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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(23 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah; Clothing, Jewelry and Make-up; Education; Life Cycle Practices; Marriage; Prostitution; Polygyny; Veiling Norman A. Stillman

Women - Iran

(1,182 words)

Author(s): Judith L. Goldstein
Iranian Jews have lived in Iran for over 3000 years, adapting to different political and historical conditions.  While the traditional social structure is patrilocal and patrilateral, with young brides moving into the households of their husbands’ families, generalizations about the actual content of women’s lives must take into account the individual and regional variations which have characterized such a long cultural history.  That history today must be additionally broadened to include the emigrations from the late 19th century to the present, and especially the dem…
Date: 2015-09-03

Women, Middle Eastern — General Observations

(965 words)

Author(s): Evelyn Dean-Olmsted
Gender relations among Middle Eastern Jews have long been described by outsiders as “traditional” and “patriarchal” (terms that often thinly conceal the notion of “backwardness”). However, historical and ethnographic evidence reveals that there has been great diversity in the lives and roles of Mizraḥi women throughout history, and that Middle Eastern Jewish attitudes about women have so many nuances that they cannot be easily categorized as “traditional” versus “modern.” What follows is an atte…

Women - Ottoman Empire

(973 words)

Author(s): Avigdor Levy
Until the second half of the nineteenth century, as was common in other traditional communities, Jewish girls and women had no opportunity to obtain a formal education. As a result, the life experiences of most of them were limited to the realm of home and family. Girls usually spent their childhood years being trained by their mothers to be good wives and mothers. Once they reached the age of twelve, they were considered suitable for marriage, usually pre-arranged by their families years in advance. Nevertheless, many Jewish girls received some informal education at home by family me…

Women - Turkey

(489 words)

Author(s): Brigitte Sion
Like all Jews, Jewish women obtained Turkish citizenship in 1923 with the establishment of the Turkish Republic. In 1934, they were granted full political rights along with all other Turkish women, including the right to vote and the right to run for elective office, among others. Education of Jewish girls and women had already begun in the last decades of the Ottoman Empire, especially with the spread of Alliance Israélite Universelle schools in the 1860s. By the early twentieth century, girls were being taught Turkish, French, math, as we…

World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC)

(616 words)

Author(s): Maurice Roumani
The World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC) was an umbrella body founded in 1975 by the leaders of organizations of Jews from Arab countries in Israel and overseas. It was headed by  Mordechai Ben-Porat, an Israeli cabinet minister of Iraqi origin, and other Sephardi leaders. In the early to mid-1970s, Israel witnessed a proliferation of organizations of Jewish immigrants from Arab and Islamic countries demanding proportionate representation in public and governmental institutions. Around this time, the  World Zionist Organization (WZO)established a departm…


(683 words)

Author(s): Miriam Frenkel
Karīma bint ʿAmmār, known as Al-Wuḥsha al-Dallāla, was a wealthy Jewish businesswoman in Fustat at the end of the eleventh century. She conducted wide-ranging business ventures and also acted as a pawnbroker. Her stormy biography, reconstructed from several Geniza documents, reveals an independent and assertive woman deeply involved in the social and economic life of the Jewish community. Karīma bint ʿAmmār, known by the name Al-Wuḥsha al-Dallāla (dated documents: 1095–1104), was a well-to-do Jewish merchant and pawnbroker in Fustat. She is also the s…