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MELDOLA:

Genealogical Tree of the Meldola Family.

Ancient Sephardic family whose genealogy can be traced through sixteen generations without a break to Isaiah Meldola of Toledo (born in 1282). Under Spanish names it long flourished in Toledo, and produced many men of note and of learning. The name "Meldola" seems to have been assumed when some of the family first established themselves in Italy, prior to the going of Isaiah Meldola to Mantua. One branch, however, took the name "Montalto"; and from this branch was descended the Portuguese Marano family of Montalto, including Elihu Montalto (physician to Marie de Medici, queen of Henry IV. of France, and counselor to Louis XIII.), as well as the painter G. S. D. Montalto.

Subjoined is the genealogical tree of the Meldola family. The numbers in parentheses correspond to those given in the text.

1. Isaiah Meldola:

One of the sages of Castile; born in Toledo, Spain, 1282; died at Mantua, Italy, in 1340. He was ḥakam of Toledo after having previously served as dayyan. Owing to politico-religious troubles he left Spain for Italy, where some of his relatives had already settled, and he was appointed chief rabbi of Mantua and head of the college there.

2. Samuel Meldola:

Son of Isaiah (No. 1); born in the earlier half of the fourteenth century; died in 1415. He succeeded his father as ḥakam of Mantua and as head of the college. He was distinguished as a preacher, and was the author of several theological works.

3. Isaiah Meldola:

Son of Samuel (No. 2); born in Mantua toward the close of the fourteenth century; died 1475. He was ḥakam and dayyan, and was the author of "Ḥazon Yesha'yahu," a commentary on Isaiah, printed in Mantua. He also practised medicine and wrote a work on physiology.

4. David Meldola:

Son of Isaiah Meldola (No. 3); born at Mantua in the early part of the fifteenth century; died about 1505. He went to Spain, where he made efforts to maintain the Spanish Jewish colleges, but returned to Italy in 1492. Rejoining his relatives in Mantua, he was received at court with favor. He devoted his declining years to the writing of a number of Jewish theological works.

5. Raphael Meldola:

Son of David Meldola (No. 4); born about the middle of the fifteenth century; died during the earlier half of the sixteenth century. He was ḥakam of the Jewish community of Mantua, and also a court councilor.

6. Samuel Meldola:

Son of Raphael Meldola (No. 5); born during the latter part of the fifteenth century; died 1530. He was physician to the Duke of Mantua, winning eminence by his skill as a practitioner; and he wrote a work on medicine. He was also ḥakam and dayyan of Mantua.

7. Jacob Meldola:

Son of Samuel Meldola (No. 6); born about the beginning of the sixteenth century; died about 1580; one of the chief rabbis of Mantua. He was the father of two sons, Eleazar (No. 8) and Samuel (No. 9).

8. Eleazar Meldola:

Elder son of Jacob Meldola (No. 7); born in the sixteenth century; died, according to most authorities, in 1655, but one authority places the date much earlier. He succeeded his father as ḥakam of Mantua, and was very distinguished as a preacher, his oratorical powers securing for him renown throughout Italy. A volume of his orations was published in Venice.

9. Samuel Meldola:

Italian physician; lived during the seventeenth century; younger son of Jacob Meldola (No. 7) and brother of Eleazar Meldola (No. 8). He was physician to the Duke of Mantua, and was the author of a work on medicine, entitled "Refu'ot Te'alah." He devoted attention also to religious and metaphysical studies and was the author of "Ḳeri'at Shema'" and "Debar Shemuel."

10. David Israel Meldola:

Son of Eleazar Meldola (No. 8); born at Mantua 1612; died, according to most authorities, in 1679 at Florence, while one source gives an earlier date. He was trained for the rabbinate in his native city, but on account of the war, famine, and pestilence he fled to Florence. He went thence to Leghorn, where he was head of the college for more than twenty years, and was then persuaded to return to Florence to accept office as ḥakam and ab bet din.

Meldola was the author of a commentary on Scriptural passages, and of "Emunah Omen," a work on the Jewish faith. He married Miriam Azubi, and after her death espoused a grandniece of Elihu Montalto. He was survived by two sons: Eleazar (No. 11), from whom springs the elder branch of the family, and Abraham (No. 19), from whom is descended the younger branch.

11. Eleazar Meldola:

Elder son of David Israel Meldola (No. 10); born 1643; died 1702 (one authority states 1704). He went from Florence to Leghorn with his younger brother, and became head of the Talmud Torah, and chief rabbi of Leghorn. He was noted as a grammarian and as the author of a work entitled "Halakah we-Haggadah." He married in 1677 Reina Senior, daughter of Jacob Senior, by whom he had seven children. After her death he married (1691) Sarah Senior, by whom he had five children.

12. Raphael Meldola:

Italian rabbi; born at Leghorn in 1685; died April 17, 1748; fifth child of Eleazar Meldola (No. 11) by his wife Reina Senior. He was originally named Samuel Jacob Meldola, but on his recovery from a dangerous illness his name was changed to Raphael. He was elected rabbi of Pisa in 1722. In 1729 he was elected to succeed Isaac da Costa as chief rabbi of Bayonne and St. Esprit, and he remained ḥakam of these congregations until 1741, when he returned to Leghorn.

Meldola was the author of a large number of theological and ethical works, the most important being "Mayim Rabbim" (Amsterdam, 1737), and his responsa, in several volumes, which gained for him a European reputation, and which were afterward published by his son David in Amsterdam. He wrote also a poem in honor of Mendelssohn's "Jerusalem." He married in 1701 Rachel Meldola, the daughter of his uncle Abraham, by whom he had seven children. His third son, David (No. 13), and his youngest son, Moses Hezekiah (No. 14), became very distinguished. His second son, Abraham, born in Leghorn 1705, was a noted typographer.

13. David Meldola:

Third son of Raphael Meldola (No. 12); born at Leghorn 1714; died (it issaid) at the age of 104. He went with his father to Bayonne, left that city in 1735, and settled in Amsterdam, where he undertook the publication of his father's works, as well as some of his own writings. He was appointed ḥakam of several of the religious societies and philanthropic organizations.

Meldola was the author of: "Mo'ed Dawid" (Amsterdam, 1740), an astronomical and mathematical work, including a poem giving the rules of the calendar (first published in the ritual work "Tefillat Yesharim," ib. 1740); "Dibre Dawid" (ib. 1753); "Darke Yesod ha-Limmud," on the methodology of the Talmud (ib. 1754); "Darke Dawid" (Amsterdam and Hamburg, 1793-95); and many others preserved in manuscript (Nepi-Ghirondi, "Toledot Gedole Yisrael," p. 79). He married in 1739 Rachel Sarphaty (or Sarfatti), daughter of Eliashib Nathanael Sarphaty of Amsterdam and granddaughter of Moses Raphael d'Aguilar, by whom he had eight children, born in Amsterdam. His youngest son, Abraham, born 1754, removed to Hamburg in 1772, and was the author of many works, including "Traduccion de las Cartos Mercantines y Manuales," Hamburg, 1784, and "Nova Grammatica Portugueza," Leipsic, 1785.

14. Moses Hezekiah Meldola:

Youngest son of Raphael Meldola (No. 12); born at Leghorn 1725; died 1791. Though trained in the banking business, he abandoned commercial pursuits to follow a professional career. He won renown as a philologist, and was the author of a number of books on Semitic languages; he likewise attained to the rank of ḥakam and was appointed professor of Oriental languages in the University of Paris. He was the father of two sons, Raphael (No. 15) and Isaac.

15. Raphael Meldola:

Elder son of Moses Hezekiah Meldola (No. 14); born in Leghorn 1754; died in London June 1, 1828; one of the most prominent members of the Meldola family. He received a thorough university training, both in theological and in secular branches, and displayed such remarkable talents that when only fifteen years old he was permitted to take his seat in the rabbinical college. He was preacher in Leghorn for some years, and in 1803 he obtained the title of rabbi.

Raphael Meldola.

In 1805 Meldola was elected haham of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of Great Britain, and proved a worthy successor of Sasportas and Nieto. His name will ever be indissolubly associated with that of Bevis Marks, London. Possessed of a remarkably virile mind, he was a dominant factor in the British Jewry of his generation. He was the author of "Ḳorban Minḥah," "Ḥuppat Ḥatanim" (1796), and "Derek Emunah," published by his son after his death. He left several other works in manuscript. His scholarship attracted around him a circle in which were many of the most distinguished men of his day, including Benjamin D'Israeli and Isaac D'Israeli; and it is noteworthy that he opposed the policy which produced the famous rupture between the latter and the mahamad (see D'Israeli, Isaac). He maintained a literary correspondence with many of the most prominent Christian clergymen and scholars of his time; and his acquaintance with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Canon of Windsor led to his being received by King George III.

Meldola married Stella Bolaffi (Abulafia), by whom he had four sons and four daughters.

16. Rica Meldola:

Eldest daughter of Raphael Meldola (No.15); born at Leghorn 1799; married (May 20, 1819) David Aaron de Sola, senior minister and preacher of Bevis Marks Synagogue, London, and became the mother of a large family. Of her sons, Abraham de Sola was professor of Semitic languages and literature in McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and rabbi of the Sephardic congregation in that city. He was the father of the Rev. A. D. Meldola de Sola and of Clarence I. de Sola of Montreal. One of Rica's daughters, Eliza, married the Rev. Abraham P. Mendes of Birmingham and London, England, and afterward of Newport, R. I. She was the mother of the Revs. F. de Sola Mendes and H. Pereira Mendes of New York.

17. David Meldola:

Eldest son of Raphael Meldola (No. 15); born at Leghorn 1797; died in London 1853. He obtained the rabbinical degree at Leghorn, and after the death of his father was elected presiding officer of the bet din of the London Sephardic community. Although not given the title of haham, he was the acting chief rabbi from 1828 until his death. It was during his incumbency that the London Jewish community passed through the stormy period of the early Reform movement. Meldola was the founder, in conjunction with Moses Angel, of the London "Jewish Chronicle." A profound Hebraist and Talmudist, he was the author of a number of writings, including several works in manuscript on Jewish theology and prayers, besides elegies, orations, and poems in Hebrew.

18. Raphael Meldola:

Son of Samuel Meldola, youngest son of Raphael Meldola (No. 15); English naturalist and chemist; born in London in 1849. In 1875 he was sent by the Royal Society to the Nicobar Islands in charge of an eclipse expedition. Since 1885 he has been professor of chemistry at the Finsbury Technical College. He has made many discoveries of important compounds and coaltar dyes. He is the author of a large number of scientific works, among them the article on "Organic Chemistry" in the "Encyclopædia Britannica," and "The Chemistry of Photography," London, 1884; and he has translated and edited Weismann's "Studies in the Theory of Descent," published in 1882. In 1895 and 1896 he was president of the Entomological Society. Meldola has accomplished much for the diffusion of technical instruction, being a member of the Technical Instruction Committee of the Essex County Council. In recognition of his services to science he was elected fellow of the Royal Society.

The line of Abraham, younger son of David Israel Meldola (No. 10), is as follows:

19. Abraham Meldola:

Chief ḥazzan of theGreat Synagogue, Leghorn; died 1720 or 1728. Meldola was the author of two works on "ḥazzanut" and Hebrew music. He married Reina Hannah, daughter of Jacob Diaz Pardo, by whom he had a daughter, Rachel, and two sons, David (No. 20) and Jacob (No. 23).

20. David Meldola:

Elder son of Abraham Meldola (No. 19). He was ḥakam and chief of the great yeshibah at Leghorn, and was the author of several volumes of Hebrew poems. He married the daughter of Jacob Ispinoza, by whom he had a son, Jacob (No. 21), and a daughter, Reina.

21. Jacob Meldola:

Italian poet; flourished during the eighteenth century; son of David Meldola (No. 20). He was also minister of the Leghorn synagogue.

22. Raphael David Meldola:

Son of Jacob Meldola (No. 21); lived during the latter half of the eighteenth century. He was president of the Reshit Ḥokmah College, Leghorn, and gained celebrity as a poet and humorist. He published several volumes of verse. He was the father of Jacob Meldola, who occupied the rabbinate of Pisa some time in the nineteenth century.

23. Jacob Meldola:

Younger son of Abraham Meldola (No. 19); died in 1761. He was a noted theologian, and the author of "Sefat Ḥayyim." His son, Abraham Meldola (d. 1774), was ḥazzan in Italy, and was the author of two volumes of discourses.

Bibliography:
  • Sefer Toledot Adam, manuscript, part i., by Eleazar Meldola, Leghorn, beginning 1679;
  • part ii., by Raphael Meldola, Leghorn, Pisa, and Bayonne, beginning 1702;
  • part iii., by David Meldola, Amsterdam, beginning 1744;
  • part iv., by Abraham Meldola, Hamburg, beginning 1772;
  • supplemental part by David bar Raphael Meldola, London, 1828;
  • Dibre Dawid, Preface and p. 139, Amsterdam, 1753;
  • Pedigree of the Meldola Family from death of Isaiah Meldola, 1340, extracted from a book of about 400 verses from ancient manuscripts by R. Meldola;
  • D. Meldola, The Way of Faith, Preface, London, 1848;
  • Leon, Histoire des Juifs de Bayonne, p. 364, Paris, 1893;
  • Gaster, Hist. of Bevis Marks, London, 1901;
  • Henry S. Morais, Eminent Israelites of the Nineteenth Century, Philadelphia, 1880;
  • The Gentleman's Magazine (London), Oct., 1828;
  • Jew. Chron. July 25, 1851;
  • The Hebrew Observer (London), March 11 and April 15, 1853;
  • Lucien Wolf, Old Jewish Families in England, in The Leisure Hour (London), Aug., 1886;
  • The Occident (Philadelphia), xi. 80, 213;
  • Israel (London), June, 1899;
  • April, 1901;
  • et seq.
G. C. I. de S.
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