Rap(p)aport, Rap(p)oport or Rapa Porto (Hebrew: רפפורט) is a family name from an Italian (Jewish) Kohenitic pedigree. It takes its origins in the Rapa family of Porto located in Province of Mantua, Italy.
The names of Rapa or Rappe ha-Kohen(-Tzedeq (Rapa Katz) are met with in about 1450. At that time Meshullam Kusi (abbreviated from "Jekuthiel") Rapa ha-Kohen Tzedeq, the earliest known member of the family, lived on the Rhine, probably in Mainz. Several decades later the family disappeared from Germany, probably on account of the Jews' expulsion from Mainz on October 29, 1462. In 1467, in Mestre, near Venice, the wealthy Chayyim Rappe is found as alms' collector for the poor of the Holy Land. In Venice, the physician R. Moses Rap was exempted in 1475 from wearing the Jew's badge.
In the middle of the 16th century there appeared in Italy a Kohenitic family of the name of Porto. On March 18, 1540, R. Isaac Porto ha-Kohen obtained from the Duke of Mantua permission to build an Ashkenazic synagogue. The name of the family was not derived from the Portuguese city of Porto, nor from the Bavarian city of Fürth as some authors have suggested, but instead from Porto, near Mantua, where the above-named Isaac Porto ha-Kohen lived. An alliance between the Rabe and Porto families explains the combination of the two family names in Rapoport; in 1565, officiating in the above-mentioned synagogue of Mantua, there is found a Rabbi Solomon ben Menahem ha-Kohen Rapa of Venice, while a Rabbi Abraham Porto ha-Kohen (1541–76) was parnas of the community.
Eastern European branches
The Polish branch of the family explains its name through the following legend: one Easter a certain Jew, to prevent his enemies from smuggling the body of a Christian child into his house, closed all possible entrances and openings except the chimney. Down the chimney however, the dreaded corpse fell, but when a crowd stormed the house nothing but a partridge (Old German, "Rephuhn" or "Raphuhn") was found in the fireplace. But the "Von den Jungen Raben" (the house shield name of Judengasse "From the young crow (cf. raven)") in the signature of Abraham Menahem ha-Kohen Rapa von Port at the end of his Pentateuch commentary, and the additional fact that the coat of arms of the family bears a raven, clearly show that signifies "Rabe" (Middle High German, "Rappe"). The family name, therefore, at the end of the 16th century seems to be clearly established as Ha-Kohen Rabe. Part of the Polish branch changed their name into Wrona, which is Polish for crow. Another possibility is that these Wrona's originated from Verona in Italy. The Yiddish (or Hebrew) transcription of Wrona and Verona are identical (waw resh waw nun he).
By the middle of the 17th century authors belonging to the Rapa-Port family were living in Poland and Lithuania, the name having meanwhile undergone the following modifications: Rapiport, Rapoport, Rapperport, and Rappert. The family spread principally from Cracow and Lemberg (Lviv); in the latter place, in 1584, was born the famous Talmudist Abraham Rapa von Port (called also Schrenzel). In 1650 Rapoports lived in Dubno and Krzemeniec; in the 18th century descendants of R. Judah Rapoport are found in Smyrna and Jerusalem. About 1750 there were two Rapoports in Dyhernfurth (Silesia) — one named Israel Moses and the other R. Meïr: the former came from Pińczów, the latter from Krotoschin. Both found employment in the printing establishment at Dyhernfurth.
A notable scholar of this branch included R. Khaim haKohen Rapoport, who lived in Lviv and died there in 1771. He was one of the key "talmudists" involved in the Frankist debates set up by the Archbishop Dembowski in 1757. R. Khaim's descendants include the Rapoport-Bick dynasty. R. Khaim's pedigree is known from his personal and his descendants' writings.
List of persons with the surname Rappaport
- Alfred Rappaport, Austrian diplomat and writer
- Andrew S. Rappaport, American Silicon Valley venture capitalist
- Ben Rappaport, American actor
- Bruce Rappaport, international banker and financier
- David Rappaport, English actor
- Edward Rappaport, acting director of the National Hurricane Center
- Gerbert Rappaport, Austrian screenwriter and film director; often spelled Herbert Rappaport
- Helen Rappaport, English historian
- Mark Rappaport, American film director
- Richard Rappaport, American painter
- Roy Rappaport, anthropologist
- Solomon Anski, Yiddish writer (born Solomon Zangwill Rappaport, Rappoport)
- Emil Stanisław Rappaport, Polish Supreme Court judge
- Alexandra Rapaport, Swedish actress
- David Rapaport, Hungarian psychologist
- Martin Rapaport, Belgian-American diamond dealer
- Michael Rapaport, American actor and comedian
- William J. Rapaport, associate professor, University at Buffalo
- Jon Rappoport (born 1938), American journalist and author
- Xenia Rappoport, actress
- Aaron Rapoport, American photographer
- Abraham Rapoport (Schrenzel), (1584–1651) Polish Talmudist
- Amos Rapoport, professor of Architecture
- Anatol Rapoport (1911–2007), mathematical psychologist
- Bernard Rapoport, American entrepreneur and philanthropist
- Chaim Rapoport
- David C. Rapoport, UCLA Professor Emeritus of Political Science
- Eduardo H. Rapoport, Argentinian ecologist
- Henry Rapoport, American chemist
- I. C. Rapoport
- Isaac ha-Kohen Rapoport, 18th century rabbi
- Lev Pavlovich Rapoport
- Michael Rapoport, a German mathematician
- Nathan Rapoport (1911–1987), sculptor
- Paul Rapoport, American attorney
- Paul Rapoport (music researcher), Canadian musicologist, music critic, composer and professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario
- Samuel Mitja Rapoport (1912–2004), physician, biochemist
- Solomon Judah Loeb Rapoport (1790–1867), Galician rabbi and Jewish scholar
- Sonya Rapoport, American artist
- Tom Rapoport, cell biologist at Harvard Medical School
- Vladimir Rapoport, Soviet cinematographer
- Leo Port (Rapoport - changed on arrival to Australia), Lord Mayor of Sydney 1975-1978
- Beider, A., Jewish Surnames in Prague, Avotaynu, Inc., 1995, ISBN 0-9626373-5-1, p. 17.
- Rapoport - Jewish Encyclopedia
- Rapa: Elijah ben Menahem Rapa Elijah ben Menahem Rapa, or Elijah Rapaporto - Jewish Encyclopedia
- Portorapa: Simchah ben Gershon ha-Kohen Rapa (Portrapa) - Jewish Encyclopedia
- Rapa Porto: Menahem Abraham ben Jacob ha-Kohen Rapa (Porto) ; Menahem Rapoport - Jewish Encyclopedia
- The Center for the Study of the Rapaport Family
- Chapin, David A. and Weinstock, Ben, The Road from Letichev: The history and culture of a forgotten Jewish community in Eastern Europe, Volume 1. ISBN 0-595-00666-3 iUniverse, Lincoln, NE, 2000.
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