By Norman A. editor Stillman

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Extra info for AJS Review (The Journal of the Association for Jewish Studies), Vol 19, No. 1 1994

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Therewereevenbusiness-women who acted as economic agents. But we also hear of people who could not practice. This suggests that about that time people began to feel that the community was expanding significantly. The Jewish population figure cited for that year is 20,000. 24 SHLOMODESHEN make a living (Hayim4:23), and of people who were forced to searchfor food amongthe refuse(Hayim3:27b,also Husen 1975:88). 6 CommunityLeadership MesopotamianJewryhad a venerabletraditionof havingbeen governed scions of the royal Davidic family of ancientJudeathat went back at by least as far as the beginningof the commonera.

The sage confronts technological and other innovations in a relaxed way. He does not suspect that they have wider socioreligious implications. Moreover, Rabbi 'Abdulla permitted his grandson to attend the new Alliance school. 24 The 1910 consularreportstatesrathersweepinglythat"incontradistinction to past days the clergy enjoy no influenceover their co-religionists" (Kedourie1971:358). An illuminatingsermonfrom 1913 adds to this. But now wealthy men do not devote themselves much to public affairs,but concentrateon commerce,"andsince the richarenoteffective,neitherarethe sageseffective (ve-kevanshe-cashirim'en k'an, hakhamim.

When sages were called upon for advice aboutritual practices,they imposed strictpracticesuponboors, because"it is properto be stringent(le-hahmir)with [them]"(Hayim4:26; Somekh2:195). This is phrasedas a virtualprincipleof rabbinicalpastoralteachingin thecommunity. ComparableMoroccanmaterialhas no traceof such expressions(Deshen 1989). But the wealthyheld two feasts daily (Somekh 3:179-180). The practicewas institutionalized, andindividualspurchased the privilege from the community(Hayim 3:25).

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