Belinfante, Isaac ben Eliah Cohen

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BELINFANTE, ISAAC BEN ELIAH COHEN (d. 1780), man of Hebrew letters. A younger contemporary of David *Franco Mendes, Belinfante was probably born in the early 1720s. From the 1750s he participated in the burgeoning Hebrew literary life of the Amsterdam Portuguese-Jewish community. Besides his work as a darshan, he took an active part in preserving and disseminating contemporary Hebrew culture, by compiling manuscript anthologies (e.g., of the literary society Shomrim la-Boker) and by bringing to press compositions of his fellow literati. His own work, some of which was written under the pseudonym Pi ha-Medabber, includes sermons, occasional and ethical-didactic poetry, and historical-documentary material (e.g., the bibliographical Si'aḥ Yitzḥak, i.e., Sifte Yeshenim Ḥadash), which testifies to a new cultural self-awareness among the Amsterdam Sephardim. The majority of these writings remained in manuscript.


H. Azulay, Ma'agal Tov (ed. 1879), passim; H.G. Enelow, in: Studies… A.S. Freidus (1929), 5–30; Z. Malachi, in: Tagim (1969), 78–87; idem, in: Studies in the History of Dutch Jewry (1975), 123–50; L. Fuks and R.G. Fuks-Mansfeld, Hebrew and Judaic Manuscripts in Amsterdam Public collections,ii (1975), passim.

[Irene E. Zwiep (2nd ed.)]