New Article: Reimer, A Translation and Analysis of the Zionist Congress’s Opening Speech

Reimer, Michael J. “‘The Good Dr. Lippe” and Herzl in Basel, 1897: A Translation and Analysis of the Zionist Congress’s Opening Speech.” Journal of Israeli History (early view, online first).





Dr. Karpel Lippe of Jassy, who gave the opening speech at the first Zionist Congress, has been largely ignored in histories of Zionism. This article introduces an English translation of his speech. Lippe helped to legitimate “Congress-Zionism” by connecting it to earlier forms of Jewish activism. His address exposes tensions arising from the Basel meeting, including Ottoman suspicion, relations with the Orthodox, and conflicts over organizational priorities. Insisting upon his and his country’s priority in the movement’s history, Lippe’s oration suggests an alternative perspective on early Zionism and raises broader questions for the historiography of nationalism.

Reviews: Cohen, Becoming Ottomans

Cohen, Julia Philips. Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.





  • Rubin, Avi. “Review.” AJS Review 38.2 (2014): 484-487.
  • Kern, Karen M. “Review.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 47.1 (2015): 196-198.


Reviews: Green, Montefiore. Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero

Green, Abigail. Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010.



Johnson, Sam. “Review.”  East European Jewish Affairs 40,3 (2010): 307-310.

Alderman, Geoffrey. “This Moses Was Not So Heroic After All.”, March 4, 2010.

N/A. “Give It All You Got. First Global Celebrity.” The Economist, March 25, 2010.

Taylor, Priscilla S. “Review.” Washington Times , March 26, 2010.

Schroeter, Daniel. “Review.” English Historical Review 126 (2011): 1553-1556.

Stein, Sarah Abrevaya. “Review.” Journal of Modern History 83.3 (2011): 624-626.

Itzkowitz, Daniel C. “Review.” Victorian Studies 54.1 (2011): 119-120.

Renton, James. “Review.”  Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 11.2 (2012): 291-293.


Cite: Ben Ya’akov, North African Jewish Widows in Late-Ottoman Palestine

Ben Ya’akov, Michal. “Space and Place: North African Jewish Widows in Late-Ottoman Palestine.” Hawwa 10:1-2 (2012): 37-58.





During the nineteenth century, the number of Jews in Jerusalem soared, including Jews in the North African Jewish community, which witnessed a significant growth spurt. Within the Jewish community, the number of widows, both young and old, was significant—approximately one-third of all adult Jews. This paper focuses on the spatial organization and residential patterns of Maghrebi Jewish widows and their social significance in nineteenth-century Jerusalem. Although many widows lived with their families, for other widows, without family in the city, living with family was not an option and they lived alone. By sharing rented quarters with other widows, some sought companionship as well as to ease the financial burden; others had to rely on communal support in shelters and endowed rooms. Each of these solutions reflected communal and religious norms regarding women in general, and widows in particular, ranging from marginalization and rejection to sincere concern and action.


Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World

New Publication: Bonine et al., eds. Is There a Middle East?

Bonine, Michael E., Abbas Amanat, and Michael Ezekiel Gasper, eds. Is There a Middle East? The Evolution of a Geopolitical Concept. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011.


cover for Is There a Middle East?


344 pp.
6 illustrations, 30 maps, 1 figure.

ISBN: 9780804775267
Cloth $80

ISBN: 9780804775274
Paper $24.95






Is the idea of the "Middle East" simply a geopolitical construct conceived by the West to serve particular strategic and economic interests—or can we identify geographical, historical, cultural, and political patterns to indicate some sort of internal coherence to this label? While the term has achieved common usage, no one studying the region has yet addressed whether this conceptualization has real meaning—and then articulated what and where the Middle East is, or is not.

This volume fills the void, offering a diverse set of voices—from political and cultural historians, to social scientists, geographers, and political economists—to debate the possible manifestations and meanings of the Middle East. At a time when geopolitical forces, social currents, and environmental concerns have brought attention to the region, this volume examines the very definition and geographic and cultural boundaries of the Middle East in an unprecedented way.

New Publication: Cohen, Ottoman Palestine

Cohen, Amnon. Studies on Ottoman Palestine. Variorum Collected Studies Series 983. Aldershot and Burlington, Vt. Ashgate, 2011.




URL:  Click Here



The studies brought together here are based on Amnon Cohen’s many years of research in the archives of the Shari’a courts in Jerusalem, as well as archives in Ankara and Istanbul, London and Paris, complemented and enhanced by travellers’ reports, diplomatic correspondence, and Arab chronicles of the Middle East. Cohen highlights major developments in the economic, demographic and social fields, stretching over four centuries of Ottoman rule in Palestine, from the zenith of military achievements in Europe up to the demise of the empire and conquest of Palestine by the British army in the first World War. These studies are histories of the whole country, stretching from the Mediterranean coasts to the highlands of Jerusalem and beyond, to the Jordan valley. They cover the vicissitudes of both the urban setting and rural hinterland, with special attention equally paid to the diversified nature of the Palestinian population comprised of Jews, Christians and Muslims – and their respective holy places.


Introduction; Part 1 Palestine – Local and International Dimensions: Ottoman involvement in Europe: its relevance for 16th century Palestine; Some conventional concepts of Ottoman administration in the light of a more detailed study: the case of 18th century Palestine; Ottoman rule and the re-emergence of the coast of Palestine; Napoleon and Jezzar: a local perspective. Part 2 Jerusalem – Urban and Economic Developments: The walls of Jerusalem; L’oeuvre de Soliman le Magnifique à Jérusalem: les murailles, la citadelle et leurs moyens de défense; Local trade, international trade and government involvement in Jerusalem during the early Ottoman period; Le rouge et le noir – Jerusalem style; Gold and silver crafting in Ottoman Jerusalem; the role played by the guild; 1516–1917: Haram-i serif – the Temple Mount under Ottoman rule. Part 3 Jerusalem’s Hinterland: Al-Nabi Musa – an Ottoman festival (mawsim) resurrected?; A coffeehouse in 19th century Jerusalem: a precursor of modernization. Part 4 Jews and Jewish Matters: New evidence on demographic change: the Jewish community in 16th century Jerusalem; Communal legal entities in a Muslim setting – theory and practice: the Jewish community in 16th-century Jerusalem; Ottoman sources for the history of the Ottoman Jews: how important?; Ritual murder accusations against the Jews during the days of Suleiman the Magnificent; A tale of two women: facets of Jewish life in 19th-century Jerusalem as seen through the Muslim court records; The Jews under Islam c.1500 – today. Part 5 Christians and Christianity: On the realities of the millet system: Jerusalem in the 16th century; The Ottoman approach to Christians and Christianity in 16th-century Jerusalem; The expulsion of the Franciscans from Mount Zion: old documents and new interpretations; The receding of the Christian presence in the Holy Land: a 19th-century sijill in the light of the 16th-century tahrirs; Index.

About the Author

Professor Amnon Cohen holds the Eliahu Elath Chair for the History of the Muslim Peoples at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was the recipient of the Israel Prize in 2007.

Reviews: Saposnik, Becoming Hebrew

Saposnik, Arieh B. Becoming Hebrew. The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.




– Donna Divine Robinson, “Review”, Middle East Journal 63.2 (2009): 328-330.

– Aaron Wenner, “Review”, Nations and Nationalism 17.1 (2011): 215-217.

– Rakefet Zalashik, “Review”, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 79.1 (2011): 275-278.

– Simon A. Waldman, “Review”, Journal for Modern Jewish Studies 10.1 (2011): 145-147.

Lecture: Dowty, The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

"The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict:

Arab-Jewish Relations In Ottoman Palestine"

Israel Studies Seminar at the Middle East Centre, St. Anthony’s college, Oxford

When: Tue, March 9, 5:00pm – 6:30pm

Where: The Middle East Centre, 68 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6JF (map)

Description: Seminar to be presented by Professor Alan Dowty, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, and Senior Associate for Middle East Studies of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. All welcome.

Convenor: Dr. Raffaella Del Sarto