century, which wreaked harm on Jews and non-Jews more or less indiscriminately. Because Kashan’s Muslim inhabitants were already mostly Shī‛ī, t…

Kassin Family

(808 words)

Author(s): Yaron Harel
According to a tradition of the Kassin (Kaṣin) family, its roots go back to Spain before the expulsion in 1492. The first known member of the family was Señor Solomon Kassin, who fled Spain and settled in Aleppo. His descendants included many eminent scholars and communal leaders both in Aleppo and in American immigrant communities. The first well-documented descendant of Señor Solomon Kassin was Judah ben Yom-Ṭov Kassin, who was born in Aleppo in 1708 and died in 1783. Like his father, he served as av bet din (head of the rabbinical court), and on many issues he was in opposition to Chief Rabbi R…

Kassin, Jacob

(308 words)

Author(s): Mark Kligman
Rabbi Jacob Kassin (1900–1995), born and raised in Jerusalem, was the chief rabbi of the Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York, from 1933 until his death in 1995. The son of Rabbi Saul Kassin (1864–1916), who moved from Aleppo to Jerusalem in 1892, he was descended from Solomon Kassin(b. 1540), who fled from Spain to Aleppo in the sixteenth century, there becoming a leader of the Jewish community and the progenitor of  a long line of religious leaders (see Kassin Family).  Jacob Kassin was taught by his father and attended the Yeshivat Porat Joseph. Like his father, h…

Katav, Shalom (Salīm al-Kātib)

(380 words)

Author(s): Lev Hakak
Shalom Katav was born Salīm al-Kātib in Baghdad in 1931. As a youth he attended the Alliance Israélite Universelle School there and became a member of the  Zionist underground movement (He-Halutz). He began publishing in Arabic in Iraq and continued to do so after he immigrated to Israel in 1950, but in time he shifted mainly to Hebrew. In  Israel, he was a teacher, elementary school principal, and school district superintendent. From 1969 to 1972 he was the World Zionist Organization’s educational and cultural director for southern France. Katav’s first book, Muwākib al-Ḥirmān (Carava…

Kattan, Naim

(300 words)

Author(s): Lital Levy
Naim Kattan is a Francophone Canadian novelist, essayist, and critic. Born in Baghdad in 1928, Naim Kattan attended the Alliance Israélite Universelle school and took a deep interest in Arabic and French literature at an early age. He studied law at the University of Baghdad from 1945 until 1947, then took a French government scholarship to study at the Sorbonne from 1947 to 1951, where he became active in Parisian literary circles. His fictionalized memories of these years appeared as Adieu, Babylone(1975; translated as Farewell, Babylon, 1976; 2nd ed. 2007) and   Les Fruits arrachés (1…

Kaya, Jak

(99 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Jak Kaya is a Turkish businessman. He was born on May 1, 1938 in Tire and in 1961 graduated as a construction engineer from the prestigious Istanbul Technical University. He is a partner in  Ege Mermer (Aegean Marble), a company specializing in the importing of machinery and materials for the production of marble. Between 1980 and 1990 he was vice president of the Izmir Karataş Jewish Hospital. From 1990 to 2004 he was vice president of the  Izmir Jewish Community, and he has been its president since January 2005. He is fluent in French and English. Rifat Bali

Kayat, Claude

(334 words)

Author(s): Brigitte Sion
Claude Kayat, born July 24, 1939 in Sfax, Tunisia, is one of the leading French-language writers from North Africa.He immigrated to Israel with his family in 1955, then to Sweden in 1958. The author of twenty-one plays in French and Swedish, he is mostly known for his seven novels, three of which have been awarded literary prizes.   Mohammed Cohen (1981), his first and most famous work, is an autobiographical novel that recounts the childhood of a boy born in Tunisia to a Muslim mother and a Jewish father. The hero lives in a colorful lower-class enviro…

Kebudi, Rejin (Akyüz)

(178 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Rejin (Akyüz) Kebudi is a Turkish Jewish scientist and professor of medicine. Born in 1958 in Izmir, she graduated first in her class from the Izmir American College for Girls, and in 1982 was first in her class in the Faculty of Medicine of Aegean University. In 1993 she became an associate professor of pediatrics and pediatric oncology. She became a full professor in 2000, and since then has also been a member of the executive board of the Istanbul University Oncology Institute and director of…

Kedourie, Elie

(496 words)

Author(s): Daphne Tsimhoni
One of the most outstanding British historians of the Middle East, Elie Kedourie owed his breadth of learning and the formation of his attitudes to his early life circumstances. Born in 1926 and reared in the traditional Jewish environment of Baghdad, schooled at the French-speaking Alliance Israélite Universelle primary school and then at the English-speaking Shammash High School, he acquired a deep familiarity with Arabic, French, and English language and literature. He also witnessed, at the age of fifteen, the farhūd , the pogrom against the Jews of Baghdad in 1941. Graduating in…

Keribar, Izzet

(267 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
İzzet Keribar was born in Istanbul in 1936. An enthusiast of photography from an early age, he gained experience and improved his skills in Korea, where he fulfilled his military service in the Turkish army in 1957. After a long interlude, Keribar went back to photography in 1980. Since then, he has traveled widely within and outside Turkey to practice his art. He is an honorary member of the Istanbul Amateur Photography and Cinema Club (İFSAK) and in 1985 and 1988, respectively, was awarded the International Federation of Photography ratings of AFIAP (Artist) an…

Kethüda (Kâhya, Heb. Shtadlan)

(1,025 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
The terms kethüda, kâhya, and shtadlan were all used to designate the individuals appointed by Jewish communities in the Ottoman Empire to represent them to the government. Kethüda is an Ottoman Turkish term derived from the Persian ket-khodā or kad-khodā (master of a household). When spoken, kethüda was pronounced kâhya or kyâhya (pl. kâhyalar), and carried the meaning of “administrator.” In the Ottoman context, the term was an element in kapi kethüdasi or kethüda bevvabân, the title of the chief of the doorkeepers who guarded the imperial palace in Istanbul. In the …


(1,928 words)

Author(s): Judith Olszowy-Schlanger
The ketubba (pl. ketubbot, lit. what is written), or Jewish marriage contract, is a written document produced at every marriage which lists the husband’s obligations to his wife, primarily financial but also moral. The word ketubba refers both to the document and to the payment it records and guarantees. A written document ( ketav) is one of three ways by which a marriage can be contracted (M. Qiddushin 1:1), and with time it became a precondition of marital cohabitation (Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Ishut 10:7). As a binding legal document concerning a financial transaction, the ketubba is…

Ketubba Artistic Traditions

(1,354 words)

Author(s): Shalom Sabar
The art of decorating the marriage contract (Heb. ketubba) flourished in most of the Jewish communities in the lands of Islam. Whereas in Christian Europe large, richly decorated ketubbot were generally commissioned only by wealthy families, in the Islamic East the phenomenon was much more widespread and encompassed larger segments of Jewish society. The practice seems, in fact, to have emerged in the Islamic realm, and the earliest extant decorated ketubbot are from Egypt and Palestine of the tenth to twelfth centuries. Discovered in the Cairo Geniza, these early examples attes…
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