MOSSERI


MOSSERI, prominent family in *Egypt, said to have come there from Italy around 1750 (many of its members were Italian subjects). The family was active in the administration of the Jewish community in *Cairo as vice presidents and in its philanthropy towards the needy in the community.

NISSIM MOSSERI (1848–1897), his son and his brothers were at first moneylenders in Cairo, then founded the banking house of J.N. Mosseri et Fils Cie. (1876). JOSEPH (1869–1934), the eldest son of Nissim, was honored with the title of bey for his financial services to the Egyptian government. Joseph's three brothers, Eli, Jacques, and Maurice, founded a second bank in 1904, Banque Mosseri et Cie. ELI (1879–1940) headed many companies, one of which built the King David Hotel in *Jerusalem. JACQUES (1884–1934), Nissim's third son, studied languages at Cambridge and later secured permission for Solomon Schechter to investigate the Cairo *Genizah. Jacques himself collected genizah fragments and wrote articles on the *genizah and Cairo's synagogues. A delegate of Egyptian Jewry to the 11th Zionist Congress (1913), he founded the Zionist Organization in Egypt in 1917. VICTOR MOSSERI (1873–1930), brother-in-law and cousin of the Mosseri brothers, was an agricultural engineer. He did research for the improvement of several crops, publishing some 60 monographs, and developed an important new variety of cotton. ALBERT MOSSERI (1867–1933), also a cousin, was born in Cairo. He studied medicine in Paris, where he became acquainted with *Herzl and *Nordau. He began publishing a Zionist newspaper, Kadimah, there. Serving as a physician with the British army in World War I, he later left his profession and began in 1919 to publish the weekly Israel in Cairo, originally in Hebrew, then in Arabic, and French too. After his death, his wife, MAZAL MATHILDA (1894–1981), continued the publication until 1939. Their son MACCABEE (1914–1948) served as an officer in the Palmaḥ and was killed when bringing supplies to besieged Jerusalem. The effort to control the supply route (May 1948) was called "Operation Maccabee" after him.

ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY:

J. Mosseri, "The Synagogues of Egypt – Past and Present," in: The Jewish Review, 5 (1913–1914), 31–44; J.M. Landau, Jews in Nineteenth-Century Egypt (1969), index; idem (ed.), Toledet Yehudei Miẓrayim ba-Tekufah ha-Otmanit (1988), index; G. Krämer, The Jews in Modern Egypt: 1914–1952 (1989), index; M.M. Laskier, The Jews of Egypt 1920–1970 (1992), index.

[Hayyim J. Cohen /

Jacob M. Landau (2nd ed.)]


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