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. 

Subscriptions: see brill.com


(8 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Atlas Mountains Norman A. Stillman


(589 words)

Author(s): Aomar Boum
The Daggatoun are a tribe of Saharan nomads, believed to be of Jewish origin, who moved constantly around the desert interior. The first person to mention the Daggatoun was Mordechai Abisrur, a Jew from the southern Moroccan oasis of Akka. In an article he wrote for the Bulletin de l’Alliance Israélite Universelle, he traced their origin to the Jewish community of Tamentit and argued that their ancestors had fled  the Tamentit region after Muḥammad al-Maghīlī incited the local Muslims to expel them from Touat in 1492. Abisrur’s name has historic…

Dahan, Jacques

(565 words)

Author(s): Mohammed Hatimi
Jacques Dahan was born in 1917 into a traditional Jewish family in the mellah (Ar. mallāḥ ) of Rabat in Morocco. He studied at the Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Lycée Gouraud. He worked as a sports writer for L’Echo du Maroc and early on became active in communal affairs, in part because of the mark left on him by the Vichy years. When General Alphonse Juin decided to create the Conseil des Communautés Israélites du Maroc (CCIM) in 1947, Dahan was elected its secretary-general because of his leadership role in communal affairs and his loyalty to France. In…

Dahir (ẓahīr) of Mawlāy Muḥammad b. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān (1864)

(634 words)

Author(s): Mohammed Kenbib
In 1864 Sir Moses Montefiore, the chairman of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, visited Morocco and met with Sultan Sīdī Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān. On February 5, 1864, at his request, the sultan issued a royal decree (Cl. Ar. ẓahīr; Mor. Ar. ḍahīr; Fr. dahir) reminding his governors and pashas of the rights enjoyed by Jews dwelling in his dominion. In his capacity as commander of the faithful (Ar. amīr al-mu’minīn), charged with enforcing the prescriptions of Islamic law, including regulations regarding the legal status of non-Muslim subjects, the sultan insisted th…

Ḍāhrī, Zechariah al-

(580 words)

Author(s): Adena Tanenbaum
Zechariah (Yiḥye) ben Saʿadya al-Ḍāhrī (ca. 1519–ca. 1585) was a Yemenite Jewish religious scholar and the author of halakhic, exegetical, and literary works. He wrote a commentary on the laws of ritual slaughter, an esoteric Torah commentary entitled Ṣeda la-Derekh (Provision for the Road), and a book of homonymic rhymes called Sefer ha-ʿAnaq (Book of the Necklace), but he is best known for his Hebrew maqāma collection, Sefer ha-Musar (The Book of Moral Instruction). In his introduction to this work, he relates that he was imprisoned in 1568, along with the rest of the San'a Jewish comm…


(737 words)

Author(s): Sasha Goldstein-Sabbah
Damanhur (Ar. Damanhūr; from Anc. Eg. Timinhur) is a small town in the Nile Delta region of Egypt approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) southwest of Alexandria and is today the capital of Buhayra Province. The earliest mention of Damanhur is in the Qawānīn al-Dawānīn, an administrative survey of towns and lands for tax purposes, by Ibn Mammātī(d. 1209). It is also mentioned by the traveler Ibn Jubayr (d. 1217) and the geographer Yāqūt (d. 1229), both of whom note that it was a medium-sized walled town. The Cairo Geniza documents make no mention of Damanhur, …

Damari (Damārī), Shoshana

(839 words)

Author(s): Edwin Seroussi
Shoshana Damari (Dhamar) was born in Yemen in 1923. The following year her family emigrated from Yemen to Palestine, settling in Rishon le-Tsiyyon. She began to perform at a very early age, accompanying her mother, a meshoreret (traditional Yemenite female singer), at weddings and parties of Yemenite immigrant families. Her brother Seʿadya (1913–1988) also became a singer, actor, and playwright. In 1936 Shoshana Damari studied singing and acting at the studio of the Shulamit School in Tel Aviv. There she met Shlomo Busami, the studio’s manager. They were married in 1939, whe…


(3,888 words)

Author(s): Yaron Harel
Damascus (Ar. Dimashq al-Shām, Damascus of Syria, or simply al-Shām) is the capital of modern Syria and the largest city in the country. Located in southwestern Syria, Damascus is about 80 kilometers (129 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea behind the Lebanese mountains, some 680 meters (2,231 feet) above sea level. One of the most ancient cities in the world, Damascus extends along both banks of the river Barada. 1. Ancient Period The history of Jewish settlement in Syria, the nearest place of exile to the Land of Israel, extends from ancient times in unbroken succession …

Damascus Affair (1840)

(843 words)

Author(s): Moshe Ma'oz
In February 1840, an Italian Capuchin monk named Padre Tomaso and his servant disappeared in Damascus. Local Christians, abetted by the French consul Benoît Ulysse-Laurent-François de Ratti-Menton (a rabid antisemite himself), accused Jews of murdering Tomaso and using his blood to bake matza for Passover. Blood libels of this kind were not uncommon in medieval Christian Europe, but only found their way to Syria in later centuries, possibly brought there by European priests or missionaries. The incident in Damascus was probably influenced …

Damascus Document   

(1,281 words)

Author(s): Fred Astren
The Damascus Document, designated CD for “Cairo Damascus” and also known as the Zadokite Fragments, was originally found among materials from the Cairo Geniza in two incomplete manuscripts dated to the tenth and twelfth centuries. Fragments of eight manuscripts were subsequently discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran along with other, smaller fragments, all of which include additional material not found in CD. The Qumran finds indicate that CD is properly understood to be one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, originating in a Second Temple setting whose spe…


(795 words)

Author(s): Amnon Shiloah
1. Ancient Israel The Bible, Mishna, and Talmud refer to dance in various contexts. Among the occasions that inspired dancing, for instance, were a festival during which it was customary to dance in the vineyards (Judg. 21:21), the group dances performed by women to the accompaniment of drums in celebration of military victories and to welcome the returning soldiers, and the notable event reported in Exod. 15:20, which tells how Miriam and the women burst into song and dance accompanied by drums to mark the miraculous parting of the Red Sea that saved the people of Israel. After the fall of…

Dangoor, Ezra Sasson ben Reuven

(321 words)

Author(s): Shaul Regev
Ezra Sasson ben Reuven Dangoor (1848–1930), born and educated in Baghdad, was a student of Rabbi ʿAbd Allāh Somekh. Although he devoted much of his time to religious activities, Dangoor had to work to support himself, studying in the mornings and earning his living in the afternoons. He worked as a ritual slaughterer and ritual circumciser, and from 1880 to 1886 was the scribe in charge of writing documents issued by the Bet Din of Baghdad. In 1894, Dangoor was appointed chief rabbi of Rangoon, Burma, but a year later ill health compelled him to return to Baghdad, where he w…

Daniel ben Azariah

(434 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
Daniel ben Azariah, a scion of the exilarchic house in Babylonia, was gaon of the Palestinian yeshiva from 1052 to 1062. After his branch of the family was deposed from the exilarchate, Daniel set out to find a place where he could build a following. Uncertain at first whether to settle in the Maghrib or in Egypt, he eventually created a cadre of supporters in Fustat, mainly among prominent members of the Jerusalemite congregation. Several Geniza documents indicate that Daniel was charismatic but arrogant, driven by ambition to obtain the gaonate of Jerusalem. His cand…

Daniel ben Eleazar ibn Hibat Allāh

(472 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Daniel ben Eleazar ibn Hibat Allāh, who elsewhere refers to himself as Daniel b. Eleazar he-Ḥasid, succeeded Eleazar b. Hillel b. Fahd as gaon of the main Babylonian yeshiva in Baghdad (following the decline of the ones in Pumbedita and Sura). Daniel’s gaonate began no later than April–May 1201, which is when the earliest of his letters affirming his incumbency is dated. He is mentioned by the Arab historian and native of Baghdad Ibn al-Sāʿī (1197–1276) in the extant portion of his History ( al-Jāmi ʿal-mukhtaṣar), in which he transcribes the writ of Daniel’s appointment to the …
Date: 2015-09-03

Daniel ben Ḥasday

(594 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Daniel ben Ḥasday (Ḥisday) served as exilarch in Baghdad after the death of his father, Ḥasday ben David b. Hezekiah. The date of Daniel’s accession is uncertain. It was no earlier than 1113, because Ḥasday ben David is mentioned as exilarch in a bill of sale written that year. It was no later than 1120, because Daniel is mentioned in a Purim-style story in the Cairo Geniza concerning an edict issued that year against the Jews of Baghdad and their eventual deliverance (for the lat…
Date: 2015-09-03

Daniel ben Saʿadya ha-Bavli

(334 words)

Author(s): Roni Shweka
Daniel ben Saʿadya ha-Bavli was a rabbinic scholar and pupil of Samuel ben Eli Gaon who lived in Baghdad and Damascus in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. In Damascus, where he probably moved after the death of Samuel ben Eli (1194), he was noted for his eloquent preaching. The Andalusian poet and traveler Judah al-Ḥarīzī heard him there in 1220 and praised him in his Taḥkemoni (46). Like his teacher Samuel ben Eli, Daniel ben Saʿadya, was a determined critic of Maimonides. He sent forty-seven refutations and questions on the Mishne Torah and another thirteen questions on Sefer…

Daniel ben Samuel ibn Abī ʾl-Rabīʿ ha-Kohen

(507 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Daniel ben Samuel ibn Abī ʾl-Rabīʿ ha-Kohen succeeded Isaac ben Israel in 1248 as gaon of the main Babylonian yeshiva in Baghdad and continued in office until his death in 1250/51. The Arabic historian Ibn al-Fuwaṭī (p. 218) reports that when Daniel, accompanied by “a throng of Jews and a group of devotees of the dīwān,” was returning to the yeshiva “on foot” after being appointed by the chief qāḍī ‘Abd al-Raḥmān, he was met by “a group of the common people [who] interposed with the intent to stone him, yet they were rebuffed in their endeavor and prevented.” Wh…
Date: 2015-09-03

Daniel ben Saul ben Anan

(1,027 words)

Author(s): Yoram Erder
Daniel ben Saul (fl. 9th century) was the grandson of ʿAnan ben David, said to have founded the proto-Karaite Ananite sect in the eighth century. The Jacobite Syrian historian Bar Hebraeus (d. 1286), basing himself on earlier Syriac chronicles, recounts that in 825 a battle over the office of exilarch in Baghdad broke out between Daniel and David ben Judah. Bar Hebraeus asserts that Daniel was an adherent of the Ananite heresy. Since this conflict had repercussions for Christians in the Abbasid caliphate, it attracted the attention of Christian chroniclers. According to their accou…

Daniel, Ezra Menaḥem

(363 words)

Author(s): Peter Wien
Ezra Menaḥem Daniel, the son of Menaḥem Ṣāliḥ Daniel, was born in Baghdad in 1874 and died there in 1952. Daniel followed in his father’s footsteps in many ways: he was a member of the Administrative Council (Majlis al-Idāra) of the vilayet of Baghdad from 1901, continued his father’s charitable work and established substantial religious endowments (Arab. waqf; plural awqāf) in different parts of the Iraqi countryside, particularly in the Hindīya district of the Ḥilla province. In 1932, he succeeded his father as a senator and remained in office until his death. As a land…

Daniel, Jean

(8 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see France Norman A. Stillman

Daniel, Menahem Ṣāliḥ

(331 words)

Author(s): Peter Wien
Menaḥem Ṣāliḥ Danielwas born in Baghdad in 1846 and died there in 1940. He was a merchant, a landlord, and a farmer, as well as a politician and an important representative of the  Iraqi Jewish community in the period of transition from the Ottoman Empire to the modern state of Iraq. The Daniel family, originally from Karjistan in Afghanistan, took up residence in the Tūrāt quarter of Baghdad. Trade and farming transformed them into wealthy notables, based on their possessions in the Hindīya district of the *Ḥilla province along the Euphrates. When the Ottoman governor Midḥat Pasha establ…

Daniel al-Qūmisī

(910 words)

Author(s): Barry Dov Walfish
Daniel al-Qūmisī, an early Karaite communal leader, scholar, and biblical exegete, was born in Damghan, in the province of Qumis, in northern Persia in the second half of the ninth century and lived for a time in Khurasan. Little is known about his life. Around 880, Daniel settled in Jerusalem, becoming part of the community of Mourners of Zion ( avele Ṣiyyon), who followed a strict regimen of prayer and asceticism to commemorate the destruction of the Temple and hasten its restoration. Scholars are now of the opinion that the Karaite sect did not coalesce until the mid- to late nint…

Daniel, Tomb of

(336 words)

Author(s): Dalia Yasharpour
The biblical Book of Daniel relates how the prophet, taken into Babylonian exile, predicted Iran’s rise to power and came to occupy a prominent position at the Persian court in Susa (biblical Shushan). It does not mention, however, where Daniel was laid to rest. Early rabbinic sources state that Daniel returned to his homeland when Cyrus issued his edict (ca. 538 B.C.E) and died there. Another Jewish tradition locates his tomb in modern-day Uzbekistan. The first-century Jewish historian Josephus is the earliest known source to locate Daniel’s tomb in Iran. He places the t…


(131 words)

Author(s): Dan D.Y. Shapira
Dāniyal-nāma (Pers. The Book of Daniel) is a Judeo-Persian narrative based on the biblical Book of Daniel. It was written or edited in 1606 by Khwāja Bukhārāʾī, a Jewish author apparently from Bukhara. A century later in 1704, Dāniyal-nāma was reedited/rewritten as a masnavī (Pers. narrative poem in rhymed couplets) by Benjamin ben Mishael (Aminā; 1672/3–after 1732/33). Dāniyal-nāma has affinities with both the Additions to Daniel of the Septuagint and Qiṣṣa-yi Dāni’el . Dan D.Y. Shapira Bibliography Levy, R. “Dānial-Nāma: A Judeo-Persian Apocalypse,” in Jewish Studies …

Danon, Abraham

(598 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Abraham Danon, who was born in Edirne (Adrianople) on August 15, 1857, and died in Paris on May 23, 1925, was a Haskala (Jewish Enlightenment) rabbi, educator, writer, and linguist. A student of the noted Orientalist Joseph Halévy, but largely autodidactic, he sought throughout his life to synthesize traditional learning with modern ideas. In 1879, he founded the Ḥevrat Shoḥare Tushiyya (Society of the Proponents of Wisdom), also called Dorshe ha-Haskala (Seekers of Enlightenment), in Edirne. He encouraged the study of Jewish history and literature, particularly that o…

Daoud, Reinette Sultana (Reinette l'Oranaise)

(387 words)

Author(s): Sasha Goldstein-Sabbah
Reinette Sultana Daoud, better known by her stage name Reinette l’Oranaise, was an internationally renowned singer and musician. Born in 1918 in Tiaret, Algeria, into a family of modest means, and blinded by smallpox at the age of two, she attended a school for the blind in Algiers until her mother, taking note of her powerful voice, encouraged her to take up music. She was then sent to study with Saoud El Médioni (Saoud l’Oranais), a prominent performer of Arabo-Andalusian music. Daoud studied oud, mandolin, and the small derbouka hand drum under El Médioni and became an …

Dardashtī, Yonah

(233 words)

Author(s): Houman Sarshar
Yonah Dardashtī (1910–1993) was the only Jew to attain broad national acclaim in Iran as a master vocalist of  Persian classical music. Dardashtī’s father, Ḥājī Yeshuā (a.k.a. Farajullāh), and grandfather were both famous ḥazzans. Yonah obtained his general education at Tehran’s Alliance Israélite school, and learned the basics of Persian classical vocals from his father before studying with the master vocalist Mīrzā Ḥusayn Sā'atsāz (1874–1944). Dardashtī was known for his powerful voice, broad range, and smooth modulations ( taḥrīr). One of his earlier concerts was held …

Darʿī, Moses ben Abraham

(792 words)

Author(s): Joachim J.M.S. Yeshaya
Moses ben Abraham Darʿī was born in late Fatimid (12th century) Alexandria into a Jewish family that originally came from Dar‛a (Draaʿ) in Morocco. Dar‛ī regularly professed his Karaite identity in the name acrostics of his liturgical poetry, but the maqāma-style work attributed to him suggests that he was probably not born a Karaite and joined the movement in his youth. He spent a large part of his professional life as a poet and physician in Fustat-Cairo. He also visited Damascus and made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Scholars have pla…
Date: 2015-09-03

Dar lil-ʿilm

(645 words)

Author(s): Geoffrey Khan
The term dār al-ʿilm or dār lil-ʿilm (Ar. college; lit. house of knowledge) was applied to several Muslim libraries and scientific institutions in the eastern Islamic world in the ninth and tenth centuries. One of the most important was founded by the vizier Abū Naṣr Sābūr ibn Ardashīr in Baghdad during the reign of Bahāʾ al-Dawla (991–993). According to the fifteenth-century chronicler Ibn al-Hītī, the Karaite place of learning in Jerusalem in the first half of the eleventh century was also known as a dār lil-ʿilm. Ibn al-Hītī states that the school belonged to Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf ibn Nūḥ,…

Darmon, Amram

(399 words)

Author(s): Richard Ayoun
Amram Darmon (1815–1878), a military interpreter first class in the French army, was born in Oran, Algeria, to Elijah Darmon and Dinah Bacri, a family long in good standing with the beys of Oran. In 1834, at the age of nineteen, he joined the French army, serving with the Algerian artillery.On June 19, 1836, he participated in the Tlemcen expedition under Captain Cavaignac. In 1837 he was posted to Misserghin; and in September of that year he accompanied Captain Daumas, the French consul, to meet with ʿAbd al-Qādir in Mascara. Darmon w…

Darmon, Masʿūd

(342 words)

Author(s): Richard Ayoun
Masʿūd Darmon (d. 1866), a grandson of Mordechai Darmon (ca. 1740–ca. 1810), was the chief rabbi of Oran, Algeria, and a judge ( dayyan) in the Jewish court. He was also the  author of several religious works, including a collection of his responsa entitled Gur Ari (Young Lion) published in Livorno (Leghorn) in 1845. He exchanged letters on halakhic matters with a leading  rabbinical scholarof Algiers, Ḥayyim David Solomon ben Samuel ben Saʿadya Zorafa (d. 1860). His correspondence with Rabbi Isaac Bengualid (Ben Walīd) of Tetouan was published in   Va-Yomer Yiṣḥaq(vol. 1, no. 53, Li…

Darmon, Mordecai

(294 words)

Author(s): Richard Ayoun
Mordecai Darmon was the  head of the small Jewish community of Mascara, Algeria (about 450 people). He was a member of the Darmon family, which over the years had become allied to Jewish families that fled to Algeria from Spain or Portugal. In 1783, he was sent to Istanbul and Izmir on a diplomatic mission. He also became treasurer and adviser of Muḥammad al- Kabīr, the bey of Mascara (d. ca. 1798), and accompanied him on his military expeditions across Algeria. Darmon became quite wealthy from his service to the bey but nevertheless always found time to s…

Darmon, Paule

(511 words)

Author(s): Nina Lichtenstein
Paule Darmon is a French artist, writer, and painter born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1945, who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her father, Fernand Darmon, was a lawyer from Oran, Algeria, and her mother, Solange née Assouline, was a secretary and a hairdresser from Casablanca. Darmon, the oldest of their four children, left for France at seventeen. She studied painting in Grenoble at Marc Pessin’s studio and has exhibited her work in Paris and New York, among other places. Her early figurative …

Darwīsh, Shalom

(421 words)

Author(s): Nancy E. Berg
Born in Amarra, Iraq, in 1913, Shalom Darwīsh attended the Rahil Shahmoun School after his family moved to Baghdad. He continued his studies at night while serving as secretary of the Jewish community, and graduated from the Baghdad College of Law in 1938, at which point he left his position as secretary to practice law. An Iraqi nationalist, Darwīsh was elected to parliament as a member of the National Democratic Party, but he resigned along with others in protest of electoral corruption and improprieties. Accused of being a Zionist, he fled overland in 1950 to Iran and from there to Israel. B…

Darwīsh, Yūsuf

(368 words)

Author(s): Adam Guerin
Yūsuf Darwīsh (b. 1910), a prominent Egyptian labor lawyer and Communist leader from the 1930s to the 1960s, was a Karaite Jew of middle-class origins. As a student at the University of Toulouse, Darwīsh founded the Association of Arab Students and was active in anti-Fascist and pro-Arab Palestinian organizations. Returning to Egypt, Darwīsh was a member of the Cairo branch of Paul Jacquot Descombes’s group, Peace Partisans, and became involved in Egyptian Communist organizations.  In 1946, Darwīsh founded the New Dawn (Ar. al-Fajr al-Jadīd) Communist group with Aḥmad Ṣādiq Saʿd a…

David (Abū ʾl-Ḥasan) ben al-Dayyan

(362 words)

Author(s): Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio
Almost nothing is known about David (Abū ʾl-Ḥasan) ben al-Dayyan, who lived during one of the most fecund periods of Hebrew culture in al-Andalus (11th-12th century). We have no information about his profession, and nothing to suggest that he himself wrote poetry, as did so many distinguished Jews of the era. He probably belonged to the same family as Abū ʿAmr ibn al-Dayyan, mentioned by Moses ibn Ezra in his Kitāb al-Muhāḍara wa ’l-Mudhākara as an inhabitant of eastern al-Andalus (Halkin ed., p. 76). David was a member of the wide circle of friends of Judah ha-Levi and the addressee of t…

David Ben Abraham al-Fāsī

(1,429 words)

Author(s): Meira Polliack
David ben Abraham al-Fāsī was a Karaite lexicographer and exegete in the mid-tenth century. His most famous work, Kitāb Jāmiʿ al-Alfāẓ, was the first Hebrew-Arabic dictionary of the Hebrew Bible. Although al-Fāsī or his family probably came from the city of Fez in Morocco, as suggested by his cognomen, he appears to have spent part of his life in Jerusalem, where he is believed to have composed his monumental dictionary sometime in the first half of the tenth century. He is not mentioned in Ibn al-Hītī’s chronicle of Karaite scholars, but there is other evidence connecting him to the Karaite …

David ben Boaz

(655 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
David ben Boaz, known in Arabic as Abū Saʿīd, was a fifth-generation descendant of Anan ben David, and is thus rarely mentioned without the title ha-Nasi (and sometimes by that alone) or its Arabic equivalent, al-ra’īs. Hs lived in Jerusalem and, together with his brother Josiah ha-Nasi, is supposed to have supported Saʿadya Gaon in his conflict (ca. 930–937) with the Babylonian exilarch David ben Zakkay I, perhaps due to the strong enmity between the Karaite nesiʾim and the Palestinian geonim of the Ben Me’ir fami…
Date: 2015-09-03

David ben Daniel

(265 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
David ben Daniel was Babylonian exilarch after the Mongol conquest. Little is known about him other than that he was a fifth-generation descendant of Zakkai ben Azariah, brother of Daniel ben Azariah, the gaon of Palestine in the sixth decade of the eleventh century. In April 1288, David ben Daniel wrote a letter from Mosul threatening to excommunicate Solomon (Petit) ben Samuel of Acre, who had raised objections to Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed. Ben Daniel began by explaining the purpose and functions of Maimonides’ writings; he then accused Solomon Petit, by n…

David ben Daniel ben Azariah

(506 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
David, the only son of the gaon of the Palestinian yeshiva Daniel ben Azariah was born around 1058. Only four when his father died, he was evidently raised by family members in Damascus. When the Seljuks conquered Syria and Palestine in the 1170s, he went to Egypt, where he was adopted by relatives in Damira in the Nile Delta, who treated him well and pledged him in marriage to a female relative. David had other plans, however, as well as supporters who saw in him  a hope for redemption because of his Davidic descent. Leaving Damira and his fiancée, he moved to Fustat, where he was received with…

David ben Eleazar ibn Paquda

(299 words)

Author(s): M.J. Cano
David ben Eleazar ibn Paquda was a liturgical poet who lived in Saragossa in the late eleventh and first half of the twelfth centuries. There are no concrete details about his life or death. He was probably a cousin of the famous ethical philosopher and pietist Baḥya ibn Paquda, as he is identified with Abū Sulaymān, “the son of his paternal uncle” (Ar. ben ʿammih), mentioned together with Baḥya by Moses ibn Ezra in his treatise on the ars poetica, Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa 'l-Mudhākara (ed. Abumalham, p. 41r). David ibn Paquda was a contemporary of Levi ibn al-Tabbān, and there are a number o…

David ben Hezekiah

(402 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
David ben Hezekiah, who died sometime before 1090, was the son of the Babylonian exilarch Hezekiah II (r. ca. 1000–ca. 1060). Very little is known about David’s life. He was active in communal affairs in Palestine from the 1030s until about 1055 and is often referred to in Geniza documents (see Cairo Geniza) as nasi, “nasi of the Diasporas of all Israel” (Heb. nesi galuyot kol Yisra’el), and “nagid of the people of the Lord” (Heb. negid ʿam Adonay). He obtained the support of the Palestinian gaon Solomon ben Judah, but apparently undermined the yeshiva’s av bet din, Zadok ha-Levi ben Lev…

David ben Ḥusayn (Ḥassūn)

(340 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
David ben Ḥusayn (Ḥasān, Hassūn) Abū Sulaymān was a Karaite scholar in the second half of the tenth century and may have been the son of the Karaite scholar Ḥasan (Ḥusayn) ben Mashiaḥ (Pinsker, 1860). David ben Ḥusayn is also known as Abū al-Ḥusayn David ben Mashiaḥ and is sometimes identified with Abū ʾl-Khayr Dāʾūd ben Mūsaj (Gil 1997, 2004), an esteemed member of the interreligious circle of Neoplatonic philosophers in Baghdad gathered around Abū Sulaymān Muḥammad ibn Ṭāhir al-Sijistānī, known as al-Manṭiqī (the logician, d. 1009). All of David ben Ḥusayn’s works are lost, but …

David ben Joshua Maimonides

(404 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
David ben Joshua Maimonides (Ar. al-Maymūnī ) was born in Egypt in the first half of the fourteenth century and died there in  ca. 1414. He was the last member of his illustrious family to serve as nagid, or head of the Jewish community (Ar. raʿīs al-yahūd), an office held by the descendants of Moses Maimonides since the late twelfth century. The Maimonidean negidim were not great spiritual innovators, but viewed themselves as interpreters of their great forebear’s oeuvre and defenders of his halakhic and philosophical opinions. David inherited the office of nagid upon the death o…

David ben Judah

(243 words)

Author(s): Arnold Franklin
David ben Judah was an exilarch during the first half of the ninth century. In his  bid for office, David was opposed by another member of the exilarchal dynasty named Daniel. The dispute between the two candidates is mentioned in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon, as well as in the Syriac chronicles of Michael the Syrian and Bar Hebraeus. According to the latter sources, David was backed by the Jews of Tiberias, while Daniel, described as a follower of ʿAnan ben David, had the support of the Babylonians. The same sources connect the conflict with a proclamation by the Abbasid caliph al-Maʿmūn (d. …

David ben Samuel

(159 words)

Author(s): Arnold Franklin
In a pair of documents dated 1197 and 1201, “ David, the head of the diasporas of all Israel,” appoints a father and son as beadles in the synagogue of Ezra the Scribe in Baghdad. These are the only known references to an exilarch whose name is given simply as David. According to Jacob Mann, this David was the son of Samuel of Mosul, one of two cousins whom Petahiah of Regensburg describes as competing for the exilarchate in the last quarter of the twelfth century. In Mann’s view, Samuel prevailed over his cousin, served as exilarch, and was ultimately succeeded …

David ben Zakkay I

(423 words)

Author(s): Arnold Franklin
According to the Judeo-Arabic report of Rabbi Nathan ha-Bavlī (Nathan the Babylonian), David ben Zakkay (d. ca 940) succeeded ʿUqba as exilarch in the first quarter of the tenth century, the latter having been forced out of office by a faction made up of the leaders of the Pumbedita yeshiva and some wealthy Jewish bankers in Baghdad. A letter sent to Palestine in this early phase of his tenure in office reflects David’s efforts to establish close ties with Jewish communities outside Iraq. Relations between David and Saʿadya ben Joseph were initially good. Together they resisted th…

David ben Zakkay II

(274 words)

Author(s): Arnold Franklin
David ben Zakkay II (d. ca 1216) may have been the full name of a member of the Babylonian exilarchic family named David who resided in Mosul at the end of the twelfth and beginning of the thirteenth century. According to the travel account of Petahiah of Regensburg, who visited Iraq around the year 1175, the Jewish community was divided between two candidates for the exilarchate, the cousins David and Samuel from the city of Mosul. A colophon stating that Rashi’s commentary on tractate Bava Meṣiʿa of the Babylonian Talmud was copied in 1192 for “David the Exilarch” may ref…

David D’Beth Hillel

(396 words)

Author(s): Tudor Parfitt
David D’Beth Hillel (d. 1846) was a Jewish scholar and traveler from Vilna (present day Vilnius) in Lithuania. Born into a family of scholars and rabbis, he went to Palestine around 1815 with some followers of the Gaon of Vilna and settled in Safed. In 1824 he set out on a remarkable journey, inspired by religious zeal and a passionate interest in the unknown Jewish communities of the East and the fabled Lost Tribes of Israel. The account of his journey, written in English, Travels through Arabia, Kurdistan, Part of Persia and India to Madras 1824–32(Madras, 1832), published in an editio…

Davīdī, Ḥakham Uriel

(512 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Ḥakham Uriel Davidi was born in Khunsār in the province of Isfahan in 1925. His father, Rabbi Me'ir, was the local rabbi and also a circumciser (Heb. mohel) and ritual slaughterer (Heb. shoḥeṭ) in nearby towns. Ḥakham Davidi was the youngest in a family of fourteen children. His father died when he was seventeen, and he himself married at the age of eighteen. He continued his Torah studies in his hometown and, at the same time, taught at the local Talmud Torah. Later he also taught at the Ozar Hatorah school in Tehran. Besides…
▲   Back to top   ▲