BAḤUẒIM


BAḤUẒIM
BAḤUẒIM (probably from the Hebrew בַּחוּץ, "outside"), name given by the Jews to the apparently Jewish tribes living in the 15th and 16th centuries along the Algerian-Tunisian border in the regions of Kabylia and Constantine in Algeria and of Le Kef in Tunisia, whom the Arabs named Yahūd al-ʿArab (Arab Jews). These seminomadic tribes were agriculturists in Tunisia, and peddlers and jewelers in Algeria. Completely illiterate, the Baḥuẓim observed the Sabbath and swore by Sīdnā Mūsā ("our Master Moses"). They had their sons circumcised by the rabbi of the nearest town, who also officiated at their marriages and funeral rites. The theory brought forward by N. Slouschz\>\> that these tribes were originally Berbers who had adopted Judaism was followed by several authors; hence they used the term "Judaized Berbers." However, Ḥ.Z. Hirschberg\>\> asserted that they were really marginal elements of the Jewish community living outside the Jewish centers. Their existence as such during the 16th century and their ignorance of the Berber language seem to confirm the latter's theory. In 1852 there were about 1,500 Baḥuẓim in Algeria, and in 1912 there were still about a hundred Baḥuẓim tents in Tunisia. After the end of World War I these tribes steadily disappeared. Some of them converted to Islam, while others settled in the surrounding Jewish communities, which willingly accepted them. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Netter, in: Univers Israélite, 7 (1852), 341–6; idem, in: MGWJ, 1 (1852), 377–82; J. Cohen-Ganouna, Le Judaïsme Tunisien (1912), 59–60; Bugéja, in: Bulletin de la Société des Conférences Juives d'Alger, 3 (1928/29), 101–25; Slouschz, in: Keneset… le-Zekher Bialik, 1 (1936), 443–64; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 2 (1965), 29–30. (Rachel Auerbach)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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