David ben Shimeon

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DAVID BEN SHIMEON (1825–1879), Moroccan rabbi (known as "Ẓuf Devash"), founder of the Moroccan (Moghrabi) Jewish community of Israel. David b. Shimeon was born in Rabat, Morocco. In 1854 he left for Ereẓ Israel as part of the Moroccan immigration which had been growing continuously since the 1830s. These immigrants were mostly poor Jews who were motivated to leave by the deterioration of the position of the Jews in Morocco, the improvement of conditions in Ereẓ Israel, and messianic hopes. All attempts of the Moghrabis to establish themselves as a separate community, independent of the dominant Sephardi community, met with determined opposition on the part of the latter, who even leveled accusations at them before the Turkish and consular authorities, with the result that some of their leaders were imprisoned.

Aided by the Ashkenazim in Jerusalem, David finally succeeded in 1860 in establishing the separate Moghrabi community, arriving at an agreement with the Sephardim as to the allocation of the funds received by them from abroad. David applied himself vigorously to the needs of his community. He sent emissaries abroad on their behalf and built residential areas for them, including the suburb Maḥaneh Israel (1867), schools, and synagogues.

David b. Shimeon's works on halakhah and aggadah deal with the religious duty of settling in Ereẓ Israel. They include Sha'ar he-Ḥaẓer (1862) and Sha'ar ha-Mifkad (with additions by his son Raphael Aaron; 1908–9). His other works are no longer extant.


A. Elmaleh, in: Luncz, Luaḥ, 14 (1909), 53–88; Y. Barnai, in: Ha-Yishuv ha-Yehudi bi-Yerushalayim.

[Jacob Barnai]

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David ben Shimeon

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