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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(642 words)

Author(s): Omer Turan
Vidin is an old port city on the southern bank of the Danube River in northwestern Bulgaria close to both the Romanian and Serbian borders. When the city fell under Ottoman rule in 1394, its Jewish community included both Romaniots and Ashkenazim. Other Ashkenazim arrived from Bavaria in 1470, and Sephardim began to arrive after the expulsion from Spain in 1492.  The wars between the Ottomans and the Wallachian voivodas (territorial military governors) in the fifteenth century and attacks by Vlad Ţepeş in 1455 to 1462 and 1466 to 1467 threatened the Jews of Vidin, and …

Vital, David Ben Solomon Ha-Rofe

(496 words)

Author(s): Leah Bornstein-Makovetsky
David ben Solomon Vital was an Italian rabbi, preacher, philosopher, and payṭan (liturgical poet). He was called ha-rofe (Heb. the doctor) even though he was not a physician. Vital was apparently born before 1492 in Calabria (Italy), and was among the Sephardi and Italian exiles who immigrated to the Ottoman Empire. Vital settled in the Greek town of Patras, but in 1532 fled to Arta, also in Greece, together with the majority of the city’s Jews, just before a Christian army conquered Patras. During the course of this…

Vital, Ḥayyim

(642 words)

Author(s): Shmuel Shepkaru
Ḥayyim ben Joseph Vital was a renowned kabbalist. He was born in Safed in 1542 to a family of Italian origin from the region of Calabria in southern Italy, and for this reason is sometimes called Ḥayyim Calabrese in kabbalistic works. Vital was educated in the yeshivot of Safed, where he excelled in exoteric studies. Joseph Caro is said to have recommended him to Moses Alsheikh, who took him under his wing. Vital was apparently introduced to Kabbala by the kabbalist Lapidot Ashkenazi, who by Vital’s account was able to foretell the future and converse with present a…