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BENSUSAN (Ibn Sūsān or Shoshan , also Cohen ibn Sūsān and Levy Bensusan ), Moroccan family that can be traced to the 12th century. judah ibn SŪSĀN (d. 1165) was *Maimonides' teacher in *Fez; he was martyred there by the *Almohads. During the 13th and 14th centuries, members of the Ibn Sūsān family held important posts as rabbis, astronomers, physicians, financiers, and diplomats in Christian Spain. Their descendants returned to Morocco after 1391. Some time before 1539, the Moroccan mathematician issachar b. mordecai ibn SŪSĀN settled in Jerusalem and later in Safed, where he wrote Tikkun Yissakhar (Salonika, 1564), which was reedited under the title ʿIbbur Shanim ("Intercalation of the Years," Venice, 1578). The book includes two treatises on the rituals to be followed according to yearly variations of the Jewish calendar, and the apportioning of the haftarot according to the rites of different communities. nathan levi bensusan was a leader of the toshavin ("native") community in Morocco in the early 16th century. Several of his descendants were scholars who were often named in the statutes of the Fez community.

The family constituted a powerful merchant clan in Rabat-Salé, and often acted against the interests of other members of the community. During the 17th and 18th centuries their activities extended to London, where they were active in the Sephardi community. In the 19th century they reinforced their position in trade in Morocco, especially in Mogador and Marrakesh, where joshua lÉvy-bensusan (19th cent.) represented France in about 1881. samuel lÉvy bensusan (1872–1958), who lived in Essex, England, wrote a number of books about the English countryside, such as Annals of Maychester (1936), and also published studies of great artists. He traveled widely and wrote about Morocco, Spain, Paris, Germany, and the haunts of Shakespeare. Bensusan edited a weekly newspaper, The Jewish World (1897–98), and The Theosophical Review (1925–28).


A. Hyamson, Sephardim of England (1951), 247, 336, 397; J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), 25ff., 41, 63, 109, 191; rej, 6 (1941), 12–25; Miège, Maroc, 2 (1961), 550; 3 (1962), 208; 4 (1963), 304.

[David Corcos]