Who's Who in Jewish History: After the Period of the Old Testament

By Joan Comay | Go to book overview

G

GABBAI Family

18-19th century. Widespread family in Iraq and India. Isaac ben-David ben-Jeshuah (d. 1773), called Isaac Pasha, held the office of nasi (head) of the Baghdad community from 1743 till his death during the plague of 1773. Isaac was a stern disciplinarian, and even meted out corporal punishment. He presented the local academy with its first complete printed edition of the Talmud.

Ezekiel ben-Joseph ben-Nissim (d. 1826) helped the sultan to suppress a rebellion in Baghdad. He was called to Constantinople, where he held high office at the court. His brother Ezra was appointed nasi in Baghdad (1817-24). The influence of the brothers excited envy and intrigues, and they were both executed.


GAMA, Gaspar

d a c. 1440-1510. Jewish navigator. After travelling to Jerusalem and Alexandria, da Gama was sold into slavery in India where, on being granted his freedom, he served the ruler of Goa. He was sent to welcome his fellow Europeans when the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama and his companions landed on the shores of Goa. He was pressed into service with the Portuguese and compelled to be baptized and adopt his master's name. His original Jewish name is unknown. As a navigator, he brought the Portuguese fleet safely home, accompanied several other Portuguese travellers on their expeditions to India and South America, and was consulted by the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who gave America its name. No more was heard of him after an expedition to Calicut in 1510, so it is assumed that he died then.


GAMALIEL II

1st century. Nasi. Gamaliel II succeeded JOCHANAN BENZAKKAI as the leader of the remnants of the Palestine Jewish community that had its centre at Jabneh after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. As a lineal descendant of HILLEL, he had the hereditary title of nasi, or patriarch, and was accepted by the Roman authorities as the Jewish spokesman.

In his personal life, Gamaliel was modest and tolerant. But after the disaster that had befallen his people, he was determined to use his office as a focus of authority, and to establish the bet din (tribunal) over which he presided as the sole organ in matters of religious law. Driven by this need for cohesion, he acted in ways which sometimes appeared to his fellow sages as dictatorial and arbitrary. For instance, he had his own brother-in-law, Rabbi ELIEZER BEN-HYRCANUS, excommunicated for refusing to accept the majority view on a point of interpretation.

Gamaliel's most serious conflict was with Rabbi JOSHUA BEN-HANANIAH. When the latter calculated the coming of the new moon on a different day from Gamaliel's computation, he was ordered to appear before the nasi on what would be the Day of Atonement by his reckoning, carrying money and a staff-both prohibited on the Holy Day. When Joshua did so, Gamaliel rose and kissed him saying, 'come in peace my teacher and pupil-my teacher in wisdom and my pupil because you have

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Who's Who in Jewish History: After the Period of the Old Testament
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps vi
  • Author''s Preface vii
  • Glossary viii
  • Chronology xi
  • World Jewish Population in 1993 xxxv
  • A 1
  • B 34
  • C 76
  • D 90
  • E 107
  • F 125
  • G 137
  • H 152
  • I 181
  • J 187
  • K 211
  • L 223
  • M 241
  • N 271
  • O 278
  • P 282
  • R 292
  • S 318
  • T 361
  • Uv 369
  • W 372
  • Y 389
  • Z 392
  • Thematic Index 397
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