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Zoref, Abraham Solomon Zalman


ZOREF, ABRAHAM SOLOMON ZALMAN (1785–1851), leading figure in the Ashkenazi community of Jerusalem. Born in Kaidan, Lithuania, Zoref set out for Ereẓ Israel with his wife and three sons in 1811. Traveling by way of Odessa and Constantinople, they arrived in Acre after a journey lasting more than five months. They settled in Safed where Zoref worked as a gold- and silversmith (whence his surname, which is Hebrew for silversmith). The outbreak of the plague in 1813 drove him to Jerusalem. There he became associated with *Menahem Mendel of Shklov in the leadership of the small Lithuanian community (Kolel ha-Perushim). From 1819 to 1823 and from 1829 to 1833 Zoref traveled in Europe as emissary for this kolel; on his second journey he acted on behalf of the Sephardim as well. When Ereẓ Israel came under Egyptian domination in 1831, he went to Cairo to obtain permission with the help of the Austrian and Russian consuls, to rebuild the Judah he-Ḥasid dwellings. The success of his mission, which contributed to the development of the Ashkenazi settlement in Jerusalem, earned Zoref the enmity of the Arabs, who made two attempts on his life, from the second of which he did not recover.

His sons mordecai, moses, and isaac, who adopted the surname Salomon, and his grandson Joel Moses ben Mordecai *Salomon, continued to work for the growth and consolidation of Jewish Jerusalem and Ereẓ Israel.


Frumkin-Rivlin, 3 (1929), 147, 152, 156, 180, 259; I. Triwaks and E. Steinman, Me'ah Shanah (1938), 126–8; M. Solomon, Sheloshah Dorot ba-Yishuv (1939), 17–90; Yaari, Sheluḥei, 761–3, 774–7,781f.

[Avraham Yaari]

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