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COUSSERI (COUSSER, ):

Jewish family of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; lived in Riva di Trento and neighboring towns of northern Italy. The epitaph on the tomb of Meshullam Cousseri (died July 20, 1541) indicates Riva di Trento as the original home of the family. Mordecai ben Meshullam of Riva, author of the letters in the manuscript of Halberstamm (No. 390), according to which he was still living in 1560, seems to have been the son of Meshullam Cousseri. Steinschneider derives the name "Cousseri" from "Yekussiel," the German pronunciation of "Jekuthiel." According to David Kaufmann, it was abridged into "Ḳoussel" and "Ḳoss"; other formations are "ḳousi," "Ḳousel," and "Ḳousser," or . Since "Ḳoẓer" as a prænomen is found in a Mayence document of 1470, in which the Jews of the Rheingau are granted one year's sojourn, it may be concluded that the family Cousseri was of German origin; in fact this is proved from a German translation of the piyyuṭim of Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom ha-Ḳippurim by Jacob ben Joseph Ḳoẓer of Ferrare. The name "Cuzzeri" still exists in northern Italy.

Bibliography:
  • David Kaufmann, in Rev. Et. Juives, 1896, xxxiii. 312-314; 1897, xxxv. 302-304;
  • see also pp. 111-112, note by A. Freimann.
D. S. Man.
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