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Extra info for AJS Review (The Journal of the Association for Jewish Studies), Vol 19, No. 1 1994

Sample text

The study of Middle Eastern Jews has, for many decades, been mainly structured in terms of the political concerns of our own time. The thrust of many scholars has been to demonstrate the so-called symbiosis of Jews and Arabs in the past; others have uncovered abrasiveness and hostility in the relations between Jews and Arabs. These materials have been bandied about by political protagonists of various positions in the latter-day conflict. However, the study of Middle Eastern Jews is also important for ordinary Early versions of this paper were presented in 1991 at conferences on Middle EasternJewish Studies convened in Jerusalem by Harvey Goldberg, in Binghamton by Yedida Stillman, and in Tel Aviv, at the International Conference on the Study of Iraqi Jewry, by Yitzhak Avishur.

All thatin contrastto the graduates of the Alliance schools . . who know how to write, and [know] foreign languages,and makea good living, some as clerksto merchants,and [others] have themselvesbecomebig businessmen.... " The sage concludes with a forceful response to that suggestion: Those people should know that even if, Heavenforbid,thereremainin our community(qehal 'adateinu)only the porters,disposersof garbageandcleaners of latrines-through whom they despise us (mevazim'otanubahem)-we will neverthelessmanageto continueandsupplyall the needsof this school!

BAGHDAD JEWRYIN LATEOTTOMANTIMES 25 group of sages. 7But in eighteenth-centuryBaghdadappointmentswere solely by the nasi'. Moreover,the nasi' often interferedin court procedures,which elsewherewere governedexclusivelyby rabbinicaldiscretion. As in other Jewish societies, in Baghdadlay jurisdictionover certain matterswas administeredby the nasi'. Althoughin generalBaghdad's were owned 2:13b-14), the synagoguethatthe publicly (Hayim synagogues nasi' attendedwas popularlyregardedas being his own; the flowery title of the sage who officiatedtherewas "HeadCantorof the President'sGreat Synagogue"(rosh hazan ha-kenesetha-gedola shel ha-nasi') (Ben-Yaakob 1980a:179).

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