Franco, Moses

views updated


FRANCO, MOSES (1837–1918), chief rabbi of Rhodes and later Rishon le-Zion, chief Sephardi rabbi of Ereẓ Israel from 1913 to 1916. He was born in Rhodes and brought back at the age of 45 from Milas, where he was working as a clerk, to become chief rabbi of Rhodes, which at the time was divided into factions over issues of finances and honor. In 1906, it was decided that he would serve as chief rabbi permanently. He occupied the post until 1911, when he decided to move to Ereẓ Israel. After the death of Rabbi Naḥman Batito, he was appointed acting-chief abbi (ḥakham bashi) of Jerusalem. Shortly afterwards, in 1913, the Ottoman authorities recognized his appointment. He endured the famine and misery of the period in Ereẓ Israel when Ottoman Turkey was at war with England in World War i. When the Ottoman Empire closed the borders to Ereẓ Israel and the inhabitants were restricted in their movements, and he himself was at an advanced age and unable to function in his position, he resigned, remaining in Jerusalem until he died.

His first cousin was rahamim franco, the "Harif," chief rabbi of Livorno, av bet din in Jerusalem, and chief rabbi of Hebron. His children included hizkiya, journalist and president of the Jewish community of Rhodes in the 1930s, and Elise Amateau of Izmir, father of Albert Jean *Amateau.


M.D. Gaon, Yehudei ha-Mizraḥ be-Ereẓ Yisrael, Part 2 (1938), 567–68.

[Yitzchak Kerem (2nd ed.)]