Dr. Michal Ohana

The philosophy of Rabbi Chaim Bliih (1832-1919), who served as the Rabbi of Tlemcen in western Algeria

Postdoctoral scholarship recipient within the framework of “Da’at HaMakom”, hosted by Prof. Zvi Zohar.

I completed my BA degree in “Sephardic and Mizrahi studies” at Bar-Ilan University. Both my master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation were written at the Department of Jewish History, also at Bar-Ilan University, and focused on Jewish Philosophy in Morocco and in the Ottoman Empire after the Spanish expulsion. The dissertation was entitled “The Philosophy of Rabbi Shaul Shmuel Serero”. Serero was the rabbi of Fez, Morocco, during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

In the framework of “Da’at HaMakom”, I examine the philosophy of Rabbi Chaim Bliih (1832- 1919), one of the first Maskilim among the Jews of Algeria, who served as the Rabbi of Tlemcen in western Algeria. I examine his thought – the philosophy he presented, his sources and the methods that he used- in the context of his time and the place he was acted.

In addition, I am working with Prof. Zvi Zohar in examining the Halakhic creativity of the local rabbis of Algeria in response to the changes which occurred in the modern era, from the period since the French occupation of Algeria in 1830 and up until 1962 when the French rule ended.