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Sarfati (Hebrew: צרפתי‎; [tsaʁfaˈti], variously transliterated and spelled Sarfatti, Sarphati, Serfaty, Sarfate, Sarfaty, Sarfity, Zarfati, Tsarfati, Tsarfaty, Tzarfati, Serfati) is a Sephardic Jewish surname.

The surname literally means "French" in the Hebrew language,[1] and is derived from the Biblical placename Tzarfat which in later times was identified in Jewish tradition as France.

The term "Tzarfati" (Hebrewצרפתי‎) was frequently applied in rabbinical literature to Jews of French birth or descent.[2]


One account places the origin of the surname as being linked to Rashi by way of his grandson Rabbeinu Tam,[3] 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.[4]

At any case, numerous bearers of this name (whose ancestors came from France) lived in various parts of the Iberian Peninsula during the 14th-15th centuries: they appear in Spanish and Portuguese documents under the spellings Sarfati and Çarfati. During the 15th century and especially after the expulsion of Jews from these countries (1490s) some branches migrated from the Iberian Peninsula to North Africa,[5] while others to the city of Rome and the Ottoman Empire.


Notable people with the surname include:







See also[edit]

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


  1. ^ Translated Names Archived 2003-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^  Kahn, S.; Broydé, Isaac; Gottheil, Richard (1901–1906). "Ẓarfati, Ẓarefati ("French")". In Singer, Isidore; et al. (eds.). The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  3. ^ Hassarfati Family Tree: Etsi - Sephardi Genealogy and History - Issue #29, Vol.8 - June 2005
  4. ^ The Hassafati Family - Etsi - Sephardi Genealogy and History - Issue #29, Vol.8 - June 2005
  5. ^ Beider, A. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Maghreb, Gibraltar, and Malta, New Haven, CN: Avotaynu, 2017