2014/ 2015

Menashe Anzi

Between San'ā' and Baġdād, Jews in Arab-Muslim Cities: Integration and Separation in Urban Life

Menashe Anzi was awarded a PhD in Jewish History from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem in 2012. His dissertation was entitled “The Jews of Ṣanʿāʾ from the End of the 19th Century to the First Half of the 20th Century (1872-1950)”. Menashe Anzi was a Deputy Chair of the Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East, Jerusalem (2013-2014). He taught at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, at the Open University of Israel and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In 2013, Anzi held a postdoctoral fellowship at Bar-Ilan University, exploring the history of Jews in Yemen in the 1950’s. In 2014 he held a postdoctoral fellowship at I–CORE (Israeli Centers of Research Excellence), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
His areas of specialization include the modern history of Yemenite Jews, the relationship between Jews and Muslims in Islamic cities, and the trade networks and Jewish migration along the Indian Ocean. Anzi has published numerous articles on the Jews of Yemen and is preparing a book on Ṣanʿāʾ Jewry.


Between Ṣanʿāʾ and Baġdād, Jews in Arab-Muslim Cities: Integration and Separation in Urban Life

During his EUME fellowship Anzi will undertake a comparative study of the Jews in Ṣanʿāʾ and Baġdād and their roles and places within these cities. Anzi will examine questions of relations between Jews, Muslims and Christians from the perspective of the Jewish minorities and with respect to spatial structures, urban divisions and solidarities and, in this way, contributing to the understanding of the “Islamic city”. His study will be divided into several sub-topics: spatial separation between different religious groups, demographic shifts and immigration to the urban spaces, the relations to the hinterland and the networks across the Indian Ocean. It will be a follow-up of his doctoral thesis in which he argued that segregated neighborhoods provided the Jews of Ṣanʿāʾ with both separate spaces of existence and a basis for their involvement in urban life of the city as a whole. Jews and Muslims in Ṣanʿāʾ felt in many respects that they were sharing a common urban space, a space that distinguished them from Jewish and Muslim village and tribes people, from whom they felt different. This shared sense of urban belonging contributed to forms of solidarity among the Jews and Muslims.