Raphael Meldola (Sephardic Rabbi)

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For his grandson, the chemist, see Raphael Meldola.

Raphael Meldola (1754 – 1 June 1828) was an English Rabbi. Born in Livorno, he died in London.

He was one of the most prominent members of the Meldola family. He received a thorough university training, both in theological and in secular branches, and displayed such remarkable talents that when only fifteen years old he was permitted to take his seat in the rabbinical college. He was preacher in Leghorn for some years, and in 1803 he obtained the title of rabbi.

In 1805 Meldola was elected haham of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of Great Britain, and proved a worthy successor of Sasportas and Nieto. His name will ever be indissolubly associated with that of Bevis Marks Synagogue. Possessed of a remarkably virile mind, he was a dominant factor in the British Jewry of his generation. He was the author of Korban Minhah, Kuppat Hatanim (1796), and Derekh Emunah, published by his son after his death. He left several other works in manuscript. His scholarship attracted around him a circle in which were many of the most distinguished men of his day, including Benjamin Disraeli and Isaac D'Israeli; and it is noteworthy that he opposed the policy which produced the famous rupture between the latter and the mahamad. He maintained a literary correspondence with many of the most prominent Christian clergymen and scholars of his time; and his acquaintance with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Canon of Windsor led to his being received by King George III.

Meldola married Stella Bolaffi (Abulafia), by whom he had four sons and four daughters.

His descendants include the chemist Raphael Meldola.