Soncino, Joshua

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SONCINO, JOSHUA (d. 1569), rabbi and halakhic authority; a scion of the famous *Soncino family from Italy, some of whose descendants settled in Turkey. Soncino was the rabbi of the Sephardi Great Synagogue (Sinagoga Mayor) in Constantinople. In one of his responsa he intimates that his Ashkenazi friends disapproved of his holding that post. He maintained contact with R. Isaac *Luria and R. Bezalel *Ashkenazi, and was a close friend of R. Moses *Almosnino. His responsa and his commentaries on the tractates Eruvin and Shevu'ot were published by his grandson R. Joshua b. Menahem Soncino, under the title Naḥalah li-Yhoshua (Constantinople, 1731). One of his responsa can be found in Divrei Rivot by R. Isaac *Adarbi (Salonika, 1582, no. 60). He was asked by Dona Gracia *Nasi to render halakhic decisions on business matters (responsa 12, 20). At the time of the proposed *Ancona boycott in 1556–57, which caused a great stir among Turkish Jews, Soncino originally favored the proposals, but later took up an attitude of vehement opposition. As the representative of Italian Jews who had settled in Turkey, he was of the opinion that pressure on the city by Turkish Jewry would further imperil the situation of Ancona's Jews (responsa 39–40). He thought that the solution to the difficulties facing Italian Jewry lay in their migration to the East.


Rosanes, Togarmah, 2 (1937/38), 79ff.; C. Roth, The House of Nasi (1947), 134–74; I. Sonne, Mi-Paulus ha-Revi'i ad Pius ha-Ḥamishi (1954), 146–59; A. Yaari, Meḥkerei Sefer (1958), 309–11.

[Abraham David]