RAFFALOVICH, ISAIAH (1870–1956), rabbi and author who promoted the development of Brazil's Jewish community. Born in Bogopol, Podolia, Raffalovich was taken in 1882 by his parents to Ereẓ Israel. He became interested in Jewish settlement schemes on both sides of the Jordan and worked for nine months at Es-Salt in Transjordan, trying to encourage young Jews in Jerusalem to follow his example. Together with M.E. Sachs, he published an album of his own photographs, Views from Palestine and its Jewish Colonies (1898). Raffalovich left for Europe, where he studied in Berlin and London, obtaining his rabbinical diploma at the Hildesheimer Seminary in Berlin. He served congregations in Manchester and Wales and the Hope Place Synagogue in Liverpool (1904–24).
While on a mission to South America in 1923, he was invited by the *Jewish Colonization Association (ICA) to go to Brazil as its representative, promote immigration to that country, and serve as a spiritual guide to the Jewish community. In this capacity he toured the country, established welfare institutions and improved already existing ones, and helped the newly established communities and synagogues. Raffalovich appealed to the common heritage of the Ashkenazi and Sephardi immigrants in working for the coordination of Jewish life in Brazil, and it was through his personal efforts that more than 30 Jewish schools and teachers' training courses were firmly established. His publications include: Rudiments of Judaism (1906); Anglo-Hebrew Modern Dictionary (1926); and Our Inheritance (1932), a volume of sermons and addresses. He also published in 1927 a Portuguese version of Paul *Goodman's popular short History of the Jews (1911) and the first Jewish sermons in Portuguese printed in modern times, Rudimentos de judaismo (19262). In 1935 he retired to Ereẓ Israel and five years later was appointed senior Jewish chaplain to the British forces in the Middle East. A Hebrew edition of his collected sermons (Ma'gelei Yosher) appeared in 1950 and his autobiography, Ẓiyyunim ve-Tamrurim, in 1952. His brother SAMUEL REFAELI (1867–1927), a numismatist, was director of the numismatic department of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine (under the British) and left his coin collection to the Bezalel Museum.
Tidhar, 1 (1947), 216–7; JC (June 8, 1956); G.E. Silverman, in: Niv ha-Midrashiyyah (Spring, 1970), 74–81, Eng. section.
[Godfrey Edmond Silverman]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.