Shlomo Moussaieff - great philantropist and rabbi
История бухарских евреев | Новая история (1917 - наши дни)

Shlomo Moussaieff (1852–1922) was born in the city of Bukhara (Uzbekistan) in 1852 and was one of the founders of the Bukharian Quarter in Jerusalem. He is also the patriarch of the Moussaieff Clan which includes such notable personalities as Shlomo Moussaieff of London, Dorrit Moussaieff of Iceland, Alon Moussaieff of Jerusalem, Shdema Moussaieff, and Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.

 

Early life

As a child in Bukhara, Shlomo Moussaieff studied under Rabbi David Chafin and Joshua Shushan. Joining him in his studies were Yosef Khojahinoff, Rafael Potelakhoff, Moshecha Yizhakoff, Avraham Aminoff Talmudi, and Aba Shimon Gaon. He was a learned Rabbi, as well as a merchant. As a merchant he engaged in the tea trade, real estate, and is said to have started one of the first banks in Bukhara. In 1893, motivated by religious convictions, he relocated to Jerusalem in Palestine, and was one of several Bukharian Jews responsible for building the Bukharian Quarter.

From the period of the late 19th century till World War I, the Bukharian Quarter of Jerusalem was one of the most affluent sections of the city, populated by Bukharian Jewish merchants and religious scholars supported primarily by various trading activities such as cotton, gemstone, and tea in Central Asia and Russia.

After World War I, the Bukharian Quarter of Jerusalem fell into a period of decline as monies formerly received by the residents dried up because of the Bolshevik Revolution.

 

Motivations

In the prayer book which he authored, Hukat Olam, he described his motivation in moving to Jerusalem and his religious conviction:

«I, Shlomo Moussaieff, native of Bukhara. My spirit moved me to leave the land of my birth, in which I grew up, and to ascend to the Holy Land, the land in which our ancestors dwelled in happiness, the land whose memory passes before us ten times each day in our prayers...We do not have any festive occasion with out a memorial to Jerusalem....There is no doubt that I am required to thank God for all the good he has done for me. He has brought me across the sea three times. He has kept me alive, and has brought me to the place of my desire for the good life and peace–to see the pleasantness of God and to visit his sanctuary. If the temple were standing, I would bring a sacrifice of thanksgiving.Now because of our sins there is no temple and no priest to bring the sacrifice...Therefore I had the idea to help the many and publish these prayer books for the weekdays and Sabbath and holidays. Prayer is a substitute for sacrifice. Prayer to God is what connects Israel to their father in heaven, although Israelite nation has been vanquished in exile for more than eighteen hundred years.» As a religious scholar, Shlomo Moussaieff was also was a collector of rare religious texts and manuscripts of Maimonides and Rabbi Haim Vital.

 

Family name

The family name, «Moussaieff» was taken from Shlomo Moussaieff\'s ancestor, Moshe or Musa, the son of Yakov, who was born in 1771 and died in 1843.

Moshe was the grandfather of Shlomo Moussaieff.Shlomo Moussaieff\'s father was named Yakov who was born in 1812 and died in Jerusalem in 1892. Yakov Moussaieff\'s wife, Sarah, died in Bukhara in 1889.

 

Marriage

Shlomo Moussaieff was married to Esther Gaonoff.

Esther Gaonoff traced her ancestry to Yosef Mamon, originally of Tetuan, Morocco, who arrived in Bukhara in the late 18th century and revived Rabbinic learning there.Mamon married, Hannah, the daughter of Mullah Jan Tajah of Sharisabz. Their offspring, Miriam, married Mullah Pinhas Hakatan (d. 1875), a renowned Rabbi, called by the missionary and traveler, Joseph Wolff, «the most learned of the Jews of Bukhara» and « a young man of extraordinary talents».Malka, the daughter of Pinhas Hakatan, married Avraham Haim Gaon. According to legend, Avraham Haim Gaon traveled from Bukhara to Jerusalem on a lion\'s back as recounted by his grandson, Raphael Gaon:

«Avraham Haim Gaon decided to travel to Jerusalem.He prepared himself and others for the long trip and they set off traveling via Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, they hired a guide who instructed them to travel by way of the Indian desert and from there to Jerusalem. They group traveled for a week.When the Sabbath was about to begin, Avraham Haim Gaon suggested to the group that they stop traveling until after the Sabbath. The members of the group, however, consulted with the guide who told them that the area they were in was inhabited by dangerous animals and they must leave immediately for safer ground. Avraham Haim Gaon decided to stay while the others, due to fear, left.He made the kiddush, ate as was customary, slept well, and rose and prayed. When the Sabbath was over, he noticed a lion approaching and very much afraid, he took hold of his equipment. But then the lion crawled between his legs and carried him.» Avraham Haim Gaon was the father of Esther Gaonoff and of the renowned Rabbi Aba Shimon Gaon. He died in 1910 in Jerusalem.

 

Children

 Shlomo Moussaieff and Esther Gaonoff had seven children including: Sam Moussaieff, Henri Moussaieff, Maurice Moussaieff, Rehavia Moussaieff, Sarah, and Bat Sheva.Moussaieff\'s sons mostly moved abroad, first to France, and then to the United States. They primarily engaged in trade in pearls and precious stones from India, South East Asia, and South America.

 

Death

Shlomo Moussaieff was devoutly religious and committed to living in the Land of Israel. On his death bed, he stipulated in his oral will that only those of his sons who lives in the Land of Israel will receive his inheritance. Much of his property in the Bukharian Quarter was declared a «religious endowment» or «hekdesh» in Hebrew and «waqf» in Arabic which could not be sold. Till this day, proceeds from rents of the property, are received by those direct male descendants of Shlomo Moussaieff who live in Israel. Shlomo Moussaieff died at the age of 70 in 1922.

He and his sons are buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/

 
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