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SHEFAR'AM (; called by the Arabic geographers Shefa'ram; modern name, Shefa 'Amr):

Place in Palestine, three hours distant from Haifa, governed by a mudir. In the second century it served as a refuge for the Sanhedrin (see Usha). Nothing is known of the early history of its Jewish community, which was probably dispersed by the many conquerors that from time to time invaded Palestine. Shefar'am is not mentioned by any traveler, either Jewish or Gentile, since it is not on the highway to Haifa, nor on that from Acre to Tiberias or Safed.

About 1741 or 1742 a large number of Palestinian Jews settled at Shefar'am, encouraged by Rabbi Ḥayyim Abulafia of Smyrna, who established a community at Tiberias also. The Jews of Shefar'am were at first employed in agriculture, but as the government oppressed them with taxes, they left their farms and engaged in commerce. The local authorities gave the lands to the Druses, but when these refused to pay the taxes the lands were taken away from them and restored to the Jews. The latter, though engaged in business also, cultivate some acres of land and raise olives.

In a total population of 1,345 inhabitants there were in Shefar'am in 1901 seven Jewish families aggregating forty-five individuals. Among them are three haberdashers and dealers in dry-goods, one greengrocer, one oculist, one druggist, and an official who combines the functions of ḥazzan, shoḥeṭ, mohel, and teacher. Shefar'am possesses a school subsidized by the Alliance Israélite Universelle, a small synagogue, a bath for women ("miḳweh"), and an abandoned synagogue, several centuries old, which contains ancient scrolls of the Law.

Bibliography:
  • A. M. Lunez, Luaḥ Ereẓ Yisrael, Jerusalem, 1899.
D. M. Fr.
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