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ABENSUR , family originating in Spain. After the expulsion in 1492 its members are found in Morocco, Italy, Amsterdam, and Hamburg, distinguished as scholars, diplomats, and merchants.

In Spain its members included don jacob (c. 1365); samuel (c. 1413), one of the leaders of the community of Valladolid; and isaac (c. 1490), a notable of Trujillo.

The branch in Morocco was founded by moses (i) known as Abraham [sic] the Hebrew, a forced convert to Christianity who returned to Judaism in Fez in 1496. His descendants include isaac (d. 1605), a dayyan in Fez, murdered as a result of one of his decisions; he collaborated with abraham and samuel in editing the Castilian communal ordinances. moses (ii) of Salé (17th century), was author of liturgical poems, elegies, and kabbalistic works including Me'arat Sedehha-Makhpelah (1910). shalom (d. before 1717), Hebrew grammarian, was author of Shir Ḥadash (1892) and other works. jacob reuben (b. 1673), born in Fez, was the most celebrated member of the family, also recognized as a rabbinical authority in Europe; he was the author of Kinot for the Ninth of Av and responsa, Mishpat u-Ẓedakah be-Ya'akov (2 vols., 1894; 1903). Part of his large collection of letters and responsa by writers in Spain and Jerusalem and early Spanish exiles in Morocco were published in Kerem Ḥemed (1869–71), and are a valuable source of information on Moroccan Jewry. isaac was appointed British consul in Morocco in 1818; samuel (1840) was agent of Emir Abd-el-Kader in Tangiers; aaron (c. 1850) represented Denmark there and his son isaac was British delegate to the legislative assembly of Tangiers and for 30 years president of the community. isaac leon (b. Eliezer b. Solomon ha-Sephardi) settled in Ancona, Italy, after 1500. The bet din in Rome reversed one of his decisions, and in 1546 published the discussions which followed. He was the author of Sefer Megillat Ester (Venice, 1592), a defense of the Sefer ha-Mitzvot of *Maimonides against the criticisms raised by *Naḥmanides.

Well known in the Amsterdam community were solomon (d. 1620) and samuel (d. 1665).

The Hamburg branch of the family was descended from the *Marrano Anrique Dias Millão who was burned at an auto-da-fé in Lisbon in 1609. Two of his sons reentered Judaism in Hamburg and took a prominent part in communal life. The elder, Paul de Millão, became known as moses, but for safety traded with the Iberian Peninsula under the name of Paul Direchsen. His elder son, joshua (d. 1670), was a leader of the Hamburg community and was a personal acquaintance of Queen Christina of Sweden. The younger, daniel (d. 1711), became resident in Hamburg for the Polish crown, followed by his (?) son david. jacob, younger son of Joshua, was baptized in 1719, Louis xiv being his godfather. After dabbling in international politics and intrigues he became a French agent and assumed the name Louis. The family continued to be known in Hamburg until the 19th century.


J. Scott, Travels in Morocco and Algiers (1842); jhsem, 6 (1962), 1579; Baer, Urkunden, 2 (1936), 193, 275–7, 509; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 2 (1965), 273, 292; esn, 183, 185; A.I. Laredo, Memórias de un viejo Tangerino (1935), 95, 96; H. Kellebenz, Sephardim an der unteren Elbe (1958), 400–17, passim; Z. Szajkowski, Franco Judaica (1962), nos. 1462–65.

[David Corcos]