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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Sahl ibn Faḍl al-Tustarī

(367 words)

Author(s): Marzena Zawanowska
Abū ʾl-Faḍl Sahl ibn Faḍl al-Tustarī (al-Dustarī; Heb. Jashar ben Ḥesed ben Jashar) was a Karaite scholar and exegete from the famous Tustarī family. He came from Tustar (Shustar) in Persia and toward the end of the eleventh century settled in Jerusalem, where he soon entered into conflict with Jeshua ben Judah, the head of the Karaite community there. Sahl was one of the last known Karaite scholars active in Jerusalem. His son was taken captive by the Crusaders in 1099. Composing all of his works in Arabic, he wrote numerous commentaries, but nothing has been preserved except fragme…

Saʿīd ibn Ḥasan al-Iskandarī (al-Iskandarānī)

(796 words)

Author(s): Dennis Halft
Saʿīd ibn Ḥasan was a Muslim polemicist against Judaism and the Bible who lived in the late thirteenth and first half of the fourteenth century. He was born into a Jewish family in Alexandria and was taught the Hebrew Scriptures in childhood by his father. By his own account, both his father and he were “Jewish scholars” (

Saints' Tombs

(13 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Pilgrimages and Pilgrimage Rituals, Saints' Tombs Norman A. Stillman


(7 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Rabat-Salé Norman A. Stillman

Salem, Avram

(302 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Avram Salem (Sālim; d. 1907) was a Jewish medical student turned activist in the Young Turk movement. Originally from Salonica, Avram and his brother Asher both studied medicine at the Royal Medical Academy in Istanbul. While there they became involved in political activitiesdirected against the reactionary regime of Sultan Abdülhamit II (r. 1876–1909) and were exiled to Tripoli in 1897 for “having nourished modern ideas.” Simon notes that they, together with the physician Dr. Albert Bakish, were almost the only Jewish activists sent to Libya. Avram and possibly his brother esca…

Salem, Emmanuel Raphael

(1,077 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Emmanuel Raphael Salem (1859–1940) was a lawyer and specialist in international law, as well as an active member of the Jewish communities of Salonica and Istanbul during the final decades of the Ottoman Empire. Named after his ancestor Rabbi Emmanuel Salem, he was born to …

Sālim Manṣūra (Shalom Mantzura)

(370 words)

Author(s): Mark Wagner
Sālim Manṣūra (1916–2007) was born in Sanʿa in Yemen and entered his father Yaʿīsh’s alcohol and rosewater business, an enterprise that was lucrative but dangerous because of the severe punishment for selling alcohol to Muslims (in fact, Yaʿīsh Manṣūra’s home was once demolished on the orders of Imām Yaḥyā Ḥamīd al-Dīn). Through his trade in luxury goods and alcohol, Sālim Manṣūra developed close ties with the imām’s family and especially his son and heir, Imām Aḥmad (d. 1962).…

Salmon ben Jeroham (Sulaym ibn Ruḥaym)

(1,285 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Salmon ben Jeroham (Yerūḥam),—known in Arabic as Sulaym, or Sulaymān, ibn Ruḥaym, flourished in Jerusalem around the middle of the tenth century alongside such important Karaite littérateurs as Abu ʾl-Surri ibn Zūṭṭā, David ben Abraham al-Fāsī, Ḥasan ben Mashiaḥ, Sahl ben Maṣliah, Japheth (Yefet) ben ʿEli, and Joseph ibn Nūḥ. According to the chronicle of Ibn al-Hītī he died in Aleppo. His patronymic should probably be spelled Yerūḥam, as implied by the rhyme with yenūḥam in ( inter alia) the proem to his commentary on Esther (Ms. RNL Yevr.-Arab. I 4467, fol. 1v), though it is spelled Yerūḥām in the epilogue to Japeth ben ʿEli’s commentary on Daniel, and Yerūḥi/īm per the acrostic at the end of Salmon’s Sefer Milḥamot Adonay. Notwithstanding the Arabic commentary on the Pentateuch by al-Qirqisānī, of which only a small portion is extant, and the use of Arabic glosses by Daniel al-Qūmisī in his commentary on the Minor …
Date: 2015-09-03


(7 words)

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

Şalom (Shalom), Istanbul

(741 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Şalom ( Shalom) is a weekly newspaper in Istanbul that was founded in 1947 by the journalist Avram Leyon and is now published by Gözlem Gazetecilik Basın ve Yayın. The only paper serving the Jewish community in Turkey, it focuses on news of the Turkish Jewish community, domestic and international affairs, and Jewish culture and traditions. In addition, Şalom has op-ed columns that discuss social and political issues in Turkey and abroad. Şalom’s motto, “ A lo tuerto tuerto, a lo dereço dereço” (Right for the right, crookedness for the crooked), is printed above the masthead of every issue. Af…

Salonica (Thessaloniki; Selanik)

(8,712 words)

Author(s): Minna Rozen
1.  Origins and Glory Days, 1430–1595 The Jewish community of pre-Ottoman Salonica was mostly Greek-speaking, and its life-style was much the same as that of the city’s Greek Christian residents. The Ottoman conquest of Salonica in 1430 did little to change this. With the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, however, Sultan Mehmet II ordered all the Jewish residents of Salonica moved to his new capital as part of the sürgün programof population transfers. As a result, there were in all likelihood no Jews at all in Salonica between 1453 and 1492, since none …

S (al-Salṭana, Ḥisām - Ṣarfati, Vidal (II) ben Isaac: writings of)

(1,512 words)

al-Salṭana, Ḥisām, Mashhad Ṣalūbā seeBustanay Salūnī n-nās (People Ask Me, Sami Elmaghribi), Elmaghribi, Samy (Amzallag) Salusque Lusitano seeUsque, Solomon ben Abraham Salut cousin (film, Merzak Allouache), Elmaleh, Gad şalvar (trousers), Clothing, Jewelry and Make-up, Clothing, Jewelry and Make-up salvation, Abraham ibn Ezra on, Ibn Ezra, Abraham (Abu Iṣḥāq) Salzer Weissmann, Hélène, Béhar, Rachel Samanpazari Synagogue (Ankara), Ankara Samaria, Samaritans under Muslim Rule  in Ottoman Period, Samaritans under Muslim Rule Samaritans  in Abbasid period   dress codes,…

Samaritans under Muslim Rule

(1,676 words)

Author(s): Friedrich Niessen
The archaeological history of Shechem, the chief city of Samaria, goes back to the fourth millennium B.C.E. Early in the second millennium, it is mentioned in the Egyptian execration texts. Over the centuries, the district was continuously populated. The Samaritans, as they…

Samarqand (Samarkand)

(2,265 words)

Author(s): Albert Kaganovitch
Samarkand, today the second largest city in Uzbekistan, is one of the oldest cities in the part of Central Asia known historically as Transoxiana.  It was large and well populated in antiquity as well as in early Islamic times. Located at the crossroads between India, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Turkish steppes, along the Silk Road to Turkestan and China, it was an intensely fertile region, where agriculture flourished thanks to irrigation sustained by the Zarafshān River. Although the Jewish presence in Samarkand can be assumed to be ancient because of the trade routes that passed through the area, evidence of a settled community is not attested in writing until the twelfth century and evidence remains extremely sparse until the eighteenth century. According to a legend recorded in Arabic by …

Samawʾal al-Maghribī, al-

(987 words)

Author(s): Sabine Schmidtke
Abū Naṣr al-Samawʾal ibn Yaḥyā al-Maghribī (d. 1175), a renowned mathematician and physician, was the son of Judah ibn Abūn (Abū ʾl-Baqā Yaḥyā ibn ʿAbbās al-Maghribī), a rabbi and poet from Fez who moved to Baghdad prior to al-Samawʾal’s birth, and of Hannah, the learned daughter of Isḥ…

Sambari, Joseph ben Isaac

(1,058 words)

Author(s): Benjamin Hary
Joseph ben Isaac Sambari, who lived in Cairo probably between 1640 and 1703, was a scholar with unique interests. Whereas most of his contemporaries had no interest in writing history, Sambari, in addition to engaging in biblical studies, was also a noted historian. His teacher was Ḥananiah Barhon, and his patron was Raphael Joseph, the chief financier (Ar. ṣarrāf bāshī) of the Ottoman governor of Egypt, Qaraqash ʿAlī. Like David Conforte, Sambari attended …

Samuel (Abū Manṣūr) ben Hananiah

(403 words)

Author(s): Elinoar Bareket
A famous physician in Cairo, Samuel (Abū Manṣūr) ben Hananiah came from a family of physicians that included his father and brother and was appointed court physician to the Fatimid caliph al-Ḥāfiẓ (r. 1131–1149). According to Muslim chroniclers, his master, facing the prospect of a civil war between his two sons, summoned Samuel immediately upon his ascent to the throne along with another physician, a Christian. He asked Samuel to prepare a deadly drug for one of the sons. Samuel refused, claiming he did not know how to prepa…

Samuel ben Daniel ben Azariah

(168 words)

Author(s): Marina Rustow
Samuel ben Daniel ben Azariah was the eldest of the four sons of the Palestinian gaon Daniel ben Azariah (1051–1062). He was born around 1050, and when his father died, he moved with his mother and siblings to Damascus. By 1074, Samuel was the head of the Jewish community in Damascus and of a rabbinic court there. He bore the yeshiva title “third” and also the title of nasi. Samuel was the probable author of a florid public epistle announcing his father’s death, the middle part of which has survived in the Cairo Geniza. Marina Rustow Bibliography Gil, Moshe.  A History of Palestine, 634–1099, tra…

Samuel ben David

(269 words)

Author(s): Marina Rustow
Samuel ben David was exilarch in Baghdad during the Mongol conquest of 1258. His name appears in the letter of Jacob ben Elijah of Valencia (or of Venice?) to the apostate Pablo Christiani describing the situation of the Jews in Baghdad at the time. In order to raise funds to defend the city against the Mongol forces, the Abbasid caliph al-Mustaʿṣim (r. 1247–1258) imposed an enormous tax on the Jews, allegedly at the behest of Muslims who, according to Jacob, claimed that the head of the yeshiva and the exilarch were extremely wealthy: “the head of the yeshi…
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