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Intrigue and RevolutionChief Rabbis in Aleppo, Baghdad, and Damascus, 1774-1914$
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Yaron Harel

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113874

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113874.001.0001

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Raphael Solomon Laniado and the Struggle in Aleppo against the Inheritance of the Rabbinate

Raphael Solomon Laniado and the Struggle in Aleppo against the Inheritance of the Rabbinate

(p.30) Chapter Two Raphael Solomon Laniado and the Struggle in Aleppo against the Inheritance of the Rabbinate
Intrigue and Revolution

Yaron Harel

, Yehonatan Chipman
Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the conflict within Aleppo's Jewish community that ostensibly revolved around the issue of inheritance of rabbinic office but was actually about the authority of the chief rabbi. Since earliest times, it had been customary in Aleppo for the community leadership to be passed from father to son. In 1787, after thirty-seven years of service to the community as chief rabbi, Rabbi Raphael Solomon Laniado attempted to appoint his only son, Ephraim, as his successor during his own lifetime. The opponents of Rabbi Ephraim Laniado's appointment were led by Rabbi Elijah Dweck Hakohen, of whom Rabbi Raphael Solomon Laniado spoke extremely harshly, to the extent of insulting and even cursing him. The hostility between the two was exacerbated by the fact that Rabbi Dweck Hakohen had been among the leading opponents of Rabbi Laniado in the great controversy that had agitated the Aleppo community some years previously concerning the subjugation to, or immunity from, the community's laws and regulations of the Francos, the Italian Jews who had settled in Aleppo since the end of the seventeenth century. The chapter then focuses on the Francos and their anomalous position in the Aleppo community. It also considers the emergence of a new middle class which, over the following decades, became dominant in the Aleppo community.

Keywords:   Aleppo Jewish community, rabbinic office, chief rabbi, community leadership, Raphael Solomon Laniado, Ephraim Laniado, Elijah Dweck Hakohen, Francos, Italian Jews, middle class

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