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BETHEL, or DE SYNAGOGA (, "of the house of God"):

An Italian-Jewish family, several members of which are known as liturgical poets and copyists. According to a family tradition, it was one of the four prominent Jewish families deported by Titus to Rome after the destruction of the Temple. The name "Bethel," however, seems to be derived from Casadio (= house of God, "beth-el"), probably their place of origin.

Traces of this family are found as early as the twelfth century. By the middle of the fifteenth century the name had almost disappeared, and the family had assumed the name of Anaw, of which family the Bethelides had always been a branch.

The following members are best known to fame:

Ismael ben Moses Bethel:

Physician; lived in the middle of the sixteenth century.

Jehiel ben Mattithiah Bethel:

Physician; lived at Pisa in the fourteenth century (compare "He-Ḥaluẓ," ix., part 2, p. 50).

Jekuthiel Bethel:

Son of the preceding; copyist; lived at Rome at the beginning of the fifteenth century. The library of Parma possesses a "Maḥzor" written by him for Nethaneel ben Abraham (see Steinschneider, "Hebr. Bibl." vii. 115).

Joab b. Benjamin Bethel:

Liturgical poet; lived at Rome at the end of the fourteenth century and the beginning of the fifteenth. He was the author of a "Ḳaddish" in 8 strophes (compare Zunz, "Literaturgeschichte," p. 490; Landshut, "'Ammude ha-'Abodah," p. 80). He is mentioned by Rieti in his "Paradiso," p. 105.

Joab ben Nadan ben Daniel Bethel:

Liturgical poet; lived at Rome in the fourteent century. He was the author of a "Reshut" on "Nishmat" for the Feast of Pentecost (compare Luzzatto, "Mebo," p. 23).

Bibliography:
  • Zunz, Gesammelte Schriften, iii. 167 et seq.;
  • Mortara, Indice Alfabetico, p. 8;
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, i. 299, 307, 332.
G. I. Br.
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