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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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The Saga of Raphael Kassin: From Ḥakham Bashi in Baghdad to Reform Rabbi in Aleppo

The Saga of Raphael Kassin: From Ḥakham Bashi in Baghdad to Reform Rabbi in Aleppo

(p.55) Chapter Three The Saga of Raphael Kassin: From Ḥakham Bashi in Baghdad to Reform Rabbi in Aleppo
Intrigue and Revolution

Yaron Harel

, Yehonatan Chipman
Liverpool University Press

This chapter analyses the upheaval created by Rabbi Raphael Kassin both in his community of origin, Aleppo, and in Baghdad. Kassin's arrival in Baghdad in 1846 marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Baghdad Jewry. Here he was appointed as the city's first ḥakham bashi, an appointment ratified by the Ottoman sultan. This brought to an end the rule of the Baghdad community by the nasi; in its stead came a series of chief rabbis endorsed by the imperial authorities. Underlying this great change was the gradual implementation of the Ottoman reforms laid down in the Hatt-i șerif of Gülhane in 1839, an order aimed at improving the status of all the empire's subjects, especially that of the non-Muslim minorities. The chapter then studies Kassin's involvement in the Baghdad community's internal conflicts, particularly the hostility that existed between the gevirim and the nasi. In 1862, after a decade of wandering following his ejection from Baghdad, Kassin returned to the city of his birth, Aleppo, where he sought to apply his new insights.

Keywords:   Raphael Kassin, Aleppo, Baghdad, Baghdad Jewry, ḥakham bashi, nasi, chief rabbis, Ottoman reforms, Hatt-i șerif of Gülhane, gevirim

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