A tallit is a fringed garment traditionally worn by religious Jews. The tallit has special knotted fringes known as tzitzit attached to its four corners; the cloth part is known as the "beged" and is made from wool or cotton, although silk is sometimes used for a tallit gadol. The term is, to an extent, ambiguous, it can refer either to the "tallit katan" item that can be worn over or under clothing and referred to as "tzitzit", or to the "tallit gadol" Jewish prayer shawl worn over the outer clothes during the morning prayers and worn during all prayers on Yom Kippur. The term "tallit" alone refers to the tallit gadol. There are different traditions regarding the age from which a tallit gadol is used within Orthodox Judaism. In some communities, it is first worn from bar mitzvah. In many Ashkenazi circles, a tallit gadol is worn only from marriage, in some communities it may be customarily presented to a groom before marriage as a wedding present or as part of a dowry; the Bible does not command wearing of a unique prayer tallit.
Instead, it presumes that people wore a garment of some type to cover themselves and instructs the Children of Israel to attach fringes to the corners of these, repeating the commandment in terms that they should "make thee twisted cords upon the four corners of thy covering, wherewith thou coverest thyself". These passages do not specify tying particular numbers of knots in the fringes; the exact customs regarding the tying of the tzitzit and the format of the tallit are of post-biblical, rabbinic origin and, though the Talmud discusses these matters different traditions have developed in different communities. However the Bible is specific as to the purpose of these tzitzit, stating that "it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, remember all the commandments of the LORD, do them. Encyclopaedia Judaica describes the prayer shawl as "a rectangular mantle that looked like a blanket and was worn by men in ancient times", it "is white and made either of wool, cotton, or silk".
Traditionally the tallit is made of wool or linen, based on an understanding that reference to a "garment" in the bible in connection with a mitzvah refers to wool and linen garments. Though other materials are sometimes used, the debate has not reached a conclusion, many among the orthodox, prefer wool, accepted by all authorities. There is debate about mixed wool and linen tallit, since the bible forbids klayim - "intertying" wool and linen together, with the two exceptions being garments of kohanim and tzitzit. Concerning tzitzit, chazal permit using wool and linen strings in tandem only when genuine tekhelet is available, whereas kabbalist sources take it a step further by encouraging its practice. According to the biblical commandment, a blue thread is included in the tzitzit. However, for many centuries since the exile of the Jewish people from the Land of Israel, tzitzit have been worn without a techelet fringe, though in the last hundred years there has been something of a comeback.
In Modern Hebrew the word is pronounced, with the stress on the final syllable. In Yiddish it is, with the stress on the first syllable; the plural of tallit in Hebrew is pronounced. The Yiddish plural is taleisim, pronounced. Tallit is an Aramaic word from the root T-L-L טלל meaning cover. Tallit means cloak or sheet but in Talmudic times referred to the Jewish prayer shawl. In modern Hebrew idiom, the sarcastic expression, "a blue tallit" is used to refer to something, ostensibly, but not absolutely pure and virtuous; the expression stems from rabbinic lore about the biblical figure Korah who led a revolt against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Koraḥ was said to have asked Moses a number of vexatious, mocking questions, one of which was, "Does a tallit made of blue yarn require tzitzit?" To Moses' affirmative answer, Koraḥ objected that an ordinary tallit is rendered'kosher' by attaching to its corners the tzitzit tassels, whose key feature was the single thread of blue contained in each tassel.
If so, what addition of holiness could the tzitzit contribute to a tallit, made of the same sky-blue yarn? The notion implicit in questions like this attributed by the rabbis to Koraḥ is the same as that expressed in Koraḥ's challenge to Moses and Aaron, "The entire congregation is holy, God is in their midst, so why do you exalt yourselves above God's congregation?" Koraḥ ostensibly subscribed to the laws that were the subject of his questions to Moses, but was using them to mock and discredit Moses. Therefore, Koraḥ's question about a tallit made of blue yarn, ostensibly "more kosher than tzitzit" but is not, since it still requires tzitzit, became, in Hebrew idiom, an epithet used sarcastically against hypocritical displays of false piety; the phrase "more ko
Solomon Bennett Freehof was a prominent Reform rabbi and scholar. Rabbi Freehof served as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Beginning in 1955, he led the CCAR's work on Jewish law through its responsa committee, he spearheaded changes to Reform liturgy with revisions to the Union Prayer Book. For many years, he served as the pulpit rabbi at Rodef Shalom in Pittsburgh, PA. According to the congregation, "For more than 35 years, Dr. Freehof's weekly book review series attracted audiences of more than 1,500 Christians and Jews." Freehof was born in London, moved to the U. S. in 1903, received a degree from the University of Cincinnati and ordained from Hebrew Union College. He was a World War I army chaplain, a liturgy professor at HUC, a rabbi at Chicago's Congregation Kehillath Anshe Maarav before moving to Pittsburgh, he retired in 1966. He is descended from the founder of Lubavitcher Hasidism, he studied halakhah with various Orthodox rabbis, including Rabbi Wolf Leiter of Pittsburgh and Rabbi Leopold Greenwald.
Lillian Freehof, his wife, wrote plays and children's books. They married in 1934; the couple had no children. Freehof was followed at Rodef Shalom, in work on Reform responsa, by his protégé, Rabbi Dr. Walter Jacob, who established the Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah. Cohn-Sherbok, Dan “Law in Reform Judaism: a study of Solomon Freehof” in Jewish Law Annual Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol.7 p. 121 Friedman, Rabbi Joan. "'Guidance, Not Governance': Rabbi Solomon Freehof and Reform Responsa", Rabbi Joan. "The Making of a Reform Rabbi: Solomon Freehof from Childhood to HUC," American Jewish Archives Journal, 58/1-2: 1-49. ___________. "The writing of'Reform Jewish Practice and Its Rabbinic Background'" in CCAR Journal 51, Rabbi Joan. "A Critique of Solomon Freehof's Concept of Minhag and Reform Jewish Practice." In Re-examing Progressive Halakhah, Studies in Progressive Halakhah, ed. Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, 111-133. NY: Berghahn Books, 2002. Inventory of the Freehof papers, including a biography Jacob,Walter et al.
Eds. Essays in Honor of Solomon B. Freehof 1964 Weiss, Kenneth J. “Freehof’s methodology as a Reform Jewish halachist” in Journal of Reform Judaism 32, Contemporary Reform Responsa, 1974. Current Reform Responsa, 1969. Modern Reform Responsa, 1971. New Reform Responsa, 1980. Reform Responsa, 1960. Recent Reform Responsa, 1963. Reform Responsa for our Time, 1977; the Responsa Literature Hebrew Union College Press, 1955 Today's Reform Responsa, 1990. "The Natural Law in the Jewish Tradition", University of Notre Dame Natural Law Institute Proceedings, v.15, p. 15 Commentaries on Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Psalms, e.g. Book of Job, A Commentary. UAHC, 1958 Preaching the Bible: Sermons for Sabbaths and high holy days, 1974 Reform Jewish practice and its rabbinic background, 1952 The small sanctuary: Judaism in the prayerbook, 1942 Stormers of heaven, 1931 Solomon B. Freehof Institute of Progressive Jewish Law
The Shulchan Aruch, sometimes dubbed in English as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most consulted of the various legal codes in Judaism. It was published in Venice two years later. Together with its commentaries, it is the most accepted compilation of Jewish law written; the halachic rulings in the Shulchan Aruch follow Sephardic law and customs, whereas Ashkenazi Jews will follow the halachic rulings of Moses Isserles, whose glosses to the Shulchan Aruch note where the Sephardic and Ashkenazi customs differ. These glosses are referred to as the mappah to the Shulchan Aruch's "Set Table". All published editions of the Shulchan Aruch include this gloss, the term "Shulchan Aruch" has come to denote both Karo's work as well as Isserles', with Karo referred to as "the mechaber" and Isserles as "the Rema"; the Shulchan Aruch follow the same structure as Arba'ah Turim by Rabbi Jacob ben Asher. There are four sections, each subdivided into many chapters and paragraphs: Orach Chayim – laws of prayer and synagogue, holidays.
References are given in two ways. There is disagreement on the authorship of the references to Isserles' remarks, as they are incorrect. Since the 17th century, the Shulchan Aruch has been printed with Isserles' annotations in small Rashi print interspersed with Karo's text; as commentaries on the work proliferated, more sophisticated printing styles became required, similar to those of the Talmud. The Shulchan Aruch is based on an earlier work by Karo, titled Beth Yosef. Although the Shulchan Aruch is a codification of the rulings of the Beth Yosef, it includes various rulings that are not mentioned at all in the Beth Yosef, because after completing the Beth Yosef, Karo read opinions in books he hadn't seen before, which he included in the Shulchan Aruch. In his famous methodological work Yad Malachi, Malachi ben Jacob ha-Kohen cites a halachic authority who reports rumors that the Shulchan Aruch was a summary of Karo's earlier rulings in Beth Yosef which he gave to certain of his students to edit and compile.
He concludes that this would account for those self-contradictory instances in the Shulchan Aruch. Karo intended to rely on his own judgment relating to differences of opinion between the various authorities where he could support his own view based on the Talmud, but he abandoned this idea because, as he wrote: "Who has the courage to rear his head aloft among mountains, the heights of God?" and because he may have thought, though he does not mention his conclusion, that he could gain no following if he set up his authority against that of the ancient scholars. Hence Karo adopted the Halakhot of Rabbi Isaac Alfasi and Asher ben Jehiel as his standards, accepting as authoritative the opinion of two of the three, except in cases where most of the ancient authorities were against them or in cases where there was an accepted custom contrary to his ruling; the net result of these last exceptions is that in a number of cases Karo rules in favour of the Catalan school of Nahmanides and Rashba, thus indirectly reflecting Ashkenazi opinions against the consensus of Alfasi and Maimonides.
Karo often decides disputed cases without considering the age and importance of the authority in question, expressing his own views. He follows Maimonides' example, as seen in Mishneh Torah, rather than that of Jacob ben Asher, who decides between ancient authorities. Several reasons induced Karo to connect his work with the "Tur", instead of Maimonides' code; the "Tur", although not considered as great an authority as Maimonides' code, was much more known. Karo intended to give not the results of his investigations, but the investigations themselves, he wished not only to aid the officiating rabbi in the performance of his duties, but to trace for the student the development of particular laws from the Talmud through rabbinical literature. Unlike the Tur, Maimonides' code includes all fields of Jewish law, of both present-day relevance and those dealing with prior and future times. For Karo, whose interest lay in ruling on the practical issues, the Tur seemed a better choice; the "Rema" started writing his commentary on the Arba'ah Turim, Darkhei Moshe, at about the same time as Yosef Karo.
Karo finished his work "Bet Yosef" first, it was first presented to the Rema as a gift from one of his students. Upon receiving the gift, the Rema could not understand how he had spent so many years unaware of Karo's efforts. After looking through the Bet Yosef
A veil is an article of clothing or hanging cloth, intended to cover some part of the head or face, or an object of some significance. Veiling has a long history in European and African societies; the practice has been prominent in different forms in Judaism and Islam. The practice of veiling is associated with women and sacred objects, though in some cultures it is men rather than women who are expected to wear a veil. Besides its enduring religious significance, veiling continues to play a role in some modern secular contexts, such as wedding customs. Elite women in ancient Mesopotamia and in the Greek and Persian empires wore the veil as a sign of respectability and high status; the earliest attested reference to veiling is found a Middle Assyrian law code dating from between 1400 and 1100 BC. Assyria had explicit sumptuary laws detailing which women must veil and which women must not, depending upon the woman's class and occupation in society. Female slaves and prostitutes were faced harsh penalties if they did so.
The Middle Assyrian law code states:§ 40. A wife-of-a-man, or, or women who go out into the main thoroughfare their heads. A prostitute shall not veil herself, her head shall be bare. Whoever sees a veiled prostitute shall seize her, secure witnesses, bring her to the palace entrance, they shall not take her jewelry. And if a man should see a veiled prostitute and release her and not bring her to the palace entrance: they shall strike that man 50 blows with rods. Slave-women shall not veil themselves, he who should see a veiled slave-woman shall seize her and bring her to the palace entrance: they shall cut off her ears. Veiling was thus not only a marker of aristocratic rank, but served to "differentiate between'respectable' women and those who were publicly available"; the veiling of matrons was customary in ancient Greece. Between 550 and 323 B. C. E respectable women in classical Greek society were expected to seclude themselves and wear clothing that concealed them from the eyes of strange men.
The Mycenaean Greek term, a-pu-ko-wo-ko meaning "headband makers" or "craftsmen of horse veil", written in Linear B syllabic script, is attested since ca. 1300 BC. In ancient Greek the word for veil was καλύπτρα. Classical Greek and Hellenistic statues sometimes depict Greek women with both their head and face covered by a veil. Caroline Galt and Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones have both argued from such representations and literary references that it was commonplace for women in ancient Greece to cover their hair and face in public. Roman women were expected to wear veils as a symbol of the husband's authority over his wife. In 166 BC, consul Sulpicius Gallus divorced his wife because she had left the house unveiled, thus allowing all to see, as he said, what only he should see. Unmarried girls didn't veil their heads, but matrons did so to show their modesty and chastity, their pudicitia. Veils protected women against the evil eye, it was thought. A veil called flammeum was the most prominent feature of the costume worn by the bride at Roman weddings.
The veil was a deep yellow color reminiscent of a candle flame. The flammeum evoked the veil of the Flaminica Dialis, the Roman priestess who could not divorce her husband, the high priest of Jupiter, thus was seen as a good omen for lifelong fidelity to one man; the Romans thought of the bride as being "clouded over with a veil" and connected the verb nubere with nubes, the word for cloud. Intermixing of populations resulted in a convergence of the cultural practices of Greek and Mesopotamian empires and the Semitic peoples of the Middle East. Veiling and seclusion of women appear to have established themselves among Jews and Christians, before spreading to urban Arabs of the upper classes and among the urban masses. In the rural areas it was common to cover the hair, but not the face. For many centuries, until around 1175, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman women, with the exception of young unmarried girls, wore veils that covered their hair, their necks up to their chins. Only in the Tudor period, when hoods became popular, did veils of this type become less common.
This varied from one country to another. In Italy, including face veils, were worn in some regions until the 1970s. Women in southern Italy covered their heads to show that they were modest, well-behaved and pious, they wore a cuffia the fazzoletto a long triangular or rectangular piece of cloth that could be tied in various way, sometimes covered the whole face except the eyes, sometimes bende or a wimple underneath too. For centuries, European women have worn sheer veils, but only under certain circumstances. Sometimes a veil of this type was draped over and pinned to the bonnet or hat of a woman in mourning at the funeral and during the subsequent period of "high mourning", they would have been used, as an alternative to a mask, as a simple method of hiding the identity of a woman, traveling to meet a lover, or doing anyt
Ashkenazi Jews known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim, are a Jewish diaspora population who coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish, developed after they had moved into northern Europe: beginning with Germany and France in the Middle Ages. For centuries they used Hebrew only as a sacred language, until the revival of Hebrew as a common language in Israel. Throughout their time in Europe, Ashkenazim have made many important contributions to its philosophy, literature, art and science; the term "Ashkenazi" refers to Jewish settlers who established communities along the Rhine river in Western Germany and in Northern France dating to the Middle Ages. Once there, they adapted traditions carried from Babylon, the Holy Land, the Western Mediterranean to their new environment; the Ashkenazi religious rite developed in cities such as Mainz and Troyes. The eminent French Rishon rabbi Shlomo Itzhaki would have a significant influence on the Jewish religion.
In the late Middle Ages, due to religious persecution, the majority of the Ashkenazi population shifted eastward, moving out of the Holy Roman Empire into the areas part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the course of the late 18th and 19th centuries, those Jews who remained in or returned to the German lands generated a cultural reorientation; the Holocaust of the Second World War decimated the Ashkenazim, affecting every Jewish family. It is estimated that in the 11th century Ashkenazi Jews composed three percent of the world's total Jewish population, while an estimate made in 1930 had them as 92 percent of the world's Jews. Prior to the Holocaust, the number of Jews in the world stood at 16.7 million. Statistical figures vary for the contemporary demography of Ashkenazi Jews, ranging from 10 million to 11.2 million. Sergio Della Pergola, in a rough calculation of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, implies that Ashkenazi Jews make up less than 74% of Jews worldwide. Other estimates place Ashkenazi Jews as making up about 75% of Jews worldwide.
Genetic studies on Ashkenazim—researching both their paternal and maternal lineages—suggest a predominant amount of shared Middle Eastern ancestry, complemented by varying percentages of European admixture. These studies have arrived at diverging conclusions regarding both the degree and the sources of their European ancestry, have focused on the extent of the European genetic origin observed in Ashkenazi maternal lineages. Ashkenazi Jews are popularly contrasted with Sephardi Jews, who descend from Jews who settled in the Iberian Peninsula, Mizrahi Jews, who descend from Jews who remained in the Middle East; the name Ashkenazi derives from the biblical figure of Ashkenaz, the first son of Gomer, son of Japhet, son of Noah, a Japhetic patriarch in the Table of Nations. The name of Gomer has been linked to the ethnonym Cimmerians. Biblical Ashkenaz is derived from Assyrian Aškūza, a people who expelled the Cimmerians from the Armenian area of the Upper Euphrates, whose name is associated with the name of the Scythians.
The intrusive n in the Biblical name is due to a scribal error confusing a vav ו with a nun נ. In Jeremiah 51:27, Ashkenaz figures as one of three kingdoms in the far north, the others being Minni and Ararat corresponding to Urartu, called on by God to resist Babylon. In the Yoma tractate of the Babylonian Talmud the name Gomer is rendered as Germania, which elsewhere in rabbinical literature was identified with Germanikia in northwestern Syria, but became associated with Germania. Ashkenaz is linked to Scandza/Scanzia, viewed as the cradle of Germanic tribes, as early as a 6th-century gloss to the Historia Ecclesiastica of Eusebius. In the 10th-century History of Armenia of Yovhannes Drasxanakertc'i Ashkenaz was associated with Armenia, as it was in Jewish usage, where its denotation extended at times to Adiabene, Khazaria and areas to the east, his contemporary Saadia Gaon identified Ashkenaz with the Saquliba or Slavic territories, such usage covered the lands of tribes neighboring the Slavs, Eastern and Central Europe.
In modern times, Samuel Krauss identified the Biblical "Ashkenaz" with Khazaria. Sometime in the Early Medieval period, the Jews of central and eastern Europe came to be called by this term. Conforming to the custom of designating areas of Jewish settlement with biblical names, Spain was denominated Sefarad, France was called Tsarefat, Bohemia was called the Land of Canaan. By the high medieval period, Talmudic commentators like Rashi began to use Ashkenaz/Eretz Ashkenaz to designate Germany, earlier known as Loter, where in the Rhineland communities of Speyer and Mainz, the most important Jewish communities arose. Rashi uses leshon Ashkenaz to describe German speech, Byzantium and Syrian Jewish letters referred to the Crusaders as Ashkenazim. Given the close links between the Jewish communities of France a
Jewish quarter (diaspora)
In the Jewish diaspora, a Jewish quarter is the area of a city traditionally inhabited by Jews. Jewish quarters, like the Jewish ghettos in Europe, were the outgrowths of segregated ghettos instituted by the surrounding Christian authorities. A Yiddish term for a Jewish quarter or neighborhood is "Di yiddishe gas", or "The Jewish quarter." While in Ladino, they are known as maalé yahudí, meaning "The Jewish quarter". Many European and Middle Eastern cities once had a historical Jewish quarter and some still have it. Jewish quarters in Europe existed for a number of reasons. In some cases, Christian authorities wished to segregate Jews from the Christian population so that Christians would not be "contaminated" by them or so as to put psychological pressure on Jews to convert to Christianity. From the Jewish point of view, concentration of Jews within a limited area offered a level of protection from outside influences or mob violence. In many cases, residents had their own justice system; when political authorities designated an area where Jews were required by law to live, such areas were referred to as ghettos, were coupled with many other disabilities and indignities.
The areas chosen consisted of the most undesirable areas of a city. In the 19th century, Jewish ghettos were progressively abolished, their walls taken down, though some areas of Jewish concentration continued and continue to exist. In some cities, Jewish quarters refer to areas which had concentrations of Jews. For example, many maps of Spanish towns mark a "Jewish Quarter", though Spain hasn't had a significant Jewish population for over 500 years. However, in the course of World War II, Nazi Germany reestablished Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe for the purpose of segregation, persecution and exploitation of Jews in Eastern Europe. According to USHMM archives, "The Germans established at least 1,000 ghettos in German-occupied and annexed Poland and the Soviet Union alone." AustriaVienna — LeopoldstadtBelarusDziatlava — Zhetel ghettoBelgiumAntwerp — Joods Antwerpen Czech RepublicPrague — JosefovFranceBordeaux — Saint-Seurin Draguignan — La Juiverie de Draguignan Lyon — La Juiverie de Fourvière and La Guillotière Marseille — La Carrière-des-Juifs and Mont-Juif or Montjusieu Paris — the Pletzl in Le Marais district Les Josiols is a former Jewish quarter situated north of Mirabel-aux-BaronniesGermanyFrankfurt Leipzig Speyer WormsGreeceRhodes — La JuderiaHungaryBudapest — ErzsébetvárosItalyCaltagirone — Iudeca Catania — Judeca Suprana, Judeca Suttana and Piano di Giacobbe Enna — Iudeca Messina — Tirone and Paraporto Naples — Giudecca Padua — Paduan Ghetto Palermo — Meschita and Guzzetta Reggio Calabria — La Judeca Rome — Roman Ghetto Syracuse — La Jureca Venice — Venetian GhettoNetherlandsAmsterdam — Jodenbuurt Amsterdam — Jodenbreestraat Amsterdam — Buitenveldert PolandKraków — Kazimierz Warsaw — Warsaw GhettoPortugalBelmonte — Judiaria Castelo de Vide — Judiaria Lisbon — Alfama and Judiaria Oporto — Judiaria and Bairro de MonchiqueRomaniaBucharest — Văcăreşti/DudeştiSpainÁvila — Judería Barcelona — Call Bellpuig — Call Besalú — Call Caceres — Judería Calahorra — Judería Córdoba — Judería Estella-Lizarra — Judería Girona — Call Jueu de Girona Hervás — Judería Jaén — Judería León — Judería Monforte de Lemos — Judería Oviedo — Judería Palma de Mallorca — Call Jewish quarter of Inca - Call Jueu d´Inca Plasencia — Judería Ribadavia — Judería Segovia — Aljama Sevilla — Judería Sos del Rey Católico — Judería Tarazona — Aljama Jewish quarter of Toledo Tortosa — Call Tudela — Judería Valladolid — AljamaTurkeyEuropean Istanbul — Balat Izmir - KarataşUnited KingdomCity of London — Old Jewry Winchester — Jewry Street EgyptCairo — Harat Al-Yahud Al-Qara’In and Harat Al-YahudMoroccoCasablanca TangierTunisiaDjerba island — El Ghriba Tunis ChinaShanghai — Shanghai ghetto, a temporary Jewish refuge during World War II.
IndiaKochi - Jew Town, traditional Cochin Jewish district and location of the spice market. LebanonBeirut — Wadi Abu JamilTurkeyAsian Istanbul — Kuzguncuk Izmir — KaratasIraqSulaymaniyah - JewlakanSyriaDamascus - Harat Al Yehud A restored tourist destination popular among Europeans before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war where vacationers can stay in the neighborhood and beautified former homes of the vanished ancient Jewish community. ArgentinaBuenos Aires — OnceBrazilSão Paulo — Bom Retiro, HigienópolisVenezuelaCaracas — San Bernardino, Los Chorros, Los Caobos and SebucánMexicoPolancoUnited StatesNew York City - Williamsburg and Crown Heights in Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and parts of The BronxCanadaMontréal, Québec - Mile-End/Outremont and Côte-des-Neiges/Hampstead/Snowdon, Côte-Saint-Luc, Saint-Laurent Boulevard Toronto - The Ward was the original Jewish district in the 19th century followed by Kensington Market in the early to mid 20th century. In the Americas, New Zealand and South Africa there are a number of neighborhoods or small towns in large cities or outlying communities of such, which are home to large concentrations of Jewish residents, much in the manner of old-world Jewish quarters or other ethnic enclaves, though without exclusive Jewish population.
A walk in the old Jewish Quarter of Pest
Yosef Qafiḥ known as Rabbi Kapach, was a Yemenite-Israeli authority on Jewish religious law, a dayan of the Supreme Rabbinical Court in Israel, one of the foremost leaders of the Yemenite Jewish community in Israel, where he was sought after by non-Yemenites as well. He is known for his editions and translations of the works of Maimonides, Saadia Gaon, other early rabbinic authorities his restoration of the Mishneh Torah from old Yemenite manuscripts and his accompanying commentary culled from close to 300 additional commentators and with original insights, he was the grandson of Rabbi Yiḥyah Qafiḥ, a prominent Yemenite leader and founder of the Dor Deah movement in Yemen. Qafih was the recipient of many awards, as well as an Honorary Doctorate from Bar-Ilan University. Yosef Qafiḥ was born 27 November 1917 in Sana’a in Yemen, his father was Rabbi David Qafiḥ, who died after being assaulted by an Arab, when his son Yosef was less than one year old. At the age of five, Yosef lost his mother and was raised by his grandfather Rabbi Yiḥyah Qafiḥ, under whom he studied Torah.
In 1927, Yosef helped his grandfather retrieve the oldest complete Mishnah commentary from the Jewish community's genizah in Sana'a, containing Rabbi Nathan ben Abraham's elucidation of difficult words and passages in the Mishnah. The commentary was published in Israel. At the age of thirteen, Yosef wrote out a complete copy of Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed in Judeo-Arabic; when Yosef was 14, his grandfather died and he inherited his grandfather's position as rabbinic authority and teacher of the Sana’a community. When he and two of his acquaintances went to visit the burial-site of Yosef's grandfather, his father, they were accused of having burnt the grave of his grandfather's chief disputant, were arrested and held in bonds; because of the rift in the community between those who adhered to kabbalah and the rationalists, the two informers told the Arab authority about the young Yosef being a Jewish orphan, that under the laws of the state's Orphans' Decree he was required to be taken under the arms of the Islamic State and converted to Islam.
The child was questioned about his father and upon the realization that his forced conversion to Islam was the informants' intent–with the arson accusation being a means to render him vulnerable to Muslim authority and attention–he did not answer his interrogator, was released by the prison authority for no explained reason. The Imam, Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din, urgently requested that they find him a bride to bypass forced conversion to Islam as an orphaned child. Rabbi Yihye al-Abyadh arranged for Yosef's marriage to Bracha Saleh in the same year of his grandfather's passing. In his early years, he worked as a silversmith. In 1943 he immigrated to Mandatory Palestine, where he studied at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva and qualified as a dayan at the Harry Fischel Institute. In 1950 he was appointed as a dayan in the Jerusalem district court. After Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was invited to serve on the Jerusalem beth din in 1958, in addition to Rabbi Qafih and Rabbi Waldenberg, rabbis Qafih and Yosef together would constitute a non-Ashkenazic majority in the beit din of three.
In 1970, Qafih was appointed as a dayan in the Supreme Rabbinical Court. Throughout the course of more than half a century, numerous rabbis sat on various rabbinical courts with him, including Rabbis Tzvi Pesach Frank, Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, Ovadia Yosef, Avraham Shapira, Mordechai Eliyahu, the Tzitz Eliezer. Rabbi Yosef Qafiḥ was a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel and president of the Yemenite community in Jerusalem, he died on 21 July 2000 at the age of 82, is buried in Jerusalem's Har HaMenuchot cemetery. His main work in the field of Torah literature was his translation and publication of manuscripts of numerous works by Sephardic Rishonim, including HaNivchar BeEmunot u'va-Deot of Saadia Gaon, the Torat Chovot HaLevavot by Bahya ibn Pakuda, the Kuzari by Judah ha-Levi and many other works in Judaeo-Arabic; the prime place in his oeuvre is reserved for the writings of Maimonides: he translated the Guide for the Perplexed, Commentary on the Mishnah, Sefer Hamitzvot and Beiur M'lekhet HaHiggayon and edited a 24-volume set of the Mishneh Torah.
His works and translations received recognition from the Rabbinic world alike. His edition of Maimonides' Commentary on the Mishnah in particular is a cited source in ArtScroll's Yad Avraham Mishnah Series, with Rabbis Nosson Scherman and Meir Zlotowitz recognizing it as a "justly acclaimed translation of what is assumed to be Rambam's own manuscript." Rabbi Ovadia Yosef wrote that the seven years he sat with "the great Gaon Rabbi Yosef Qafiḥ ZT"L" in the beth din were "seven good years" and that Rabbi Qafiḥ toiled over his Torah day and night. As a Rabbi and rabbinic judge of the first order, serving in the Rabbinic Court of Appeals in Jerusalem, Qafiḥ's contribution in the field of academics puts him on a level above many other rabbis, he wrote extensively about the heritage of Yemenite Jews, describing in a book, “Halichot Teman”, the Jewish life in Yemen, eclipsing the renowned works of Amram Qorah and ethnographer, Yaakov Sapir. He published several works of Yemenite Jewish provenance, such as Meor ha-Afelah by Nethanel ben Isaiah, Garden of the Intellects by Natan'el al-Fayyumi.
He published a book under the title of “Shivat Tzion” Tiklal, a Yemenite prayer book reflecting the views of Maimonides in three volumes