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C. 950 JUDAH IBN KURAISH (Tiaret, Algeria)

One of the earliest Jewish lexicographers, sent a letter known as the Risalah (Ar. Message) to the Fez community . In it he urged them not to forgo the study of the Aramaic Targum (translation) of the Bible. He also discussed the similarities between various Semitic languages making him one of the very first to do so. Ibn Kuraish was also a liturgical poet, and is said to have written a Biblical Hebrew dictionary, but there are no copies extant.


950 - C. 1015 SIMEON BAR ISAAC "THE GREAT" OF MAYENCE (Germany)

Community leader, rabbi and paytan (liturgical composer). Simeon was a colleague of Rabbenu Gershom and an expert on customs and prayers. Of his many compositions, his Hashem Melech (The Lord is King) is still recited in the morning prayers of Rosh Hashanah. Some of his prayers contain the name Elhanan (his son), who according to tradition was forcibly baptized, became a priest and eventually (according to one version) the Pope. Years later, upon meeting his father who had come to plead against a harsh decree, he returned to Judaism.


950 VLADIMIR OF KIEV (Russia)

Held a debate similar to that held by the Khazars to determine the religion of his kingdom. His decision to convert to Christianity may have been partly to the fact that the Jews lacked political clout. Although Jews had lived in Kiev from probably its actual founding in the 8th century they were not of a significant number. Hilaria, the first native Metropolitan (bishop) feared Jewish influence and wrote a special treatise "Mosaic Law and Truth of Jesus".


953 JOSIPPON (Josiphon) JOSIPPON (Josiphon) JOSIPPON (Josiphon)

A quasi-historical account that was loosely based on Josephus's Antiquities. The book, composed in Hebrew and of unknown authorship became very popular in the Middle Ages. It mostly deals with the Second Temple period from the Hasmoneans until the destruction of the Temple. Although the author(s) sometimes mix up various historical figures, its importance lies in it being one of the earliest Hebrew literary compositions after the Bible and served to arouse historic interest in the period preceding and following the destruction of the Temple.


953 MU'IZZ (Sicily)

The Fatimite conqueror of Sicily, appointed Paltiel as his Vizier and physician. Paltiel was in charge of provisioning the army during Mu'izz's conquest of Egypt. Paltiel was a generous man and shared his wealth with many Jewish communities. His son Samuel brought his body to Jerusalem for burial.




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