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RECANATI , Italian family, originally from *Spain, which produced scholars, physicians, merchants, and financiers. The name derives from the town of *Recanati. The family rose into special prominence in the 17th century, but earlier members of the family are Menahem *Recanati in the 13th century and amadeo (Jedidiah) in the 16th century who translated Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed into Italian, under the title Erudizione dei Confusi, which he dedicated to Menahem Azariah da *Fano.

The main branch of the family begins with shabbetai elhanan (early 17th century), rabbi of Ferrara when the ghetto was established there (1624). He founded a dynasty of rabbis that continued for at least six generations. menahem, his son, succeeded him as a rabbi in Ferrara. He wrote a number of responsa. Some of these are included in Piskei Recanati ha-Aḥaronim of Jacob Ḥayyim Recanati (nos. 4, 6, 33; see below). judah Ḥayyim (late 17th century), Menahem's son, was rabbi of the Sephardi community of Ferrara. He wrote a number of responsa and his name appears often with the other rabbis of the city on rabbinical decrees. One of his responsa appears in Piskei Recanati ha-Aḥaronim (no. 5). shabbetai elhanan (d. 1738), his son, continued as rabbi of the Sephardi community of Ferrara. He was a contemporary of Mordecai *Ẓahalon and his name appears often together with Ẓahalon's and those of the other rabbis of Ferrara on regulations (takkanot) and approvals (*haskamot). He wrote responsa at a very early age. One of them is found in Devar Shemu'el (p. 280) of Samuel Aboab. He is mentioned in the Paḥad Yiẓḥak of Lampronti, Reshit Bikkur Kaẓir of Jacob Daniel Olmo, and Shemesh Ẓedakah of Samson Morpurgo. His son moses was also a rabbi in Ferrara as early as 1730.

jacob Ḥayyim ben isaac samuel (1758–1824), his grandson, born in Pesaro. At first an elementary school teacher in Ferara, he later served as rabbi in Siena, Acqui, Moncalvo, Finale, Carpi, Verona, and Venice. In Verona he also acted as head of a rabbinical school. He is best known for his Piskei Recanati ha-Aḥaronim (Leghorn, 1813) a collection of responsa, and for Ya'ir Nativ (Dessau, 1818) a responsum on the Hamburg Temple and its use of an organ. He was one of the four rabbis who took the liberal view. He was a man of wide interests, being also a grammarian and mathematician, poet and preacher. He published a treatise on arithmetic at Siena. Unpublished are books of sermons entitled Afikei Mayim, Oholei Ya'akov, and Neveh Ya'akov. He also wrote a compendium on Judaism (Verona, 1813), a number of Hebrew poems, and Har ha-Tov, quotations from Ein Ya'akov. Emanuele (Menahem; 1796–1864), the son of Jacob Ḥayyim, was physician in Verona. He wrote Grammatica Ebraica in Lingua Italiana (Verona, 1842); and Dizionario Ebraico-Caldaico ed Italiano e Italiano ed Ebraico (2 vols., ibid., 1854–56). Other branches of the family are found in various Italian cities. In the 20th century branches of the family spread to Greece, Israel, and the U.S.

[Isaac Klein]

In *Greece, Yehudah Leib Recanati (1890–1945) was a noted banker. Born in *Salonika, Recanati was a leader of Greek Jewry for many years and became the president of the Greek communities in 1934, representing them on the Jewish Agency council. In 1935 he settled in Tel Aviv and established the Discount Bank of which he became chairman of the board of directors. This bank became one of the largest in the country and contributed substantially to the economic development of Israel. Recanati was the chairman of the Sephardi community council in Tel Aviv and was active in a large number of public institutions and bodies. His sons, Harry Rafael (1918– ) and Daniel (1921–1984), were both directors of the Discount Bank and developed wide banking and commercial interests in Israel and elsewhere. They were dedicated to public and social needs in Israel (see Israel: *Banking).

[Benjamin Jaffe]


Ghirondi-Neppi, 127, 155–7, 225–7, 319, 335; I. Sonne, in: Horeb, 6 (1941), 79–95.

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