An important family of Spanish Jews, the first mention of whom occurs late in the twelfth century. In Hebrew the name is written or . It is the same as or , though Steinschneider seems to be of a different opinion. In modern works the name appears as Alnaqua, Alnequa (Zedner), Alnucawi (Kayserling), and Ankoa. Originally from the Iberian peninsula, members of the family spread to northern Africa and Turkey, where by marriage they became related to the Durans and Benvenistes. The first two of whom mention is made are Judah and Samuel, who fell victims to court slanders in Toledo about the year 1200. The three brothers, Abraham, Joseph, and Solomon, who lived in the fourteenth century, came each to an untimely end: the first was assassinated (1341); the other two were cut off by the plague a few years later. In the fifteenth century the Alnaquas settled in northern Africa, where they became the leaders of the communities. From Zunz's notes the following genealogical tree may be traced:

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Alnaquas are to be found in Turkey, prominent as scholars and philanthropists. In the nineteenth century Abraham ben Mordecai Ankawa was a Halakist of some renown in Morocco (Steinschneider, "Hebr. Bibl." i. 113).

  • Zunz, Z. G. pp. 435-436;
  • Solomon ibn Verga, Shebet Yehudah, ed. Wiener, p. 27;
  • Kayserling, Sephardim, p. 114;
  • Steinschneider, Jew. Quart. Rev. x. 132, xi. 310.
M. B. G.Ephraim ben Israel Alnaqua

(Alnucawi, Ankava, Ankoa; called Rab in Africa): Physician, rabbi, and theological writer; founder of the Jewish community at Tlemçen, North Africa, in which place he died in 1442. According to a legend, Alnaqua escaped from the Spanish Inquisition, which had martyred his father and mother at the stake, and came to Africa mounted on a lion, using a serpent as a halter. Azulai refers to him as a miracle-worker. Alnaqua succeeded, after all other physicians had failed, in curing the only daughter of a king of the family Beni Zion. Refusing the reward of gold and silver offered him by the king, he begged only that the Jews living near Tlemçen might be united in it. In this way the community was formed. Alnaqua's first care was to establish a large synagogue: this is still in existence, and bears his name. Above the rabbi's chair, on which the verse Jer. xvii. 12 is engraved, a lamp burns perpetually. Alnaqua's grave, surrounded by those of his family, is in the old cemetery: it is sacred to North African Jews, and is frequently visited by pilgrims from all Algeria.

Alnaqua had two sons, Israel and Judah. The latter lived at Oran, Mostaganem, and, later, at Tlemçen, and became the father-in-law of Ẓemaḥ Duran. Alnaqua wrote for his elder son Israel "Sha'ar Kebod Adonai" (Entrance to the Glory of God), containing answers to the criticisms of Naḥmanides on the "Moreh" of Maimonides. Manuscripts of this work exist in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. He wrote, also, some religious hymns.

  • Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, s.v.;
  • Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 599;
  • Neubauer, Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS. Nos. 939, 2; 1258, 2;
  • Revue Africaine, 1870, pp. 377-383;
  • Zunz, Z. G. p. 435;
  • idem, Literaturgesch. p. 524.
S.Israel ben Joseph Alnaqua:

Ethical writer and martyr; lived in Toledo, Spain; died at the stake, together with Judah ben Asher, in the summer of the year 1391. He is the author of an ethical work in twenty chapters, entitled "Menorat ha-Maor" (Candlestick). The work commences with a long poem, an acrostic on the author's name. Then follows a preface in rimed prose. . The introduction to each chapter is headed by a poem, giving the acrostic of his name, Israel. It was printed in 1578. A manuscript of it is in the Bodleian. An abridgment of it was published at Cracow, 1593, under the title "Menorat Zahab Kullah" (Candlestick Wholly of Gold). It is divided into five sections, which contain observations (1) on laws in general; (2) on education; (3) on commerce; (4) on the behavior of litigants and judges in court; (5) on conduct toward one's fellow men. This is supplemented by a treatise, , consisting of Talmudic and midrashic sayings and maxims, which has been published in German (Hebrew characters) in Wagenseil's Belehrung der Jüd.-Deutschen Red-und Schreibart," Königsberg, 1699.

  • Zunz, Z. G. p. 435;
  • Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 337, No. 1436;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. No. 5447;
  • S. Schechter, Monatsschrift, xxxiv. 114, 234.
M. B.Yom-Ṭob Alnaqua:

Talmudist and author; lived at Salonica in the eighteenth century; author of , containing, (1) Responsa on the four Ṭurim; (2) novellæ on various Talmudic treatises; (3) observations on the language of Maimonides and of the Ṭurim; and (4) homilies (Salonica, 1788).

  • Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 565.
J. S. R.
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