MENASCE, DE , Egyptian family which went to *Egypt from Spain, by way of Ereẓ Israel and *Morocco. The members of the De Menasce family played a significant role in the economic development of Egypt in the second half of the 19th century.
jacob david de menasce (1802–1885) was president of the *Cairo Jewish community and leader of the Austrian subjects in Egypt. He received the hereditary title of baron from the emperor Francis Joseph. In 1871 he settled in Alexandria, where he established the Menasce synagogue in 1873 and a large Jewish school (1881). He was the *sarraf (banker) of the Giza quarter and before he settled in Alexandria was employed by Hasan Pasha Al-Manstrali as administrator of his large estates. Later, he founded an import-export company and opened branches of the company in Marseilles and Liverpool. His son bakhor de menasce (1830–1884) was president of the *Alexandria community and active in Jewish philanthropy. Three of his sons became well-known: jacques (1850–1916), banker and head of the local community from 1889 to 1914, helped to found the Menasce hospital, financed jointly by his family and the community. In 1885 he opened in Alexandria a private secular school for boys and girls, in which the majority of the teachers were Catholic. felix (1865–1943) was president of the community of Alexandria from 1926 to 1933. In 1918 he founded the Zionist Pro-Palestine Society and aided pioneers traveling to Ereẓ Israel through Alexandria. He was a baron and in 1938 was honorary president of the Alexandria community. Alfred (1867–1927) was a member of the Alexandria municipal council for many years and honorary consul of Hungary. In 1925, after a teacher in a Christian school had repeated stories of the *blood libel before Jewish pupils, he reacted by becoming the principal benefactor in the establishment of a Jewish vocational school in the city. He married a member of the Suarez family. Felix's son georges (b. 1900) was known in Egypt for his art collection and generosity, especially on behalf of Jewish causes. He settled in England. Another son, jean (b. 1910), who became a Jesuit priest in France, wrote a book on Ḥasidism (Quand Israël aime Dieu, 1931), following a visit to Poland. Members of the De Menasce family competed with the Aghion and Rollo families for leadership of the Alexandria community, which was divided into two parties, one of which was headed by the De Menasce family. In 1885 the family helped the Jewish hospital. Other members of the family were known especially as philanthropists: Abramino founded in 1917 a Jewish hospital in Cairo; Elie in 1920 made an important donation to the De Menasce school in Alexandria; Jacque Elie in 1930 founded the Society "Amelei Tora."
J.M. Landau, Jews in Nineteenth-Century Egypt (1969), index; S. Stambouli, in: J.M. Landau (ed.), Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Miẓraim ba-Tekufah ha-Otmanit (1988), 119–22; S. Raafat, in: Egyptian Mail (Nov. 16, 1996), 1–4; M. Fargeon, Les Juifs en Egypte depuis l'origine jusqu'à ce jour (1938).
[Haim J. Cohen /
Leah Bornstein-Makovetsky (2nd ed.)]