The Sephardic Jewish Alfassa 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.

This site is dedicated to assisting those who are searching for the ALFASSA/ALFASA families that came from this part of the world. Today the Alfassa families are known to live in Turkey, the United States, Israel, and France.

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. Though there are many Jewish and non-Jewish families in Fez, almost all of them spell their name as Alfass(i) with an "I" instead of an "A".

The specific group of Sephardic Jews of Edirne, Turkey have always spelled their name 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 Alfassa family has not been established at this time. There are many Sephardim with the surname Defez.

I consider all Jewish Alfassi / Alfassa families potential relatives, especially those from Edirne, Turkey !

A Famous Ancestor ?

Rabbi Yitchak Alfassi 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, entitled Hilchos of Rav Alfassi, is more commonly referred to as the Rif, and 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 halachot that are no longer relevant after the destruction of the Second Temple, such as the sacrificial service. Learn More on my Sephardic Sages Site here.

A bit of history on Edirne, Turkey:

This very old city was named Adrianople (Adrinople) in honor of Roman Emperor Hadrian. In the year 378 CE there was a major battle in this area known today as the Battle of Adrianople; in this, the Visigoths defeated the Roman Emperor Valens, and this marked the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire. In 1362 CE the city fell to the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire, and for nearly a century was the capital.

Now called Edirne, and with a population of over 40,000. This city is close to the Bulgaria/Turkish border. It is (as it was) just about 2 miles east of the border to Bulgaria, and about 1 mile north of Greece. From Istanbul, it is about 80 miles Northwest.

Before 1920 the city was almost exclusively Greek--of course many Spanish Jews lived there as well. It served as the capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1413 until 1458 and flourished as an administrative, commercial, and cultural centre. Edirne declined especially when it lost it's status as the stop-over between Constantinople and Salonika and became a border town after 1912. Occupied by the Russians in 1829 and 1878, it was taken by the Bulgarians during the First Balkan War in 1913. Retaken by the Turks that same year, it was captured by the Greeks in 1920 during the Turkish War of Independence and was finally restored to Turkey in 1922. Though all Sephardic Jews living in Adrianople spoke their traditional Ladino, many spoke Bulgarian, as well as the commonly spoken languages of Greek and Turkish.

I have spoken with and/or contacted

ALFASSA families in:




New York

Eretz Israel

Drop me a line......