Sheikh, Abraham ben Shalom Ha-Levi Al-

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SHEIKH, ABRAHAM BEN SHALOM HA-LEVI AL- (c. 1749–1829), community leader, liturgical innovator. Al-Sheikh was born and lived in *San'a. He was the grandson of the *nagid R. Yiḥye ha-Levi, who headed the Jewish community of San'a after the return from the Exile of *Mawza', when he founded the Al-Sheikh synagogue, the first to be built in the new Jewish walled-off neighborhood (qā' al-yahūd). After the fall of the Iraqi family, he was appointed by the imam as supervisor of his mint and as president of the Jews of Yemen. As a wealthy man, he donated much money to the poor and helped orphans marry, built mikva'ot and a boys' school for the community from his own funds, and improved his family synagogue, already known for its beautiful traditions and valuable collection of books. He instituted a mixed rite of customs and prayers in the synagogues by introducing several changes and reforms based on Sephardi prayer books and the opinion of R. Joseph Caro (shāmī). This provoked the criticism of conservative (baladī) scholars. Al-Sheikh wrote a work on the *masorah and the musical notes of the Scriptures, Ḥelkat Meḥokek (in manuscript).


A. Qoraḥ, Sa'arat Teman (1954), 24–25.

[Yehuda Ratzaby /

Yosef Tobi (2nd ed.)]