HIT, town on the Euphrates, approximately 90 mi. (144 km.) W. of Baghdad; site of the Mesopotamian city of Is. An old *Karaite community, dating back to the 10th century at least, existed in Hit. Persecution and ill-treatment by the authorities brought about a gradual reduction of its size and by the middle of the 19th century it numbered only 20 families. The community was headed by the Muʿallim ("teacher, sage") whose home also served as the religious school and house of prayer (after the decrepit synagogue that had existed in the town was abandoned in the second half of the 19th century). The community went to Israel shortly after the establishment of the State, settling in Beersheba.
A. Ben-Jacob, Yehudei Bavel (1965), 318–20.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.