(c. 1620-1695), halakhic writer and preacher, the oldest son of Hayyim Alfandari the Elder, one of the leading scholars of Constantinople. Alfandari, who studied under his father, taught at a yeshivah. His disciples included Jacob Sasson. According to Abraham Miguel Cardoso, he urged his devotees not to accept the teaching of Shabbetai Zevi. He wrote many responsa, but most of his writings were destroyed in a fire in Constantinople. Some were rescued and published by his nephew Hayyim b. Isaac Alfandari, under the title Muzzal me-Esh ("Saved from Fire"; appended to his Esh Dat, Constantinople, 1718). Another portion, also published under the same title, was incorporated in Joseph Kas-abi’s responsa Rav Yosef (Constantinople, 1736), which was edited by Kasabi’s pupil Jacob b. Judah Alfandari, grandson of the author. The responsa that he sent in reply to his brother Isaac Raphael’s inquiries were published in Maggid me-Reshit (1660-74). A book of his sermons was in the possession of his nephew, Hayyim b. Isaac Raphael, who, in his Esh Dat, frequently cites homiletical expositions in his uncle’s name. His rhetorical style, which is replete with rabbinical sayings, caused Hayyim Joseph David Azulai to call him "the father of rhetoric." His grandson Jacob was a prominent disciple of Hayyim b. Isaac Alfandari, and wrote an introduction to Mikhtav me-Eliyahu by Elijah Alfandari (1723).


Known as Mercado or Maharsha (Moreinu ha-Rav Shelomo Eliezer; 1826 or 1829-1930), rabbinic authority. Alfandari was born in Constantinople. When he was about 25, he headed the yeshivah founded by a certain Foa, a wealthy resident of Constantinople, and among his pupils were many who subsequently became important rabbis. At the age of 30, he was elected a member of the general religious council (Majlis) of Constantinople. During the sultanate of Abdul Hamid, Alfandari opposed the conscription of Jews into the Turkish army, on the grounds that such conscription constituted interference with their religious practice, in violation of an agreement made by the Spanish exiles with the Turkish authorities as a condition for their settling in Turkey in the late 15th century. The order of conscription was finally rescinded. Alfandari was later appointed chief rabbi of Damascus, and from 1904 to 1918 served as chief rabbi of Safed. In 1926 he settled in Jerusalem.

Regarded as one of the great scholars of his time, Alfan-dari was accepted by both Sephardim and Ashkenazim and despite his exceptional firmness, his responsa and rulings were honored without demur. During the last years of his life, he was visited by Hayyim Eleazar Shapira, rabbi of the Munkacs Hasidim, who was deeply impressed by his personality. After his death, the Hasidim of Munkacs dedicated to his memory Masot Yerushalayim (1931), a hymn in his praise. Some of Alfandari’s responsa were published in the periodical Torah mi-Ziyyon, in the Kanah Avraham of Abraham Hai Amozag, and in the works of his contemporaries. A few of his responsa were published by Isaac *Nissim, under the title Sheelot u-Teshuvot Maharsha (1932). His remaining works are still in manuscript.


Family of Tunisian rabbis that originated in Fez, Morocco. mas’ud Raphael alfasi (1700?-1774), halakhist and kabbalist. Born in Fez or Tunis, he studied in the latter under Zemah Zarefati, Abraham Tayyib, and Isaac Lumbroso. He established a great yeshivah in Tunis that has continued to bear his name to this day, and served as chief rabbi there from 1741 until his death. His writings included a large work on Maimonides’ Yad patterned on Judah *Rosanes’ Mishneh la-Melekh (1731), and a commentary to the Talmud. Mishha de-Ravevata (2 vols., Leghorn, 1805) is a commentary on the Shulhan Arukh and includes responsa. His homilies on the Pentateuch and for Sabbath and holy days are extant in manuscript (Ben-Zvi Institute, no. 713); his grandchildren came into possession of a work on the Zohar, the Idrot, and Isaac *Luria’s kabbalistic works (see edition of Zohar, Leghorn, 1872). SOLOMON BEN MAS’UD RAPHAEL ALFASI (1721-1801), his son, succeeded his father as rabbi of Tunis. His work on the Shulhan Arukh as well as his responsa are included in the second volume of his father’s Mishha de-Ravevata. Keruv Mimeshah (Leghorn, 1858) includes novellae on the Talmud and on Maimonides’ Yad as well as a talmudic methodology. Alfasi was renowned as a pietist and a wonderworker; many miraculous tales were told about him. His brother hayyim ben mas’ud Raphael (1756-1783) wrote novellae on the Shulhan Arukh – entitled Hiddushei Maharha – which were included in his father’s Mishha de-Ravevata (1805) and in his brother’s Keruv Mimeshah.


(Ar. Abu Suleiman Da ud ibn Ibrahim Al-Fasi; tenth century), Karaite grammarian and commentator. Alfasi, who came from Fez, Morocco, spent a number of years in Erez Israel where he composed a Hebrew-Arabic lexicon of the Bible (Kitab Jami al-Alfaz). The dictionary is extant in both a long and a short version, which was published in a critical edition by Skoss (see bibl.). The exact relationship between the two is not clear yet and needs further investigation. The entries are arranged according to the principle of bi-literal roots. He cites the translations of Onkelos and Jonathan b. Uzziel by name or refers to them as al-Targum, al-Suryant, or al-Mutarjim. He also quotes the Mishnah and the Talmud, the masorah and the Rabbanite siddur. Alfasi mentions *Saadiah twice as "al-Fayyumt," but he frequently uses and criticizes his commentaries without mentioning his name. He often designates the Bible al-Quran or al-Kitab (the Scriptures) and the Jewish scholars, al-Rabbantn or al-Rabbuntn, as was customary among Karaite authors. Alfasi’s dictionary is one of the earliest and most important for the investigation of the history of Hebrew philology. The author reveals a fine sense for language and a profound, and, for his time, comprehensive, knowledge of ancient Hebrew linguistics. One of the important aspects of the dictionary is the comparative one: He quotes numerous parallels between biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, Arabic (both literary and spoken), and mishnaic Hebrew, many of which tally with those found in the Risala of Judah b. Quraysh (whom the author does not mention), and many which have been accepted by present-day philologists. Alfasi explains many roots by metathesis or permutation of letters. He follows the Tiberian systems and the Palestinian grammarians as to the masoretic text, vocalization, and accents. The dictionary contains a wealth of information pertaining to early Karaite Bible exegesis as well as historical and material conditions in Erez Israel in Alfasi’s time. Compendia of the short version were compiled successively by *Levi b. Japheth, Eli b. Israel, and *Ali b. Suleiman (and were incorporated by Skoss in the apparatus of his edition). Alfasi’s commentaries on the Psalms and the Song of Songs have not been preserved.


(known as Rif; 1013-1103), author of the most important code prior to the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides. In a sense, Alfasi brought the geonic period to a close. The last of the Babylonian geonim, Hai Gaon, died when Alfasi was 25 years old. Alfasi himself was called "gaon" by several early halakhic authorities. *Judah b. Barzillai al-Bargeloni sometimes refers to him simply as "the Gaon." Alfasi was a native of Qal’at H ammad near Constantine, in Algeria, and is therefore sometimes called "ha-Kala’i." According to Abraham ibn David, Alfasi studied in Kairouan under both *Nissim ben Jacob and *Hananel b. H ushi’el, but nowhere does Alfasi mention them as his teachers.

After a period of study in Kairouan, Alfasi settled in Fez (hence his surname "Alfasi" or Rif, initials of R. Isaac Fasi). He remained there until 1088, when, in his 75th year, he was denounced to the government by enemies and was forced to flee to Spain. After a few months in Cordova he moved to Lucena, where he remained until his death. Shortly after his arrival in Lucena, he became head of the yeshivah (1089), following the death of Isaac b. Judah ibn Ghayyat. The most famous of his many students were Joseph *Ibn Migash, *Judah Halevi, Ephraim of Qal’at H ammad, and Baruch b. Isaac ibn *Alba-lia. Before his death, Alfasi designated Ibn Migash as his successor, even though his own son, Jacob, was a distinguished scholar. His death was mourned in dirges by various poets, among them Moses Ibn Ezra. Another, hitherto regarded as by Judah Halevi, is now attributed by Abramson to Joseph ibn Sahl. In his Shirat Yisrael, Moses Ibn Ezra praised Alfasi, describing him as a man unsurpassed in keenness of intellect, whose wisdom was deep beyond compare, whose pen was swift, outdistancing that of any rival, and whose equal in intensity of religious feeling could scarcely be found. Alfasi dedicated his life to the study of the Talmud and its dissemination among the masses. Long before he came to Spain, his intellectual stand was decided and he was not influenced by the cultural life of Spain.

Hundreds of Alfasi’s responsa have survived. Many of them were written while he was still in Fez, the majority in Arabic. In character and in style, Alfasi’s responsa are still close to those of the Babylonian geonim. Alfasi’s fame however rests on his great work Sefer ha-Halakhot (or Halakhot Rabbati). In the composition of this work Alfasi had a two fold purpose: (1) extracting all the halakhic material from the Talmud, ascertaining the decision, and providing a comprehensive compendium for ready reference; (2) preparing an essential summary of the Talmud, thereby facilitating its study. Concerning the first purpose Alfasi confined himself to those portions of the Talmud which were still operative and practiced, and excluded those of only academic importance. His code, therefore, covers the three orders, Moed, Nashim, and Nezikin and the individual tractates Berakhot and Hlullin. Even here Alfasi omitted entire topics, such as the laws of the Paschal sacrifice (in the tractate Pesahim) and all that portion of the tractate Yoma which deals with the Temple Service on the Day of Atonement. Alfasi arranged laws scattered throughout the orders Kodashim and Tohorot which retain their relevance such as the laws of the Torah scroll, mezuzah, and tefillin, under the special title of Halakhot Ketannot. Sefer ha-Halakhot deals with 24 tractates of the Talmud.

Alfasi’s quotations from the Talmud are often longer than necessary for the mere determination of a decision; often he explains the cited passage. For the most part, his explanations are brief, and in several instances discernible only when compared with the talmudic text. He comments at some length on instances where the geonim differed in their interpretations, discussing the different views and giving his own interpretation. Such treatment at times mars the structure. Alfasi himself apologized for it in several places. On the other hand these extended comments greatly enhanced the value of the book.

To a certain extent Alfasi models himself on the Halakhot Gedolot, but Alfasi’s book is much superior. The halakhic material is three or four times that in the Halakhot Gedolot; the aggadic material is even more. Alfasi exercises greater freedom in the handling of his material, and in the placement of certain discussions, often assembling into one place statements dealing with a specific subject but scattered throughout the Talmud. For example, he assembles all discussions on the scope and definition of censure and reproof at the end of topic two of tractate Shabbat. Similarly he arranges the discussions of the Gemara relevant to many Mishnayot. He first quotes the discussions which bear directly on the Mishnah, then those which have a loose bearing on it, and finally those which have some association with it in terms of subject matter. Alfasi cites all the material from the Talmud necessary to establish the argument for each law and for every opinion, whereas the Halakhot Gedolot, for the most part, quotes only the law itself. Alfasi’s sources are varied, but usually he does not identify them. In addition to the Babylonian Talmud and the geonic literature, he uses especially the She’iltot of *Aha of Shabha, Halakhot Pesukot, Halakhot Gedolot, Hai Gaon’s responsa and commentary, and Hananel b. H ushi’el, upon whom most of his book is based and which he mostly copies. Other sources are an anonymous Sefer Metivot, Nissim Gaon’s works, the Hilkheta Gavrata of Samuel ha-Nagid, and *Hefez b. Yazli’ah. Nevertheless, Alfasi only dealt with those laws which originated in the Talmud. Alfasi also dealt with the aggadah in the Talmud which had been almost completely ignored by all the codifiers before him. He included those aggadot which taught good conduct and moral behavior, paving the way for all later codifiers. Alfasi’s book is thus a source of considerable value for the aggadah also, and justly deserves the name "Talmud Katan" ("Little Talmud") given to it.

The Sefer ha-Halakhot was first published in Constantinople (1509), and this edition is now very rare (it was published in Jerusalem in 1969). The second edition (which was published in Venice, 1521) has many addenda from various glosses, thus altering the form of the book. All the later editions up to the Vilna Romm edition (1880-86) were based upon the Venice edition. The Vilna edition was compared with the first edition but is an eclectic version and so only enhanced the confusion. A complete and scientific edition – based on ancient prints, manuscripts, and *genizah fragments – is still lacking. The Pressburg edition (1836) includes pseudo-Alfasi on Nedarim. An important aspect of the Halakhot is Alfasi’s numerous revisions of what he had already written "and ordered to be corrected." These corrections were partly due to criticism, especially from his pupil Ephraim. This is attested to by various rishonim (e.g., Baal ha-Maor by Zerahiah ha-Levi to Sanh. 28b): "It seems that because of this Alfasi changed his opinion and ordered the erasure of what he had written on the subject, and the substitution of the corrected form, as you can find in some of the copies," and as Alfasi himself comments (A.A. Harkavy (ed.), Kovez Teshuvot ha-Ge’onim (1887), p. 327). His corrections have not always been included in the different manuscripts, and this accounts for the many variants in the versions of his book.

Jewish scholars of later generations were unstinting in their admiration of Alfasi and his book. Maimonides wrote "The Halakhot of the great rabbi, our teacher Isaac, of blessed memory, has superseded all these works (geonic codes).. .for it contains all the decisions and laws which we need in our day. and, except for a few halakhot, not exceeding ten, his decisions are unassailable." Nevertheless, in one of his responsa Maimonides wrote that he differed from Alfasi in about 30 instances. In a letter to his disciple Joseph b. Judah, he advised him to make Alfasi’s Halakhot his major study; and Maimo-nides himself taught it to his students. *Isaac b. Samuel ha-Zaken said of him: "A man will toil in vain to produce such a work, unless the spirit of God rest upon him" (introduction to *Menahem b. Aaron ibn Zerah’s Zeidah la-Derekh, Fer-rara, 1554). *Abraham b. David of Posquieres, who tended to be severely critical of other authors, wrote of him: "I would rely on the words of Alfasi even if he should say that right is left." Even Alfasi’s critics, and those who commented upon or supplemented his writings, never set out to find flaws in his work, but merely to correct whenever they deemed necessary; for they recognized the great usefulness of the book and wanted to see it used more widely. It was recounted that Jacob of Marvege, a tosafist, inquired in a dream whether the law concerning a certain case was according to the geonim or according to Alfasi; he received an answer from heaven: "And I shall establish my covenant with Isaac" (Gen. 17:21). Mena-hem ha-*Meiri always referred to Alfasi as "the greatest of codifiers." Joseph *Caro regarded Alfasi as the first among the three pillars of learning upon whom the house of Israel rests (Alfasi, Maimonides, and Asher b. Jehiel), and upon whose authority he determined the laws in his Shulh an Arukh. Thus Alfasi’s influence pervades Jewish code-literature up to modern times. At the close of the Middle Ages, when the Talmud was banned in Italy, Alfasi’s work was expressly exempted, so that between the 16th and 19th centuries it was a principal subject of study among Italian Jews.

There is an extensive literature of commentary on Alfasi, some in amplification, others in condensation of his works. Among his critics and commentators were some of the greatest talmudic scholars, such as Ephraim his pupil, Zerahiah ha-Levi, *Abraham b. David, *Jonathan b. David ha-Kohen of Lunel, *Nahmanides, *Meshullam b. Moses of Beziers, Aaron ha-Levi of Barcelona (see *Ha-H innukh), *Samuel b. Meir, Jacob *Tam, *Nissim b. Reuben Gerondi, and Joseph ibn Haviva, author of Nimmukei Yosef. Almost all of them were scholars of Spain and Southern France, for in these countries, especially the former, the Halakhot was studied even more than the Talmud itself. More often than not, these commentators amplified, updated, and extended the discussion of Alfasi’s themes rather than actually commenting on his text. A commentary on Alfasi to Hlullin by an anonymous Yemenite scholar of the 12th century (1960), attests to the wide popularity of this work. The vast literature that was produced about Alfasi further testifies to the high regard in which he was held by subsequent generations.

In addition to the critics and commentators to Alfasi there is a ramified literature including works not really dependent upon Alfasi, but which follow his method of arrangement rather than that of the Talmud. The most eminent are those of Asher b. Jehiel and Mordecai b. Hillel, though the latter does not mention Alfasi at all. There are other books which include the whole of Alfasi and which expand his work with parallels and references to his sources and responsa. The most important of these is Sefer ha-Ittim of Judah al-Bargeloni.

Over 300 of his responsa, translated into Hebrew, have been collected and published (first edition Leghorn, 1781). Over 150 were published in their original Arabic with a Hebrew translation by A.A. Harkavy in Kovez Teshuvot ha-Geonim (1887), most of them having previously been included in the Leghorn edition. Another edition (Ginzei Kedem, 4 vols. (1930), 38-49), based upon the Oxford manuscript, was published by B.M. Lewin. Most of these responsa too are included in the Leghorn edition with some changes (cf. also Kohelet Moshe of S.A. Wertheimer, 1899). Another collection of Alfasi’s responsa was edited by Z. Byednowitz (1934). Most of these are included in the previous editions. All these responsa were republished by Z. Leiter (1954). Many of Alfasi’s responsa are still extant in manuscript. Variae lectiones based upon manuscripts were published by A. Sofer in his Teshuvot Hakhmei Provinzyah (1967). Many of Alfasi’s responsa are scattered throughout the works of the early halakhic scholars, such as Judah al-Bargeloni, in the books of those who used his works, including *Isaac b. Abba Mari, Baruch b. Isaac, and Judah *Almadari’s commentary on Alfasi’s Sefer ha-Halakhot. Several of Alfasi’s responsa are to be found in the famous collection of Maimonides’ responsa, Peer ha-Dor, Leipzig, 1859, nos. 182-208.


(1850-1940), Yiddish and Hebrew writer. Born in Vilna, Alfes settled in Palestine in 1924; his earlier attempt to do so in 1871 had failed for family reasons. In Vilna he worked as a proofreader and for many years managed his wife’s stocking factory. Alfes devoted his life to religious education, and was one of the few writers of his time who attempted to stem the secularizing drift of the Haskalah and its successor ideologies by writing religious literary works in Yiddish and Hebrew in a modern, popular style. He reacted to the late-19th-century proliferation of secular novels with his Yiddish Maaseh Alfes ("Alfes’ Story"), published serially start-in western Samaria, close to central Israel. The settlement is located on a hill, 1,082 ft. (330 m.) above sea level, and has an area of 1.8 sq. mi (4.6 sq. km.). In 1981 Ezer *Weizman, then secretary of defense, and Ariel *Sharon, secretary of agriculture, initiated the "seven star" plan to establish seven settlements at strategic points near the borders of Judea and Samaria. In 1983 the first settlers arrived at Alfei Menasheh. At the beginning, the community was part of the regional council of Samaria. In 1985 it received municipal council status. In the following years it came under terrorist attack. In 1987, in one such attack, the Moses family was decimated: the mother and one of the children were killed and the father and two other children severely injured. Between 1987 and 1989, three additional terror incidents rocked the community. The precarious security situation served to curtail the settlement’s development, but in the 1990s it recovered and new neighborhoods were built. In 2002 its population was 5,250. The name of the settlement derives from Deuteronomy 33:17, which speaks of "the thousands of Manasseh."


(1930- ), Russian Nobel laureate in physics. Alferov was born in Vitebsk, U.S.S.R. (now Vit-syebsk, Belarus), and graduated with a degree in physics (1952) from the Lenin Electrotechnical Institute in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). From 1953 he was a staff member of the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in St. Petersburg, where he obtained his D.Sc. in physics and mathematics (1970) and which he directed from 1987. His academic appointments included dean of the Faculty of Physics and Technology at St. Petersburg Technical University. His main research interests concerned the theory and practical applications of semiconductors. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics (2000) jointly with Herbert Kroemer and Jack S. Kilby for his contributions to the double heterostructure concept. His research is of fundamental importance to the development of electronics, lasers, solar power usage, and communication technology. His honors include membership in the Russian (formerly U.S.S.R.) Academy of Sciences (1972), of which he was vice president from 1989, and the Lenin Prize of the U.S.S.R. (1972).

°ALFONSO, name of many Spanish sovereigns. Of special significance in Jewish history were the following:

Kings of Aragon

alfonso I (1104-34; "the Battler"). After capturing Tudela from the Moors in 1114, he permitted Jews who had fled during the fighting to return to the city. alfonso ii (1162-96). He employed a number of Jews as stewards or physicians. alfonso v (1416-58). In 1414, as infante, he intervened on behalf of the *Saragossa community, which had been ordered to send a delegation of representatives to the papal court at the time of the disputation of *Tortosa. Alfonso asked the pope for a postponement until the Jewish leaders could complete their seasonal duties in the community. As king, in 1424, Alfonso confirmed a ban prohibiting the establishment of a Jewish community in Barcelona.

Kings of Castile and Leon

Alfonso vi (1072-1109). After the capture of *Toledo from the Muslims in 1085, Alfonso permitted the Jews to remain in their quarter (juderta), and granted residence rights to Jews seeking refuge there. He also appointed Jews to important state posts. Thus, Joseph b. *Ferrizuel (Cidellus), became royal physician. alfonso vii (1126-57). Like his father, Alfonso vi, he also appointed Jews to high positions; Judah ibn Ezra was his al-moxarife ("collector of revenues") and in 1147 was in charge of *Calatrava, a stronghold on the Muslim border, where Jewish refugees from the *Almohad persecutions were welcomed. alfonso viii (1158-1214), had a number of Jewish courtiers. He also settled Jews in frontier garrison towns, with complete autonomy within their fortified quarters. alfonso x (1252-84; "the Wise"). He was a patron of scholarship, and several Jewish translators and scientists, such as Isaac ibn Sid (Don Qaf) and Judah b. Moses ha-Kohen, worked under his auspices. Notable among their productions were the Alfonsine Tables Libros del saber de astronomta, one of the important scientific achievements of the reign. The code known as the Siete Partidas was produced under Alfonso’s auspices, though not enforced until the following century. While this guaranteed the Jews physical security and rights of worship, it ordered the enforcement under the severest penalties of the conventional restrictions on the Jews, like the wearing of the Jewish *badge, and authorized judicial prosecution of the Jews for ritual murder (see *Blood Libel). Toward the end of his reign, Alfonso’s attitude to the Jews changed for the worse. In 1279 he had all the Jewish tax-farmers imprisoned. In January 1281, he ordered the wholesale arrest of the Jews while they were attending synagogue on the Sabbath and demanded a ransom of 4,380,000 gold maravedis for their release. alfonso xi (1312-50). Although Jewish officials, such as Don Yu^af (Joseph) de *Ecija, attended his court, his policy toward the Jews was often influenced or directed by the church or by anti-Jewish courtiers, such as Gonzalo Martinez de Oviedo. In 1348 Alfonso prohibited moneylending by Jews, but the Cortes revoked the decree in 1351.


(or de Spina, D’espina; second half of 15th century), principal originator of the Spanish Inquisition and its ideological and methodological program. Few details are known about his life. A Franciscan friar, possibly of Jewish birth or descent, he became rector of the University of Salamanca, and was confessor of the powerful Alvaro de Luna. Espina’s most important work is Fortalitium fidei contra Judeos, Saracenos et alios Christianae fidei inimicos, written in 1458-59 and circulated in 1460. It was frequently printed (Nuremberg [1485-98], Lyons [1511]). The title, "Fortress of the Faith to give comfort to believers and defend the holy faith," indicates his object. The Fortalitium fidei consists of five sections, divided into topics (Considerationes) and subdivided into Haereses ("heresies"); the second and third sections, De bello hereticorum and De bello Judeorum, contain his original views. The second section furnishes minute particulars of the sins committed by Jewish converts to Christianity (see *Conversos) and the means they adopted to continue observance of Mosaic Law. This seems for the most part to be based on accurate observation and is supported by various historical sources, including the Inquisitional records. Espina derived his knowledge of Jewish matters from his predecessors, such as Raymond *Martini and *Abner of Burgos, as well as from first-hand information. He recommends the establishment of an Inquisition in Spain and a detailed program. In the third section, tales about the *blood libel are revived. Here Espina explicitly suggests expelling the Jews from Spain, on the lines of the expulsion from England in 1290, implying that since England had managed to exist without the Jews, Spain could do likewise. The only way in which Spain can be converted into a truly Christian state, Espina states in this hate-obsessed work, is by extirpating the "Jewish heresy," expelling the Jews, and conquering the Muslims remaining on its soil.


(d. 1468), head of the Geronimite Order in Spain, said to have been of Jewish descent. In the early 1460s clashes took place in the cities of Castile between the ex-Jews who had adopted Catholicism (*Conversos) and their opponents among the Old Christian population. Alfonso now advised King Henry iv to take measures to supervise the Conversos and punish backsliders to Judaism. The king authorized him to execute his relatively moderate program, and Alfonso then conducted the investigation in Toledo and its environs for an entire year, imposing what he considered were adequate penalties. In 1465 Alfonso completed his Lumen ad Revelationem Gentium ("to prove the unity of all the faithful"), in which he explained his plan for the solution of the problem of both the Conversos and the Jews.


(c. 1474-1544), Spanish scholar. He was the son of Juan de Zamora, apparently one of the exiles of 1492 who subsequently returned to Spain, father and son being baptized together in 1506. Alfonso, who had received an adequate Jewish education before baptism, became professor of Hebrew at Salamanca, one of the European universities where Hebrew studies had been established by a decree of the Council of Vienna in 1311-12. He published in Latin an introduction to Hebrew grammar, dictionaries, and contributions to Bible study as well as a conversionist letter to the Jews of Rome (Alcala de Henares, 1526). Alfonso is mainly remembered for his participation in the pioneering Complutensian Polyglot edition of the Bible, in the preparation of which he worked for some 15 years.


(Buenhombre; d. 1353), Spanish Dominican, born in Cuenca or Toledo. From a stay in Morocco, where he had been imprisoned, Alfonsus claimed to have brought back the Arabic original of the De adventu Messiae, an anti-Jewish epistle allegedly written by one Samuel of Fez. He said that he had translated this text in Paris in 1339. Known as the "Epistola Samuelis Maroccani," it was later translated into several languages and widely circulated in Europe. In fact, it seems that he himself was the author, drawing largely from another tract in Arabic written by a Jewish convert to Islam, *Samau’al b. Judah ibn Abbas, probably with the intent of presenting it as a Christian rather than a Muslim polemic. Alfonsus also translated another Arabic treatise by Samuel (or possibly wrote it himself): Disputatio Abutalib Saraceni et Samuelis Judaei quae fides praecellat: christiano-rum, an iudeorum, an saracenorum (Ms. Madrid Nac. 4402, fol. 103-10), a disputation between a Saracen and a Jew.


Family which flourished between the 16th and 19th centuries in Turkey, Crete, Erez Israel, and Egypt, and produced a large number of rabbis, kabbalists, and authors. Its members include (1) abraham ben moses (1560?-before 1640), born in Constantinople, son-in-law of Joseph Ben-veniste de *Segovia, a pupil of Isaac Luria. A renowned talmudic scholar, he corresponded with the greatest of his contemporaries. After 1600, he resided on the island of *Chios and in Brusa (now *Bursa), Turkey, where he headed the community until his death. (nissim) solomon *algazi, H ayyim, Moses, and Joseph were his sons. (2) h ayyim ben abraham (?) (1614-before 1668), a Turkish scholar who studied under Joseph di *Trani and Abraham *Shalom in Constantinople, where he later headed his own yeshivah. He was the son-in-law of Judah ibn Ya’ish. His uncompleted commentary, Netivot Mishpat, to the Meisharim of Jehoram b. *Meshullam was published in Constantinople in 1669. His manuscript responsa and homilies were lost. (3) moses ben abraham (d. before 1671) was one of the scholars of Bursa. Some of his novellae were published in his grandfather Joseph de Segovia’s work, Dovev Siftei Yeshenim (Smyrna, 1671) to which was appended his booklet, SefatEmet. (4) yom tov ben (nissim) solomon (d. 1727), a poet, lived in Constantinople. Letters and poems from his correspondence with the rabbi-poet Aaron de Toledo are extant. israel jacob b. yom tov *algazi was his son. (5) abraham ben (nissim) solomon (d. 1700), one of the scholars of Smyrna, edited his father’s Shema Shelomo (Smyrna, 1659). (6) h ayyim ben menahem (1640?-1710?), grandson of R. H ayyim Alfandari the Elder, was born in Smyrna. He studied under (Nissim) Solomon and Aaron *La-papa. He served as rabbi of Rhodes and, after his son Abraham’s death, returned to Smyrna. One of his students, Meir Danon, edited and published his Baei Hayyei (Constantinople, 1712), novellae on Jacob b. Asher’s Turim, on the Talmud, and on problems in Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah. His manuscript homilies were lost. (7) nissim jacob ben h ayyim solomon, one of the scholars of Constantinople, settled in Safed. He visited Salonika in 1731 as emissary for Safed, returning by 1736. He is the author of responsa and novellae on Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah (Ms. in Benayahu Collection). (8) solomon ben abraham *algazi (1673-1762) was rabbi and codifier. (9) isaac ben abraham (17th century), rabbi of Chios, studied under H ayyim *Benveniste, author of the Keneset ha-Gedolah, and (Nissim) Solomon Algazi. At the age of 17, he wrote Doresh Tov, a book of homilies. His manuscript responsa are in the Guenzburg collection in Moscow (no. 400). Some of his responsa were published with those of Hayyim Benveniste, Baei Hayyei. (10) yom tov b. jacob *algazi (1727-1802) was a kabbalist and master of halakhah. (11) h ayyim isaac (d. 1814) was chief rabbi of Smyrna in the late 18th century. (12) judah, a rabbi in Smyrna, visited Erez Israel. His commentary to Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, explanations of talmudic discussions, and homilies were published together as Shaar Yehudah (Salonika, 1805). Some of his manuscript works were lost. (13) moses ben Joseph (1764-1840), a grandson of Solomon b. Abraham (8), was born and died in Cairo; in 1830, he was appointed chief rabbi of Egypt. That same year, with Adolphe *Cremieux’s aid, he founded a modern school to which he also admitted Karaites. In 1840, he helped liberate the victims of the ^Damascus blood libel. He was succeeded by his son Joseph.


(1882-1964), Turkish Se-phardi hazzan and composer. Algazi, who was born in Izmir, at an early age joined the "Maftirim Choir" led by his father, himself a noted hazzan and author of religious poetry. He served as a teacher at the talmud torah and later as hazzan in his native town. He also became proficient in Turkish art music and for many years arranged special courses for the members of his community; A. Hemsi and other musicians were among his pupils. Algazi was a noted performer of classical Turkish music and adapted some to Hebrew texts which he himself translated. In 1923 he was appointed hazzan and music instructor at the "Italian" synagogue at Galata (Istanbul), which had a long tradition of musical activity. In 1930 Algazi became associated with the Jewish newspaper La voz de Ori-ente. In 1933 he went to Paris, but settled finally in Montevideo (Uruguay) where he was prominent in Sephardi congregation activities. Algazi’s abilities as a composer and adapter were combined with a pleasant, flexible voice and a highly distinguished performing style. He imparted a Turkish influence to Eastern synagogue song. The sole printed work ("adaptation") of Algazi connects five piyyutim to form a Turkish "Fassil" (Suite), with each piece following a different rhythmical pattern ("uzul"). This work was published as Extrait du FassilHusseini des chantsjuifs orientaux… adapte sous le con-trole de M. Isaac Algazi (1924-25).

As is usual with Eastern music, most of Algazi’s compositions and arrangements were transmitted orally, but several have been recorded (collection of Israel Broadcasting Authority, Jerusalem). Some of his outstanding works which survive in oral tradition are: The Song of Deborah; Ha-Ben Yakkir Li Efrayim; Kiddush; Selihot; two "Peshrev" for choir, to Hebrew texts; songs of the Ladino Folklore. A selection of Isaac Algazi’s poetry has been published in: Shirei Yisrael be-Erez ha-Kedem (1921).

In addition to his main interest in Sephardi music, Al-gazi also devoted himself to the dissemination of Judaism and wrote two works in Spanish, El judaismo, religion de amor (Buenos Aires, 1945) and La Sabidurta Hebrea (Montevideo, 1949).


(1680-1756), halakhic scholar and kabbalist, grandson of both (Nissim) Solomon *Algazi and Joseph *H azzan. Probably born in Smyrna, Algazi lived in Safed, and for a few years, prior to 1730, in Smyrna. He was a member of a closed circle of kabbalists headed by Jacob Vilna. Algazi copied and published Hemdat Yamim (Smyrna, 1731-32), with many of his own glosses. By 1737 he was in Jerusalem and, a year later, dedicated "Neveh Shalom Berit Avraham," a yeshivah founded there for him. Algazi became head of Bet El, a bet midrash for pietists, and was consequently known as "the pietist rabbi." His was the first signature on the constitution of the kabbalistic group Ahavat Shalom. Algazi was appointed chief rabbi upon the death of his colleague, Isaac ha-Kohen (1755), but he died the following year. One of the most productive scholars of his time, he wrote many halakhic and homiletic works including Emet le-Yaakov (Constantinople, 1764) on the laws of Torah scrolls; Ara de-Rabbanan (ibid., 1745), reprinted with Judah Ayyash’s commentary; Afra de-Ara (Leghorn, 1783), a methodology for Talmud and codes; Hug ha-Arez (Jerusalem, 1910; with addenda, 1927), on the laws of Purim; Neot Yaakov (Smyrna, 1767); Kehillat Yaakov (Salonika, 1786), a methodology; Shal-mei Zibbur and Shalmei Hagigah (Salonika, 1790), on the laws of prayer and blessings; sermons Part 1, Shema Yaakov (Constantinople, 1745); and Part 2; Sheerit Yaakov (ibid., 1751). Some of his works still survive in manuscript form. H .J.D. *Azulai, an acquaintance, condensed and completed Algazi’s work, Emet le-Yaakov, which he published under the title Le-David Emet (1786).


(Yehudah; 1890-1971), conductor, composer, and collector of Jewish music. Algazi, who was born in Romania, studied music in Vienna and Paris, and graduated from the Ecole Rabbinique de France. From his early studies with Abraham *Idelsohn, he acquired an interest in Jewish folklore and tradition. For many years, he taught at the Ecole de Liturgie et de Pedagogie in Paris. From 1929 he presented a weekly program of Jewish music on the French radio, and in 1937 became conductor at the Rue de la Victoire Synagogue. He helped to establish the "Mizmor" section of the Salabert publishing house, taught Jewish music at the Schola Canto-rum (1936-40), and in 1961 was elected director of music for the temples of the Paris Consistoire. Among Algazi’s many compositions of liturgical and folkloristic character are Service sacre pour le samedi matin et pour le vendredi soir (New York, 1955), orchestral suites, psalms, harmonizations of traditional songs, and incidental music for the cinema and the theater. He published one extemely valuable collection, Chants sephardis (London, 1958). He also wrote essays on Jewish music in many scholarly publications.


(1610?-c. 1683), rabbi. Algazi, the grandson of Joseph de Segovia *Benveniste, was born in Borsa. He studied under his father and the poet Joseph Ganso, as well as Joseph Sasson and Meir de *Boton at their yeshivah in Gallipoli. Algazi settled in Jerusalem in 1635, but was in Smyrna in 1646 – apparently in order to publish some of his works. Here he remained and was considered one of the city’s outstanding scholars. He founded a bet midrash whose students included his son-in-law, Aaron *Lapapa, and H ayyim b. Menahem Algazi, later rabbi of Rhodes. Algazi opposed *Shabbetai Z evi and his followers; together with his son-in-law and other scholars, he excommunicated Shabbetai Z evi and stated that he deserved the death penalty. Compelled to flee and hide outside the city, when Shabbetai Z evi’s apostasy became known (1666) he returned to Smyrna and resumed his position. Algazi assumed the additional name Nissim on recovering from a serious illness contracted during his travels. He returned to Jerusalem about 1670, and by 1673 was head of the local bet din. Algazi achieved a reputation for his saintliness and was reputed as a miracle worker.

Among his many works are Yavin Shemu’ah (Venice, 1639), a commentary to the Halikhot Olam of *Jeshua b. Joseph and to Sefer Kelalei ha-Talmud of Joseph *Caro with additions entitled Halikhot Eli (Smyrna, 1663); Gufei Halakhot (ibid., 1675); Ahavat Olam (Constantinople, 1642), the first of four volumes of homiletics; Razuf Ahavah and Appiryon She-lomo (Verona, 1649), a commentary to the homiletical passages of the tosafists; Taavah la-Einayim (Salonika, 1655), an elucidation of difficult talmudic passages in the Ein Yaakov of Jacob *Ibn H abib, with the addition of passages omitted by him; and Lehem Setarim, on the tractate Avodah Zarah (Venice, 1664); his Ziknat Shelomo, a commentary on the Ittur of *Isaac b. Abba Mari, was never published.


(1673-1762), rabbi and halakhist. Algazi, who was apparently born in Jerusalem, was the half brother of H ayyim b. Moses *Abulafia, who restored the Jewish settlement in Tiberias.

Algazi was a pupil of Hezekiah da Silva. He served in the bet din of Abraham Yizhaki, and taught in his yeshivah. One of his outstanding pupils was Judah Navon, author of Kiryat Melekh Rav. In 1728 Algazi immigrated to Cairo, where he also served in the bet din and c. 1740 was elected chief rabbi of Egypt. Algazi rescinded the resolution of the Egyptian rabbis not to study the Peri Hadash of da Silva which was made on the ground that he differed in several instances from Maimonides and other leading halakhists; all Algazi’s decisions were based on da Silva. He also wrote responsa and a book on Maimonides, now lost but which was seen by H ayyim Joseph David *Azulai in 1753.


(1727-1802), kabbalist and halakhist. He studied with his father and was a close friend of H .J.D. *Azulai. Both studied under R. Jonah *Navon and R. Shalom *Sharabi. Algazi was a member of the Ahavat Shalom group of kabbalists and signed its articles of association in 1754, 1758, and 1759. He was a member of bet ha-midrash Neveh Shalom and of Bet El. R. Shalom Sharabi succeeded Algazi’s father as head of the kabbalists’ yeshivah, but Yom Tov Algazi administered it. Following R. Sharabi’s death in 1782 he was elected rabbi and dayyan and in c. 1777 he became rishon le-Zion. The period of his office was a difficult one for the Jews of Jerusalem who were vexed by the authorities. Algazi’s leadership, influence, and fame in the Diaspora were of help to the community. In 1764 he accompanied R. Abraham b. Asher and H .J.D. Azulai on a mission, on behalf of the Pekidei Erez Israel be-Kushta ("Agents for Erez Israel in Constantinople"). From 1770 to 1775 he was sent on other missions from Jerusalem to Constantinople, Adrianople, and Belgrade. He traveled in Italy, France, Holland, Germany, and Poland and returned to Jerusalem (1777) via Italy and Smyrna. He appointed his son Jacob a parnas of the Hebron community (1787). As the debts of the Hebron community increased, Algazi and his son endured a most difficult period (1793-95). Both father and son were in danger of imprisonment. Creditors became violent and Jacob Algazi was badly beaten up. In the month of Elul 1795, Algazi went to Constantinople and within three months collected a large sum of money for Hebron; he also conducted a large collection in Smyrna and Salonika. However, before he returned to Jerusalem, his son died (1796) from the blows which he had received. His works are distinguished by their sharpness and depth. They are Hilkhot Yom Tov, printed with the Vilna Talmud, on Hilkhot Bekhorot ve-Hlallah by *Nahmanides, which he found in a manuscript in Italy (1795); Simhat Yom Tov, responsa (1794); Kedushat Yom Tov, responsa and sermons (1843); Get Mekushar, studies on the marriage contract, in Ne’ot Yaakov (1767), 24-79.


(Central Maghreb; Ar. al-Jaza’ir), modern designation for the central part of North Africa, bordered by *Morocco on the west and *Tunisia on the east. Resistance against the Arab invasion in the seventh century was organized first near Biskra and later in the Aures mountains, where the *kahina (an epithet meaning priestess), the "queen" of the Judeo-Berber tribe Jarawa, won brilliant victories. With the death of the kahina in 693 came the collapse of *Berber independence. Most of the Jarawa adopted Islam, others escaped to the west and south reinforcing the Jewish elements there. Oriental Jews, who followed in the wake of the Arab armies in large numbers, rebuilt the old destroyed communities of Algeria. The Jews in the urban centers, such as Mejana or Me-sila, were Rabbanites; so also were the Jews in the capitals of the various Berber kingdoms – Ashir, Tahert (Tiaret), where the philologist R. *Judah ibn Quraysh lived, *Tlemcen, and *Qalcat H ammad, where R. Isaac *Alfasi was probably born. These communities were in contact with the communities of *Fez in the west and *Kairouan in the east, and even with the geonim of Babylonia and Palestine. It is partly through them that the teachings of the academies of *Sura and *Pumbedita, and later of Kairouan, spread to Morocco, and from there to Spain. Thus, the influence of these communities on the intellectual and religious development of the Jews of Spain can be seen. The teachings of the sages were spread to the area north of the Sahara Desert from Gabes, Tunisia, to Sijilmassa (in the Ziz Valley), Morocco, by traveling merchants. The Jewish tribes of the region of Wargha were *Karaites. They were nomad warriors. Their descendants were called "Bahusim" and remained in the eastern part of Algeria up to modern times. In the tenth century, a Jew named Abu al-Faraj instigated an important revolt against the Zirid sovereigns of the Berber tribes in the Setif region. Defeated, he was tortured to death in 989.

Apart from the fact that the community of *Tlemcen was destroyed, almost nothing is known about Algerian Jews during the rule of the Almohads in the 12th and 13th centuries. In any case, after that period of disorder the Jewish population of Algeria was considerably diminished. In the 13th and 14th centuries some Jewish merchants residing in Algeria had regular contacts with other countries, particularly with Catalonia, and these ties served to keep open channels of communication with the more developed Jewish communities. Jews of Languedoc and even Marseilles lived in Bougie, the Algerian harbor town, from 1248. Tlemcen, gate to the Mediterranean and a final station on the Sudanese gold route, known as the "Jewish Road" had a small but lively community, which was sustained by the rich Jewish merchants of Barcelona, Valencia, Tortosa, and Majorca. Most of these merchants were actually natives of the Maghreb and particularly favored by the kings of Aragon, who relied on them as essential to their prosperity. Their relatives had remained in the Maghreb, settling at *Algiers, Cherchel, Tenes, Mostaganem, and Tlemcen. At that time there was a continuous emigration of Muslims from the Christian kingdoms of Spain to Africa and they were assisted by the Jews in Spain. This was the very remunerative business of the great Jewish African-Spanish family Alatzar (also al-Azar), in particular. The Jewish merchants of the central Maghreb had many trade activities, including the slave trade, so important at the time. However, they traded chiefly in Sudanese gold. Many traded with the Balearic Islands using their own ships.

Places of Jewish settlement in Algeria.

Places of Jewish settlement in Algeria.

The Christian kings of Spain appointed many Jews as their ambassadors to the Muslim courts. In that capacity Abraham and Samuel *Bengalil, Judas "Abenhatens," and the alfa-quim ("physician") *Bondavin made their first visit to Tlem-cen in 1286. In 1305 Solomon b. Zequi of Majorca was chosen to settle a dispute with the town of Breshk. These experts in North African diplomacy, as well as the wealthy merchants in the country, were exceptions among the mass of Algerian Jewry, whose level of culture was very low. Largely because of them and the possibility of communication with the important economic centers which they represented, many Spanish refugees of 1391 chose Algeria as their haven. They emigrated in continuous groups from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. They were favorably received by the Muslim authorities, in particular by the Ziyanid princes. In contrast, their relations with the local Jews, who had at first received them fraternally, later became tense. Their numbers gave rise to fear of competition in their professions. Differences in ritual, language, customs, and above all social conceptions, caused conflicts between the two communities. The Sephardi Jews asserted themselves by their intellectual superiority, financial means, and skills. The older community resisted the attempt of the newcomers to dominate communal life. However, there were refugee leaders who were able to mitigate the conflicts between the two groups. The learning and dedication of the new immigrants renewed the moral and religious life of Algerian Jewry. Their talent in organizational activities strengthened the Jewish institutions of Algeria.

R. Ephraim Ankawa reestablished the community of Tlemcen; the eminent talmudic authorities R. *Isaac b. Sheshet Perfet (Ribash), R. Simeon b. Zemail *Duran (Rashbaz), and the latter’s descendants were mainly responsible for Algiers becoming a religious and intellectual center. The communities of *Honein, *Oran, Mostaganem, Miliana, Medea, Tenes, Breshk, *Bougie, *Bone, and *Constantine, although dependent on Algiers, also became centers of Jewish learning under the leadership of the rabbis Amram Merovas Ephrati, Samuel H alawa, the brothers Najjar, and others.

Very few of the Spanish exiles of 1492 came to Algeria. The only city that attracted them was Tlemcen, which they reached by way of Oran. It has been said, however, that the loss of Granada, Spain, in 1492 by the Muslims had grave repercussions for the Jews in Algeria. In cases such as that of the Muslim preacher al-Maghilli, resentment was expressed in violent tirades against the Jews. The prosperous and powerful communities of Tlemcen and, in particular, Tuat were destroyed some years later as a result of such agitation. Just after these events, the Spanish occupation of Oran (1509-1708) and Bougie (1509-55), resulted in Jewish property being pillaged and the Jews themselves sold as slaves. Finally, however, some influential families such as Jacob *Cansino, Jacob b. Aaron, and *Sasportas convinced the Spaniards in Oran that their Arab policy would best be served by accepting a Jewish community in Oran. In the 17th and 18th centuries, descendants of Marranos and Jews from Leghorn, Italy, settled in Algeria, especially Algiers. Among the first who arrived were the Lousada, Alvarenga, Zacuto, Molco, and dela Rosa families; among the later ones were the Soliman, *Busnach, *Bouchara, *Bacri, Lealtad, and *Delmar families. They played an important role in ransoming Christian captives for European governments, and their commercial activities enriched the country.

The "refugees of 1391" had stimulated Algerian trade and brought prosperity to remote communities. They exported ostrich feathers from Mzab and African gold from Tuat, as well as burnooses, rugs, cereals, wool, and pelts to Europe, while European products were in turn sold in Africa by the same merchants. At that time the Jews owned estates, slaves, and flocks. In the regions subject to a central power, the Jews paid the *jizya, the tax levied on all non-Muslims. Their rabbis were exempted from it, as were the merchants, mainly descendants of megorashim, because they paid customs on their imports. The native Jews were thus in an inferior position. Moreover, the megorashim had a separate quarter, synagogue, and even cemetery. Their dress was also different from that of the native Jews; they continued this distinction by wearing berets or hoods. Thus, they were called baalei ha-kappus or kabbusiyyin, in contrast to the baalei ha-miznefet, native Jews who wore turbans.

The organization of the communities that was established in the 14th century was in effect until 1830. At the head of each community was a Sheikh al-Yahud, or Zaken ha-Yehudim, called also *muqaddam, who was appointed by the Muslim authorities. His powers were discretionary, tempered only by protests of the rabbis. A prison and the police were at his disposal for punishing and carrying out the sentences of the bet din. He also named the officers (gedolei ha-kahal, ziknei ha-kahal) who were charged with the collection and administration of charity funds, and the management of the synagogue and charitable institutions. The Judeo-Spanish groups chose their officers (neemanim) themselves. The rabbinical courts were composed of three judges chosen and paid by the community. Only civil disputes were brought to them; they had no jurisdiction in criminal matters.

Although the rabbinical courts were available to Algerian Jews, they tended more and more to turn to Muslim civil courts. To discourage this practice the rabbis were able to threaten, and indeed put into effect, decrees of excommunication. On questions of minhag, however, the rabbis were often compelled to approve the local custom followed by African Jews. Some later practices originated in takkanot. The haskamot, agreements over administrative regulations, also legalized local practices. The particular regulations of each community gave it a certain individuality that it jealously preserved for future generations. This resulted in collections of minhagim, prayers, and liturgy (piyyutim), the work of local rabbis, written either in Hebrew or Judeo-Arabic. The communities of Tlemcen, Oran, and Algiers each had its own mahzor. Sometimes the synagogues of the same town even had different liturgies. Thus, in the 18th century the community of Algiers was convulsed by disputes over liturgy.

Jewish-Muslim relations were, on the whole, good. It was only occasionally that outbursts of fanaticism gave rise to local persecutions. In certain towns it was accepted that at such times the mosques, although forbidden to infidels, should serve as a refuge to the Jews. The religious Muslim leaders sometimes helped them; for example, the marabout (Muslim holy man) of Blida, southwest of Algiers, stopped a pogrom and forced the plunderers to return their booty.

Generally, from the 16^ century the situation of the southern Jews was better than that of their coreligionists in the centers under Turkish domination. The Turks were the ruling class who had come to exploit the country, and they treated the natives, both Muslims and Jews, roughly. Most Jews, living in separate quarters, were at their mercy. They increased the restrictions imposed on Jews in Islamic countries more through greed than fanaticism. On the other hand, the "sovereign" days, chosen by the Janissaries, and the beys, governors of provinces, humored the upper-class Jews, from among whom they chose their counselors, physicians, financiers, and diplomats. The Muslim rulers charged these diplomats with the difficult assignment of maintaining relations with European Powers, a task that was complicated by the pirate raids on European ships, condoned by the Algerian rulers. It was usually the wealthy and influential Jews originally from Leghorn, the Gorenim who received these assignments. Their high positions could not, however, protect them against the violence of the Janissaries who resented the favors the Jews received from the bey. The assassination in 1805 of the bey’s chief aide, the powerful Naphtali Busnach, was followed by the only massacre of Jews to take place in Algiers.

The French government had accumulated enormous debts to the Bacri and Busnach families, relatives and partners, who had been delivering grain to France for them since the end of the 18th century. These unpaid debts were the cause of diplomatic incidents that resulted in the French conquest of Algiers in 1830. The French conquest opened a new era for the 30,000 Jews of Algeria. In the beginning the communities were allowed to continue their self-government, and the rabbis continued to administer justice. But this autonomous structure was soon overturned. Rabbinical justice was deprecated and jurisdiction of the Jews passed to the French tribunals. The muqaddam, who had previously headed each Jewish community, was replaced by a deputy mayor. These reforms did not give rise to any protests on the part of the Jewish population, as they retained their previous legal status. However, the changes caused some to leave: many European Jews returned to Leghorn, and the middle class, small tradesmen, and craftsmen emigrated to Morocco and Tunisia. On the other hand, Moroccan and Tunisian Jews, attracted by new conditions, immigrated into Algeria. There was also a movement of Jews from the south toward the centers and the port towns.

The Jews under French Rule

French colonialism lasted from 1830 to 1962. The duration of colonialism, the presence of French settlers, the involvement of French Jewry, and the impact of the changes in the country, its people, and its Jews shaped Jewish community history during this period. The cornerstones of the period were the establishment of the consistorial organization in 1845, the naturalization of the Jews in 1870, World War ii and its impact (1939-45), and the decolonization processes from 1954 to 1962. The modernization process of Algerian Jewry was the most complete in the Muslim world; Jews became French citizens and dissociated themselves from Muslim society. It is not surprising that at the end of the colonial area most Algerian Jews continued their life in France, like all the French settlers.

Under the French each municipal council and chamber of commerce had one or two Jewish members. In 1858 a Jewish general counselor was elected for each province. In 1845, after a long mission of two French Jews, Jacques-Isaac Alters and Josef Cohen, consistories, on the model of those of France, were created in Algiers, Oran, and Constantine. Chief rabbis, brought from France, were appointed and paid by the government, and presided over all other religious functionaries. One of the tasks of these chief rabbis was to promote the emancipation of their followers, although they were not yet French citizens. Cultural assimilation was so rapid that it provoked a break with the old Jewish world. Some attempted to fight the trend toward total assimilation in such undertakings as the establishment of Hebrew printing houses in Algiers in 1853 and Oran in 1856 and 1880. French education, despite its advantages, led many Jews who were unprepared for it to leave Judaism. To counteract this trend talmud torah schools were opened in many cities. Several highly influential families formed a Jewish intelligentsia, capable of assimilating French civilization yet maintaining their own traditions. Members of these families were the first to enter the liberal professions, becoming magistrates, physicians, lawyers, engineers, high-ranking officers in the army, and, later, university professors. Both they and the French Jews favored the naturalization of Algerian Jews as did also French liberals.

Algerian Jews were granted the right of individual naturalization in 1865, and on October 24, 1870, by the *Cremieux Decree all Algerian Jews were forced to become French citizens, with the exception of those in the south, whose legal situation remained uncertain. This was the first instance in the Muslim world in which the Jew’s legal status changed so radically. The naturalization of some 35,000 Jews resulted in a wave of antisemitism. Jews were attacked and in Tlemcen in 1881, in Algiers in 1882, 1897, and 1898, in Oran and Setif in 1883, and in Mostaganem in 1897, where the violence reached its peak. Up to 1900 there were in all towns and villages cases of looting and killing, and numerous cases of synagogues being sacked and the Holy Scrolls desecrated and used as banners by the rioters. The *Dreyfus affair in France inflamed the anti-Jewish campaign even more. An antisemitic party came to power: Edouard *Drumont was elected the representative of Algiers and Max Regis became its mayor. Extraordinary measures were taken against the Jews. In Constantine, by decision of the deputy mayor Emile Morinaud, Jewish patients were not admitted to hospitals. The illegality of such steps, together with the fact that the Muslims failed to support the movement, brought about the defeat of the antisemitic party; in 1902 it ceased to exist altogether.

It should be emphasized that the wave of antisemitism came only from the French colonial settlers. It was a modern form of antisemitism deriving from the fear of a breakdown of the colonial hierarchy in which "inferior" elements might become part of the ruling class.

The heroic participation of Jews in World War I caused an improvement of relations, although in 1921 there was a renewed outburst of hatred in Oran. Hitler’s rise to power, greeted with rejoicing by the antisemites, caused a new wave of antisemitic campaigns, which resulted in a massacre in Constantine in 1934.

The crisis was renewed in 1936, when Leon *Blum, a Jew, became premier of France. The Jewish Algerian Committee for Social Studies, directed by Henri Abulker, Andre Levi-Va-lensi, Elie *Gozlan, and others, undertook intensive activities aimed at curbing the racial unrest. Subsequently, the Union of Monotheistic Believers (Union des Croyants Monotheistes) was formed; during World War ii it was responsible for the Muslims declining to identify themselves with the antisemi-tism of the Vichy government.

Holocaust Period

Despite the bravery shown by the Jews on the front during World War ii, one of the first measures taken after the French defeat in 1940 was to abrogate the Cremieux Decree. The 117,646 Jews of Algeria became the object of daily suffering: they were cast outside the pale of society, impoverished, and humiliated. The Algerian administration applied the racial laws of Vichy with excessive severity. After Jewish children were banned from attending schools and restrictive clauses were applied in institutions of higher learning, Robert *Brunschwig organized private courses and schools. The expenses of these private schools were met by the communities jointly, although the financial burden was heavy. Some time later, the government totally forbade Jewish higher education and put the Jewish schools under strict, malevolent supervision without, however, contributing toward their upkeep. Only the rabbis were granted the right to represent the community before the authorities.

Algerian Jewry, in danger of total destruction, was saved only by its own determination. The Algerian resistance movement was the work of Jews, and consisted almost entirely of Jews. Among its leaders were Raphael and Stephane Abulker, Roger and Pierre Carcassone, Jean Dreyfus, Jean Gozlan, and Roger Jais. Their activity led to the insurrection of Algiers led by Jose Abulker on November 8, 1942, which neutralized the capital while the Americans landed in the country as part of Operation Torch. Paradoxically, after this victory of the allies in Algeria, General Giraud, Admiral Darlan, and Governor Yves C atel, with the complicity of the local diplomatic representative of the U.S.A., Robert Murphy, took new measures against the Jews, including the establishment of detention camps. The protests of Jewish international and Algerian organizations and the French Committee of National Liberation in London, the intervention of highly placed Jews, Muslims, and Christians against this injustice, and a world-wide campaign were all of no avail against the will of the antisemites. Finally after the personal intervention of President Roosevelt, the Cremieux Decree was again put into force on October 20, 1943. However, it was only in 1947 that equality for all was proclaimed.

Contemporary Period

During the postwar period a number of Jewish organizations were formed in Algeria. The Federation des Communautes Israelites d’Algerie was established in April 1947 for the purpose of defending Algerian Jewry and safeguarding its religious institutions. *ort was founded in 1946 in Algiers and Constantine; the Ecole Rabbinique dAlgerie, established in 1947, began its activities in 1948; the Comite Juif Algerien d’Etudes Sociales, formed after World War I, resumed its activities in 1948 and published a monthly, Information Juive, from 1948 to April 1962 in Algiers and from September 1963 in Paris.

Although the formal structure of the Algerian community resembled the French pattern centering around legally sanctioned "religious associations," in practice each kehillah functioned autonomously. Until 1961 the Federation united 60 different communities. Thereafter the communal structure underwent a gradual disintegration and communal life became primarily a function of local customs and traditions.

The fate of the community was fundamentally determined by the Algerian nationalist struggle for independence. Tragically caught between two violently opposed forces the marginal position of the Jews in Algerian society exposed them to constant danger.

The conflict had already become clear in August 1956 when the fln (Front de Liberation Nationale – the Algerian National Liberation Front, an organization dedicated to achieving Algerian independence) appealed to the "Algerians of Jewish origin" who "have not yet overcome their troubled consciences, or have not decided which side they will choose" to opt for Algerian nationality. Jewish fears increased when, on February 18, 1958, two emissaries of the Jewish Agency were kidnapped and assassinated by the fln. In December 1960 the Great Synagogue of Algiers was desecrated and the Jewish cemetery in Oran was defiled. The son of William Levy, a Jewish socialist leader was killed by the fln and subsequently Levy also was assassinated by the oas (Organisation Armee Secrete – a counter-terror organization opposed to an independent Algeria). In May 1956 the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, which had begun to work in North Africa and created networks of Algerian Jews from Constantine, attacked the Muslims of Constantine in response to continuous attacks against Jews. About 20 Muslims were killed as a warning to Algerian Muslims not to involve the Jews in their struggle with the French.

Until 1961 the majority of Algerian Jews had hoped that partition or a system of dual nationality would obviate the conflict. As the struggle developed, however, they increasingly feared that popular reaction would be directed against them not only as Europeans but as Jews and Zionists. Consequently, although the community never adopted an official anti-independence position, in March 1961 a delegation from the Co-mite Juif Algerien d’Etudes Sociales urged that the negotiations then in prospect should obtain official recognition of the French nature of the Algerian Jewish community. (Later it was agreed in Evian to treat Jewish Algerians as "Europeans.")

By the 1960s the "Gallicization" of the large mass of Algerian Jews had developed to the point where both their emotional allegiances and cultural predispositions were largely French. The resulting diminution of Jewish observances did not, however, reflect a positive integration into the Algerian French community which was less a community than a settlement of colons. Fundamentally, however, the separate identity of the community was maintained by the system of status inherent in Islamic society where religion and family and not formal nationality and cultural behavior were the determinative factors. The term "Frenchman" in Algeria did not apply to either Arab or Jew. The fln and oas reign of terror and counter-terror in 1961 and 1962 had catastrophic consequences for the Jewish community. As elsewhere in North Africa the Jewish quarters often straddled the European and Arab sections. These quarters often sustained the first and sometimes only Muslim reprisals after attacks by European terrorists on the Muslim quarters. These often degenerated into pitched battles between the two communities, especially their youth.

Algerian towns and corresponding Jewish population figures, 1838-1968.

Algerian towns and corresponding Jewish population figures, 1838-1968.

Throughout this period there was a steady flow of emigration of Jews from Algeria. The rate of emigration rose steeply in mid-1962 when, as a result of oas violence, the community feared that the proclamation of independence would precipitate a Muslim outburst. By the end of July 1962, 70,000 Jews had left for France and another 5,000 for Israel. France treated the Algerian Jews on an equal footing with the non-Jewish repatriates. The United Jewish Social Fund made extraordinary efforts to help the refugees. In the course of a few months, no fewer than 32,000 refugees arrived in Paris and the nearby communities. Many Jewish refugees from southern Algeria found a haven in Strasbourg and its vicinity and were gradually integrated with the aid of the existing Jewish community. It is estimated that some 80% of Algerian Jews settled in France.

After Algeria had achieved its independence, all its Jews who held French citizenship retained it, except for a few isolated cases. The regime of Ben-Bella maintained a correct relationship with the Jews. During the years 1963-65, the minister of culture addressed the Jewish congregation at the synagogue of Algiers on the Day of Atonement.

In February 1964 a General Assembly was held at Oran by the Jewish communities of Algeria, which elected Charles Hababou as its president. After Houari Boumedienne rose to power in 1965 the situation rapidly deteriorated. Heavy taxes were imposed on the Jews, and discrimination of various kinds betrayed the anti-Jewish tendencies of the government. The rabbis no longer received their salaries from the state. This was explained by the fact that they had not become Algerian nationals. The Supreme Court of Justice declared that the Jews were no longer under the protection of the law, and an intensive economic boycott was instituted against Jewish merchants. The police engineered a libel suit against Hababou on the grounds that he had had connections with Zionism. In September 1966, as the result of a case brought before the Economic Court, Desire Drai was condemned to death together with two non-Jews; but whereas he was executed on the day of Rosh Ha-Shanah, the two others were pardoned. On June 5, 1967, the Algerian press launched a violent attack against Israel and the Jews. The walls of the synagogues of Algiers and other Jewish communities were defaced. With one exception, all the synagogues in the country were taken over and converted into mosques, and the Jewish cemeteries of the country fell into decay. By 1969 fewer than one thousand Jews remained in Algeria. Most of the young men and women left, and thus there were hardly any marriages. The property of the Jewish communities was abandoned. (See Table: Algerian towns and corresponding Jewish population figures, 1838-1968.)

The Jews who remained in the 1970s were mostly of advanced in age, unwilling to leave their assets behind and emigrate with the rest of the Jewish community to France. Only 50 Jews remained in Algeria in the 1990s, nearly all in Algiers, but there were individual Jews in Oran and Blida. A synagogue functioned in Algiers but had no rabbi. All the other synagogues were taken over for use as mosques.

Relations with Israel

On gaining independence, Algeria joined the *Arab League and fully participated in its conferences against Israel. On June 5, 1967, Algeria along with other Arab states declared war on Israel, sending military assistance to Egypt. Even the Egyptian acceptance of ceasefire was denounced by Algerian mobs. Consequently, President Boumedienne pressed the U.S.S.R. to adopt a firmer anti-Israel policy, "a firm commitment to wipe out traces of the aggression" as well as to give military aid, some of which was subsequently channeled to Egypt. On July 23, 1968, the pflp ("Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,") hijacked an El Al plane to Algeria. The plane, the crew, and its male Israel passengers were kept under detention for several weeks and only released in return for terrorists being held by Israel. Algeria adopted an extreme attitude among the anti-Israel Arab factions, and gave full support to the Palestinian terrorists. It repeatedly expressed its official reservations regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

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