Italian poetess, and wife of Giuseppi Ascarelli; lived at Venice at the end of the sixteenth and at the beginning of the seventeenth century.
As early as 1560 Deborah was known in Rome as a poetess of talent. She translated into Italian verse the second section of part two of Moses Rieti's "Miḳdash Me'aṭ," which, under the title "Me'on ha-Shoalim," was recited in the Italian synagogues. This "Tempio di oratori" commenced as follows:
"Tempio di chi chiede em fin perfetto Di chi ricerca sol gratia e amore E da vita il tuo fronto benedetto."
It was published in 1601-2 by David della Rocca (Venice, 31 pp.), together with Deborah's translation of BaḦya's "TokeḦah" (Admonition to the Soul); Rabbenu Nissim's "Longer Confession"; the Sephardic 'Abodah for the Day of Atonement; some original poems of Deborah, and an anonymous poem, supposed to have been written by the editor. The work was intended for liturgical purposes, and contained also the Hebrew originals. Deborah's translations keep close to the Hebrew text, but are spirited and full of real poetic fire. Nothing further is known of her life.
- Basnage, Histoire des Juifs, ix. 31, 866;
- Kayserling, Die Jüdischen Frauen, pp. 159, 354;
- Mortara, Indice Alfabetico, s.v.;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1988; idem, Monatsschrift, xliii. 92;
- Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, 3d ed., p. 132;
- Berliner, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 194;
- Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 264, 265.