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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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Abraham Dweck Hakohen (Khalousi): The Last Ḥakham Bashi Born in Aleppo

Abraham Dweck Hakohen (Khalousi): The Last Ḥakham Bashi Born in Aleppo

(p.112) Chapter Five Abraham Dweck Hakohen (Khalousi): The Last Ḥakham Bashi Born in Aleppo
Intrigue and Revolution

Yaron Harel

, Yehonatan Chipman
Liverpool University Press

This chapter details the transformations that took place in the Jewish community of Aleppo during the final decade of the nineteenth century and the controversy over the removal of Rabbi Abraham Dweck Hakohen from his office as ḥakham bashi. Socio-economic transformations in late nineteenth-century Aleppo, including the emergence of a prosperous and educated middle class and the decline of the class of wealthy householders upon which the institution of the rabbinate had relied for many generations, created an urgent need for a comprehensive reorganization of community leadership and institutions. The ascent of new forces within society, the distress of the weaker classes, and the decline in influence of those families who had constituted the old leadership all led to unrest throughout the Jewish public and a widespread desire for participation in running the affairs of the community. In practice, then, the deposing of the ḥakham bashi served a clear goal: to limit the power of the individual holding that office and to transfer some of it into the hands of the steering committee. This being so, the removal from office of Rabbi Abraham Dweck Hakohen can be seen as representing a revolution in the order of communal leadership, not merely the result of intrigue and conspiracy based upon personal hostility.

Keywords:   Aleppo Jewish community, Abraham Dweck Hakohen, ḥakham bashi, middle class, rabbinate, community leadership, Jewish public, steering committee

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