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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Kohan-Ṣedq, Janet

(274 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Janet Kohan-Ṣedq was a Jewish Iranian national track-and-field champion. Her life is an example of modern sports as a vehicle of social integration. Kohan-Ṣedq was born in 1945, graduated from Anūshīrvān High School, and received a degree in physical education from Tehran University. She entered her first 100-meter race in 1960 and won third place. In 1961, in her first adult-league competition, she won the 80-meter race with a record time of 11 seconds. In October of the same year, at the age of sixteen, weighing 40 …

Kohan Ṣedq, Soleymān (Shelomo)

(307 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Soleyman (Sulaymān/Shelomo) Kohan Ṣedq (1886–1946) was a modernist leader of the Jewish community in Iran. His family moved to Tehran from Gulpāygān. Kohan Ṣedq became an officer in the gendarmerie and served as its treasurer. He was one of the first Zionist activists in Iran. After the Balfour Declaration (1917) the Anjuman-i Farhangī-yi Javānān-i Yahūdī (Pers. Cultural Association of Young Jews) was founded in Tehran. Under the leadership of Kohan Ṣedq it organized a committee called Anjuman-i Taqhviyat-i Zabān-i ʿIbrī (Pers. Association for Strengthening the Hebrew L…

Kohan, Yosef

(290 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Yosef Kohan (1927–1981), an attorney, was the last Jewish representative in the Majlis, Iran’s parliament, before the Revolution of 1979. Born and raised in Tehran, he attended the Kūrosh School and the Alborz high school, and in 1950 graduated from TehranUniversity’s Law School. Kohan became a member ofAnjuman-i Kalīmīan (Pers. Jewish Association) and was appointed its vice president in the mid-1950s. He became the first Jewish member of Tehran’s Municipal Council. He championed Jewish women’s rights and supported the passage of the women’s inheritance law. In 1976…

Kohen, Albert

(410 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Albert Kohen, born in Hasköy, Istanbul in 1885, was a prominent Turkish writer, intellectual, and communal leader. He studied at the Alliance Israélite Universelle school and upon graduation  worked in the Istanbul branch of the Banque de Salonique, of which he had become vice president by the time he retired in 1947. Throughout his life, Kohen was passionately interested in journalism. He began working at the weekly El Telegrafo in 1922, and then at the newspaper La Boz de Oriente in 1931. In 1939, he founded the biweekly La Boz de Türkiye, which was usually printed in Ladino, and of…

Kohen Erkip, Albert

(287 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Albert Kohen Erkip, born in Ankara in 1953, is a mathematician and professor of mathematics at Sabanci University in Istanbul. He graduated from Ankara Fen Lisesi (Ankara Science High School) in 1970 and subsequently attended the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, where he earned his bachelor of science degree in mathematics in 1974. He went on to the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his master of science and Ph.D. degrees in 1979. Kohen has held teaching and resear…

Kohen, Moïse (Tekinalp, Munis)

(648 words)

Author(s): Jacob M. Landau
Moïse Kohen (Munis Tekinalp), an important political writer and ideological exponent of Ottoman and Turkish nationalism, was born in Serres, Macedonia, in 1883. He left his native town for Salonica, where he attended the Alliance Israélite Universelle school, studied for the rabbinate at the Jewish Teachers’ College (although he never practiced), and, finally, studied law at the newly founded École Impériale de Droit. Salonica was a hotbed of political ferment and revolutionary activity in those days, and in his search for a satisfactory political commitmen…

Kohen, Mordecai ha-

(538 words)

Author(s): Harvey E. Goldberg
Mordecai ha-Kohen was born in 1856 in Tripoli, Libya, where his grandfather, a Genovese, had settled to escape the Napoleonic wars. His father died in a shipwreck off Crete in 1861, leaving the family impoverished. Ha-Kohen received a traditional Jewish education, but also imbibed Italian culture and acquired extensive knowledge as an autodidact. He worked at teaching Hebrew, repairing watches, and peddling. His journeys to the Tripolitanian interior as a peddler familiarized him with the Jewish…

Kohen, Sami

(271 words)

Author(s): Leslie Abuaf
Sami Kohen, a world-renowned columnist for Milliyet Gazetesi, one of Turkey’s leading newspapers, was born in Istanbul in 1928. As the son of the journalist Albert Kohen, Sami Kohen became interested in a journalistic career at an early age. From 1939 to 1949, he wrote articles in both Ladino and French for his father’s newspaper, La Boz de Türkiye (The Voice of Turkey). Toward the end of his high school years, with his father’s encouragement, Kohen became an intern at Tan Gazetesi (Dawn Newspaper). Following his father’s death in 1949, Kohen continued to publish La Boz de Türkiye, but he g…

Kohen Ṣedeq Bar Ivomay Gaon

(191 words)

Author(s): Arnold Franklin
Kohen Ṣedeq Bar Ivomay (or Ikhomay) Gaon was head of the Sura yeshiva in Iraq from 838 to 848 (alternatively, 832 to 843). From the few sources attributable to him with a measure of confidence, it appears that Kohen Ṣedeq was one of the Babylonian authorities consulted on legal matters by the heads of the Jewish community of Qayrawan. A ruling of his on a liturgical question is also cited by the Andalusian scholar Isaac ben Judah ibn Ghiyyāth, and the reference therein to “the seder of Rav Kohen Ṣedeq” has led to the suggestion that he was one of the first to compile a prayerbook. Another of his respon…

Kohen Ṣedeq ben Joseph Gaon

(798 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Kohen Ṣedeq ben Joseph—not to be confused with Kohen Ṣedeq Bar Ivomay, gaon of Sura from 832 to 843)—served as gaon of Pumbedita from February of 917 to 935 (see Yeshivot in Babylonia/Iraq). His gaonate was marked from the beginning by a series of heated and sometimes overlapping controversies, in all of which he played some part. The first of these concerned his own accession to the gaonate. Kohen Ṣedeq was appointed to succeed Judah ben Samuel by the exilarchDavid ben Zakkay I, but most (or at…
Date: 2015-09-03

Kol Siyyon (La Voix de Sion) (Tunis)

(385 words)

Author(s): Mohsen Hamli
The first Zionist monthly paper in Tunisia, Kol Ṣiyyon ( La Voix de Sion), was published by the Agudat Ṣiyyon (Agudat Sion) Society in Judeo-Arabic from 1913 to 1914. Appearing in issues of eight to sixteen pages, it was licensed to Sauveur Sitruk, its manager was Joseph Bejaoui, and its editor-in-chief was Joseph Brami, a young rabbi and educator of the modern type and one of the founders of Agudat Ṣiyyon. The purpose and need for Kol Siyyon were explained by Brami in the Warsaw Hebrew paper Ha- Ṣefira: “Even though the Jewish press—and sometimes the French press—devote articles t…

Koroni (Koron)

(7 words)

Author(s): Avigdor Levy
see Morea Avigdor Levy


(1,841 words)

Author(s): Dan D.Y. Shapira
Krymchak (Crim. Tat. in the Crimean style) is a term coined in the nineteenth century to designate the Turkic-speaking Rabbanite Jews of the Crimea. It was meant to distinguish them from theKaraite majority of the Crimean Jews, on the one hand, and from Russian-Polish Ashkenazim, on the other. The first Karaite and Rabbanite Jews came to the Crimea from Iran, Central Asia, Egypt, and Constantinople. Manuscripts from the Crimea include numerous Jewish works copied or written in Iran, sometimes in Persian and Judeo-Persian. It …

Ksar el-Kebir

(375 words)

Author(s): Jessica Marglin
Ksar el-Kebir (Alcazarquivir, Alcazar, Elksar, al-Qaṣr al-Kabīr) is a small city in northern Morocco, 85 kilometers (50 miles) south of Tangier, on the right bank of the Oued Loukkos and approximately 31 kilometers (19 miles) upriver from Larache on the Atlantic coast. The city dates at least to the eighth century. Very little is known about its Jewish community before 1492, when exiles from the Iberian Peninsula began to arrive in large numbers and populated the cities of northern Morocco. The Jews of Ksar el-Kebir retained Judeo-Spanish (Haketia) as their native language, a…

Ksar es-Souk (Qaṣr al-Sūq)

(826 words)

Author(s): Moshe Bar-Asher
Ksar es-Souk (Qaṣr al-Sūq, Ar. fortified village of the market) is a large town in southeastern Morocco. It probably obtained its name from the large nearby market (Ar. sūq) that serviced the region. Since the time of King Hassan II (r. 1961–1999) it has been known as Errachidia (Ar. al-Rāshīdiyya). Situated in the district of Metaghra on the western bank of the Ziz River, Ksar es-Souk is about 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of the Red (Ḥamdūn) Mountain, the southernmost of the Atlas Mountains and the northern gateway to th…

Kurdish (Neo-Aramaic) Literature

(1,794 words)

Author(s): Yona Sabar
The Jews of Kurdistan, a mostly rural society, developed a rich oral folk literature. Even the written literature found in manuscripts from Kurdistan originated in oral tradition. Translations of the Bible into Neo-Aramaic dialects were transmitted orally from generation to generation with only some necessary changes in vocabulary. Reading and, even more, writing were not common. Usually only the ḥakhamim (Heb. rabbis) were literate, and most of the written literature, especially in Hebrew, was recorded by them for their own use. Neo-Aramaic translation…


(2,953 words)

Author(s): Yona Sabar
Kurdistan is a cultural-ethnic-geographic term designating an area that extends into five states, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Armenia. The Kurds are a minority, but a very substantial one, in all of these states, especially Iraq and Turkey. Most of the area is rugged and mountainous; the most famous peak is Mount Ararat, mentioned in the Bible as the resting place of Noah’s ark and located in Kurdistan by a tradition at least as early as Targum Onkelos in the second century C.E., which names it ure Qardu (Aram. Kurdish mountains). Because of its severe winters, Kurdistan is almost…

Kūrosh-i kabir

(342 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
The Kūrosh-i Kabīr (Pers. Cyrus the Great) Jewish youth club in Tehran was founded in 1953 by a group of activists that included Moshe Kermaniyān, Avraham Moreh, ʿAṭāllāh Amīryān, Mordekai Fīrūz Ṭāleʿ, Amīr Elīyasī Tarshīsh, and Manūchehr Omidvar. The club, which was funded by the Jewish Agency, was affiliated with Anjuman-i Kalīmīyān (Pers. [Teheran] Jewish Association). Its goal was to teach the Hebrew language and instill the spirit of the He-Halutz Zionist youth movement. Its program was directed mainly at young people who lived in the maḥalla, Tehran’s Jewish quarter. In 1963, f…

Kūrosh School

(342 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
The Kūrosh (Pers. Cyrus) School in Tehran was largely the idea of two Zionist activists, Farājallāh Ḥakīm and Dr. Ḥabῑb Levy. With the help of Ismāʿīl Ḥayy, Azīz Elqānyān, Rabbi ʿAzīzullāh ben Yūnā Naʾīm, and a few others, the Jewish community of Tehran founded the school as an elementary institution, but soon expanded it to include the high school grades. The founding of the Kūrosh School was a highly significant act. Its curriculum, in contrast to that of the Alliance Israélite Universelle schools, emphasized Hebrew and Persian rather than French. Its …


(3,038 words)

Author(s): Rachel Simon
The Arabic term kuttāb is the common designation for a traditional elementary school for boys. As such it was often also used by Jews in Islamic lands, although in some regions other terms were used: ṣlā (Mor. Jud.-Ar. synagogue) in Morocco, or knishta (Neo-Aram. by women) in Kurdistan, kanīs (also Yem. Jud.-Ar. knīs, or kenīs, synagogue or assembly), al-kanīs al-ẓighayreh (Yem. Jud.-Ar. little synagogue) in Yemen, maʿalma (Ar. place of learning), midrash (Afghanistan), molahi (Afghanistan), and ustādh (Ar. master) in Iraq. The term ḥeder (Heb.) came into use in Morocco in the…
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