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Sarfati (Hebrew: צרפתי‎; also spelled Sarfatti, Sarphati, Serfaty, Sarfaty, Zarfati, Tsarfati, Tzarfati and Tzarfaty) is a Sephardic Jewish surname. It means "French".[1]

It is believed that the surname may be linked to Rashi by way of his grandson Rabbeinu Tam,[2] but the connection, although anchored in the Ketubot traditions has never been fully proven due to a seven generations gap in the genealogy after Jews were expelled from France by Philippe le Bel in 1306.[3]

Another belief is when the Jews were being expelled from Spain in 1492, a number of them went to France, where they were soon discovered and forced to leave so not to break France's treaty with Spain. From France, the group then went to Turkey. When questioned by the Turkish authorities as to their origin, learning from their previous experience, they replied that they came from France, and were permitted to stay, hence they called themselves Sarfati: Frenchman.

People with the surname[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Olry Terquem (1782–1862), who wrote under the pseudonym "Tsarphati"