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Jews from Tyr (Sour) by Nagi Georges ZEIDAN


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Jews from Tyr (Sour) by Nagi Georges ZEIDAN
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Joined: 09 Mar 2007
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On July 15th, 1099 the Crusaders entered Jerusalem sometimes burned certain Jews who had taken refuge in the Great Synagogue. Thus many Jews were obliged to seek refuge in new towns such as SOUR (Tyr) and TIBNINE and new Jewish quarters appeared there.

In 1173 Benjamin TUDELA DECLARED THAT THERE WERE 400 Jews living in Tyr and among them there was a group of scholars well versed in the TALMUD, the rabbis.

Ephraim AL MISERI (the Egyptian), judge Meir AL KATTACHOUI

Their judicial council was presided over a rabbi.

Certain Jews in Tyr owned ships; others were professionally active in the industry of valuable glass. There were 300 Jews living in Tibnine.

In October 1187 Jerusalem opened its doors to Salah Eddine EL AYYOUBI and Tyr remained in the hands of the Crusaders. However, many Jews preferred to stay on in Jerusalem.

On April 25th, 1288 a French child was killed and the French accused the Jewish community of this murder. So a part of the Jews left for Tyr in order to settle down there.

On May 18th, 1291 the Crusaders left Tyr and at that moment there was not one Jew living in this town.

In 1795 there lived a family of Greek origin in Tyr, their name was POLITI (Elyaho) and they had a son called Menahem, born in the same year.

In 1815 there existed in TYR a family originating from Saida named DIWAN (Yechoua) who had a son called Youssef, born in the same year.

N:B: On January 1st, 1837 there was an earthquake in SAFED and TIBERIAS causing several victims and among them were Jews residing in both towns..

About two weeks before the earthquake a ship transporting 130 Jewish people coming from ALEXANDRIA, North Africa, was heading for the harbour of TYR from were they could their way towards the town of SAFED.

Because of the seism they changed their minds, one group went to Beirut and the others probably went to DAMASCUS and ALEP.

On June 25th, 1838 Edwrd ROBINSON, an American tourist in TYR wrote down in his diary:” I haven’t found any Jews in this town nor in the surrounding villages even though I was told before my departure to TYR that there were Jewish people residing there.”

In 1841 there lived a family in Tyr called ASMARA. They had a daughter named Lea.

In 1849 the latter became an orphan and was raised in SAFED.

In 1888 there lived the family of Yussef COHEN (son of Moussa) in Tyr who came from Saida. They had a daughter, Jamileh, who was born in the same year.

N.B. The family left Tyr for good and returned to Saida around 1925.

On March 3rd, 1920 a group of Arabs led by Mohamed EL FAOUR killed 8 Jewish security guards in TELHAY next to METULA, among them the famous Jewish Russian Zionist Joseph TRUMPELDOR. They escaped and certain Jews were protected by the great benefactor Kamel Bek EL ASSAAD (died in 1924). First he took them to his village TAYBI, then he brought them to TYR where they were welcomed by the family of Youssef, son of Moussa, son of Benyamin, son of Yaacoub COHEN (born in Saida around 1875.died in Saida December 1940). Later on they were sent to HAÏFA.

In 1925 the French census in Lebanon stated that there were 10 Jewish people living in Tyr.

It was the family of Youssef COHEN ( son of Moussa) his wife Rabeca and their children:

Farideh (born in Tyr in 1888, wife of Aharoun BASSAL LEVI, died in Saida in 1982)

Moussa (born in Tyr an 1894, died in Saida on February 17th, 1964)

Jamileh (born in Tyr in 1896, wife of Jacques COHEN, died in Rio in 1969)

Benyamin (born in Tyr in 1901, died in Haïfa in March 1992)

N.B. Benyamin COHEN owned a shop for fabrics and cloth in Maarad (Beirut) with the name Al-Soury (that is to say from the town of Sour – Tyr)

On January 31st, 1932 the 2nd French census in Lebanon stated that there were no Jews living in Tyr.
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