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Ben Yehuda Society

(266 words)

Author(s): Rachel Simon
The Ben Yehuda Society for the promotion of spoken Hebrew, headed by Jacob Fargion and Sion Saul Adadi, was established in Tripoli, Libya, in 1931 by young Zionist men eager to read Hebrew periodicals from Palestine in order to deepen their knowledge of events there and in the Zionist world. Self-taught in modern Hebrew, they set out to make Hebrew the spoken language of the whole community. They started Hebrew courses for adults followed by afternoon classes for children in the Ha-Tiqva school; in both cases, classes were gender-based. The number of children increased from …

Zliten

(302 words)

Author(s): Rachel Simon
Zliten lies on the Mediterranean coast about 93 miles (150 kilometers) east of Tripoli, Libya. Little is known about the town’s Jewish community before the eighteenth century, but it numbered more than seven hundred in the twentieth. Most of the local Jews were craftsmen, peddlers, and small merchants, but there were a few wealthy traders and moneylenders. In the late nineteenth century Zliten’s Jews were involved in the processing and exporting of esparto grass for paper production. Zliten is famous for the Bu-Shayf synagogue, the focus of numerous miracle tales and a pilgri…

Jewish Journals in the Islamic World

(18,763 words)

Author(s): Rachel Simon
ADEN Aden Niv Geʾulah; Hebrew; 1949; Organ of the Geʾulah emigrants’ camp. ALGERIA Algiers Adziri; See: L’Israélite Algérien Annuaire du Judaïsme Nord-Africain; French; 1953; single issue; Informative publication of the Jewish Algerian Committee for Social Studies (single issue). L’Anticlérical Juif; French; 1898; monthly; Political monthly, edited by Henry Tubiana. L’Appel; French; 1947–1948; bimonthly; Political, social and literary independent. Bamaavak = Ba-Maʾavaq; French; 1950; single issue; Zionist journal of the Halutz “Dror” movement. Besorot Yisraʾel; See:…

Shami, Yitzḥaq

(741 words)

Author(s): Rachel Simon
Born in Hebron, Yitzḥaq Shami (1888–1949) was the son of Eliyahu Sarwi, a textile merchant from Damascus who was known as ash-Shami (“the Damascene”).  As a adult he adopted his father’s sobriquet as his literary and legal surname. Shami grew up bilingual, speaking Arabic with his father and Ladino (see Judeo-Spanish) with his mother, a native of Hebron who belonged to the Sephardic Castel family. He became familiar with the daily life of the Arab villagers and Bedouins of the Hebron region because of his father’s b…
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