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B'siyata d'shmaya - With the help of Heaven



I am researching the ALFASSA (also, ALFASA, ALFASSO, ALFASSI) families from Turkey. The majority of Jewish ALFASSA families came from Edirne (Adrianople), but also Istanbul; they were Spanish Jews.

J'essaie de prendre contact avec tous les membres de la famille ALFASSA / ALFASA de Turquie. Ce sont des juifs qui parlent ou parlaient le Ladino. Pouvez vous s'il vous plait prendre contact avec moi et me dire d'ou vient votre famille? Je ne parle que l'anglais et l'espagnol mais quelqu'un peut m'aider a repondre en francais. Je vous remercie. Esto prekurando por konektar a todas las famias ALFASSA / ALFASA de la Turkia. Son Judios ke avlan o avlaban el Judeo Espanyol. Favor de kontaktarme i dezirme de ainde es vuestra famia. Yo solo avlo en Espanyol moderno o el Ingles, ama ya les arespondere kuando ke me kontakten. Grasias.  

There are branches of ALFASSA families in Turkey, Israel, Great Britain, and in the United States. In the U.S. there are different "branches" of the ALFASSA family. I have seperated them into the following groups: CHICAGO ALFASSA's, NEW YORK ALFASSA's, SOUTH FLORIDA ALFASSA's. These threee groups do not have a common ancestor that has been found yet. The South Florida ALFASSA's were originally the CRESPIN family from Turkey. The Sephardic Jewish Alfassá family has roots in the Ottoman sanjak (county) of Edirne, which was previously called Adrinople prior to 1923 and the rise of the modern Republic of Turkey.

Various spellings of ALFASSA in Hebrew


Significance of the name:

"Alfassa" or "Al-Fassa" is an Arabic name. Its translation means "from Fez"; this refers to the famous city of Fez in Morocco. The specific group of Sephardic Jews of Edirne, Turkey have always spelled their name (in Roman letters) with the last letter as an "A". However the name has been seen with both one "S" and two. I.E. ALFASSA & ALFASA.

The Spanish language way of spelling this name is Defez. However, a direct connection to the Turkish Alfassá families has not been established at this time. There are many Sephardim with the surname Defez. I consider all Jewish Alfassi / Alfassá families potential relatives, especially those from Edirne, Turkey !

A Famous Ancestor

Rabbi Isak Alfassi (HaRif) lived from 1013 CE to 1103 CE. Early on he established a yeshiva in Fez, Morocco, but was forced to flee to Spain in 1088 CE, and eventually established a yeshiva in Lucena that became the primary Torah center for Spain. His major work is a summation of all the halakhic (Jewish Law) material in the Talmud. The Rif only quotes that portion of Talmudic dialogue that is pertinent today, omitting all halakhot that are no longer relevant after the destruction of the Second Temple, such as the sacrificial service.


I am researching the following Jewish names, and if you have one of these names in your family, drop me a line and maybe we can find a common connection. [Direct family: Alfassa, Adatto, (de)Loya, Salinas, Yerushalmi, Scioti, Hasson, and Cordoval] [Some of my indirect, but connect family names are Shemaria, Bension, Pisserillo, Capouya, and Caston.]



© Shelomo Alfassa