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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Tabib, Mordechai

(750 words)

Author(s): Ori Kritz
Mordechai Tabib, an author, poet, and reviewer, was born in Shivat Zion, a Yemenite neighborhood of Rishon LeZion, Israel, on December 14, 1910. He attended ma‘lama, the traditional Yemenite school, until age thirteen. His father wanted him to become a shoḥeṭ (ritual slaughterer), but Mordechai went to public school for several months before he was forced to leave to help support his underprivileged family. Although he was unable to return to school to obtain a formal education, he read widely on his own. In 1938 he began publishing poetry in the literary section of the daily Davar, and in…

Tafilalet

(1,213 words)

Author(s): Moshe Bar-Asher
Tafilalet (Tafilalt; Ar./Berb. Tāfīlālt) is a fertile region in southeastern Morocco, situated in the Ziz River basin on the northern edge of the Sahara Desert. It is famous for its date palm industry, and is the patrimonial home of the Filālī ( nisba or adjectival form) sharīfs (Cl. Ar. shurafā’; Coll. Mor. Ar. s horfa), the rulers of the  Moroccan Alawid dynasty since the seventeenth century. Tafilalet was also the name of an administrative district under the French. Jews lived in the Tafilalet region at least as early as the end of the first millennium, when there was a Jewish community in…

Tafsīr of Ezekiel (Jud.-Pers. Tafsīr-i Yehezkel)

(396 words)

Author(s): Thamar E. Gindin
The Tafsīr of Ezekiel ( Tafsīr-i Yeḥezkel), the longest known early Judeo-Persian text (MS Firkovitch Yevr.-Arab. I 1682), is 226 pages long and was written by four different authors in two different dialects of early Judeo-Persian. It was introduced by Salemann in 1900 and published by Gindin in 2007. The first pages are missing, and the manuscript begins in the middle of the commentary on Ezekiel 1:21. It ends neatly at the end of Ezekiel 39, with no colophon. Based on paleography, language, one historical reference, and one geographical reference, Tafsīr of Ezekiel probably dates fr…

Tagaost (Tagawst) 

(380 words)

Author(s): Aomar Boum
In the fifteenth century, Tagaost (Tagawst) was the most important commercial entrepôt in southern Morocco. Situated in the southwestern part of the Sous region in the Oued Noun Valley about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) west of modern Goulimine, it included three settlements: Agaos, Tisegnane, and Aït Moussi. According to Leo Africanus, these villages, referred to as El Qsabi (walled villages), comprised the largest walled settlement in southwestern Morocco at the end of the fourteenth century. The population numbered eight thousand households, w…

Tahala

(427 words)

Author(s): Sarah Frances Levin
Tahala (Tahāla) is an agglomeration of small villages in the Ammeln Valley in Morocco’s Anti-Atlas, in the Berber-speaking region (Tashelḥit dialect) called the Sous (Sūs). The exact origins of its Jewish community are unknown. Historical accounts hold that by the late fifteenth century there was a mellah (Ar. mallāḥ ), or Jewish quarter, in Tizi n’Aoussift (one of Tahala’s villages), probably founded by Jews from neighboring areas. Neither the villages nor the mellah of Tahala were walled. The Jewish population was estimated at 750 at the end…

Tahdhīb (Cairo), al-

(280 words)

Author(s): Lital Levy
Al-Tahdhīb (Edification), published in Cairo from 1901 to 1903, is probably the oldest extant example of a Jewish periodical in standard Arabic. It was founded, edited, and largely written by the Egyptian Karaite lawyer and writer Murād Farag (Faraj) (1866–1956), who utilized it as a platform to promote reform in the local Karaite community. The paper addressed the community’s identity and cultural orientation, and endorsed legal and educational reforms. Its eclectic content included didactic essays exhorting moral behavior and dispensing advice,…

Tāhertī Family

(1,200 words)

Author(s): Marina Rustow
The Tāhertīs were a Maghrebī merchant family active in the period from 1010 to 1075. Together with the houses of Ibn ʿAwkal,  al-Tustarī, and Nahray ben Nissim, the Tāhertīs were, in terms of volume of trade, one of the largest and most powerful mercantile operations of their era. While most business endeavors rarely involved cargoes exceeding the value of a few hundred dinars, the Tāhertīs and their counterparts routinely invested in merchandise worth several thousand dinars or more. They were connected to the other g…

Taïeb, Zizi

(156 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Zizi (Léon Youda) Taïeb was one of Tunisia’s finest Jewish competitive swimmers. Born in Tunis on September 19, 1916, he belonged to the Maccabi sports club. He swam all styles—butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, crawl—and during the 1930s and 1940s participated in almost every swimming competition held in Tunisia and North Africa. His most outstanding achievement was his 1934 victory in the 100-meter crawl to become the champion of France. He qualified for the 1936 Berlin Olympics in the 400-meter freestyle.  His coach in Tunisia was the famous Henry Schaeffer. Taïeb’s brother, Gi…

Taʿizz

(974 words)

Author(s): Ari Ariel
Taʿizz, the most important city in southwestern Yemen, is the country’s economic and industrial capital. It is located on an important historical crossroads with Ibb, Yarim, Dhamar, and Sanʿa, 195 kilometers (121 miles) to the north, Mocha to the southwest, and Aden, 140 kilometers (88 miles) to the southeast. Taʿizz sits on the northern foot of Mount Sabir, at an altitude of 1,400 meters (4,593 feet), in the center of a highly productive agricultural area. Terraced cultivation is made possible …

Tajer, Rabbi Shelomo ben Moses

(807 words)

Author(s): Albert Kaganovitch
Solomon ben Moses Tajer (Tājir, Tagger, and other variants), a rabbi and communal activist in Central Asia, Lebanon, and Syria, was born in Jerusalem in 1866 and died in Damascus in 1935. His father, Rabbi Moses ben Isaac Tadjer (d. 1910), was the head of the Sephardi religious court in Jerusalem and visited Bukhara as a shadar or meshullaḥ (Heb. rabbinical emissary) in the last third of the nineteenth century. Solomon Tajer was educated in the yeshivot of Jerusalem and grew close to the city’s Bukharan Jewish community after his marriage in 1889 to Miriam, a citizen of Bukhara. From 1883 to …

Tajouri (Tadjouri), Ruben

(370 words)

Author(s): Mohammed Kenbib
Ruben Tajouri was a central figure in the development of the Alliance Israelite Universelle system in Morocco. Born in Libya in 1895 and educated at the Ecole Normale Israélite Orientale in Paris, he began his career in 1918 as a teacher in the AIU school in Meknes and the Franco-Israelite school in Salé. (While in Salé, he published an ethnographic study of Jewish marriage customs there.) From 1926 to 1939 he was director of the Narcisse Leven School group in Casablanca. After the death of Yomtob Sémach in 1940, he became the AIU delegate in Morocco. Despite the restrictive polices of the Vichy…

Talavera

(520 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
Talavera de la Reina is a city located 89 kilometers (55 miles) northwest of Toledo, at the confluence of the Alberche and Tagus rivers, in the center of the Iberian Peninsula. Neolithic remains have been found in the area, and there were Iberic and Celtic settlements on the site. The city was founded in pre-Roman times. Its first Latin name was Caesarobriga (182 b.c.e.), changed in time to Ebora, a name with Celtic roots. In Roman times the city was an important agricultural and ceramics center. The Muslims arrived in 712, putting an end to the Visigothic kingdom. The city’s Ara…

Tamanart

(406 words)

Author(s): Aomar Boum
Tamanart is a region in western Bani of the southwestern Sous region of Morocco that includes the oases of Icht, Aguerd, Foum El Hassan, and Kasba Ait Harbil. It was one of the last stations in Bani for trans-Saharans caravans before they entered the desert. The region included two major dry rivers, Oued Tamanart and Oued Icht.  Before the political and economic emergence of Akka, Tamanart was the most important settlement of the lower Anti-Atlas Mountains. The village of Aguerd, one of the main oases of Tamanart, was controlled by the Ait Tamanart (Berb. ait, also ayt or ayt, people of) bef…

Tamentit

(820 words)

Author(s): Jacob Oliel
Tamentit (Berb. Tamanṭīṭ) is a modest village of 260 inhabitants in southwestern Algeria located 11 kilometers (7 miles) from Adrar. An agglomeration of fortified hamlets (Ar. qṣūr), it lies within the vast Touat oasis. The Berber toponym, from aman (water) and tit (source), attests the importance of water in the establishment of the town. According to traditions mentioned by Arab historians, it was once the capital of a Jewish kingdom. Jews are said to have arrived there at the beginning of the common era. In 118, the Roman emperor Trajan persecuted and expelled the Jews of Cyrenai…

Tamnougalt

(7 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Dra’a Norman A. Stillman

Tangier

(1,998 words)

Author(s): Susan Gilson Miller
It was known in antiquity as Tingis or Tinga, a name most likely derived from the local Berber (Tamazight) language. Jews probably lived in Tangier during the Roman and Byzantine periods, when the town was a commercial center, but we have no record of their presence.  Nor do we have evidence of their reaction to the arrival of the Muslim armies in the seventh century, or to the upheavals that accompanied the process of Islamization. The negative impact of the Almohad persecutions on the Jews of …
Date: 2015-09-03

Tanḥum ben Joseph ha-Yerushalmi

(1,327 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Tanḥum ben Joseph ha-Yerushalmi was unknown to Western scholars until the latter half of the seventeenth century, when the English orientalist Edward Pococke(1604–1691) brought several manuscript copies of Tanḥum’s writings to Europe from the Near East and published extracts from them in several of his own works. Tanḥum’s works make frequent eulogistic references to a host of medieval authorities, from Saʿadya Gaon (d. 942) down to Joseph Ibn ʿAqnīn (d. ca. 1220), and the attested date of the ol…
Date: 2015-09-03

Tanzimat Reforms, Period

(1,154 words)

Author(s): Onur Yildirim
The Tanzimat (Tur. tanzîmât, Ar. tanẓīmāt; lit. organizations)was an era of reforms in the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century. It is conventionally considered to have extended from 1839 to 1871. The Tanzimat extended the reforms begun by  Sultans Selim III (r. 1789–1807) and Mahmud II (r. 1808–1839), which had focused primarily on modernization of the army and the bureaucracy. Inaugurated by Sultan Abdülmecid I (r. 1839–1861) and implemented under the leadership of Westernizing officials like Reşid Pasha (1800–1858), Ali Pasha (1815–1871), and Fuad P…

Tapiero, Charles

(394 words)

Author(s): Alma Heckman
Charles Tapiero was born in the city of Safi on Morocco’s Atlantic coast on August 11, 1943. His father was a scion of a prominent old family from Essaouira (Mogador), related to the Corcos and Abulafia families, who long acted as diplomats and merchants for the sultan. Tapiero’s father died of typhus in 1944, and some years later the family moved to Paris.  Although most of his relatives were secular, Tapiero became religious at the age of twelve and soon after joined his brother Haim in Israel, remaining there until age eighteen. He e…

Ṭārab-Maslaton Family

(428 words)

Author(s): Yaron Harel
The Ṭārab-Maslaton family is one of the most famous Jewish families of Damascus. Over the years it has produced many outstanding Torah scholars, some of them served as spiritual leaders in Syria, Lebanon, and the Syrian communities in Egypt, the United States, and Israel. Ezra ben Elijah Ṭārab-Maslaton was an eminent scholar in Damascus in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth. After the dismissal of Isaac Abulafia from the post of chief rabbi and the appointment of Solomon Eliezer Alfandari in his place, Ezra was nominated as head of the ra…

Taragano Family

(416 words)

Author(s): Eliezer Bashan
Taragano (Tarigano, Taregano, Taragan) was a surname borne by Jews whose ancestors came from Tarragona, a port city on the Mediterranean coast of southern Catalonia. Jews from Tarragona settled mainly in North Africa or other parts of the Ottoman Empire following the expulsion in 1492. Members of the Taragano family who lived in Morocco included  Isaac Tarigano (Fez, ca. 1700) and Abraham Taregano, who lived in the Atlantic port of Larache (south of Tangier). Abraham represented the economic interests of Great Britain as a consular agent from 1826 to 1837, a posit…

Targhilil

(6 words)

Author(s): Daniel Schroeter
see Dra’a Daniel Schroeter

Tarragona

(596 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
Tarragona is a port city on the Mediterranean coast of southern Catalonia. The ancient Iberic settlement and port were used by Phoenician merchants. In Roman times, Tarraco was one of the most important cities in the Iberian Peninsula, first as the capital of Hispania Citerior and later of Hispania Tarraconensis. With the decline of Rome, the city suffered many attacks from the north. During the Visigothic period it lost its importance, with a much smaller population and just a few Jews. In 713 Tarragona was occupied by Muslim troops. Situated on the border with the Christian Nort…

Tarudant

(1,318 words)

Author(s): Yossef Chetrit
Although the origins and early evolution of the Jewish communities of Tarudant and the surrounding region are not documented, it can be asserted that Jewish rural or semi-rural communities existed at least since the eleventh century in Tarudant and its environs. In the mid-twelfth century, Abraham Ibn Ezra’s famous qina (elegy), which evoked the destruction of Jewish communities in North Africa and Andalusia under the Almohads, mentioned the Sous region; Tarudant was one of the largest communities there. Extant sources demonstrate that Tarudant, a town located 8…

Tashkent

(1,424 words)

Author(s): Albert Kaganovitch
Tashkent (Tāshkend and Tashkend in Arabic and Persian manuscripts) in the Chirchik oasis of Central Asia is today the capital of Uzbekistan. No surviving historical evidence points to the existence of a Jewish community in Tashkent, then known as Shāsh or al-Shāsh, during the Islamic Middle Ages. Jewish traders from Bukhara began to appear in Tashkent on a regular basis n the first two decades of the nineteenth century, living temporarily in two of the town’s caravanserais. According to oral tradition, a Bukharan Jew nicknamed “Pucha” established a Jewish cemetery near Tashkent as …

Tata and Region

(567 words)

Author(s): Aomar Boum
Tata (Tatta, Ar. Ṭāṭā) , located on the southeastern edge of the Sous region of Morocco, is an oasis of palm groves situated at the mouth of Oued Tata, a tributary of Oued Draa (Wād Darʿa), that originates from Ida Ou Nadif, Tagmout, and Indouzal. It is one of the most important settlements of the southern Darʿa and  Bani regions, and a key passage through the Anti-Atlas Mountains north of Akka. Despite the semi-arid climate and sparse rainfall, Tata remains one of the most populated areas of the Bani region, with about twenty villages comprising more …

Taxation

(5,491 words)

Author(s): Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman
1. Medieval Period  The  Jews of Islam were subject to a number of imposts, collected both by representatives of the local Jewish community and by Muslim officials. During the period of its institutional ascendancy, the leadership of the Jewish community of Babylonia also imposed taxes upon the Jewish communities in the Diaspora, the funds collected and remitted to Iraq by local representatives. As the conquests of the early Islamic period saw the perpetuation and development of preexisting tax structures, both the imposts demanded …

Tax-Farming

(1,014 words)

Author(s): Onur Yildirim
Tax-farming was a method of landholding and surplus extraction employed by many premodern states across Eurasia. Under this system, the government contracted out the collection of revenues from designated tax-units for a given period to a private bidder, who in return for a substantial payment was given the right to collect the unit’s taxes or fees in the name of the state and keep the balance over and above the initial amount he paid to the state. In the early Islamic world, the Abbasids, Fatimids, Ayyubids, and Mamluks all extensively used such a system, usually called ḍamān or ḍamāna (sec…

Taytaṣak, Joseph

(545 words)

Author(s): Yaron Ben Naeh
Joseph ben Solomon Taytaṣak was a scholar and rabbi, active from the late fifteenth to the mid-sixteenth century, who excelled both in traditional Jewish subjects and in secular subjects. As a young man in Castile, where he was born in 1465, Taytaṣak caught the attention of Rabbi  Levi ibn Ḥabib (Ralbaḥ, ca. 1480–1545). He moved from Spain to Portugal but fled to Italy after the expulsion edict in 1497. Taytaṣak lived in Salonica during the first decade of the sixteenth century, and later spent time in Yanina (Ioannina) and Serres. He was considered one of Saloni…

Ṭayyib, Ḥayy

(1,130 words)

Author(s): Ephraim Hazan
Cities throughout the State of Israel have streets named in honor of the Tunisian rabbi (Isaac)  Ḥayy Ṭayyib (1743–1837). This phenomenon stems from the admiration and appreciation for Rabbi Ḥayy Ṭayyib among the Jews of Tunisia. Wherever members of this community have influence in the public sector, they have made efforts to memorialize the name of their esteemed rabbi, whom they refer to with the phrase “Rabbi Ḥayy Ṭayyib is not dead” ( Rabbi Ḥayy Ṭayyib loʾ met). This expression alludes to a wonder he is said to have performed after his death. According to the story, the r…

Tazenakht

(384 words)

Author(s): Yossef Chetrit
The town of Tazenakht is located in the Sirwa massif, adjacent to the Anti-Atlas Mountains on the east, and at the crossroads of the mountainous routes between the Darʿa and Sous valleys and the Dadès of southern Morocco. Caravans and armies have crossed the region at least since the sixteenth century, and a large weekly market was held there. The town is now known for weaving and selling Berber carpets. Jews probably first settled in the town in the sixteenth century, during the period of Sa‘di rule, when the trans-Saharan caravan trade was growing.       In the twentieth century the Je…

Tébessa

(212 words)

Author(s): Richard Ayoun
Tébessa (Ar. Tabīsa; ancient Theveste) is a town located about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from the Algerian-Tunisian border in the Aurès Mountains, 960 meters (3,150 feet) above sea level in the northern foothills of Jebel Doukkane. Jews lived in Tébessa or its vicinity in ancient times, and during the Ottoman period they were involved in exporting iron and lead. In 1851, when Tébessa was occupied by the French, there were only a handful of Jews. A decade later, a community was formed and it fel…

Teboul, Victor

(625 words)

Author(s): Aimée Israel-Pelletier
Victor Teboul was born in Alexandria on May 9, 1945. When he was eleven, his family was expelled from Egypt on the grounds that they had a French passport and given seven days to leave the country. They arrived in France on December 25, 1956 and from January 1957 to May 1957 lived, under the auspices of the French government, at the convent of Notre-Dame-de-l’Osier in the Isère with a hundred other expelled Egyptian Jewish families.  In July 1963, the Tebouls emigrated to Canada, where in due course Victor earne…

Tefillat Rabbi Shimʿon Bar Yoḥay

(415 words)

Author(s): Ronit Nikolsky
Tefillat Rabbi Shimʿon bar Yoḥay (The Prayer of R. Simeon bar Yohay) is a late apocalyptic composition in which many of the future historical events are based on Nistarot shel Rabbi Simeon Bar Yoḥay (The Secrets of R. Simeon bar Yohay) but updated to reach the tenth century. The composition opens with a narrative (a later addition to the composition) that is an almost word-for-word quotation from Midrash Zuṭa on Lamentations. It recounts how the demon Ashmaday (Asmodeus) helps Rabbi Simeon, the second-century tanna, win his way into the court of the Caesar in Rome (a diffe…

Tehran

(1,223 words)

Author(s): Nahid Pirnazar
1.  Historical Background Tehran, Iran’s capital since 1786, was mentioned by Muslim geographers in the ninth century as a village near the city of Ray. It received attention after the Mongol destruction of Ray in 1220, but was not developed further until the seventeenth century. Although the settlement of Jews in Tehran dates back to the mid-eighteenth century, documented reports by travelers cannot be traced prior to the reign of Fatḥ ʿAlī Shah Qājār (1797–1834). The Jewish population of six hundred  reported by Rabbi David d’Beth Hillel in 1827 can be compared to the four th…

Tekinalp, Munis

(10 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Kohen, Moise (Tekinalp) Norman A. Stillman

Tekirdağ

(467 words)

Author(s): Omer Turan
Located in eastern Thrace on the western shores of the Sea of Marmara, Tekirdağ (Rodosto) is a port city in Turkey. It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1357, and its port served both Edirne and Istanbul for centuries. The city was occupied by the Bulgarians during the Balkan Wars of 1912 to 1913. By the Treaty of Sèvres (August 10, 1920), eastern Thrace, including Tekirdağ, was attached to Greece, but the region was recaptured by the Turkish army in October and November of 1922. Although the date when the Jewish community in Tekirdağ was founded is unknown, the city’s commercial poss…

Telouet

(615 words)

Author(s): Aomar Boum
Located in the High Atlas Mountains between Marrakesh and Ouarzazate, Telouet(Berb. Talwāt) was the political center of the powerful Glāwā (sing. Glāwī; usual Fr. rendering -Glaoui) family. The valley of Telouet was a passage of the caravans from the interior to the northern and western plains of Morocco. The valley is about twelve kilometers long and four kilometers wide. Among the villages in each side of Telouet valley, four had Jewish settlements (mellahs, Ar. mallāḥ ) in the nineteenth century according to Charles de Foucauld, though there may have been a few other small…

Tesciuba, Renato

(541 words)

Author(s): Maurice Roumani
Born in the Libyan city of Benghazi, Renato Tesciuba (1894–1976) founded the Herzl Association in 1919 and became its first president. He resigned in 1921, dismayed by the poor membership turnout for an election, but continued thereafter to be affiliated with the association as its honorary president. In 1926, Tesciuba became a member of the Community Council of Benghazi, then headed by Elia Fargion. He was elected vice-president of the council in 1929 and was put in charge of its charity portfolio. When Fargion resigned in 1935 because the Italian …

Testour

(375 words)

Author(s): Jacques Taïeb
The town of Testour, located 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Tunis, was founded by Moriscos in 1610, and Jews settled there around 1620. They were indigenous, not refugees from Spain like the Moriscos, as Marcel Gandolphe suggested. Gandolphe may have been misled by the fact that there was a Spanish-speaking Jew from the Ottoman Levant living in Testour around 1746. The Jewish family names found in Testour were of rural origin—Allouche, Chaouat, Lellouche, Messica—or possibly of Bedouin origin, as in the case of the Meimouni, who were related to the baḥuṣim . The grave of Frājī Shaww…

Tetouan

(1,705 words)

Author(s): Jessica Marglin
Tetouan (Tétouan, Tétuan; Ar. Tiṭwān, Berb. Tīṭṭāwīn) is a port town on the Mediterranean coast of northern Morocco at the mouth of the Martil River on the slopes of the Jabal al-Darsa, part of the Rif mountain chain. 1. History Although it is believed to be built near the site of the ancient Roman city of Tamuda, very little is known about the city of  Tetouan or its Jewish community until after the expulsion from Spain in 1492. The city was destroyed either by the Spaniards in 1400 or by the Portuguese in 1437, and was abandoned until 1493, when it was rebuilt by Muslim refugees from Granada, led by  …

Textile Manufacture and Trade

(725 words)

Author(s): Leah Bornstein-Makovetsky
Textiles of various kinds were manufactured and used throughout the Muslim world in the Middle Ages. As S. D. Goitein observed: “Comparable to the place of steel and other metals in modern economy, textiles represented the major industry of medieval times in the Mediterranean area” (p. 101). According to information found in the Cairo Geniza, many Jews in Egypt were in the business of exporting locally grown flax to Tunisia and Sicily for use in the production of linen and of importing and selling silk and cotton (primarily from Central Asia, but …
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