views updated


FINZI , Italian family which can be traced back to the second half of the 13th century; the origin of the name is unknown, The first recorded members were loan bankers in Padua. Subsequently, the family spread to many other towns; some of them added the name of their city of origin to their family name (Finzi of Ancona, of Recanati, of Bologna, of Mantua, of Ferrara, of Reggio-Heb, ארייו – not Arezzo as usually transcribed). In Venice some of them became known as Tedesco-Finzi to emphasize their German origin. Other Finzis may be traced in the Balkans and in Jerusalem and later in England. Some of the most noteworthy members follow in chronological order.

mordecai (angelo) b. abraham (d. 1476), a versatile scientist, physician, and banker, who lived in Bologna and Mantua. He was known mainly for his mathematical and astronomical works, which included Luḥot, tables on the length of days (publ. Mantua, c. 1479, by Abraham Conat), and an astronomical work entitled Netiv Ḥokhmah (unpublished), He translated into Hebrew three important works by the Arab mathematician Abū Kāmil (850–930). He also translated into Hebrew various works on astronomy and geometry and wrote commentaries on some of them, described and explained recently invented astronomical instruments, and wrote treatiseson grammar and mnemonics. solomon b. eliakim, rabbi in Forli (1536) and Bologna (1552). He wrote a methodological work, Mafte'aḥ ha-Gemara (Venice, 1622). It was reprinted in 1697 in Helmstedt with a Latin translation and notes by C.H. Ritmeier, and again reprinted in Clavis Talmudica Maxima (Hanau, 1714, 1740). gur aryeh ha-levi, rabbi in Mantua in 1665. He wrote a remarkable commentary on the Shulḥan Arukh, published (Mantua, 1721–23) by his great-nephew, Gur Aryeh b. Benjamin (d. 1754). samuel (d. 1791), pupil of Isaac Lampronti, was a famous preacher and rabbi at Ferrara. His homilies are collected in Imrei Emet (18412). isaac raphael b. elisha (1728–1812), of Ferrara, was a widely esteemed preacher, some of whose sermons were published. He was a member of the French Sanhedrin in 1806 and was elected its vice president. joseph (1815–1886), born in Mantua, was a patriot of the Italian Risorgimento. A confidant of Mazzini, Garibaldi, and Cavour, he took an active part in the risings against Austria from 1848 to 1853 and was entrusted with the funds for the Garibaldi's expedition to Sicily in 1860. From 1860 onward, he was a member of parliament for about twenty-five years and he was elected senator in 1886. The jurist mario (1913–1943) from Bologna was active in the Italian Resistance during World War ii and he assisted Italian and German Jews from 1938; he was captured in 1943 during an attempt to help a Jew. gerald (1901–1956), English musician and professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music, wrote choral, orchestral, and chamber music.


Roth, Italy, index; idem, Jews in the Renaissance (1959), index; Milano, Bibliotheca, index; Milano, Italia, 678; Ghirondi-Neppi, index; Mortara, Indice; A. Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi (19302), passim; V. Colorni, in: rmi, 9 (1934/35), 221–2; G. Bedarida, Ebrei d'Italia (1950), index; S. Simonsohn, Ha-Yehudim be-Dukkasut Mantovah (1956), index. add. bibliography: L. Carpi, Il Risorgimento Italiano, Biografie Storico-Politiche d'Illustri Italiani Contemporanei, 4 vols. (1888).

[Attilio Milano /

Federica Francesconi (2nd ed.)]