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Sidon

(1,062 words)

Author(s): Kirsten Schulze
The Jews of the Lebanese town of Sidon (Ar. Ṣaydā) believed that their community dated back to the first arrival of Israelites in the area in 1000 B.C.E. and their synagogue to the period of the Second Temple. By the beginning of the common era there were many Jews living in Sidon, and the city had been beautified by Herod (Josephus, Jewish Wars 1:422; see also Acts 12:20). Their numbers were so considerable that the local pagans were afraid to attack them in 66, when the Jews in other Greco-Syrian towns were massacred ( Jewish Wars 2:479). Although there is little information in the source…

Attie, Joseph

(623 words)

Author(s): Kirsten Schulze
Joseph Attie was born in 1891 in Damascus. He lost his father at an early age and moved to Beirut with his mother and brother in 1900. In 1908 he entered the Syrian Protestant College (later the American University of Beirut) to study medicine, graduating in 1914. On the outbreak of the First World War he was drafted into the Ottoman Army as a surgeon with the rank of captain. Awarded the Turkish Nishan medal and the German Iron Cross during his military service, he was taken prisoner by the British in 1918 and was interned in Lydda (today, Lod, Israel), Pal…

Dichy, Joseph Bey

(309 words)

Author(s): Kirsten Schulze
Joseph Dichy was born in Beirut in 1882. In 1907 he married and had seven children. His success in commerce and finance earned him an opportunity to work for the Egyptian state for some years. In recognition of his services, King Fuad granted him the title bey. In 1920, Dichy Bey returned to Beirut and founded his own maison commerciale which represented, among other firms, Gestetner, Boots, Agence Maritime, and Smith-Corona. He also embarked upon thirty years of devoted service to the Jewish community. He became a member of the community council from the day he returned, and w…

Tripoli, Lebanon

(686 words)

Author(s): Kirsten Schulze
The Jewish community of Tripoli (Ar. Ṭarābulus al-Shām) dated back at least to the seventh century. The Arab historian al-Balādhuri relates that during the caliphate of ʿUthmān (644–655), the governor of Syria, Muʿāwiyya, settled Jews in the abandoned fortified harbor town of Tripoli. The community was small, and relations with the majority Sunni Muslims were amicable. During the persecution of dhimmis (see Dhimma) by the Shiʿite Fatimid caliph al-Ḥākim (996–1021), the synagogue was turned into a mosque. Documents from the Cairo Geniza show that Jews from Palest…

Lebanon

(3,037 words)

Author(s): Kirsten Schulze
The presence of Jews in Lebanon dates back to biblical times. The first Jews are said to have arrived around 1000 b.c.e. The flourishing trade relations between King Solomon (r. 970–930 b.c.e.) and King Hiram of Tyre attracted other Jews to the area. During the reign of Aristobolus (104–105 B.C.E.), some areas around Mount Lebanon were conquered and forcibly Judaized. During the Roman period, the House of Herod ruled over large parts of Lebanon. In 132, after the Bar Kokhva Revolt, Jews from Galilee migrated to Mount Hermon. They were mainly agriculturalists. In 502 the Beirut synagogue w…

Beirut

(1,353 words)

Author(s): Tomer Levi | Kirsten Schulze
1. Late Antiquity to Early Modern Times Although an organized community did not really develop until the nineteenth century, Jews have lived in small numbers in Beirut since late Antiquity and a synagogue may have existed there as early as the sixth century CE.  The Megillat Evyatar (Scroll of Abiathar) relates that the Jewish community of Beirut was under the control of David ben Daniel in the late eleventh century.   In the 1170s, the Spanish Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela noted that there were approximately fifty Jews living in Beirut, but the community was appare…