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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Dhamārī, Manṣūr Sulaymān (Ḥoter ben Solomon)

(419 words)

Author(s): David Blumenthal
Ḥoter ben Solomon, also known as Manṣūr ibn Sulaymān, lived in Dhamar, Yemen, in the first half of the fifteenth century under the Rasuli dynasty. The dates we have for him are 1423, when he wrote his Seventy Questions and Answers , and 1434/35, the time of the great plague that beset Yemen. The Yemenite Jewish culture in which Ḥoter wrote was very productive. Its foremost exemplars included Abraham ben Solomon (1422), Zechariah ben Solomon ha-Rofe’ (1427), Saʿid ben David (1446), and Sar Shalom ben David (1451). The culture was steeped in the works of Maimonides. However, drawing on the Rasā’…


(1,790 words)

Author(s): Fred Astren
The Arabic term dhimma in Muslim law and tradition describes the legal status of certain categories of non-Muslims in Muslim society. Dhimma may be translated as “protection” or “covenant of protection,” indicating the contractual character of the status, whereby the Muslim community granted protection and hospitality to non-Muslims in exchange for their acknowledgment of Muslim sovereignty and dominance. The assignee of dhimma (known as a dhimmī) was excluded from military service and was subject to other limitations. In exchange for communal recognition and autonomy, dhimmīs

Diaspora Communities

(5,776 words)

Author(s): Racheline Barda | Alanna Cooper | Leah R. Baer | Ruth Fredman Cernea | Mikhael Elbaz | Et al.
1. Bukhara In the mid-nineteenth century, after Bukhara came under Russian control, its Jews developed new contacts, both cultural and commercial, with Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere. Taking advantage of improved conditions for trade and travel, a cosmopolitan nouveau-riche class emerged, primarily engaged in financing, producing, and selling textiles. Between the 1890s and 1920s, small numbers of Bukharan Jews relocated from Central Asia. A thousand or so settled in Moscow, Paris, and London. Another  two thousand at most moved to Palestin…

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…

Dilmāniān, Yaʿqūb

(265 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Yaʿqūb Dilmāniān (Yaghoub Dilmanian), a Jewish merchant from Mashhad, Iran, compiled a history of the forced conversion to Shīʿī Islam of the city's Jewish community who were known as the Jad īd-i Islām (lit. "the new ones of Islam"). He was born in Mashhad in 1902 and died in 1988. As a businessman he traveled frequently and spent many years outside Mashhad in places such as Bombay. When Dilmāniān turned thirty-two, he decided to gather the recollections of the Mashhadi community elders and write a history of the Allāhdād (Pers. God gave), the forced conversion of the Jews of Mash…

Dimyāṭī, al-Sadīd al-

(457 words)

Author(s): Amir Mazor
Al-Sadīd al-Dimyāṭī was one of the personal physicians of the Mamluk sultan al-Nāṣir Muḥammad ibn Qalāwūn (1285–1341) in Cairo. A member of the eminent Karaite family of Ibn Ṣaghīr/Kūjik (“Small”), and known as Ibn Kūjik, he was one of the few court physicians from this family who did not convert to Islam. We have no information regarding al-Sadīd al-Dimyāṭī’s personal name (Ar. ism). His nisba (attribution), however, indicates that the town of Damietta (Ar. Dimyāṭ) in the Delta on the east branch of the Nile River was his place of origin. His honorific title (Ar. laqab) al-Sadīd (“the so…

Diplomacy, Jews in, Ottoman Empire and Sharifan Morocco

(3,679 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
From the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, Jews played a prominent role in foreign relations between the Ottoman Empire and European states, sometimes as active, formal participants who might be labeled “diplomats,” but often informally in the background. Jews were involved on the both the Ottoman and European sides, but the participation of women on the Ottoman side is especially worthy of note. The involvement of Jews in Ottoman diplomacy declined after the seventeenth century, but it continued for some time in the Dardanelles, Syria, and Sharifan Morocco. 1. Fifteenth to Six…

Djedeïda, Ferme-École de

(383 words)

Author(s): Haim Saadoun
Established by the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) in 1895, the Ferme-École de Djédeïda, 21 kilometers (13 miles) northwest of Tunis, was an agricultural school for boys. The goal of the school was to teach farming to Jewish urban youth from the Mediterranean countries, a venture embodying the AIU ideology that a “return to the soil” was central to the “regeneration” of the Jewish people. The AIU’s first agricultural school, Mikve Israel near Jaffa, was established in 1870. It had other farm s…


(378 words)

Author(s): Danièle Iancu-Agou
Djelfa is a small city in north-central Algeria in the Ouled Naïl Mountains between the towns of Bou Saâda and Laghouat. It lies approximately 250 kilometers (155 miles) due south of Algiers on the Trans-Saharan Highway at the topographic transition between the dry, steppe-like high plateaus of the north, with their seasonal salt lakes ( chott), and the Sahara desert to the south. The region boasts many oases, such as those found around Bou Saâda.       Although the area has been long occupied by nomadic and seminomadic tribes, with Neolithic rock carvings in the surrounding hills dat…