BENVENISTE (also Bienveniste, Benvist, Abenbenist , etc.), personal name and surname of a widespread Sephardi family. The name originated in Spain and Provence and means "welcome." It is first mentioned in documents from Barcelona in 1079. After the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the family was dispersed, especially throughout the Ottoman Empire.
Prominent members, in addition to those to whom separate articles are devoted, include benveniste ibn benveniste (early 14th century), translator of medical works from Arabic into Catalan during the reign of James ii, king of Aragon (1291–1327); izmel (ishmael) of Barcelona (early 14th century), physician, father of the physician Samuel *Benveniste; adzay (=Ḥasdai) benvenist (mid-15th century), member of the communal council in Saragossa; judah b. abraham (1460–1515), born in Toledo, a descendant of Abraham *Benveniste of Soria, who, after the expulsion from Spain, was active in Salonika; and nissim (15th century), a scholar whose halakhic queries to Isaac *Aboab were published by Abraham Meldola in Ziv ha-Einayim.
Baer, Urkunden, 1 pt. 2 (1936), index, s.v.Bienvenist; Baer, Spain, index; Cantera-Millás, Inscripciones, 180, 193–4; Sefarad, index to vols. 1–15 (1957), 399, 401.