It is believed that the surname may be linked to Rashi by way of his grandson Rabbeinu Tam, 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.
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
- Abraham Serfaty (1926–2010), Moroccan dissident
- Abraham William Serfaty, former Mayor of Gibraltar
- Alain Sarfati (fr) (born 1937), French architect
- Christine Daure-Serfaty (born ?), French-Moroccan activist (wife of Abraham Serfaty)
- Gad Ben Ami Sarfatti (he) (1916–2005), Israeli linguist
- Isaac Chocrón Serfaty (1930-2011), Venezuelan playwright
- Jack Sarfatti (born 1939), American theoretical physicist and writer
- Jonathan Sarfati (born 1964), Australian–New Zealander chess player and creationist author
- Lea Michele Sarfati (born 1986), American singer and actress, Broadway performer and star of TV show "Glee"
- Lise Sarfati (born 1958), French photographer
- Margherita Sarfatti (1880–1961), Italian journalist and lover of Benito Mussolini
- Perla Serfaty-Garzon (born 1944), writer, sociologist and environmental psychologist, professor at University of Strasbourg, French/Canadian
- Riccardo Sarfatti (it) (born 1940), Italian architect and politician in Lombardy
- Rosalinda Serfaty (born 1969), Venezuelan actress
- Samuel Sarfatti (died c. 1519), Italian physician to Popes Alexander VI and Julius II
- Samuel Sarphati (1813–1866), Dutch physician and city planner
- Sonia Sarfati (fr) (born 1960), French author and journalist
- Stefano Zarfati (it) (born 1971), Italian singer
- Sylvia Serfaty, French Mathematician, winner of the 2004 EMS Prize for her contributions to the Ginzburg–Landau theory.
- Mark Samuel Sarfati, Photographer
- Olry Terquem (1782–1862), who wrote under the pseudonym "Tsarphati"
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