MARDIN, town in Southeast Turkey; population (2004), 71,100. A Jewish community existed in Mardin from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. In 1291 Abinadab b. Saadiah Halevi of Mardin copied *Maimonides' Moreh Nevukhim (Guide of the Perplexed) in Arabic. During the middle of the 14th century, a Jew of Mardin named Najīb al-Dawla Abraham b. Yeshu'ah held a government position (Neubauer, Cat, nos. 180, 1249). At the beginning of the 19th century the number of Jews was small, but an ancient synagogue and holy places, such as the so-called Cave of the Prophet Elijah, were preserved. In 1827 the traveler *David D'Beth Hillel found in the town "about six locally born, poor Jewish families with a small synagogue." *Benjamin II relates that in 1848 there were 50 Jewish families, most of whom worked on the land. They spoke Hebrew and their leader was the nasi Mu'allim Moses. The number of families remained unchanged during the second half of the century, but the community was dispersed during the 20th century.
A. Ben-Jacob, Kehillot Yehudei Kurdistan (1961), 139. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: EIS2, 6 (1991), 539–42.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.