Judah ben Joseph of Kairouan

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JUDAH BEN JOSEPH OF KAIROUAN (end of 10th and beginning of 11th century), talmudic scholar of the geonic era. Judah is referred to as resh sidra, *resh kallah, and *alluf. He corresponded on halakhic problems with *Sherira and his son *Hai, geonim of *Pumbedita, as well as with *Samuel b. Hophni, Gaon of *Sura. His last extant letter is dated 1021 c.e. From Cairo *Genizah fragments and laudatory poems written by Hai Gaon and by an anonymous poet, it is clear that he was a wealthy merchant who had considerable influence with the government. Together with Joseph b. Berechiah and Abraham b. Nathan, *nagid of *Kairouan, Judah assisted the Jews expelled from *Fez in 979/980 following the revolt of the Beni Ziri against the *Fatimids. Judah was a patron of scholars and contributed to the Babylonian yeshivot. He opposed the *Karaites and is thought to have written a biblical commentary.


A. Harkavy, Zikkaron la-Rishonim ve-gam la-Aḥaronim, 4 (1887), nos. 207, 434, 442; Mann, in: Tarbiz, 5 (1933/34), 301–4; Hirschberg, in: Zion, 23–24 (1958–59), 166–73; Goitein, ibid., 27 (1962), 159–64; Abramson, in: Sinai; Sefer Yovel (1958), 403–17; Abramson, Merkazim, 79–82.

[Eliezer Bashan (Sternberg)]