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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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 the city of Istanbul, its history and its culture. Deleon authored more than thirty books, the majority of them on Istanbul, concentr…

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. Demnat is famous for its grapes and the excellent wines once produced by its Jewish residents. The origins of…


(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.  In addition to its supervisory mission, Denet supplies most of the kosher…


(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 Shas was founded. As assistant to Yitzhak Peretz, the leader of Shas, he was appointed director general of the Ministry of Interior (also known as the Ministry of Internal Affairs) in 1984,  when Peretz entered the cabinet as interior m…

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, Hélène Cixous, call “insepharable” from a textual Jewish identity of belonging-by-not-belonging. Yet it is only from his exilic position as outsider that redemption is once again possible on the inside of…
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