Joseph Maman al-Maghribi

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JOSEPH MAMAN AL-MAGHRIBI (1741–1822), rabbi and emissary of *Safed. Born in *Tetuán, *Morocco, Joseph Maman later settled in Safed with his family. Ḥayyim Joseph David *Azulai, the great Safed scholar, suggested he be sent on a special mission to the Jewish communities in *Syria, *Iraq, *Turkey, and *Persia to collect funds for the victims of the great famine in Safed. He traveled to Constantinople, Kermanshah, *Hamadan, *Teheran, and *Meshed, where he met Siman Tov Melamed, who persuaded him to visit the Jews in *Bukhara then living in isolation and ignorance. On his mission, Joseph Maman was accompanied by Mulla Daniel of Meshed, who served him as interpreter. He arrived in Bukhara in 1793 and stayed there for 30 years, completely revitalizing the communities in Bukhara and the vicinity. He established Jewish schools in Bukhara, introduced the Sephardi rite in place of the Persian, and obtained books from *Baghdad, Constantinople, and particularly from Russia. Joseph Maman can be regarded as the spiritual father of the Ḥibbat Zion movement in Central Asia which, under the impact of his personality and teachings, brought thousands of Bukharian Jews to the Holy Land.


S. Ḥakham, Zekher Ẓaddik (1894), 42a–47b; Yaari, Sheluḥei, 664–5; W.J. Fischel, in: L. Jung (ed.), Jewish Leaders (1953), 535–47; M. Eshel, Galleryah: Demuyyot shel Rashei Yehudei Bukharah (1968), 17–29.

[Walter Joseph Fischel]