Nahmany, Ḥaim

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Haim Nahmany (Ḥayyim Naḥmani) was born in February 1902 in Settat, Morocco. As a child he attended traditional Jewish schools in the mornings and in the evenings learned French and general studies. As a young man he moved to Casablanca, where he made a living from importing household utensils from France and Russia.

Nahmany played an important role in the expansion of Zionist and Hebrew activity in the mid-1930s. He was a member of the organizing committee of the main association for the dissemination of Hebrew in Casablanca, Magen David. During World War II he founded another group for the dissemination of Hebrew by the name of Ḥoveve ha-Safa, which held oneg Shabbat gatherings in his home and in the synagogue that he owned. In his home he also maintained an informal Hebrew school.

Nahmany was an adherent of Religious Zionism and served as a representative of the Mizraḥi movement in Morocco. His efforts to convince members of the Jewish community, men and women alike, to learn Hebrew, were motivated by his Zionist convictions and had the objective of preparing the community for Aliya to Israel. Towards the end of World War II he helped young Jews move to Israel through the Aliyah Bet (clandestine immigration) network.

In the years 1949-1956 Nahmany published the newsletter Khbarat ‘ala Khwanna ba-Areṣ uva-Gola (News about Our Brethren in the Land [of Israel] and the Diaspora). The newsletter was sent from Casablanca so that it would arrive in the other towns and villages of Morocco by Friday. During the Sabbath prayers the cantor read the news to the congregation before the reading of the Torah.

In August 1953 Nahmany published Historiya dil-Yahūd dil-Marok bil-ʿArabiyya Mutarzama min l-fransiyya (History of the Jews of Morocco in Arabic, Translated from French), a partial translation into Judeo-Arabic of Musulmans, andalous et judéo-espagnols (Casablanca: Antar, 1953) by Isaac David Abbou, the head of the Jewish community of Rabat, and later of Casablanca.

In 1954 Nahmany and his family immigrated to Israel and settled in Kfar Saba. In Israel he was a member of the Ha-Po‘el Ha-Mizraḥi movement, helped in the absorption of Moroccan Jews and was active in the promotion of his movement among Moroccan Jewry. He died in 1984.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World
EditorsNorman A. Stillman
Place of PublicationLeiden
ISBN (Electronic)9789004176782
StatePublished - 2018

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