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Arraby Moor

ARRABY MOOR (or Rabbí Mór), official title for the chief rabbi of *Portugal from the 13th century. A letter sent by Alfonso III to the municipal council of Braganza shows that this office existed at least from 1278. Duties of the arraby moor included supervision of the conduct of the rabbis and lay heads of the Jewish communities in Portugal. When he visited a community, any complaints made by its members were recorded in his presence. He was responsible for the property of orphans, whose guardians were answerable to him for any irregularities in their administration of the estates. The arraby moor also examined the communal accounts and funds. To prevent dissension among the communal officers, his authority was restricted. He was prohibited from choosing rabbis for the communities, from using communal resources against the wishes of the community, and from issuing privileges such as grants of exemption from communal taxes or services. The arraby moor had his special seal, inscribed with the legend "Sello do Rabbí Mór de Portugal." His official staff included a chancellor, auditor, secretary, and "doorkeeper." In response to complaints lodged by the community of *Lisbon against the arraby moor Judah Cohen during the reign of John I (1385–1433) the king abrogated some of the privileges of the office. The last person to occupy it was Simon Maimi who died as a result of his sufferings at the time of the forced conversion of 1497.


Baron, Community, 1 (1942), 285; 3 (1942), 65; Roth, Marranos, 60; J. Mendes dos Remedios, Os Judeus em Portugal, 1 (1895), 375–83,428–9.

[Joseph Kaplan]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.