Ephraim ben Shemariah

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EPHRAIM BEN SHEMARIAH (c. 980–c. 1060), leader of the Palestinian community in *Cairo during the first half of the 11th century. Ephraim's father, Shemariah, was born in *Gaza and later moved to *Egypt with his family. Ephraim himself studied in the Palestinian yeshivah, where he received the title ḥaver ("scholar") from the gaon Josiah. He was engaged in commerce, but in about 1020 became the rabbi of the Palestinian community. Although he came into conflict with an opposing faction from time to time, he held his position for more than 30 years. Ephraim supported the Jews in Palestine and, especially, the Palestinian yeshivah. He was a close friend of the gaonR. *Solomon b. Judah, with whom he corresponded for many years.


S. Poznański, in: rej, 48 (1904), 145–75; A. Cowley, in: jqr, 19 (1906/07), 107–8; M. Schwab, in: rej, 70 (1920), 63; Mann, Egypt, index; Mann, Texts, 1 (1931), 314; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 1 (1965), 131, 159–60, 175, 260.

[Eliyahu Ashtor]