By Mitchell Dayan
Aleppo, Aram Soba (Tsova) and Halab are interchangeable names for the same city in northwest Syria. Aram Soba is the Biblical name for Halab, a city dating to pre biblical times. Aleppo was the name given to Halab by the Italian merchants in the 14th and 15th centuries. Tradition among Aleppo's Jews is that Halab received its name when the patriarch Abraham, upon arriving in the city after leaving Haran eighty miles east, "milked his cows" on the mountain of Aram and distributed the milk to the poor on it's slopes. Halab means "milked" in Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic.
It is certain that Jews lived uninterruptedly in Aleppo for many centuries, intertwining with the history and politics of Jerusalem. According to the book of Samuel and Psalm 60, Aram Soba was part of the extended area of northern Israel. Through the millennia, great Talmudic sages record Aleppos unbroken record of communal peace and spiritual productivity. Early Jewish travelers to the area include Saadia Gaon in 921, Benjamin of Tudela in 1173, and Rabbi Petachya of Regensburg in 1170-80.
The Great Synagogue of Aleppo, built by King Davids General Joab ben Seruya (Zeruiah) after the conquest of Aleppo in 950 B.C.E., is still standing. It is also called Joabs Synagogue. (The synagogue was destroyed during the rule of Tamerlane in 1400 and was rebuilt in 1418. In 1947 anti-Zionist groups burned the synagogue and it was in an abandoned state by 1995).
With the destruction of the kingdom of Judea by the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.E., Jews were dispersed to the surrounding areas. When King Cyrus II of Persia, victor over the Babylonians, restored the exiled Jews to their homeland forty years later, large numbers who had prospered chose to stay in their adopted lands. These Oriental (Ancient Near Eastern) Jews, the native Jews of Aleppo, can trace their ancestry back for countless generations.
The level of Jewish religious observance and study in Aleppo is legendary and well respected. The Rambam (Maimonides 1135-1204) wrote in a letter to the Jews of Lunel, in the South of France: "In all the Holy Land and in Syria, there is one city alone and it is Halab in which there are those who are truly devoted to the Jewish religion and the study of Torah 1Missing Entry".
The Aleppo Codex, called the Crown of the Torah, was written during the first half of the 10th century (or 896 acc. to some scholars). The Hebrew manuscript of the Bible was written by the scribe Shlomo Ben Buya'a and then verified, vocalized, and pointed by Aaron Ben-Asher in Tiberias. It was taken to Egypt where Maimonides saw it. He considered it to be the most perfect of all versions and used it as an example and standard of the Biblical text.
Sometime towards the end of the 14th century the manuscript was taken into the custody of the Jewish community of Aleppo. Keter Aram Tzova (The Aleppo Codex), the most authoritative manuscript of the Masoretic text of the Bible, was kept in the Joab Ben Zeruiah Synagogue (in the Cave of Elijah) for some 500 years. Apparently it was damaged in the fire of the synagogue in 1947 in the period known as "Days of Trial," and thought to be lost until 1958 when it was brought to Israel. It is housed in the Ben-Zvi Institute. Now most of its pages, 295 of the original 487, are safeguarded in Jerusalem, Israel.
In the 16th century the Aleppo community absorbed a large number of Sephardic (Spanish) Jews who had been expelled from Spain following the Inquisition. Although Sephardic customs are rooted in the Orient, there was a great political rift when the two groups first lived together. Each community, Oriental and Sephardic, kept its own teachers and judges. Nonetheless, they were partners in collecting marriage obligations and in writing documents that needed three rabbinic judges.
Until the time the Jews began to emigrate from Aleppo in the early 1900s, precipitated by the Young Turks Movement, matters of honors concerning the Torah remained the province of the Dayan family. This custom had been the practice for many centuries. Throughout that time the Dayan family included distinguished scholars in Aleppo. They laid detailed claim, generation by generation, to descent from King David. They established Beit Nasi (House of the Prince), a revered house of study and prayer that functioned in Aleppo until Israels independence in 1947-8. Following that event, the political climate and the uncertainty of life in Syria scattered any Jews remaining in the region. Today there are essentially no Jews left in Aleppo, but the heritage of this illustrious city continues to stand out among Jewish communities by virtue of the families who emigrated over the years but continued to maintain a spiritual bond with their roots.
In May of 2003 I shared the results of my genealogical research through the unveiling of the Dayan Family Tree at Shaare Shalom Synagogue in Brooklyn, New York. At that time I first presented this information, accompanied by a finished family tree poster, to 150 relatives. They learned the truth behind words they had heard all their lives: the Dayan family has very deep roots all the way back to King David, in an unbroken male pedigree.
Since that presentation I have continued to find more information and corroborating evidence and I incorporate that information in updates to this manuscript.
My quest to uncover the Dayan history began in a gathering of relatives. In July 1983 we were in Deal, New Jersey sitting shiva2Missing Entry for my brother, Stanley. While we sat scores of "cousins", many with names other than Dayan, such as Dweck, Hedaya, Husney, Kassin, Shayo, Sitt, and Sultan, came to offer condolences. I wondered how these people were related to me, and my hunt for the blood connections started in earnest.
The moment that had a profound impact on my life occurred that week.
Rabbi Yitzhak Dweck3Missing Entry came to the house. While extending his condolences, he heard me asking about how these relatives were connected to me. Then he mentioned what I'd always heard about the Dayans being descended from David Hamelech (The King).
Rabbi Dweck asked if I had ever seen 'THE BOOK'. Everybody knew about 'THE BOOK'. It was part of the legend, as were family documents with names and dates that my grandfather, the last of a long line of ancestors born in Aleppo, handed down from his grandfather. One paper was particularly clear about the connection to a 'Generation 81'. "No", I said, "I had never seen a copy." A knowing smile came through his eyes.
Rabbi Dweck left for the night. When he returned the next day he placed 'THE BOOK', Yashir Moshe4Missing Entry (The Song of Moses), written in 1864 by Rabbi Moshe Dayan, into my hands. The main body of Yashir Moshe is a homiletic commentary on Shir Hashirim5Missing Entry (The Song of Songs). The introduction includes an historic overview of Aram Soba. Kabbalat Shabbat (the Friday Night prayer service) and other songs and prayers follow the commentary.
The hidden gem in the book is the genealogy found between the introduction and the commentary. That is where Rabbi Moshe Dayan traces the Dayan family lineage back to our great ancestor and judge, King David, and identifies himself as the 85th Generation. The secular academic community refers to this genealogy of the Dayans of Aleppo as "Gens Dayanica." Yashir Moshe details the family's progenitors, usually with a brief biography or story. The first 22 generations are detailed in Kings I, Kings II, Chronicles I, and Chronicles II. Others appear in Sefer Yuhasin (Book of Generations) or as the central character in various historical studies. The translation of Dayan, pronounced die-YON, is judge. According to Rabbi Moshe, the house of Dayan has always been one of rabbinic judges, and the use of Dayan as a surname originated in the 16th century with Rav Mordechai (born 1541), the familys 76th generation.
Rav Moshe explains his decision to print the well-known lineage:
"In the course of time, there was occasionally someone who was wise in his own eyes, but lacking fear of heaven and unafraid of breaking the law and violating the covenant . . . And as the genealogy we possess had begun to disintegrate due to its long history, and was renewed . . . One must be concerned that over a period of time, the genealogy could be lost. I therefore decided to print it in a book, so it is preserved until the coming of the Messiah, the son of David... 6Missing Entry"
Rav Moshe ends with a harsh warning:
"Know, kind reader, that concerning this genealogy, there are edicts, excommunications, bans, absolutions and curses on anyone who would copy it for themselves, who is not from the seed of princes, kings and Judges, who is not a prince nor the son of a prince, who is not a judge nor the son of a judge. We declare, by the power of our holy, pure, and perfect Torah, by the decree of the sages that such we excommunicate, ban, cut off, and curse with all the curses written in the Torah."
The Gedolim (Great Rabbis) of Aram Soba endorse the pedigree. In an affidavit following the genealogy, Rabbi Moshe Sutton, Rabbi Moshe HaCohen, Rabbi Shaul Chaim Abadi, Rabbi Moshe Suede, Rabbi David Kassin, Rabbi Eliahu Mishan, Rabbi Michael Ashkanazi, Rabbi Raphael Moshe Sasson, Rabbi Shalom Mizrahi, and Rabbi Aaron Choueka, all praise and bless the author and his work. Everyone knows how careful the rabbis were about saying anything that was even of slightest doubt.
An excerpt from the rabbinic endorsement: "This is to be regarded as the Torah that was given by Moses"
My Mission Revealed
While we poured over the genealogy that week, translating the original Hebrew, family stories were told and repeated to a new generation. My mind was flooded, connecting the new information to existing lore. My new mission in life was to tie into the 18th and 19th centuries of the author's genealogy. At the same time I had to find out about all of these cousins! And, of course, I had to make sure that everybody I was able to find and contact knew how we were related.
Other Community Rabbis
The Davidic connection is such common knowledge in the Syrian Community that it was mentioned twice within two days during a brief stay in Brooklyn. The unfortunate timing of my father's death, six weeks before the planned unveiling of the Dayan Family Tree, prompted some unsolicited validation. We were in Brooklyn for his funeral, and the first thing Hacham Baruch7Missing Entry said was, "The Dayans are [descended] from King David," unequivocally, and then he continued with his eulogy.
Two days later, my mother's mother, Sulcha (Emilie) Sasson, passed away. The two losses came so close together. At my grandmother's funeral, Rabbi Shaul Kassin8Missing Entry said in a special mention of my mother's double loss, "Of course, everyone knows the Dayan family comes from King David." Both Rabbis' remarks were matter-of-fact!
The Beginning
At the beginning of my new mission I explored my vast family and found relatives in Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Mexico, Peru, Canada, and Manchester. I was struck, while visiting relatives in Mexico, by seeing in their home a copy of "The Aleppo Parchment", a Hebrew-language document that looked startlingly familiar. It has the same information as family documents Id seen in the United States and other continents, written in the same way, and confirmed by the Community of Rabbis in Jerusalem. These relatives who are scattered all over the world but descended from ancestors born in Aleppo, knew the same story as I had been told while growing up in the United States.
In many cases, I discovered family history through a wonderful interview process. At that time, the mid-1980s, some of my cousins were eighty or ninety years old. Born in Aleppo, they provided a wealth of firsthand information regarding names and dates. Unfortunately, most of these cousins are now deceased.
Marriage between cousins was, and still is, a common practice in the Syrian community. My father's brother, Murray, and sister, Adele, each married a Dayan. I was treated to detailed explanations of how these cousins, along with five other couples, were related before they married. This entirely accurate documentation can come only from the expansive memories of family members. The information is reliable. I established a standard of accuracy for my findings that required information to be validated at least two ways, by two independent sources. The tie-in to distant Dayan cousins was clarified. The connection to the non-Dayan cousins was followed through the bloodlines of great aunts and great-great aunts, all Dayans by birth. The Dayan Family Tree was taking shape.
Half of my mission was completed.
Syrian Community Support
Sarina Roffe, a leading expert on Syrian Jewish genealogy, is an accomplished journalist and Jewish historian, and a member of the Jewish Genealogy Society. She attended my presentation in May 2003. The following July she was an invited speaker at the 23rd Annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, which took place in Washington, DC.
Sarina's workshop was on her research documenting Sephardic Rabbinic dynasties. She was so pleasantly surprised to see how our projects intertwined that she included The Dayan Family Tree in her presentation. The tree was well received. The few copies of my poster that she brought were gobbled up immediately. She presented related research findings at the July 2004 conference in Jerusalem. (Go to www.ortra.com/jgen2004 for more information.)
Sarina wrote a series of articles for The Image magazine, outlining her workshop and research. In an article called "Sephardic Genealogy" (September 2003) she summarizes parts of my work. In her three-part series titled "Sephardic Rabbinic Dynasties" (October, November, and December 2003) she utilized some of my information to corroborate her research on the Kassin and Labaton-Husney families.
The Jewish Community At Large
This research and the endorsement by our revered Rabbis are good enough for the Syrian community, but for the Jewish community at large, we look to the authoritative Encyclopedia Judaica9Missing Entry. There under the heading "Dayyan", a more accurate English representation of the Hebrew letters than Dayan, we find the chronicled Messianic lineage of Aleppo. Specifically mentioned by name is my great-grandfather, Yeshia ben Mordechai (generation 84), the head of the Bet Din (religious court) in Aleppo. He founded a Jewish Press10Missing Entry in 1888. Yeshia's three sons, who later ran the press, are also named in the article. They are my great uncles, Shaul and Yitzhak, and my grandfather, Shlomo (Selim). Yitzhak, who became the Mohel and Scribe of Aleppo, held birth records tracing the family back before the 80th generation of the Gens Dayanica.
The Encyclopedia Judaica article also cites the book Yashir Moshe, its author Rav Moshe, his father Rav Avraham and distinguished sermons, ethical writings, commentaries and responsa that Avraham wrote. In the introduction to his books, Rav Avraham identifies his important lineage with endorsement of the Gedolim (Great Rabbis). The forwards of rabbinic writings, of Aleppo and elsewhere, follow this common practice and list a genealogy or reference to pedigree of the author, few go back more than six generations.
Yeshia ben Mordechai wrote Ze Katav Yedi (This is the writing of my hand) in 1872. It is a commentary on the Shulchan Auruch and other responsa. In the introduction he makes a matter-of-fact claim that he is the 84th generation from King David. The introduction is followed by an endorsement from the Gedolim. Rav Avraham, his second cousin, also generation 84 and the father of Rav Moshe, is among them. Neither Yeshia nor Avraham thought it necessary to detail the pedigree.
Rabbi David-Sion Laniado spent countless hours at the old Aleppo cemetery recording the inscriptions on each tombstone of the hundreds of rabbis buried there. He assembled biographical details on the most notable pious men who had lived in Aram Soba. He also researched community records and many old manuscripts of holy books kept in synagogues and private collections. He put all this material into a book he titled LiKedoshim Asher Ba'Aretz, after the verse in Tehillim (Psalms 16:3) "For the sake of the holy ones who are [interned] in the earth." (The word Aretz is a common abbreviation for "Aram Soba") Rabbi David is a descendant of Samuel Laniado, the head of the Bet Din and community of the late 1500s.
LiKedoshim Asher Ba'Aretz was first published in 1932. The entries are arranged in alphabetical sequence and each name assigned a reference number. The book was translated and became the base (using the same format) for "Aleppo: City of Scholars" by Rabbi David Sutton, published in 2005.
My grandfather, Shlomo, and Yashir Moshe author, Moshe, are both from generation 85 and are third cousins. They shared a common great-great grandfather Rav Mordechai (the notable generation 81 in my grandfathers papers) who died in 1774. This information matches, to the letter, papers that my grandfather Shlomo had received from his grandfather, Mordechai. Mordechai was the family's 83rd generation. He died in 1847.
My mission to tie into the 18th and 19th centuries was accomplished.
Secular scholars and academics
I began investigating the intricacies of genealogy. When I started this research, the process was not easy, but it could have been a lot harder. Today you can use the Internet to learn in a few months what took me many of these 20 years, before the availability of online genealogy information. There are now hundreds of Web sites and links, not just for the mechanical aspects of genealogy, but also for sharing information and for any verification needed.
Reputable scholars and researchers worldwide have devoted their careers to studying royal and ancient dynasties. Years ago several had concluded the Dayans of Aleppo are the one and only unbroken male pedigree establishing the Messianic dynasty. This is not to be confused with a Davidic dynasty, which includes female lineage.
Nachum Slousz (1871 1966), a well-respected archeologist, historian, and scholar/writer wrote an article titled, "Where Are The True Descendants of King David" that appeared in the "The Jewish Morning Journal 11Missing Entry" September 1, 1933. Slousz researched families including Heilprin (descendants of Rashi 12Missing Entry), Abarbanel, Don Yihya and Aldahoui. He concluded that the Dayan family constituted the only messianic line from King David.
An excerpt of Slousz' words about the Dayan family of Aleppo:
The oldest of the Dayan family, if he is just a Hebrew scholar, has the following rights that he has inherited from the previous Nesiim (princes) during a period of fifteen generations (at the time the Sephardim came from Spain and did not want to recognize the right of the native great high born). He is seated in an honorary place in the Great Synagogue, He writes Ketubot (marriage certificates) and documents. He is the only one empowered to have a person sworn over the Torah scroll. He has the right to dress up the Torah scroll on holidays and on Yom Kippur, and he presents honors to whom he will for the reading of the Torah scroll etc., on Saturdays and on Yom Kippur eve, and those who receive the honors make a separate donation, the income of which belongs to Dayan.
Just like the ancient Nassi (Prince), he gets the reading of the Torah scroll from the chapter describing the giving of the Torah and the Ten Commandments, also the chapter of the Song of Exodus. These are reserved for important personages. On Simchat Torah he is Chattan Torah, and he inaugurates the seventh processional circuit, which is called Davids circuit. Since, says an old tradition, he is from King Davids family, it behooves him to carry the Torah scroll in honor of David. On Sabbath evening he makes Havdalah (the benediction to conclude the Sabbath). In the synagogue, before the whole congregation, he is in charge of the ritual Eruv Tavshilin (permitting the preparation of meals for a festival occurring on Friday). He has the monopoly to sell Etrogim and Lulavim (two of the species of plants used on the Feast of Tabernacles) for Succoth. The privilege of taking out the Torah scroll for Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur Eve and saying Kol Nidre belongs to the representative of the Dayan family.
These recognized rights and privileges of the family are established through various responsa since ancient times. In the preface to the book Yashir Moshe we find endorsements from greats and super greats of earlier generations and all attest that the family Dayan is recognized as the true descendants of Nesiim (Princes) from King David, and therefore they are entitled to be given honor and dignity.
The genealogy of the Dayans of Aleppo is common knowledge within the academic arena. Archeology Professor Emeritus David Kelley of the University of Calgary (Canada), a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists is a foremost expert on royal and ancient dynasties. Kelley wrote a paper13 presently titled "The Political Role of Solomon, The Exilarch14Missing Entry, ca. 715 759 C.E." Solomon was a grandson of Bostanae (Bustinai). There is universal acceptance of Bostanae (626 670 CE) in secular and religious writings and he is generation 45 of the Aleppo Pedigree. Kelley compared a number of related pedigrees showing various branches to, and descendants of, Bustanai.
Felix Lazarus (1890, 1934) researched the first major study of the exilarchs. Using a list compiled by Elisha Crescas, the only list of exilarchs that we have, and using Talmudic references and historical accounts, especially the Epistle (lggeres) of Sherira Gaon, Lazarus created his own list of officeholders. The list of Elisha Crescas comes from a manuscript dated 1383. Jacob Mann (1927) did some very interesting work on the later exilarchs. His article, which is in Hebrew, has a major collection of the pedigrees. Abraham David wrote biographical articles in Encyclopaedia Judaica on the later exilarchs as well as articles on individual exilarchs and other prominent figures; these articles are a substantial improvement on Mann's reconstruction but are not presented as fully as would be desirable.
The next important study was by Alexander Goode (1940-1). His reconstruction of the list of exilarchs has been widely adopted in other publications. The latest study available to Kelley on the various exilarchs is Moshe Gil's article "The Exilarchate," published in English in 1995. Gil is the leading scholar in the field of study, publication, and translation of Geniza fragments. Gil considers at least ten lists related to the history of the exilarchs, including Dayan of Aleppo. He consolidated these lists and genealogies, showing various branches of descendants of Bustanai, into a comparative table. A sharp distinction between pedigrees and lists of office-holders explained many inconsistencies between these related lists.
One of the references cited in Kelley's paper is Gens Dayanica, the pedigree of the Dayans of Aleppo. A second, important, independent source for the Dayan genealogy is Gils comparative table of genealogy of the exilarch families. A third is the work of Don Stone,15Missing Entry a colleague of Kelley. Stone studied a Web-based copy of the Geniza manuscript (fragment #H462) found among the artifacts in the Cairo geniza at Dropsie College16Missing Entry in Philadelphia. The fragment17Missing Entry is a piece of parchment detailing the lineage of King David that has been preserved for more than 700 years.
After comparing Gens Dayanica, Gil's comparative table, and the Geniza fragment, Kelley concludes:
"The Dayyans could not have known this Geniza fragment; the Geniza fragment and the Dayyan pedigree were independently preserved over a period of more than 700 years. The correspondence between these independently preserved pedigrees shows that both of them are based on a common tradition. Such a degree of correspondence indicates the care with which the pedigrees were preserved."
David Hughes http://www.hometown.aol.com/rdavid218/davidicdynasty.html is a regular contributor to The Journal of Ancient and Medieval Studies, published by Sir Rodney Hartwell, and Almanach de Bruxelles, published by Adelin Remy. In one of his works he follows the lineage of Zerobabel (Zerubobel), identifying the 21st generation of the Gens Dayanica. Hughes follows the Zerobabel progeny down at least 27 different paths including one towards Joseph, another to Mary and several to European Royalty. One path traces Zerobabel through Bostanae then to the Dayans of Aleppo (and my family) in what he refers to as "the only unbroken male pedigree from King David" in this day.
Susan Roth details her own descent on her Web site, www.davidicdynasty.org. Like Slousz, she also mentions other families who claim Davidic descent, including those through Rashi, and distinguishes the "messianic" line.
Roth is involved with a project to collect DNA samples from Davidic descendants (www.familytreedna.com) and is planning a reunion for all of those who claim descent, to be held in Jerusalem in August 2008. Interested parties should visit her Web site for further details and to make reservations. She is expecting more than 10,000 people to join in the reunion.
With Privilege Comes Responsibility
The heritage is proud, but there is always a caveat. My cousin Bonnie18Missing Entry (Dayan) Mansour emphasized that point at my presentation to the Dayan cousins in May 2003. Bonnie said, "While it is a privilege to be born into the family, we must live up to the responsibility incumbent on a descendant of David Hamelech."
Wrap Up
I started this project for my children, my cousins, and myself, but it took on a life of its own. I had long lapses away from this work. I might have completed this project in five or six years (about 1990) if Hashem, life, and family had allowed me to dedicate full time to it. If I had, there would be more than 100 fewer names added between 1990 and 2003 by my prolific cousins and siblings. The tree could contain 4000 names. I could have filled in all my distant cousins through generation 90 or 91, starting with all the generation 84s I know. I leave that task to the interested grandparents. My mission was deep, not wide.
The final drive to finish took a full three years. Organizing and editing the overwhelming amount of information I had collected for an easy-to-understand presentation, and mapping out the final poster were tedious. Small changes proofing, graphic design and charting adjustments, rewriting, and calling cousins and others for last-minute verifications - took weeks. There are still some overlooked mistakes on the poster.
This Dayan Family Tree is NOT the final word on who is a Dayan descendant or relative. I wanted to be as inclusive as possible, but I could not find some connections, even for people with the Dayan name. Even though a person's name is not on the Tree, it does not mean he is not a descendent of King David. It just means I did not know of them or could not find his connection to me at the time
I could not have gotten this done without my wife Bonnie and her familys printing company, Triangle Printers Inc.19Missing Entry My original intent was to present an enlarged copy of the black-and-white computer spreadsheet I had created, but Bonnie insisted that her printing company could produce a beautiful piece of art worthy of the time invested in this project. Presenting the complex information I had compiled became a labor of love at Triangle Printers. Using three computer programs and an unerring eye for design, Triangle's professionals created and reproduced a graphic work of art measuring 37 by 25 inches. It shows a tree blossoming in graceful color-coded "leaves" bearing the names of Dayan family members from generations 81 through 89. Generations 1 through 80 are listed in a column along the left margin of the poster. Most of the notes on the Dayan Family Tree poster20Missing Entry are self-explanatory. Red stars indicate cousins who married each other.
This work of art takes strands of generations and shows clearly and beautifully how each and every one of us is related. I hope that one day my name will appear in the column along the left margin in revisions of this project many generations in the future.

www.malchut-israel.org/forum/dayan.htm - search for Aleppo Parchment, Cairo Geniza or Gens Dayanica

An exhibit: Treasures of the Aleppo Community, The Israel Museum (1988)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1972. Keter Publishing House Jerusalem Ltd. P.1390

David, Abraham. 1971. "Approximate list of Babylonian exilarchs during the Middle Ages." Chart accompanying the article "Exilarch" in Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 6. New York: Macmillan.

Dayan, Moshe ben Abraham. 1879 (Yashir Mosheh). Livorno.

Gil, Moshe. 1992. A History of Palestine, 634-1099. Translated from the Hebrew by Ethel Broido. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gil, Moshe. 1995. "The Exilarchate." In The Jews of Medieval Islam: Community, Society, and Identity: Proceedings of an International Conference Held by the Institute of Jewish Studies, University College London, 1992 (Etudes sur le judaisme nzedieval, t. 16), ed. by Daniel Frank, pp. 33-65. Leiden, New York: E. J. Brill.

Gil, Moshe. 1997b. "The Babylonian Encounter and the Exilarchic House in the Light of Cairo Geniza Documents and Parallel Arab Sources." In Judaeo-Arabic Studies: Proceedings of the Founding Conference of the Society for Judaeo-Arabic Studies (Studies in Muslim-Jewish Relations, vol. 3), ed. by Norman Golb, pp. 135-173. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.

Goode, Alexander D. 1940-1. "The Exilarchate in the Eastern Caliphate, 637-1258." Jewish Quarterly Review 31: 149-169.

Grossman, Avraham. 1984. (The Babylonian Exilarchate in the Gaonic Period). Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center for the Furtherance of the Study of Jewish History, The Historical Society of Israel.

Lazarus, Felix. 1890. "Die Haupter der Vertriebenen." Jahrbchcrfurjudische Geschichtc und Litteratur 10. Frankfurt-am-Main.

Lazarus, Felix. 1934. "Neue Beitrage zur Geschichte des Exilarchats: Der Nachfolgestreit zwischen David ben Jehuda u. Daniel urn 825." Monatsschrjft fr Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums 78: 279-288.

Maimonodes. 1945. "Essays of HaRambam" (Heb.) New York: Yeshurin Publishing Company, p.67

Mann, Jacob. 1920-2. The Jews in Egypt and in Palestine under the Ftimid Caliphs. 2 vols. London and New York: Oxford University Press. (Reprinted in one vol., New York: Ktav, 1970.)

Mann, Jacob. 1927 (Misrat Rosh ha-Golah be-Bavel ve-Hista'afutah be-Sof Tequfat ha-Geonim). Pages 18-32 of vol. 2 (Hebrew Section) of Livre d'hommage ala mmoire dii Dr Samuel Pozanski (1864-192 1) offert par les amis et les compagnons dii travail scientifique. Warsaw.

Neusner, Jacob. 1965. A History of the Jews in Babylonia. 5 vols. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

Rabinowich, Nosson Dovid [Nathan David], trans. 1988. The Iggeres of Ray Sherira Gaon, translated and annotated by Rabbi Nosson Dovid Rabinowich. Jerusalem: Ahavath Torah Institute.

Sutton, Joseph A. D. 1979. Magic Carpet: Aleppo in Flatbush New York: Thayer-Jacoby

Sutton, Joseph A. D. 1988. Aleppo Chronicles New York: Thayer-Jacoby

Wagner, Anthony 1975 Pedigree and Progress (see Chapter entitled "Bridges To Antiquity") Phillimore: London

Zuckerman, Arthur. 1972. A Jewish Princedom in Feudal France, 768-900. New York and London: Columbia University Press.

1Maimonodes. 1945. "Essays of HaRambam" (Heb.) New York: Yeshurin Publishing Company, p.67
2To sit shiva: A seven-day mourning period following the death of a close relative
3Rabbi Yitzhak Dweck was born in Aleppo, Syria and is a prominent Rabbi of the communities in and surrounding Deal, New Jersey.
4"Oz Yashir Moshe" is the first phrase of The Song At the Sea (Exodus 14:30-15:19), sung by the Jewish people after crossing the Sea of Reeds during the exodus from Egypt. The sentence starts "Then Moses and the children of Israel chose to sing..." Rabbinic interpretation links the next line, "I shall sing to Hashem", to Messianic times. The entire passage is recited individually every day as part of the introduction to the Morning Prayer service. The book title is a play on these words, this information, note 5 and the authors name.
5Shir Hashirim is a book composed by Solomon, the son of King David, found in the Scriptures in the section of Holy writings. Shir Hashirim is an allegory a duet of longing between G-d and Israel. It is recited individually as part of the Friday night prayers and read publicly at Passover the time when Israel became G-ds people. (See note 4.)
6The entire introduction of Yashir Moshe has been translated into English under the supervision of Rabbi Ezra Batsri at the Haktav Institute, Jerusalem. Yashir Moshe has been reprinted with this translation, and copies of the book are available
7Rabbi Baruch Ben-Haim was born in Jerusalem and is the co-chief Rabbi of the entire Syrian Sephardic community.
8Rabbi Shaul J. Kassin, the co-chief Rabbi of the entire Syrian Sephardic community, was born in Israel. His family settled in Aleppo in the 1540s and is a rabbinic dynasty. His sister is married to Hacham Baruch.
9Encyclopedia Judaica. 1972. Keter Publishing House Jerusalem Ltd. P.1390
10The family Jewish press printed many different books, including all those written by the great rabbis of Aleppo. Haktav Institute in Jerusalem includes these books in a catalogue of over 300 books that it has reprinted. All of them, including those mentioned here, catalogued by author or title, are available for purchase.
11Der Morgen Zhournal (Yiddish - The Morning Journal) was founded in 1901 as an Orthodox U.S daily paper. It was New York Citys only morning Yiddish paper for years. In 1916 it adopted a more liberal intellectual tone. It absorbed Yiddishes Tagblatt (1928), merged with Jewish Day (1953) and closed in 1973.
12Rashi: Acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Solomon ben Isaac) (10401105), master commentator on Bible and Talmud. His commentaries accompany almost every edition of the Pentateuch and the whole of the Babylonian Talmud, and to this very day they are considered absolutely basic to the understanding of the text. His mother was a Davidic descendant.
13David Kelley shared this research with me before it was published. The finished paper has been published in Foundation For Medievil Genealogy volume 2, #1 and volume 2, #2.
14The heads of the family of the House of David who were leaders of the exiled community had the title Rosh ha-galut (Hebrew), which translates literally as "head of the exile" and more generally as Exilarch. It was applied to only one individual at a time.
15Don Stone, an associate professor of Computer Science and Department Chair at Rowan University (retired), lives in Philadelphia and is an amateur genealogy enthusiast.
16The Dropsie College has been absorbed by the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
18Bonnie (Dayan) Mansour is one of the prominent community women who teach the family purity classes to young brides. The rabbis require men and women to complete these classes as a prerequisite to marrying them.
19Triangle Printers Inc., Skokie, Illinois. tel (800) 766-6540.
20Dayan Family Tree posters are available. Call Mitchell Dayan in Skokie, Illinois tel (847) 676-2923