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Jews of Ferrara, Italy

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  • Rabbi Yitzchak Liwa, of Ferrara (deceased)
    מבוא לשו"ת ר' עזריאל דאיינה (עמוד כח, הערה 35) פרירא=פירארה
  • rabbi Judah Liwa, of Ferreira&mantova (b. - 1529)
    הערה: יתכן שהשם חזקיה הוסף לשמו בגלל מחלה
  • Donna Beatrice Gracia de Luna Nassi (1510 - 1569)
    Donna Gracia Mendes Nassi YouTube Donna Gracia Mendes Nassi (Gracia is archaic Portuguese and Spanish for the Hebrew Hannah, also known by her Christianized name Beatriz de Luna Miques, 1510–1569) was ...
  • Don Yossef Nassi - דון יוסף נשיא (1524 - 1579)
    Don Yosef Nassi, Duke of Naxos Banker at Antwerp. Turkish statesman and financier; born in Portugal at the beginning of the sixteenth century; died at Constantinople Aug. 2, 1579. His father, a younger...
  • Samuel Zanwill Abravanel, > Italy (c.1473 - 1551)
    Abravanel Family Wikipedia * Abrabanel Jewish Encyclopedia Abravanel HaNasi also spelt Abarbanel (1473-1551) was a prominent Sephardic-Italian financier, academic, and supporter of Italian Jewry. He is...

The Jewish community of Ferrara was one of the most flourishing and important in Italy, and it gave to Judaism a number of prominent men. It would seem that Jews existed at Ferrara in 1088, but not until the thirteenth century was their number large enough to give them a status in history. . . . continued.

Rabbis and Scholars.

The Jewish community of Ferrara takes pride in its possession of names held in high repute in Jewish history and in the world of letters. Moses b. Meïr of the thirteenth century, Solomon Ḥasdai of the fourteenth, and Elia di Ferrara and Menahem b. Perez Trabotti of the fifteenth deserve especial mention.

In 1467 flourished the famous surgeon Jacob, court physician to the Estes, who brought Ercole I. through a serious sickness. In the sixteenth century the number of learned men must have been very great. In 1573 a rabbinical society was organized for the education of rabbis and teachers.

  • The Orientalist Emanuel Tremellius taught at the university; he was baptized, fled from Italy in 1542, and is said to have returned to Judaism at Heidelberg.
  • A few years later Abraham Gallo (Francese Ẓarfati ?) held the professorship in Hebrew at the Ferrara University.
  • The Marano Amatus Lusitanus was a professor of botany and anatomy, and also one of the prominent physicians of his time.
  • Raffaello Mirami was a physician and mathematician.
  • Elia Pirro (about 1535) is often mentioned as a Latin poet.
  • The sons and grandsons of Don Isaac Abravanel lived at Ferrara, and most of them are buried there.
  • Don Isaac II. rendered especially important services to the community ; and of equal prominence for a long time was Donna Gracia Mendesia, who, with her daughters Gracia and Reyna, and her son-in law Joseph of Naxos, took refuge under the mild rule of the Estes. Under her protection lived the brothers Usque and their relative, the poet Samuel Usque, author of the "Consolaçamas Tribulações de Ysrael" (c. 1565).
  • Azariah dei Rossi, author of "Me'or 'Enayim," likewise lived at Ferrara; as did Abraham Colorni, architect and mechanician, whose services were sought by many courts of Italy and Germany, and Bonajuto Alatino, who in April, 1617, was compelled to take part in a public religious disputation.
  • During ghetto times there were among the rabbis of Ferrara several who were also famous as philosophical writers and physicians. Among these Isaac Lampronti occupies an honorable position; his fame is commemorated by a tablet placed by the city of Ferrara in 1872 in the wall of the house in which he had lived.
  • Of merchants Moses Vita Coen was prominent and highly honored by the papal court. During the famine of 1764 he supplied the papal government with grain; a namesake of his, Moses Coen, was mayor of the city during the French occupation in 1799.
  • Leone Carpi and Enca Cavalieri are distinguished modern representatives of the community, and are also members of the Italian Parliament. Rossi and Angelo Castelbolognesi, travelers and explorers, should also be mentioned, as well as the Reggio family, all of whom belong to Ferrara.

Rabbis of Ferrara:

  • Jacob b. Jekuthiel Corinaldo (beginning of sixteenth century).
  • Judah Liwa (1511).
  • David Levi.
  • Zion Asher ben Eliakim Levi.
  • Eliezer ben Samuel Ventura (1534).
  • Menahem ben Perez Trabotti.
  • Perez ben Menahem Trabotti.
  • Solomon ben Moses Castelletto (1534).
  • Johanan Treves.
  • Joseph ben Ḥayyim (1546).
  • David Darshan Isaac al-Ḥakim (1553).
  • Ishmael Ḥanina.
  • Abraham ben Daud da Modena.
  • Solomon Modena.
  • Jehiel II. ben Azriel II. Trabotti.
  • Benjamin Saul ben Eliezer dei Rossi.
  • Raphael Joseph ben Johanan Treves.
  • Baruch Uzziel ben Baruch Forti (1557).
  • Abraham ben Dia.
  • Isaac ben Joseph da Monselice (first rabbi after the founding of the Academy).
  • Moses ben Israel Finzi da Arezzo.
  • Aaron ben Israel Finzi da Arezzo.
  • Jehiel Nissim ben Samuel da Pisa.
  • Ishmael Ḥanina ben Mordecai Rofe da Valmontano.
  • Joseph Fikas of Fez.
  • Benjamin ben Ephraim Finzi (close of the sixteenth century).
  • Hezekiah ben Benjamin Finzi.
  • Abraham ben Yaḳar (1590).
  • Abraham Jaghel ben Hananiah da Monselice.
  • Jacob Moses Ayash.
  • Abtalion ben Mordecai of Modena (seventeenth century).
  • Moses ben Menahem da Terracina.
  • Eliezer David ben Ezekiel del Bene.
  • Mordecai ben David Carpaneti.
  • Hananiah Jaghel Monselice (1630).
  • Judah Azael ben Eliezer del Bene (1650-65).
  • Menahem Recanati.
  • Pelatiah ben Hananiah Monselice.
  • Isaac Jedidiah ben Samuel Borghi.
  • Menahem ben Elisha Cases.
  • Phineas ben Pelatiah Monselice.
  • Hananiah Cases.
  • Jacob ben Isaac Zahalun.
  • Mordecai Recanati.
  • Isaac Lampronti.
  • Mordecai Zahalun (eighteenth century).
  • Sabbato Sanguinetti.
  • Raphael Emanuel Hai Rechl.
  • Felice Umano.
  • Joseph ben Isaac Jedidiah.
  • Samuel Baruch ben Joseph Hezekiah Borghi.
  • Elisha Michael Finzi.
  • Jacob Daniel ben Abraham Olmo (1757).
  • Jacob Moses Ayash.
  • Joseph Mordecai Carpaneti.
  • Samuel Bar Shalom Finzi.
  • Nehemiah ben Baruch Coen.
  • Isaac ben Close Israel Norsa.
  • Moses Isaac Hai Pesaro.
  • Jacob Hai Recanati.
  • Judah Hezekiah della Vida (d. 1806).
  • Joseph ben David Bassani (1827).
  • Elhanan Sabbato Pesaro (1828).
  • Issachar Ezekiel Reggio (1837).
  • Leone Reggio ben Issachar (1870).
  • Isaac Elijah Menahem Ascoli (1875).
  • Benedetto Levi (1880).
  • Giuseppe Jaré


Ferrara contained a Hebrew printing-press as early as the fifteenth century. In 1476, almost contemporaneously with Reggio and Pieve di Sacco, Abraham b. Ḥayyim. () of Pesaro established a printing-press which competed with Conat's at Mantua. Abraham, however, produced (1477) only two works there, Levi b. Gershon's commentary on Job, and the greater part of the Ṭur Yoreh De'ah, begun by Conat in 1475 (see Zunz, "Z. G." pp. 218 et seq.). Abraham then removed to Bologna.

In 1551 Samuel Gallus established a printing-house at Ferrara, and produced six works, Isaac Abravanel's "Ma'yene ha-Yeshu'ah" (1551) and five others (1552), the last being R. Meïr's "Hilkot ha-Re'ah."

In the latter year Abraham Usque established a press, which existed until 1558. In the first year he printed only Judæo-Spanish and Portuguese works; but in 1553-58 he printed, according to De Rossi, twenty-seven Hebrew works, the first being Simon b. Ẓemaḥ Duran's commentary to the Sukkot "Hosha'not" and the last R. Pereẓ's "Ma'areket ha-Elohut." Steinschneider and Cassel (in Ersch and Gruber, "Encyc." section ii., part 28, p. 45) state that the "Amarot Ṭehorot" must be omitted, and the "Me'ah Berakot" and "Seder Ma'amadot" added to the list.

Since 1558 only one Hebrew work is known to have been printed at Ferrara—at Filoni's printing house—viz., "Siddur mi-Berakah," the Italian liturgy (1693). The printers of this book were Joseph Nissim and Abraham Ḥayyim of Fano.