views updated


ALMOSNINO , Sephardi family, originating in Spain and prominent later in Morocco, Salonika, Gibraltar, and England. The family was established from the 13th century at Jaca in Aragon, where barzillai was baile in 1277 and joseph and jacob (possibly his sons) were "adelantados" of the Jewish community in 1285 (Régné, Cat, nos. 1277, 1370). abraham, an outstanding member of the Jewish community of Huesca, helped in the readmission of the converso Juan de Ciudad to Judaism in 1465. A generation later he was condemned by the Inquisition for his complicity in this and burned alive on December 10, 1489. His family thereafter settled in Salonika and were among the founders of the Catalan community there and legal proprietors of its synagogue. His children included the physician, joseph, author of an elegy on the destruction of Jerusalem (published in Sefunot, 8 (1964), 264–5); a son Ḥayyim, an active member of the Catalan community; and a daughter, who married R. Abraham Cocumbriel, son of Asach (Isaac: not Abraham, as the name was remembered in family tradition). Cocumbriel had perished together with Abraham Almosnino. The two families continued to intermarry, their descendants including baruch (d. 1563), head of the Catalan community in Salonika in the mid-16th century, father of *MOSES. Another abraham, a physician of Toledo (perhaps a cousin of the martyr), settled in Fez after the expulsion from Spain where he assisted in organizing the community of the megorashim ("exiles"). His son joseph was a physician as well as a poet, and so was his grandson abraham. The

latter's nephew, isaac Ḥasdai (b. c. 1580), after many adventures, was arrested at Goa (India) on suspicion of being a New Christian physician from Oporto named Manuel Lopes and was sent to Lisbon for trial by the Inquisition. On successfully demonstrating that he was a Jew by birth, he was released and deported (Torre do Tombo Archives, Lisbon, Inquisião de Lisbõa, reg. 5393). In a later generation, Ḥasdai (c.1640–1727) was among the most prominent rabbis of Tetuán. He was probably the father of isaac (d. 1785), rabbi of Gibraltar, who went from there with other Jews to London during the siege of 1781. His son Hasdai became a member of the bet din of the London Sephardi community. Of the latter's sons, isaac (d. 1843), ḥazzan of the community, modernized the service, at the same time carrying on a protracted quarrel with the rabbi, Raphael *Meldola, over the pronunciation of Hebrew, and solomon (1792–1877), was secretary of the community and exercised influence over it for many years.


Baer, Urkunden, 1 (1926), 196; 2 (1936), 484ff.; E. Carmoly, in: Univers Israélite (Jan.–March 1850); A.M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England (1951), 230–2.

[Cecil Roth]