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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Wahb b. Yaʿīsh al-Raqqī

(964 words)

Author(s): Michael G. Wechsler
Wahb b. Yaʿīsh al-Raqqī, apparently called Nathan ben Ḥayyim in Hebrew, was a Jewish religious thinker during the second half of the tenth century. As indicated by his nisba (cognomen), he hailed from the city of (al-)Raqqa on the mid-Euphrates in present-day Syria. At that time, Raqqa was an important center of Jewish culture, and seems also to have been the locus of interfaith philosophical and religious dialogue between Jews (Rabbanite as well as Karaite/Ananite), Muslims, Christians, Sabaeans, and Zoroastrians. Indeed …
Date: 2015-09-03

Wallachia

(7 words)

Author(s): Avigdor Levy
see Romania (Ottoman) Avigdor Levy

Waqqāṣa family

(377 words)

Author(s): Maya Shatzmiller
The Banū Waqqāṣa, or Ruqqāṣa, were a Jewish family in Fez whose members served the Marīnid dynasty in Morocco between 1286 and 1310. The first Banū Waqqāṣa courtier, Khalīfa b. Ḥayyūn, began as a boon companion to Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf (r. 1286–1307). He soon became the sultan’s chamberlain (Ar. ājib), according to Ibn Khaldūn's Kitāb al-ʿIbar, our main source, and after he eliminated his Muslim rivals his power extended throughout the Marīnid state. He was present at every meeting of …

Wargla

(461 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
Wargla (Warglān; Fr. Ouargla) is an oasis town in the Algerian Sahara located 659 kilometers (410 miles) southeast of Algiers. It was once an important way-station on the caravan route to Timbuktu and West Africa. Nothing is known about the town before the Islamic period. The Muslims of medieval Wargla were adherents of the Kharijite Ibāḍī sect, which was generally tolerant of Jews. The Jewish community in Wargla during the Middle Ages was apparently a Karaite center and is noted as such by Abraham ibn Ezraand Abraham Ibn Da’ud. In his commentary on Exodus 12:11, Ibn Ezra ment…

Wazzana, Jacob

(393 words)

Author(s): Yoram Bilu
Jacob (Yaʿaqov) Wazzana was born at the turn of the twentieth century in Assarag, a small village in the remote Tifnout Valley in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Descended from a distinguished family of sages venerated as holy men (Heb. ṣaddiqim), Wazzana was strongly inclined toward Muslim magical healing practices. From an early age he sought the mentorship of famous sheikhs and gradually became a master of his craft. Wazzana’s mythologization stemmed from his total commitment to his calling: he never married, was utterly contemptuous of social conventions, and showed no interest in amassing possessions and wealth. Moreover, he was audaciously involve…

Weinstein, Carmen

(259 words)

Author(s): Callie Maidhof
Carmen Weinstein, born in Cairo, Egypt, on October 10, 1931, became president of the Cairo Jewish Community in 2004. A longtime communal activist, Weinstein is best known for her efforts to conserve Egyptian Jewish artifacts and buildings. Her work on this issue began in 1975, when she launched a struggle on behalf of the Bassatine Cemetery, thought to be the world’s second-oldest Jewish cemetery (after the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem). In 1988, at a time when women still could not hold official positions on the community board, she was selected t…

Weinstein, Esther

(229 words)

Author(s): Callie Maidhof
Esther Weinstein, president of the Cairo Jewish Community from1996 to 2002, was born Esther Chaki to a Greek father and an Egyptian mother in Cairo, on July 14, 1910. She lived there until her death on October 4, 2004. In August 1996, members of the community staged what one Egyptian journalist called a “palace revolt,” overturning the all-male board headed by  Emile Rousseauand replacing it with one that more closely resembled the demographic make-up of the city’s aging, largely female Jewish population. The reform was engineered by Carmen Weinstein, the elder of Weinstein’s two …