ALTARAS, JOSEPH (16th century), ḥazzan and poet. Born in Damascus, he settled in Aleppo. He was praised by the Hebrew poet Israel *Najara as the "… highest of heavenly heights above all his contemporaries in the sweetness of his voice" (Zemirot Yisrael, 142–144, 147). Najara also praised his poetry. Joseph's son Nissim was also a poet. It may be assumed that the poems attributed to "Joseph" and "Nissim" scattered throughout the siddur of Aleppo (Venice, 1520, 1560) were written by these two. These poems are also included in the collection Shirei Yisrael be-Ereẓ ha-Kedem (1921).
M.D. Gaon, Yehudei ha-Mizraḥ be-Ereẓ Yisrael, 2 (1938), 50; Rosanes, Togarmah, 3 (1938), 230.
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