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The Problem of the Judaized Berbers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 January 2009

Extract

Students of the history of North Africa in general, and of the history of the Jews there in particular, commonly think that a considerable proportion—one half or more—of the Jews who live, or until recently lived, in North Africa are descended from the Berbers, who prior to the Arab conquest formed the overwhelming majority of the population. In their opinion, these Jews were the offspring of tribes among which Jewish beliefs spread in the pre-Arab era and part of which actually embraced Judaism. This assumption, which seemingly answers the question as to the origin of the Jews who inhabited the North African hinterland, and especially the districts bordering on the Sahara, has gained such wide currency that the term ‘Berber Jew’ has been coined, i.e. Jew descended from Judaized Berbers. The proponents of this assumption apparently suppose that the stories of Jews, or Judaized people, living among Berber tribes, though describing events of the late Middle Ages or of modern times, reflect conditions precedent to the Muslim conquest of North Africa. In other words, the supporters of the theory of the Judaized Berbers think that this phenomenon cannot have originated in Muslim times since the new religion precluded every chance of Jewish proselytizing. If, therefore, Judaized people are found in Africa, even in recent times, they must be remnants of a religious movement going back to the period before the Arab conquest. In the view of the adherents of this theory, Judaism spread among the Berbers during the first centuries of the Christian era.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1963

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References

1 Cf.Slouschz, N., Judéo-Hellènes et Judéo-Berbères (1909); id. Travels in North Africa (1927), 223–4 and pass.; R. B: sset, Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, 1, 1910, 325; I. Hamet, Des Juifs du Nord de l'Afrique Noms et Surnoms) (1929), 152ff.; M. Eisenbeth, Le Judaïcme Nord-Africain (1931), 41f.; I. F. Gautier, Le passé de l'Afrique du Nord (1938), 225ff., 270ff.;Google ScholarSimon, M., ‘Le Judaït me berbère dans l'Afrique ancienne’, Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses, XXVI, 1946, 138–9;Google ScholarVoinot, L., Pèlerinages Judéo-Musulmans du Maroc (1948), 99ff. especially 103, IIIff.; A. Chouraqui, Les Jufs d'Afrique du Nord (1952), 34, 50, also 247, 288.Google Scholar Cf. also Golvin, L., Le Maghrib Central à l'époque des Zirides (Paris, 1957), 91.Google Scholar

2 It would be very difficult here to give even a brief outline of the problem of the Judaized in Africa in antiquity. It is dealt with, under the broader aspect of Jewish history in North Africa, in the first chapter of a book the present author is preparing for the press. The legends of Procopius, Joab and the Philistines are discussed by this writer in an article to be published in A. Weiss Jubilee Volume (New York, 1964). It was only while this article was in proof that the author had the opportunity of reading Louis Gernet's article ‘De l'origine des Maure selon Procope’, which appeared in Mélanges de Géographie et d'Orientalisme offerts à E.-F. Gautier (1937), 234–77. He is pleased to note, however, that on some issues both writers come quite independently to the same conclusion.Google Scholar

3 Dozy, R. and de Goeje, M. J., Description de I'Afrique et de l'Espagne par Edrisi (1866), 4. The information is repeated byGoogle ScholarKhaldūn, Ibn, Al Muqaddima, k. al-'Ibar (Būlāq, 1284), I, 45Google Scholar (in Rosenthal's, F. translation, I, 118–29) without mentioning the Jewish population. Ibn Khaldūn adds that the countries of the (Berber) Lamtūnah and of the Veiled Berbers (Sinhājah) are close to Lamlam. It seems that Takrūr is first mentioned by Mas'udi, Akhbār az-Zamān;Google Scholarcf.Kubbel, and Matwyeyew, , Arabskye istotshniki, VII–X wyekow (Moskwa, 1960), 256260. As to the location of Takrūr, Ghana and the Nile see J. D. Fage, An Atlas of African History, maps 5 and 14–26.Google Scholar

4 Description, 29–30. On the dwellings of the Zaghāwa see Fage, loc. cit. maps 5–6. On the town Nighīrā in the writings of the oldest Arab geographers (ninth–tenth centuries) see now Kubbel and Matwyeyew, loc. cit. 275, 284–291, 316–320.Google Scholar

5 Jos, Marquart, Die Benin-Sammiung des Reichsmuseums für Völkel-kunde in Leiden (1913), 159–63Google ScholarMauny, R., BIFAN, XI, 1949, 361–4.Google ScholarPtolemais Thamondokana has been Changed to Qamnūri by faulty transcription and graphical errors. Al-Qazwiīī says nothing about Jews in the western Sudan, although he mentions some curiosities concerning that region;Google Scholarcf. Kowalska, M., Folia Orientalia, III, 1961, 235–1.Google Scholar

6 Cf. Raud al-Qārtas (ed. Rabat), I, 38–9 (French free translation by Beaumier, A., Roudh el-Kartas (1860), 34)Google Scholar; ibid. (ed. Rabat), II, 7, 164–5; Bekri, al-Masālik (ed. de Slane) (1910), 164/311. Cf. Marquart, op. cit. 158–9, where many versions of the names are recorded in the notes.

7 Many traditions concerning Judaized peoples in the western Sudan are discussed by Marquart, op. cit. passim; Williams, Joseph J., Hebrewisms of West Africa (1930), passim;Google Scholarde la Chapelle, F., Hespéris, XXXVIII, 1951, 265–95, see especially 272–93. Older bibliography will easily be found in these places.Google Scholar

8 K. al-‘Ibar, VI, 107; Slane; Khaldoun, Ibn, Histoire des Berbères, I, 208–9. Ibn Khaldūn's cautious words ‘wakadhālika rubbamā kānā ba‘du ha’ula'i at-Berber dānū bidīn al- Yahūdiya', ‘and so it may be that some of those Berbers professed Judaism’, are translated byGoogle ScholarSlane: ‘Une partie des Berbères professait le JudaīsmeGoogle Scholar (ibid. 208) thus giving the impression that a positive assertion is made. Ibn Khaldūn's opinion that the Berber kingdom extended as far as Syria is based on the belief that the Berbers are descended from Canaan (cf. Gen. ix. and x.) or from Goliath the Philistine; see n. 2. As to the areas of the Berber tribes cf. also K. al- ‘Ibar, Ibid. 126; Revue Africaine, XXVII, 1883; E. Lévi-Provençal, Documents inédits d'Histoire Almohade (1928), 44 and map a.

9 Cf. K. al-‘IbarGoogle Scholar, ibid. 109; VII, 8–9; Slane, loc. cit. I, 135; II, 10–11.

10 The sceptics are few. See Basset, R., E. I., s.v. Kāhina, and R. BrunschvigGoogle Scholar, ibid. s.v. Tunisie. The list of believers in the story is much longer: Slouschz, N., Étude sur l'histoire des Juifs et du Judaīsme au Maroc (1906), II, 1118, also I, 66; id. Travels in North Africa (1927), 309–16; also 291;Google ScholarBourilly, J., Élénients d'ethnographie marocaine (1932), 71–3;Google ScholarGautier, E. F., Le passé de l'Afrique du Nord (1938), 270–80;Google ScholarSimon, M., ‘Le Judaïsme berbère’, Revue d'histoire et de philosophie religieuses, XXVI, 1946, 6, 18, 141–2;Google ScholarChouraqui, A.Les Juifs d'Afrique, 46–9; J. D. Abbou, Musulmans, Andalous et Judéo-Espagnols (1953), 279;Google ScholarJulien, Ch.-André, Histoire de l'Afrique du Nord (1952), II, 25–2;Google ScholarLaredo, A. Y., Bereberes y Hebreos en Marruecos (1954), 180. Cf. also, s.v. ‘Kahina’, in J.E.; E.J.; The Universal Jewish Encycl.; Enc. Judáica Castellana. Some scholars think that there is an historical substratum to the story, cf. G. Marçais, La Berbérie musulmane et l'Orient au Moyen Age (1946), 34–5;Google ScholarTerrasse, H., Histoire du Maroc, I, 1949, 83.Google Scholar

11 Cf. Tarbiz (Hebrew), XXVI, 1957, 370–83. The name of the Kāhina as transmitted by ‘Ubayd Allah (end of the thirteenth century; cf. E. Lévi-Provençal, Arabica, I, 32) and Ibn Khaldūn—Dahya, Dakya or Damya—is apparently a mis-reading due to the similarity of the letters d and k in ancient Arabic script. The queen's name was Kahya, which form occurs in Jewish oral tradition. The appellation Kāhina is likewise a mis-reading—for Kahya—due to peculiarities of Arab script.Google Scholar

12 Cf. de Cenival, P. et Monod, Th., Description de la Cote d'Afrique de Ceuta au Sénégal (1938), 54, 72, 84 (also 70, n. a); Jean-Léon l'Africain, Description de l'Afrique (ed. Épaulard (1956), 45–7, Jos. Marquart, Die Benin-Sammlung des Reichsmuseums in Leiden (1913), 237–40, also 165, n. I;Google ScholarMauny, , BIFAN, XI, 1949, 365.Google Scholar

13 We give only one source for each place: Nafūsa: Teshubot Shaare Zedeq, 26b §26; Jadwāh: Bakri, 9; Misīn: Mann, Texts and Studies, I, 1931, 412; Ghadāmes:Google ScholarAsaf, S., Texts and Studies in Jewish History (Hebrew) (1946), 141; al-Hāma: Cazès, REJII, (1890), 86; Nafzāwa: Ibn ‘Abd al-Hakam, Conquě de l'Afrique du Nord (2me éd., par A. Gateau) (8948), 138; Qafsā: Cazès, loc. cit.;Google ScholarWārghlān, : Sepher Hayishub (Hebrew), II, 1944, 42b; Sijilmāsa;Google ScholarHarkavy, A., Studien und Mitteilungen (Hebrew), IV, 1887, 32ff.§§ 68–81; Dar'a, Mallal, Tālwīt, Qubba:Google ScholarHirschberg, , Yitzhak F. Baer Jubilee Volume (Hebrew) (1960), 142, 143 (for Qubba cf. alsoGoogle ScholarDavidson, J., Notes taken during Travels in Africa (1839), 192–3); Sous:Google ScholarSchirman, H., Qobes al Yad (Hebrew) III (XIII), 1939, 11, 13.Google Scholar

14 Majāna: Asaf, , Gaonic Responsa (Hebrew) (1928), 23–4, §69; Qal'at Hammād:Google ScholarNeubauer, A., Medieval Jewish Chronicles (Hebrew) I, 1887, 75; Ashīr: Harkavy, op. Cit. 15, §38; Mesīla:Google ScholarHirschfeld, H., JQR, XVI, 1904, 575 (but his identification of Mesīla with Marseilles is wrong;Google Scholarcf. Hirschberg, , Horeb, XIII, 1958, 75, n. 45);Google ScholarTāhert: cf. J. J. L. Bargès et Goldberg, D. B., R. Jehuda b. Koreisch (1857), VII–VIII; Tlemcen=Tlemsan: Harkavy, loc. cit.; Tubāla:Google ScholarAsaf, , Tarbiz, XX, 1950, 182: Fez: Harkavy, op. cit. 24, §47; Meknes and Aghmāt: Schirman, op. cit. 13 Marrakesh: Idrīsī, 69.Google Scholar

15 Cf. Hirschberg, , op. cit., 87–9. Later developments will be dealt with in another context.Google Scholar

16 Cf. al-Barceloni, Jehuda, Sepher Ha-'Ittim (Hebrew) (1903), 46. The share of Jews in the economic life of North Africa during the Middle Ages is discussed by the present writer in Horeb, XIV–XV, 1960, 75ff.; cf. especially 84ff. It may be useful to mention two articles which discuss the general economic relations between the Maghrib and the Sudan during the Middle Ages:Google ScholarBargès, J. J. L., ‘Mémoire sur lea relations commerciales de Tlemcen avec le Soudan’, Revue de l'Orient de l'Algérie et des Colonies, juin 1853, pp. 5–7 (reprinted in id. Tlemcen, ancienne capitale di royaume (Paris, 1859), 207–11);Google ScholarPérès, H., ‘Relations entre le Tafilalet et le Soudan à travers le Sahara, du XIIe au XIVe siècle’, in Mélanges E.-F. Gautier (1937), 409–15. For the conquest of South Morocco by the Almoravids, cf. J. Marquart, Die Benin-Sammlung, 223–4;Google ScholarTerrasse, H., Histoire du Maroc, I, 1949, 212ff.Google Scholar

17 The sources are completely silent about the conquest of South Algeria by the Almohads. Even al-Baidhaq, the biographer of the first two leaders, does not mention that territory. Cf. Lévi-Provençal, E., Documents inédits d'histoire almohade (1928), 120–200ff.Google Scholar

18 As to the gravestone found at Tuāt, cf.Schwab, M., REJ, XLVIII, 1904, 137–8. Ibn Battuta was there in 1353; his description of the oasis is in Tuhfat an-nuzzār etc. (ed. Defrémery et Sanguinetti), IV, 444–7. Ibn Khaldūn, K. al-'lbar (Bulāq, 1284 A.H.), I, 45 (English translation,Google ScholarRosenthal, F., The Muqaddimah, I, 118–19).Google ScholarIsaak, R. b. Sheshet, Responsa (Hebrew), §16–19, 101.Google ScholarGautier, E. F., Le passé de l'Afrique du Nord (Paris, 1952), 225, says ‘Au Gourara et dana l'extrěme nord du Touat, entre Tamentit et SbaGuerrara … un petit État juif indépendant s'est conservé jusqu'à la fin du xve siècle.’ For certain surmises concerning Tuāt and Ghūrāra cf. J. Marquart, Die Benin-Sammlung, 118–19.Google Scholar

19 Simon, R.Duran, B. Semah, Responsa (Hebrew) III, § 451;Google Scholar also ibid. §309 (Tunāt is clearly a misprint). Semah and Simon Duran, Yakhin u-Boaz (Responsa (Hebrew)), I, §-5. The B. Rashid were well known to Leo Africanus, 338–9. Cf. also Guides bleus: Algeria, 166. There were always Jews in that region. In the 18th century, we find them in Ma'askar (=Mascara). Later they left for Oran.

20 Cf. de la Roncière, Charles, La découverte de I'Afrique au Moyen Age (Le Caire, 1925), I, 121–39, 151–2. See also F(ritz) B(aer), EJ, V, 711–12.Google Scholar

21 See Goldziher, , REJ, LX, 1910, 34–6Google Scholar (but cf. Brunschvig, R., La Berbérie orientale, I, 408); Jean-Léon l'Africain, Description, trad. Épaulard, 436–7;Google ScholarMassignon, L.LeMaroc (1906), 158.Google Scholar See also Revue Africaine, XXVII, 1883, 350;Google ScholarHamet, I., RMM, XII, 1910, 210–11; id. Juifs, 155.Google Scholar The dirge was first published by Schirman, H., Qobes al-Yad (Hebrew), III (XIII), 1939, 49, V. 21–2; The scribe did not catch the point—Maghila (alMaghili's place of origin)—Megilla (the Hebrew Scroll of Esther and Haman)—and the allusion to Ghūrāra and Tuāt. For later traditions cf. Eisenbeth, Juifs, 182; Guides Bleus: Algérie, 470; and below p. 336 and n. 36.Google Scholar

22 See Simon, R., Hemah, B., Responsa, III, §71;IV/I, §6, 8, 15, 17, 24, 27, 33–5, 40; Yakhin u-Boaz, I, §§1–106, 115; 11, §§53–6;Google ScholarZacuto, A., Juchassin hashalem (ed. Filipowski, H.) (Hebrew) (1924), 215–215b. Cf. also Marquart, op. cit. 118. Leo Africanus makes no mention of Jews in those regions.Google Scholar

23 Cf. Isaac, R.Sheshet, B., Responsa, §§17–18, 104, 115; R. Simon b. Semah Duran, Resp., I, §45; IV/I, §34; R. Solomon b. Simon Duran, Resp., §261; Yachin u-Boaz, I §54. Moreover, a considerable amount of evidence for Jews living among the tribes is to be found in later literature:Google ScholarAyyash, R. Yehuda, Beth Yehuda (Responsa, Hebrew), Eben ha-Ezer §§20–I, 30.Google Scholar

24 Yakhin u-Boaz, II, §10. The reading ‘Mirdas’ for the misprint ‘Mindas’ is beyond doubt (compare a similar misprint, Brunschvig, Mezdas-Merdaz, Berbérie, I, 317, n. 5). As to their wanderings in the areas referred to cf. Brunschvig, op. cit. I, 22, 29, 289 (between Sūq al-Ahras and Bone, cf. Guides Bleus: Algérie, 410), 303, 305, 317; II, 162–4, 404. R. Joseph Asbī lived in the second half of the sixteenth century.Google Scholar

25 Jewish colonies in the Jebel of Tripolitania: Slouschz, N., Un voyage d'études juives en Afrique, Mémoires Academic Inscriptions t.XII, 2e Partie, 1913, 526–38Google Scholar; see also ibid. 576–624; Jean-Léon l'Africain, op. cit. 431. Source material on Jewish communities in southern Morocco in the sixteenth century will be cited elsewhere.

26 Eldad ha-Dani's tale has been published many times. See Jellinek, A., Beth ha-Midrash, 11, xxviii–xxix, 102–13;Google ScholarEpstein, A., Eldad ha-Dani (Hebrew) (1891);Google ScholarMüller, D. H., Die Resensionen und Versionen des Eldad Had-Dānī (1892);Google Scholar H. Z. (J. W.) Hirschberg's edition of Nissim, R., Hibbur Yafe (1953), Introduction, 11;Google ScholarAshtor, E., History of the Jews in Moslem Spain (Hebrew) (1960), 94102.Google ScholarAl-Shahrastānī, K. al-Milal walNihal, 11, 55. The dairy of David Reubeni was published by Ad. Neubauer in Medieval Jewish Chronicles, 11, 1895, 133–223; our letter, 180. Yahuda ben Zamirro's letter was translated from Arabic and published byGoogle ScholarColin, G. S. in Mélanges d'études luso-maro-caines, dédiés à la mémoire de David Lopes et Pierre de Cenival (Lisbon, 1945), 62–6. Ben-Qabīsa is no doubt Abraham Cabeza (or Cabesa), one of the countriers of the Sherif Muhammad al-Sheikh, who was sent on diplomatic missions; see, about him,Google Scholarde Cenival, de Castries et, Les sources inédits de l'histoire du Maroc (Portugal), IV, 180, 208, n. 2; v, 20 and n. 2, 23. The wells that move with the Bnë Israel are a common feature of Jewish legends about the wanderings in the wilderness;Google Scholarcf. Hirschberg, J. W., Der Diwan des as-Samau'al ibn ‘Adijā’ (1931), 34, v. 19, 67, n. 38.Google Scholar

27 See Houdas, O. et Delfosse, M., Tarī al-Fettache de Mahmoud Kāti (1913), 62–4, 119–23;Google Scholar Jean-Léon l'Africain, op.cit.468; de Cenival et Monod, Th., Description de la Cçte d'Afrique de Ceuta au Sénégal, par Valentim Femades (1935), 84; Jos. Marquart, Die Benin-Sammlung, 239.Google Scholar

28 Tolédano, J. M., La lumière du Maghre (Hebrew) (1911), 2, 13, 20–1, 28–9, 222, also 124, 128;Google ScholarGattefossé, J., ‘Juifs et Chrétiens du Dra'Bull. de la Société de Préhistoire du Maroc, IX, 1935, 3966. On the antiquities of the Jews in Ifrān cf.belwo, n.34.Google Scholar

29 Sasportas, J., Zīzat Nobhel Zvi (ed. Tishbi, I., Jerusalem, 1954) (Hebrew), 14, author's note. The part containing this passage ends with events of the year 1666.Google Scholar

30 See de Cenival, P., Hespéris, v, 1925, 138217. The virgins presented to the king are a well-known ‘wandering’ motif in legends. According to Ibn al-Athir and Yāqūt, the Jewish king Fityaun introduced the jus primue noctis both for the Jewish and Arab virgins of the Khazrāj and Aus tribes in Jathrib-Medina. An analysis of the sources, however, shows that the story was entirely unkown to earlier Arab historians;Google Scholarcf. Hirshberg, , Zion, x, 1945, 81101 (Hebrew).Google Scholar

31 Definite identifications: Towright═Taourit, Guides Bleus: Maroc, 435; Ai Tattab═Ait AttabGoogle Scholar, ibid. 149; Tisgiu═Tisgin, ibid.ibid.; Tedeeli═Tidilli, ibid. map after 440; A Mishmish═Amizimiz, ibid. 143.

32 Davidson, J., Notes Taken during Travels in Africa (1839), 192–3. In view of this letter of a scholar and physician, we are not surprised at certain statements by other authors, such as M. Edrehi, a native of Morocco who left that country about the end of the eighteenth century, who declares that there are 12,000 inhabitants, mostly Jews, in Agadir, 6000 Jewish families in Arbatt (Rabat) and Salee, and 5000 Jews inGoogle ScholarMequinez, (An Historical Account of the Ten Tribes (London, 1836 (2nd ed. Philadelphia 1853)), 128–9). Even more extraordinary is an article published in 1928 concerning ‘a flourishing and tranquil Jewish community, numbering several thousand souls, in the heart of the African desert’, allegedly discovered byGoogle ScholarLeblond, M. René, French Consul at Akka (cf. Guides Bleus: Maroc, 449). J. J. Williams took pains to reprint this article (Hebrewisms of West Africa, 235, n.100).Google Scholar But Semach, D., Hespéris, VIII, 1928, 396, n. I, states that there is no French Consul at Akka, and that o R. Leblond figures in the Annual of the French Foreign Ministry.Google Scholar

33 See Benjamin, J. J., Acht Jahre in Asien und Afrika (1958), 254–5.Google ScholarNetter's report (Univers Israélite VII, 341–6) is known to me only fromGoogle ScholarSlouschz's, N. article about the Bahumacr;sim, Kneset, I, 1936, 445–63 (Hebrew) (cf. also the notes of Féraud, n. 38 below). Slouschz wrote repeatedly about his meetings with the Bahūsim: Mémoires, Académie des Inscriptions, XII/2, 1913, 556–9; Travels in North Africa (1917), 295–305. M. Bugéja's article on the Jews of Kabylia; presented by his wife, Bulletin No. 3, 1928–9, 101 ff., of the Société des Conférences Juives d'Alger, was available to me only in the summary byGoogle ScholarEisenbeth, M., Le judaisme Nord-Africain (1931), 40–3; see also Brunschvig, op. cit. 406, 415 (also 399–400). Cf. alsoGoogle ScholarDermenghem, E., Le culte des Saints dans l'Islam maghrébin (1954), 204 (Judaized in the environs of Biskra).Google Scholar

34 These Lost Tribes must of course have settled there in very ancient times, before the destruction of the second or even the first Temple. A special, more modern feature is the attempt to find evidence of this in epitaphs. The community of Ifrān (north of Ifni), which claims to descend from the tribe of Ephraim and to have settled there more than two thousand years ago, prides itself on possessing tombstones from before the Christian era.Google ScholarCf. Monteil, V., Hespéris, XXXV, 1948, 151–62; during my tour of the area in 1955, I received another article on the subject by Lieutenant Pellabeuf, chef de Poste d'Ifrān. Cf. alsoGoogle ScholarHirschberg, , Inside Maghreb (Hebrew) (1957), 168–70, and above n. 28.Google Scholar

35 Cf. Cazès, D., Essai sur l'histoire des Israélites de Tunisie (1888), 54, 83, 42;Google ScholarCahen, A., Recueil des notices et mémoires de la Société archćologique de Constantine, x, 1866, 916;Google ScholarMassignon, L., Enquete sur les corporations d'artisans (1925), 151–3, 221. See also Slouschz, Travels, III. The native Christian population disappeared completely during the first five hundred years of Muslim rule;Google Scholarcf. Marçais, G., La Berbérie musulmane (1946), 36–9, 270.Google ScholarLewicki, T. assembled the remnants of their language in a very instructive article (Rocznik Orxentalstyczny, XVII, 19511952, 415–80).Google Scholar

36 Abi-Seror's report was published in French by Is. Loeb in Bulletin de l'Alliance Israélite Universelle (1880). See also the biography of Abi-Seror byGoogle ScholarSemach, D., Hespéris, VIII, 1928, 385–99.Google ScholarCf. Morais, H. S., The Daggatouns, etc. (1881); E. F. Gautier, La conquite du Sahara (1925), 135–8, 141; Slouschz, Travels, III;Google ScholarLaredo, A., Bereberes y Hebreos en Marruecos (1954), 158.Google Scholar

37 The Arab source is cited by Williams, J. J., Hebrewisms of West Africa, 235Google Scholar; cf. also ibid. 231. Other traditions are mentioned in a letter of A. Cahen to Féraud, L., published in Recueil de la Société archéol. de Constantine, X, (1866), 1115.Google ScholarCahen's explanation of ‘Mehddjerin’Google Scholaribid. 12. Williams gives the version ‘Meghearyeh’; Slouschz, Travels, 346: Mehajer; Guides Bleus: Algérie, 502: Medjaria. This last version reminds us of Majjara, the name of a sub-division of the B. Mirdās; cf. Brunschvig, op. Cit. I, 42. But this may be a coincidence. Cf. also D. Cazès, Essai sur l'Histoire, 42; G. Yver, E.I., s.v. Tuggurt. Jews lived also in the oases of Tuggurt. A Christian traveller who toured the whole region of the oases of Tuggurt a hundred years ago in the company of a Jewish dragoman from Biskra tells of Jewish families he found at Tāgzūt (near Tuggurt) and al-Wād, and in the Sūf region north of these places. They could be distinguished from the Muslims by their black head-gear. The Muslims were tolerant towards them, and the only restriction of which the Jews complained was the prohibition of exhibiting the Tora in public at Passover. The traveller reported that the Jews had date orchards and carried on trade in cloths manufactured in the Sahara. Others were craftsmen: goldsmiths, tinsmiths and wool-carders. The craftsmen travelled about the oases of the Sahara and returned home only for the holy-days;Google Scholar see Schwarzauer, M., MGWJ, IV, 1855, 133ff.Google Scholar

38 See Féraud, L., Recueil, XII, 1868, n. 30, 62, 157, 163, 171;Google Scholar A. Cahen, ibid. XI, 1867, 184. On the B. Dawāwida see R. Brunschvig, Berbérie, I, 22, 29.

39 Laoust, E., Hespéris, XVII, 1937, 157, with no further references.Google Scholar

40 The method of determining the descent of North African Jews by their names was introduced by Hamet, I., Les Juifs du Nord de l'Afrique (Noms et Surnoms) (1929), 164–208; It was also used by M. Eisenbeth, Le Judaīsme Nord-Africain (1931), and id., Les Juifs de 1'Afrique du Nord (1936); cf. however, especially, A. Chouraqui, Les Jutfs d'Afrique du Nord (1952), 131–2, and A. Y. Laredo, Bereberes y Hebreos en Marruecos (1954), 212. But one would hardly use this method to determine the descent of European or American Jews.Google Scholar

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The Problem of the Judaized Berbers
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