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

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…

David u-Moshe

(412 words)

Author(s): Oren Kosansky
David u-Moshe (David son [Berb. u-] of Moses) belongs to the category of sainted Moroccan rabbis ( ṣaddiqim) whose graves became national and transnational pilgrimage destinations in the twentieth century. His hagiographic biography follows a typical pattern that identifies the saint as a rabbinical emissary ( shadar or meshullaḥ) who came to Morocco to raise funds for his yeshiva in Jerusalem. David u-Moshe’s appearance in southern Morocco, according to alternative narrative versions, took place either 900 or 250 years ago, but most accounts…

Dayan Family

(785 words)

Author(s): Yaron Harel
The Dayan family in Aleppo had an ancient tradition tracing its descent to King David. In the introduction to his book Yashir Moshe (Heb. Moses Sang), Rabbi Moses Dayan (d. 1901) actually detailed the family tree for eighty-five generations from King David to himself. Members of the family were the leaders of the Jewish community of Aleppo for centuries. The family’s original name was Nasi (Heb. prince), but it was later known as Dayan (Heb. dayyan, judge) in recognition of the importance of passing judgments in the role of communal leadership. Authority was passed dow…

D (Da‘at le-Hisha’el (Knowledge to Ask, Yom Ṭov Algazi) - dates, trade, Jewish involvement in)

(1,507 words)

Da‘at le-Hisha’el (Knowledge to Ask, Yom Ṭov Algazi), Algazi, Yom Ṭov ben Israel Jacob al-Ḍabbī, Al-Andalus dabīq (linen variety), Clothing, Jewelry and Make-up al-Dabīrān al-Kātibī, Najm al-Dīn, Ibn Kammūna, Saʿd Dades Valley (Morocco), Jewish communities in, Atlas Mountains (Morocco), Sephardim/Sephardi Jews in the Ottoman Empire Dafinanet (website), France, Internet Daga (Imrad, descendants of Jews of Touat), Touat Dagestan  Jews in, Avshalumov, Hizqil, Juhūrī (Judeo-Tat or Judeo-Tātī)   Caucasus mountain Jews    demography of, Caucasus (Mountain Jews)    early his…

D (dating - department stores: in Tunisia)

(1,625 words)

dating  of early Judeo-Persian documents, Judeo-Persian Literature  of Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer,Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer Dā’ūd Pasha, Sassoon Family Daud, Zaki, Sudan Daughters of Zion Beneficial Society (Tangier), Laredo Family Daumling, Joachim, Anti-Judaism/Antisemitism/Anti-Zionism Davar (newspaper, Israel), Tabib, Mordechai Davar be-‘Itto (A Matter in its Own Time, Sasson Shindukh), Shindukh Family Davar li-Yeladim (Mordechai Tabib), Tabib, Mordechai David, A., Bertinoro, Obadiah da David, Yonah, Ibn Ṣaddīq, Joseph (Abū ʿAmr) ben Jacob, Jacob ben Eleaza…

D (deportation of Jews - Diqduq (Joseph ibn Nūḥ))

(1,704 words)

deportation of Jews  from Greece, Larissa (Yenishehir-i Fenari)  Italian, from Aleppo, Picciotto Family  to concentration camps, Jebel Nafusa, Libya, Monastir (Bitola, Manastir), Tripoli, Libya, Cohen-Hadria, Victor, Larissa (Yenishehir-i Fenari)   see alsoexpulsion, of Jews Depré, France, Edirne (Adrianople) Deragobyan, Aram, Beth Israel Synagogue (Şişli, Istanbul) Derby (firm in rubber and chemicals commodities, Turkey), Torel, Rafael Derekh Emuna ( The Way of Truth, Jacob Duwayk-haKohen), Duwayk (Dweck, Dwek, Duek, Douek, Doweck, Dowek) Family Derekh Ereṣ ha-Mes…

D (Diqduqe ha-Ṭe‘amim (The Fine Rules of the Accents, Aaron ben Asher) - dynamics, theories of)

(1,979 words)

Diqduqe ha-Ṭe‘amim (The Fine Rules of the Accents, Aaron ben Asher), Grammar and Masora, Grammar and Masora, Ben Asher, Aaron (Abū Saʿīd Hārūn) ben Moses directors  Jewish   in Egypt, Mizrahi, Togo   in France, Mizrahi, Moshe   in Israel, Mizrahi, Moshe Discount Bank and Trust, Switzerland discrimnatory regulations against Jews seeanti-Jewish measures Disegni, Dario, Tripoli, Libya, Nhaisi, Elia Dispensaire Polyvalent (comprehensive clinic, Algeria), Gozlan, Élie Disputation of Tortosa (1412–1414), Lorca, Saragossa Distortion (film, Ḥayyim Bouzaglo), Bouzaglo (B…


(834 words)

Author(s): Shalom Bar-Asher
Debdou (Dubdū) is a town in northeastern Morocco, near the Algerian border, in the Oued Debdou Valley at the base of the right flank of a straight cliff rising 80 meters (263 feet) above the valley. The town is situated on the route from the Sahara to Taza, and was famous for its Jewish community, which in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries constituted three-fourths of its inhabitants, making it one of the few towns where Jews actually outnumbered Muslims. From its early years, the rulers of Fez demonstrated an interest in controlling Debdou, and it was part of the terri…

Deghel Sion

(262 words)

Author(s): Rachel Simon
Deghel Sion (The Banner of Zion) was the organ of the first Zionist organization in Libya, Circolo Sion (Zion Circle). Published in Tripoli in Judeo-Arabic from 1920 to 1924, it appeared twice a month for the first two years and then weekly. Its editors included Rafaelle Barce, Rafaelle Arbib, and Khuato Lagziel. Deghel Sion described itself as a “Zionist, religious, and political periodical” and had a Star of David in between the words of its title, which was printed in both Hebrew and Italian. The use of Judeo-Arabic made it possible for Deghel Sion to reach the largest possible reade…

De La Mar (al-Baḥḥār) Family

(524 words)

Author(s): Shalom Bar-Asher
The De La Mar (also Delmar, diʾl-Mār, del-Amār) family of Jewish  merchants courtiers and political advisers was active in Morocco from the late seventeenth through the eighteenth century. Some members of the family bore the Arabic version of the name, Lebḥar (Ar. al-baḥr = Sp. la mar,the sea) and al-Baḥḥār (Ar. the seaman). The first record of an individual with this name refers to Jacob Lebḥar of Safi, on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in 1650. The patriarch of the family in the following century was Shalom (or Shalem) De La Mar, who was also known as al-Baḥḥār (d. after 1775). He was one of the royal merchants (Ar. tujjār al-sulṭān ). Together with his son Mordecai De La Mar, he served as an…

De La Mar (al-Baḥḥār), Masʿūd

(492 words)

Author(s): Shalom Bar-Asher
Masʿūd De La Mar (also Delmar or al-Baḥḥār), like his fellow member of the De La Mar family of Jewish traders in eighteenth-century Morocco, was close to the Alawid sultans Sīdī Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd-Allāh (r. 1757–1790). Masʿūd served as the sultan’s representative in Holland and England, and he  settled in Amsterdam in 1775, periodically visiting London, where he had his own agent. The Jewish merchant elite of Morocco, with the De La Mars in the forefront, were part of a cosmopolitan network of international Jewish traders and  merchants who were active in Europe and throughout the Medit…

De La Mar (al-Baḥḥār), Mordecai

(682 words)

Author(s): Shalom Bar-Asher
Mordecai De La Mar(also Delmar or al-Baḥḥār), a member of the influential De La Mar family of Morocco, was a Jewish trader, intermediary, and political adviser in El-Jadida (Mazagan) and Safiduring the eighteenth century. Mordecai was one of the five sons born to Shalom (Shalem) De La Mar (d. after 1775), an adviser of the Alawid sultan Sīdī Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd-Allāh (r. 1757–1790). Mordecai and his brothers were merchant-shippers actively involved in commerce by sea (hence the origin of their name, from Sp. del mar, from the sea, and Ar. baḥḥār, seaman or mariner) and also in banking.…

Deleon, Jak

(201 words)

Author(s): Aksel Vansten
Jak Deleon was born in Istanbul in 1951. He studied English literature at Bosporus University and completed his Ph.D. at Istanbul University in 1979. Deleon became a professor in 1997. He taught a wide array of subjects, including advanced English, ballet history, and “Visual Istanbul Studies” at Bosporus University as well as at Istanbul Bilgi University. A crucial determinant of Deleon’s work and personality was his endless enthusiasm for th…

Delmar, Jacob

(250 words)

Author(s): Shalom Bar-Asher
Jacob Delmar(also De La Mar or al-Baḥḥār) was a Jewish official in the New York City customs house during the first half of the nineteenth century. Jacob may have been a member of the noted De La Mar (Delmar, al-Baḥḥār, or Lebḥar) family of Jewish traders from Morocco. He was born in 1793 in Gibraltar, where he lived for the first thirty years of his life, but eventually migrated far from his origins, arriving in New York City in 1827. Two years later he was appointed manager of the customs house in the city, where he worked for sixteen years.Management of customs hous…

Del Medico, Henri E.

(389 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Henri E. Del Medico was a  Semitist scholar and translator who specialized in his later years in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Born in Istanbul in 1896, Del Medico left for France in 1922, where he commenced his study of the ancient Near East, continuing at the Pontifical Institute in Rome during the Second World War. His early works focused on the Hebrew Bible and the Ugaritic texts from Ras Shamra. Especially noteworthy were his Essai sur Kahrié Djami au début du XIIème siècle (Leipzig and Berlin, 1932), Armées et finances dans l’Ancien Testament (Paris, 1933), Le Rite de la guerre da…


(860 words)

Author(s): Sarah Frances Levin
Demnat (Ar. Damnāt; Fr. Demnate) is a walled town in the foothills of Morocco’s central High Atlas Mountains with an important weekly market for the entire region and beyond. Located at the crossroads of trade routes connecting Marrakesh,  88 kilometers (55 miles) to the west, to Fez, and the Atlantic plains to the pre-Saharan regions, in a fertile, intensively cultivated region with extensive olive groves, it was favorably situated for commercial exchanges.…


(5,681 words)

Author(s): Sergio DellaPergola
1. Pre-dispersion survey Population Size and Geographical Distribution The partition of Jewish communities between areas of religious and cultural influence is not entirely straightforward. Long-term reconstruction of the demographic development of Jewish communities in Islamic countries is possible based on the partial documentation available, the use of a variety of multidisciplinary tools, and some conjecture. Any attempt to monitor and describe the development of Jewish populations in the Islamic countries must consider the fact that a broad Jewish popul…

Denet Kashrut Supervision and Kosher Food Distribution

(150 words)

Author(s): Aksel Vansten
Denet Gıda Pazarlama Üretim ve Denetim A.Ş. (Denet Kashrut Supervision & Kosher Food Distribution) is the only kosher certificate supervision firm in Turkey approved by the chief rabbinate. Founded in January 2004, the company chiefly supervises institutions that apply to obtain international kosher certification. Jewish institutions such as hospitals and retirement homes as well as kosher restaurants, butcher shops, and food import/export companies are among Denet’s primary customer base. …


(418 words)

Author(s): Arturo Prats
The independent taifa kingdom of Denia (Ar. Dāniya ) in the first half of the eleventh century incorporated the Balearic Islands (Ar. al-Jazāʾir) and was founded by the Slavic taifa king Abū al-Jaysh Mujāhid (1010–1013). He actively supported the creation of a center for the study of the Qurʿān in the city of Denia. Like the other taifa kingdoms in the eastern part of the Iberian peninsula, Denia was the final destination of refugee intellectuals fleeing the destruction of Cordova, among them the famous Muslim theologian Ibn Ḥazm. There was probably a Jewish community in Denia before t…

Derʿi, Aryeh

(440 words)

Author(s): Avi Picard
Aryeh Derʿi was born in Meknes, Morocco, in 1959. Ten years later his family moved to Israel, where he was attended ḥaredi (ultra-Orthodox) schools and was recognized as a brilliant student. He became close to Rabbi Ovadya Yosef while serving as his son’s tutor and was the secretary of the Council of Torah Sages when …

Derrida, Jacques

(1,007 words)

Author(s): Aubrey L. Glazer
Riddled with contradictions and writing as what he called “the last Jew,” the philosopher, author, and cultural critic, Jacques Derridawas driven by a Jewish passion for truth. One of the most frequently quoted thinkers in the humanities over the past forty years, Derrida’s search for truth through writing is what he, and fellow Algerian-born Jewish feminist, …
▲   Back to top   ▲