Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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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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Obadia, Hakki

(219 words)

Author(s): Mark Kligman
Hakki Obadia is an accomplished musician, born in Baghdad (no date available), who plays violin and ‘ud (Middle Eastern lute). At an early age, Obadia was trained in both Western classical and Middle Eastern music. Starting his career in Baghdad, he moved to the United States and studied at the University of California, Berkley, in the 1940s. Earning a music degree, he taught for thirty years in public schools on Long Island, New York. In the 1950s and onwards, he was active in the Arab musical life of New York City, playing in night clubs and in recording studios. He performed with Eddie Kocha…

Obadiah ha-Sefardi

(177 words)

Author(s): Angel Saénz-Badillos
Nothing is known about the life or exact dates of Obadiah ha-Sefardi, a medieval Iberian translator of linguistic works. His most important work was doubtless the translation from Arabic into Hebrew of Jonah ibn Janāḥ’s Kitāb al-Mustalḥaq (Book of Complement; Heb. Sefer ha-Hassaga - Book of Criticism) which tried to complete, but in a critical way, the work of Judah Ḥayyūj on the weak and geminated verbs. Obadiah’s translation has come down to us in two manuscripts, both of which were used for the critical edition of the Hebrew version of Ibn Janāḥ’s bo…

Ocak Bazirgani

(472 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
The post of ocak bazirgâni (corps merchant), also called ocak sarrafi (corps banker), was an important official position dominated by Jews in the Ottoman Empire. The ocak bazirgâni acted as chief purveyor and financier of the Janissary corps, a major element of the Ottoman army, providing all essential supplies, including cloth and uniforms, often made by Jewish textile manufacturers. The incumbent was, in the words of Bernard Lewis, “a kind of private enterprise quartermaster.” Like many other influential offices in the Ottoman Empire, that of ocak bazirgâni became hereditary an…