Sara Reguer

Sara Reguer is the chairperson of the Department of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. She received her Ph.D. in Middle East history from Columbia University. Her latest co-edited book is The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times (2003).

Articles by this author

Wuhsha the Broker

The documents of the Cairo Place for storing books or ritual objects which have become unusable.Genizah rarely contain enough material on specific individuals for the scholar to build up a detailed portrait. One exception is Karima bat ‘Ammar (Amram) the banker, son of Ezra, from Alexandria. She is better known as “al-Wuhsha the Broker” (a name which could be translated as “Desirée” or “Untamed”), and she lived at the end of the eleventh century and into the twelfth. In a world where women were expected to be gainfully employed, Wuhsha is a prototype of the successful independent businesswoman, moving easily from the world of women into that of men.


The world of Jewish women in the Islamic middle ages is revealed to us through a treasure trove of primary source material found in Cairo at the end of the nineteenth century. A genizah is a storage room for discarded books and written materials. Jews do not destroy anything with God’s name written on it; such pieces of parchment and paper are usually buried. In medieval Cairo, this custom was extended to anything written in Hebrew, but instead of being buried, such items were stored in a genizah in the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fostat (Old Cairo), where most of the Jews lived; the arid conditions preserved them.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sara Reguer." (Viewed on January 21, 2020) <>.


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