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ASCARELLI, MOSES VITA (JEHIEL):

Physician at Rome; died Dec. 11, 1889. He received his early education at the Talmud Torah in that city, and later studied medicine at the University of Rome. During the cholera epidemic in 1867 he distinguished himself by his disinterested labors, in recognition of which he received a medal from PopePius IX. Ascarelli took an active interest in the organization of the Jewish community in Rome, and was one of the founders of the "Società di Fratellenza," for the dissemination of education among poor Jews and the development among them of a taste for art and the professions.

Amid his many occupations, Ascarelli found time to contribute to Jewish literature, and was a frequent contributor under the pseudonym "Emet le-Ya'aḳob" to the Hebrew journal "Ha-Maggid," for which he wrote many poems and articles on the condition of Italian Jews under Pope Pius IX. Ascarelli translated from Hebrew into Italian the work "NaḦalah le-Yisrael" (A Heritage unto Israel), a responsum sent by the chief rabbi, I. M. Hazan, in connection with a disputed inheritance in the Gallichi family. Ascarelli translated also, from French into Hebrew, under the title "Sefer 'Am Polanim we-Gere Polanim," the work of the Polish poet Mickiewicz, "Le Livre de la Nation Polonaise et des Pèlerins Polonais." He used to preach in the Catalan Synagogue; and one of his sermons has been printed under the title "Panigerico sull' Elezione d'Israele nel Tempio Israelitico di Roma il Sciavuot 5640 [May 17, 1880] per l'Iniziazione alla Maggiorita Religiose del Figlio Angelo Raffaele e altri Giovanelli della Communione."

Bibliography:
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 386, 405, 408, 409;
  • Zeitlin, Bibliotheca Hebraica, p. 6;
  • Lippe, Bibliographisches Lexicon, p. 566.
S. I. Br.
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