ROTE


ROTE (Roti, ar-Reuti, Arrueti, Aruety, Aroti, al-Rueti, er-Routi, Rutty, Ruti, Rute), Spanish-Moroccan family which originated either in Rota on the Bay of Cadiz, or in Rueda (At. Rotʾa), Aragon. The first person known by this name was R. ISAAC AROTI, a Spanish rabbi whose father settled in *Egypt together with *Maimonides. During the 14th century several members of the Rote family ranked among the leaders of various Jewish communities in Spain. Among them were JACOB BEN SAMUEL AL-RUETI of Pamplona and JUCE (JOSEPH) ARRUETI (d. after 1367) of Saragossa, one of the favorites of King Pedro IV. During the 15th century, HABRAN (ABRAHAM) ARUETY of Pamplona was highly respected. ABRAHAM ROTE (d. after 1525), one of the Spanish-Portuguese refugees settled in Safi, traveled to Lisbon, where he sought a number of privileges from John III and met David *Reuveni.

His son JACOB (I) ROTE was appointed official interpreter of the Portuguese in *Safi in 1523. In 1536 he settled in *Fez, after supplying a considerable quantity of arms to the Wattasid ruler; he also became the latter's counselor. In this capacity he participated in the battle of Oued al-ʿAbid, where the army of the *Wattasids was defeated by the *Sadis. Rote was then called upon to get John III to support the Wattasids. Honors were heaped upon him after this mission and he was named sheikh al-Yahūd, or *nagid, of the Jews of the kingdom of Fez and given extensive powers. The takkanot of the megorashim (expellees) were drawn up under his aegis. The Christian captives were also under him and he made great efforts to secure their redemption. The pope issued a special safe-conduct pass to enable him to travel in complete security through all the Christian countries.

With his brother MOSES ROTE, he established a powerful firm for maritime trade, particularly the export of cereals, at first in Arzila and later in Tangier. As a result of his economic activities Rote became one of the leading merchants in Morocco. His relations with the *Marranos in Portugal were largely facilitated by his position and he encouraged them to establish themselves in Morocco and return to Judaism. When he was appointed ambassador of Portugal in 1539, he devoted his time to financing the transportation of the Marranos and their establishment in Morocco, where they openly returned to Judaism. The Inquisition was informed of these activities, and as it also sought to promote the affairs of the Christian merchants who were involved in the maritime cereal trade at the Rotes' expense, it ordered Moses Rote's arrest in Tangiers. This incident aroused strong protests on the part of both the king of Fez and the Portuguese ambassador in Morocco; John III personally intervened in the affair and Moses Rote was released in 1542. As a result of the progressive decline of the Wattasids, Jacob Rote was unable to make the alliance with Portugal effective. After the occupation of Fez in 1549 by the Sadis, Rote remained at the head of the community of Fez. The last meeting he presided over took place in 1556.

His son ABRAHAM ROTE (d. after 1603) succeeded him as nagid, and several new takkanot were formulated under his aegis. His son JACOB(2) ROTE (d. after 1622) was the person through whom the famous Aḥmad al-Manṣur "ruled." He lived in *Marrakesh with this sultan, and in his capacity as "minister of foreign affairs" he favored the English. After the death of the sovereign in 1603, he returned to Fez where he presided over the community through a troubled period. R. ISAAC BEN JACOB ROTE (d. after 1706) headed his family's yeshivah in Fez. Some of his works are extant in manuscript. After the death of his sons ABRAHAM ROTE and JACOB ROTE (d. after 1730), the Rote family ceased to exist. In his epistle to Oliver Cromwell, which sought to obtain the admission of the Jews to England in 1655, Manasseh Ben Israel praised the merits of the "noble family" of the Rotes.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Neubauer, Chronicles, 2 (1895, repr. 1965), 242; Baer, Urkunden, 2 (1936), 302, 379, 394, 729; D. Corcos, in: Sefunot, 10 (1966), 105ff.; Hirschberg, Afrikah, index.

[David Corcos]


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