MOCATTA


MOCATTA, English family of Marrano origin. MOSES MOCATTA (d. 1693), who came from Amsterdam, appears in a Bevis Marks (London) synagogue list in 1671. He was a diamond broker and merchant. His granddaughter REBECCA married as her second husband Moses Lumbrozo de Mattos. Their son ABRAHAM (d. 1751), (who added the name Mocatta and later dropped Lumbrozo de Mattos) joined with Asher Goldsmid to found Mocatta and *Goldsmid, later bullion brokers to the Bank of England, engaging in enormous transactions. Abraham Mocatta had 11 children (including Rachel, mother of Sir Moses *Montefiore). His son MOSES (1768–1857) retired early from business to devote himself to scholarship. He published Faith Strengthened (1851), a translation of Isaac b. Abraham *Troki's Ḥizzuk Emunah, and The Inquisition and Judaism (1845), a translation of a Portuguese inquisitorial sermon and the reply to it. In communal life, he was especially concerned with education and the reorganization of the Sephardi schools, "Sha'arei Tikvah."

Moses' children included DAVID (1806–1882), an architect, a pupil of Sir John Soane, and best-known for his railway stations on the London to Brighton line. As architect for his cousin Sir Moses Montefiore at Ramsgate, he was the first Jew to design an English synagogue. Another son, ISAAC LINDO (1818–1879), wrote tracts on Jewish moral teachings and social questions. Nine of the 24 founders of the Reform Congregation were Mocattas, including Moses and his nephew Abraham, father of FREDERICK DAVID MOCATTA (1828–1905). Philanthropist, scholar, and communal leader, Frederick was the representative ideal of late Victorian Anglo-Jewry. Active in both the Charity Organization Society and the Jewish Board of Guardians, he campaigned for the reform of voting charities. Widely traveled, he lectured on contemporary Jewish communities and wrote on Jewish history, publishing The Jews and the Inquisition in 1887. A munificent patron of scholarship, he was a correspondent and supporter of *Zunz. Sympathetic to most Jewish causes (although disapproving of nascent Zionism), he was an observant Jew and member of two Orthodox synagogues as well as his family's Reform congregation. He left his library (now known as the Mocattta Library) to University College, London, and the Jewish Historical Society of England. EDGAR MOCATTA (1879–1957) continued to head the family business, Mocatta and Goldsmid, and was known as the "silver king" for his specialist knowledge of dealings in silver as a currency. The family firm was sold to Hambros Bank in 1957.

One branch of the Mocatta family remained within the Orthodox community: a descendant of this was SIR ALAN ABRAHAM MOCATTA (1907–1990), a judge of the High Court from 1961, also active in Anglo-Jewish communal and historical affairs (president of the Board of Elders of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, and chairman of the Council of Jews' College, 1945–62). He was the joint editor of Scrutton on Charter Parties (14th–17th editions).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

J.W. Scott, in: J.M. Shaftesley (ed.), Remember the Days (1966), 323–31; R.P. Lehmann, Nova Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica (1961), 74, 171, 207; A.M. Hyamson, Sephardim of England (1951), index; J. Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (19562), index; Roth, Mag Bibl, index; Roth, Art, 724, 781; V.D. Lipman, Century of Social Service 1859–1959 (1959), index; E. Jamilly, in: JHSET, 18 (1953–55), 134. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: ODNB online for the Mocatta family, Frederick David Mocatta, Edgar Mocatta; T. Endelman, Jews of Georgian England, index; C. Bermant, The Cousinhood (1961), index; T. Green, Precious Heritage: Three Hundred Years of Mocatta and Goldsmid (1984).

[Vivian David Lipman /

William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.