David ben Joshua

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DAVID BEN JOSHUA (d. 1647), head and emissary of the *Karaite community in Jerusalem. Originally from Egypt, David settled in Jerusalem in the early 17th century, where he helped to consolidate the Karaite community, later becoming its parnas. The anti-Jewish measures instituted by the harsh ruler Ibn Faruk in 1625–26 also affected the Karaite community. David was sent to Karaite congregations in Turkey and Crimea and succeeded in obtaining substantial assistance from them. At the end of that summer the situation of the community in Jerusalem deteriorated when new taxes were imposed. To pay them David was forced to borrow money and was imprisoned by his Arab creditors. When he was released, he resumed his missions to the Karaite communities in Crimea, Lithuania, and Poland, bearing a letter of recommendation also from the Rabbanites of Jerusalem. This stated that if speedy aid was not forthcoming there, the Arab creditors would seize the Karaite quarter and the entire community. David reached Luck (Lutsk), where he died in the fall of 1647.


Mann, Texts, 2 (1935), index s.v.David b. Yeshu'a; Yaari, Sheluḥei, 172–4.

[Avraham Yaari]

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David ben Joshua

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