Sola, De

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SOLA, DE , Sephardi family in Holland, Britain, and North and South America. After 1492 the family dispersed from Spain to Portugal (where some survived as Marranos, were martyred under the Inquisition, or fled overseas), and Holland. From aaron de sola (18th century), who fled to London and settled in Amsterdam, the various branches in England, Canada, the West Indies, and Holland are directly descended.

The descendants of Aaron's second son, isaac de sola (b. 1728), who settled in Curaçao, include General juan (isaac) de sola (c. 1795–1860), a hero of the South American war of liberation against Spain; benjamin de sola (1818–1882), a leader of the Jewish community in Curaçao; an earlier benjamin de sola (1735–1816) who was physician to the Dutch king William v and published medical works; Abraham de Sola (d. 1753), rabbi, preacher, and ḥazzan of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation in London (1722–49); and raphael samuel mendes de sola (d. 1761), ḥakham of Curaçao from 1749.

Staunch adherence to Orthodoxy particularly distinguishes the descendants of Aaron's eldest son, david de sola (1727–1797). Outstanding among these was David's grandson, david aaron de sola (1796–1860). Born in Amsterdam, he was appointed ḥazzan of the London Sephardi community in 1818. He was an able assistant to Haham Raphael *Meldola, whose daughter he married in 1819. After Meldola's death in 1828 De Sola virtually assumed the rabbinical leadership of the English Sephardim and in 1831 delivered the first English sermons authorized by the *Ma'amad, which later published several of his addresses. His Seder Berakhot (1829), a manual on the blessings, received the support of Moses *Montefiore, who also encouraged De Sola's work on a new prayer book. Published as Forms of Prayer According to the Custom of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews (5 vols., 1836–38; 18522), and with a new English translation, this is generally regarded as his finest work and is still used by the English Sephardim. In collaboration with Morris J. *Raphall, De Sola then prepared Eighteen Treatises of the Mishnah with the aim of arming his fellow-opponents of the budding Reform movement (1842; 18452, a pirated edition was repudiated by the coauthors). De Sola's other works include an English-Hebrew edition of Genesis, published in collaboration with Raphall and I.L. Lindenthal (1844) and intended to form part of a complete Bible ("The Sacred Scriptures") which, however, never appeared; and a new edition, with English translation, of Wolf *Heidenheim's Ashkenazi maḥzor, The Festival Prayers, according to the custom of the German and Polish Jews (5 vols., 1860). This maḥzor was often reprinted.

David Aaron de Sola also entered into an ill-fated partnership with M.J. Raphall as coeditor of an Orthodox periodical, The Voice of Jacob (1841), later taken over by The *Jewish Chronicle which it slightly preceded. One of his best-known works, The Ancient Melodies of the Liturgy of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews (1857), written in collaboration with the composer Emanuel *Aguilar, was a pioneering attempt to establish the dates of the Sephardi liturgical compositions. De Sola himself composed tunes for the Sephardi synagogue, and an appendix to The Ancient Melodies contains his well-known setting of the *Adon Olam hymn, which has become popular in Ashkenazi as well as Sephardi congregations of Great Britain. He was influential in organizing the Association for the Promotion of Jewish Literature and other similar bodies. Of his 15 children, Abraham *de Sola became a rabbi in Montreal and a leader of Canadian Orthodoxy.


A. de Sola, Biography of David Aaron de Sola… (1864); jc (Nov. 2, 1860), 4; je, s.v.; J. Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (1956), 36; R.D. Barnett, in: jhset, 21 (1968), 1–38 esp. 10ff.; A. de Sola Lazaron, De Sola Odyssey (1966).

[Godfrey Edmond Silverman]