About Rabbenu Nissim
Father of the family was Nassim, a rabbi. He was the head of the Yeshiva in Iraq.
Nassim was born in the City of Ana. Moved from Ana to Baghdad because of epidemics and wars. According to the number of generations counted, he lived about 300 years ago.
The City of Ana is on the Euphrates Valley, on the Syrian border. From the beginning of history, the City was used as a thoroughfare for all merchants, and was a center for all Asia to access the Mediterranean.
The City of Ana was the headquarters of all Jews who fled (were exiled from) Babel at the time of the Talmud. In the City, there was a head of those exiled and his rabbinate court. The City was the center and mother of Jewish gatherings. Because of epidemics and wars, the Jewish congregation got smaller. From there, most of the intelligentsia moved to Baghdad.
Nassim Somekh went to Baghdad to head the Yeshiva. He moved there after the City's capture by Sultan IV. The Jewish congregation started regrouping at that time. They left due to the Egyptian captivity, and Baghdad offered them security. The Jews also developed businesses and earned income from other sources. The Jewish Arabic dialect came from the inhabitants of Ana.
We don't know the father of Nassim. Of his sons, we know of only one: Rabbi Eliahu. One of his sons was Haskel, nicknamed the "Somekh". He was to be the guard of the Cantor in the temple. He made sure that the cantor did not make mistakes in reading or in the sequences of prayers, or in the rules of the synagogues. His duty was an honor and there was no income for the role. This duty went on through the generations. -------------------- SOURCE OF INFORMATION: http://www.farhi.org/wc30/wc30_117.htm