JEKELES, widespread family of businessmen known from the end of the 16th century in *Cracow-Kazimierz. Its name is derived from the sobriquet of its founder JACOB (= Jekele) BOGATY ("the rich"), son of Moses Eberłs. Jekele, a merchant and banker during the second half of the 16th and early 17th centuries, is first mentioned in 1573 in connection with a loan of 5,000 zlotys to King Sigismund II Augustus. He took part in drawing up the takkanot of Cracow (1595). Sebastian *Miczynski assessed his property at between 50,000 and 80,000 zlotys. His son, ISAAC BEN JACOB (Jakubovich; Reb Eisik Reb Jekeles; d. 1653), was one of the most prominent Jewish bankers and merchants of Poland in his day. He was related by marriage to the *Nachmanovich family, and owned houses and building sites in Kazimierz and shops in Cracow. He successfully represented the Jewish community of Cracow in a lawsuit in 1608 against the municipality. From then until 1647 (with the exception of 1638), he appears to have been the leading parnas of the community. Between 1638 and 1644, despite opposition from the Church, he erected a magnificent synagogue in Renaissance style on one of his building plots at his own expense which still exists, known as "Reb Eisik Reb Jekeles Shul."
The second son, MOSES BEN JACOB (Jakubovich; Jekeles; d. c. 1650), was a wealthy merchant active in the community leadership. He was one of the signatories of the agreement between the community and the municipal council on Jewish commerce in Cracow in 1608–09. He built an old-age home at his own expense.
MOSES BEN ISAAC JEKELES (D. 1691), a banker and pawnbroker, succeeded his father as parnas of the community in 1647 for several decades. At the time of the Chmielnicki massacres (1648–49), and during and after the Swedish invasion, he represented the Jews of Cracow in negotiations with Stefan *Czarniecki, the king of Sweden Charles Gustav, the military commanders Wirtz, Wittenberg, and Georg Rákóczy, and King John II Casimir, from whom he attempted to obtain abrogation of decrees adverse to the community.
M. Bałaban, in: JJLG, 10 (1913), 296–360; 11 (1916), 88–114; idem, Historja Żydów w Krakowie i na Kazimierzu 1304–1868, 2 vols. (1931–36), index; F. Wettstein, Devarim Attikim: mi-Pinkesei ha-Kahal bi-Cracow (1901), 14, 24; A. Landau and B. Wachstein (eds.), Juedische Privatbriefe aus dem Jahre 1619 (1911), no. 3a; Ḥ.D. Friedberg, Luḥot Zikkaron (1897), 69; B.D. Weinryb, Texts and Studies in the Communal History of Polish Jewry (1950), index p. 109, S.V. Isak b. Moshe R. Jekeles.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.