Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mali and ... Jews? Why Not?

Mali is in the news.

France is attacking and the US, with all the international law questions, is supporting.

So, Jews?

Why not?

Timbuktu is in Mali.

Here:

Rabbi Mordechai Abi Serour, with his brother Yitzhaq, came from Morocco in 1859 to be a trader in Timbuktu. At the time of Rabbi Serour's bold enterprise, direct trade relations with the interior of west Africa (then known to them as Sudan) were monopolized by Muslim merchants. Non-Muslims were precluded from this trade because Arab merchants were determined to forestall encroachments upon their lucrative business...He was clever, shrewd, articulate, audacious, and most important he knew Koranic law as well as most learned Muslims.

...As a Jew, he couldn't set up his trading business, so he appealed to the regional ruler, who at that time was a Fulani Emir, and negotiated dhimmi, or protected people status. Between 1860 to 1862 Rabbi Serour and his brother Yitzhaq were able to become successful and they became well known in the area. After earning a small fortune, Rabbi Serour returned to Morocco in 1863...In 1864, the Jewish colony in Timbuktu had reason to rejoice since by the end of the year they had eleven adult male Jews in residence. This was significant since it meant that they could form a minyan and establish a synagogue.

...Records of the Jewish history of Mali can still be found in the Kati Andalusi library. Ismael Diadie Haidara, a historian from Timbuktu, possesses old Arabic and Hebrew texts among the city's historical records...[and] a young Malian historian, Ismaël Diadié Haïdara, a member of the Kati clan, [is the]... author of several books, including...Les Juifs de Tombouctou (1999). The library is currently in the possession of two branches of the Kati clan in the village of Kirshamba about 100 miles to the west of Timbuktu. Up to 1,700 out of an estimated 2,000 manuscripts in the library have been examined and evaluated by Abdul Kader Haïdara, the Timbuktu-based expert in Arabic manuscripts and guardian of the Mamma Haidara Memorial Library currently being rehabilitated through a grant from the Mellon Foundation...The trading documents referred to three families in particular: the Kehath family (Ka'ti) that came from southern Morocco and converted with the rest of the population in 1492; the Cohen family descended from the Moroccan Jewish trader al-Hajj Abd al-Salam al Kuhin, who arrived in the Timbuktu area in the 18th century; and the Abana family, which came in the first half of the 19th century....

From here, there and on to Timbuktu.

^

1 comment:

MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

As Menachem Begin, a"h, once said: Goyim kill goyim and they blame the Jews.