842 - 858 PALTOI BEN ABAYA (Babylon)
Is considered the first Gaon of Pumbedita and is credited with increasing its stature. At the request of the Spanish Jewish community, he sent them a copy of the Talmud with explanations. He is also noted for imposing excommunications (cherum), whereby those deemed to have harmed the Jewish people were no longer considered part of the community. (An excommunicated Jew, for example, is not counted for a minyan (quorum) for prayers, nor is he called to the Torah in the synagogue.) Excommunication was considered the most severe form of "civil-religious" punishment and was rarely used.