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Halfanus

HALFANUS

HALFANUS (Halfan, Chalfan ), family that migrated from Provence to Italy after 1394 and later moved to Prague and Vienna. The family was linked with the famous *Kalonymus family which was prominent in the Middle Ages. Most of its members were physicians and were well known for their scholarship in science and literature. abba mari, a son-in-law of Joseph *Colon, lived in Italy and published in 1490 an elegy and a work on astronomy. His son was Elijah Menahem *Halfan. Another abba mari (d. 1586) was a physician in Prague. His son elias (1561–1624) lived first in Prague and was granted his licence as a physician by Rudolph ii (1598). With Aaron *Maor Katan (Lucerna) he later achieved prominence as a physician and dayyan in Vienna, and was also known as a book collector. He was even proposed as an army surgeon.

A second Ḥalfan family living in Vienna later changed its name to Wechsler. Its members included eliezer ben uri shraga phoebus (d. 1670), who was head of the community and was apparently the last person to be buried before the 1670 expulsion. His son uri shraga phoebus (c. 1640–1707) headed a yeshivah in Prague. His Dat Esh, responsa and novellae on Maimonides' Yad Hilkhot Kilayim, was published in Berlin in 1743.

bibliography:

B. Wachstein, Die Inschriften des alten Judenfriedhofes in Wien, 1 (1912), index s.v.Chalfan; Kisch, in: jggjc, 6 (1934), 15; Engelmann, in: Juedische Familienforschung, no. 44 (1937), 803–5; Bruck, in: hj, 9 (1947), 161–70.

[Meir Lamed]

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