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PORTO, Italian family prominent during the 16th and 17th centuries. Its members were scattered in various Italian towns, notably Mantua, Venice, Verona, and Rome. The family originated in Germany, from the Rafa (Rabe, "raven") family, which settled in the town of Porto in the province of Verona, and from which the noted *Rapoport family was descended. Its members include Abraham Menahem ben Jacob ha-Kohen *Porto, one of the heads of the family. ABRAHAM (d. 1593) was a rabbi of Mantua, and author of Ammudei ha-Golah (in manuscript). His sons were JEHIEL (1532–1577), a pupil of Meir *Katzenellenbogen of Padua, and GERSHON (1538–after 1593), also a scholar of Mantua. Gershon's son, SIMḤAH, was a pupil of Samuel Judah Katzenellenbogen in Venice, where he worked as a proofreader until 1589. In 1602 he left for the Moravian town of Prossnitz (Prostejov), where he published Kol Simḥah (1603), a rhymed work on the Sabbath laws. From there he went on to Vienna.

Other members of the family include MENAHEM ZION (EMANUEL) PORTO (d. c. 1600), rabbi and mathematician. Born in Trieste, he held rabbinical office in Padua, and wrote a number of works on mathematics and astronomy in Italian, and one in Hebrew entitled Over la-Soḥer on various mathematical subjects (Venice, 1627). ZECHARIAH BEN EPHRAIM MAHALALEL (d. 1672) lived in Urbino, Rome, and Florence. He was a wealthy philanthropist and many Italian communities benefited from his generosity. He wrote Asaf ha-Mazkir, a reference book of sayings and legends of the Talmud (Venice, 1675). ISAAC BEN DAVID (d. c. 1577) was rabbi in Mantua. Toward the end of his life he was imprisoned, having been slandered by his opponent R. Abraham Jagel Gallico. ẒEMAḤ BEN ISAAC (d. c. 1666) was appointed rabbi in Mantua in 1637. (See also *Rapoport family.)


E. Carmoly, Ha-Orevim u-Venei Yonah (1861), 1–13; A. Berliner, Hebraeische Grabschriften in Italien (1881), 10, 26; Mortara, Indice, 51; I.T. Eisenstadt and S. Wiener, Da'at Kedoshim (1897–98), 144ff.; S. Simonsohn, Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Dukkasut Mantovah, 2 vols. (1962–64), index; A. Yaari, in: KS, 20 (1933–34), 48/50; idem, in: Meḥkerei Sefer (1958), 303–6.