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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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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

Jacob Danon’s Appointment as Chief Rabbi of Damascus and its Consequences

Jacob Danon’s Appointment as Chief Rabbi of Damascus and its Consequences

(p.234) Chapter Nine Jacob Danon’s Appointment as Chief Rabbi of Damascus and its Consequences
Intrigue and Revolution

Yaron Harel

, Yehonatan Chipman
Liverpool University Press

This chapter addresses the appointment of Jacob Danon as chief rabbi of Damascus and his response to the new situation that confronted him in the community in the wake of the revolution of the Young Turks in 1908. Rabbi Danon's official appointment as ḥakham bashi transformed Damascus from an isolated community to one that enjoyed ties with the wider Jewish world. For the first time, after centuries during which its closest links had been with Tiberias and Jerusalem, it was now connected primarily to the centre of Ottoman rule in Istanbul. The chapter then looks at Rabbi Danon's campaign against Jewish prostitution, which encountered numerous obstacles, notwithstanding the governor's support. One of the main problems lay in the relations established over the years between the prostitutes and members of the city police, many of whom enjoyed the women's favours in exchange for turning a blind eye to their activities. Muslim policemen and Jewish prostitutes thus joined forces against those who sought to remove the sex trade from the streets of the Jewish quarter. In addition, Rabbi Danon needed to rebuild the institutional framework of the community, which had collapsed years before his arrival in Damascus. The chapter also considers the parliamentary elections of April of 1912, which were the only ones in the history of Damascus under Ottoman rule in which Jews played a significant role, both ceremonial and practical.

Keywords:   Jacob Danon, Damascus, Young Turk Revolution, Young Turks, ḥakham bashi, Ottoman rule, Jewish prostitution, Jewish prostitutes, Damascus Jewish community, 1912 parliamentary elections

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