Free Jewish Education Material
Free Jewish Education Material
Born to Chacham David Aaron de Sola, a famous Rabbi from the Sephardic Community of London, and his mother was the daughter of Chacham Raphael Meldola. Rabbi Abraham de Sola (1825-1882) was a Canadian Rabbi, an orientalist and a prominent scientist. Rabbi De Sola was recognized as one of the most influential leaders of Sephardic and Orthodox Judaism in America.
Rabbi Ben-Zion Cuenca was born in the old city of Jerusalem in 1867. His surname, Cuenca, corresponds to a province of Spain in the area of Castilla-La Mancha. The family was part of the Jews expelled from Castile and Aragon in 1492. The family settled in Thessaloniki (Greece) and lived there for 3 centuries. His father, Abraham Cuenca, emigrated to Erets Israel around 1850.
Rabbi Ya’aqob Meir (his original last name was “Mercado”) was born in Jerusalem in 1856. He was the son of a very successful and generous merchant, Caleb Mercado. He studied with Rabbis Menachem Bekhor Isaac and Aharon Azriel. He was an accomplished Talmudic scholar who was fluent in Hebrew and five other languages. In 1919, Rabbi Ya'aqob Meir returned to Erets Israel where he was honored and decorated with the Commander of the Order of the British Empire award for his service in war. In 1921 with the help of Rabbi Abraham Kook, he was chosen as Israel’s first chief Sephardic Rabbi.
Chacham Yosef Haim (1832-1909), known as the Ben Ish Chai, was a highly-revered Tora scholar and master of Kabbalah. Based in Baghdad, Iraq, he was recognized by the Sephardic community both locally and abroad as an eminent Halachic authority. Despite his passing over 100 years ago, his legacy is very much alive in the hearts of those who continue to live by his seminal work, the Ben Ish Chai. Many of his disciples became great Jewish scholars who continued to disperse his teachings. Many schools, particularly in Israel, have been built in his name. Thousands continue to glean from the wisdom of Chacham Yosef Chaim, studying his books, but more importantly, living by them.
Chacham Yehuda Fetaya, son of kabbalist Hacham Moshe Yeshua Fetaya, was born on 2 Shevat 5619 (1859) in Baghdad, Iraq. As a child, he studied at the Midrash Beit Talmud Tora and later at the Midrash Beit Zalicha. He received most of his Torah learning from his teacher, Hacham Yoseph Balbul. In 1884, at the age of 25, Hacham Yehuda Fetaya wrote his first mystical work, entitled Ya'in Harekach. He became famous for the depth of his knowledge of invocations and amulets.
Chacham Yosef Massass was born in 1892 in Meknes, Morocco to his mother Simcha and father
Hacham Haim Massass. As a youth, he studied at the Etz Haim Yeshiva, headed by Hacham Haim Birdugo, in the city of Meknes.
In 1908 he married Simcha HaCohen. In 1922, after 4 years during which they were not blessed with children, he married Rachel Lakhrief.
In 1924, at the age of 31, he was appointed to the position of Chief Rabbi of the city of Tlemcen, Algeria. In 1964 he made Aliyah to Israel and settled in the city of Haifa. In 1968 he was appointed Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Haifa.
As Chief Rabbi on of his focuses was on attempting to reach out to secular Israeli Jews, giving them a better understanding of Jewish customs and their importance. He traveled extensively throughout Israel and the world, emphasizing the importance of Jewish education, Shabbat observance, niddah (family purity), fighting assimilation, and making aliyah. Rav showed a willingness to go to secular environments in order to connect with other Jews, occasionally lecturing in secular moshavim and kibbutzim. After stepping down from his official post, Rav Eliyahu remained active, even ramping up his work for the Jewish community in Israel and the diaspora.
Rav Ovadia Yosef was an Iraqi-born Talmudic scholar, a posek, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1973 to 1983, and a founder and long-time spiritual leader of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Shas party.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was born in Baghdad in 1920. At the age of four, his family moved to Jerusalem. Immediately, the Rabbi enrolled in Yeshivat Porat Yosef and became one of the leading students of his class. His commitment to Tora and dilligence in his learning was witnessed at a very young age and he learned directly under the Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Ezra Attie
Hacham V'Rav Ovadia recieved semiha at the age of nineteen and became a dayan at the age twenty three. A few years later he was appointed to be the assistant chief Rabbi of Egypt and settled in Cairo. While there, he helped build various yeshivot while also strengthening the kashrut in the Egyptian community.