Sunday, July 5, 2020

Padua, Italy's Royal Lineage From Rabbi Meir Katzenellenbogen, Well Known in Genealogy Circles

Nadene Goldfoot
This happens every Shabbat (Saturday morning) when the torah is
carried around the room for people to touch with their tallit or prayer book.
 I and thousands of others have Rabbi Meir ben Isaac Katzenellenbogen, better known as the Maharam of Padua, on their Tree of Genealogy.  Padua was a special city with a large Jewish population.  The Maharam was born in 1482 and died in 1565, dying at age 83.  He was also known as a Talmudist.  Like many other original Ashkenazi Jews, he was born in Germany but studied in Poland.  Rabbi Meir became the official rabbi in Padua, Italy.  He was an outstanding codifier and was extensively consulted on halakhic problems.  He went to Padua and entered the yeshiva of Judah Minz, whose granddaughter, Hannah, he afterwards married.He succeeded his father-in-law, Abraham Minz, in the chief rabbinate of Padua, which office he held until his death on 12 January 1565 (epitaph below). He was the father of Samuel Judah Katzenellenbogen.

Meir ben Isaac Katzenellenbogen came from a Rabbinical family descended from 12 Jews who settled at the town of Katzenelenbogen in Hesse-Nassau, Germany in 1312, and had thousands of descendants and huge family connections throughout Europe and America.  Ashkenazi Jews represent the third major source of Italian Jewry. They came during the 13th-17th centuries from German-speaking provinces (mainly the southern territories that today correspond to Bavaria and Austria) as they escaped pogroms and anti-Jewish legislationThe name was not used until the family had moved to Padua, Italy by Meir.  Two generations later, the family was in Poland.  Because of the length of the surname, it has often been shortened to Ellenbogen and Bogen, etc.  The family has a tree tracing it in an unbroken line from 1969 back to the 14th century.  
Discussing different interpretations or meanings in a word or words
but "Rambam said this and that"  however, Rashi said this...

Samuel Judah Katzenellenbogen (1521-1597) was his son and inherited his father's position as the head of the Padua yeshiva.  He was the rabbi of Venice and then Padua.  Such was the fame of the family that men who married women members took their wives' family name, as did R. Joel Ashkenazi who married R. Samuel's daughter. 
Stephen Báthory was Voivode of Transylvania, Prince of Transylvania, from 1576 Queen Anna Jagiellon's husband and jure uxoris King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.  He was king.

 When King Stephen Báthory died in 1586, the Poles were divided between wishing to be ruled by the Zamoyski family and the Zborowski. Polish law at that time stated that the throne might not remain unoccupied for any length of time, and that in case electors could not agree upon a king, an outsider should be appointed "rex pro tempore" (temporary king). Radziwill proposed that Saul Wahl Katzenellenbogen be appointed temporary king, and Wahl was elected to the office. Traditions disagree as to the length of his reign. Some state that he ruled one night only; others make it a few days.

Samuel Judah Katzenellenbollen's son was Saul Wahl (1541-1617). He became a financier.   This makes me wonder if people with the surname of Wall could be connected.  Perhaps not.  He was a Polish Court Jew and had the reputation of being a king of Poland for a day. Saul became the court-agent to Sigismund III in 1589.  He led the Jewish community and used his influence in behalf of his coreligionists in Poland and Lithuania, and was able to get them rights of autonomous jurisdiction.  It was an 18th century legend, lacking any historical foundation that told that during an interregnum he was chosen king of Poland for a day.  Here's what had happened: 


 Saul had 6 sons and 5 daughters who married into the leading families of Eastern European Jewry.  One of his sons was Meir W. for Katzenelbogen of the 17th century and was a noted talmudist who in 1623, founded the COUNCIL OF LITHUANIA.  

They produced a long line of well known rabbis and notable personalities over the centuries.  They are part of any of the mot renowned Ashkenazi rabbinical families of Europe.  As of now, children moved away from their original homes, so descendants are now found to be living in remote places from Padua, but their unity was maintained through family records that were well-kept.  

You may wonder how this was done and compiled.  Dr. Neil Rosenstein collected the material, the genealogical information that is extensive, well-organized and highly accessible.  Dr's Jeffrey Mark Paull and Jeffrey Brinkman, genealogists, have worked together with him who also study the DNA of descendants and can verify family lines.  This was one of my sources for this article.  I also used a book I've had for a long time, FINDING OUR FATHERS, A GUIDEBOOK TO JEWISH GENEALOGY BY DAN ROTTENBERG and my Jewish encyclopedia.  

Chart E in Rottenberg's book shows that Rabbi Meir had a descendant, Isaac who married Abraham Luria whose descendants were Jehiel Luria, and then Solomon Luria who was the well-known Maharashal born in 1510 and died in 1573.     

Notable descendants of this family include Rabbi Menakhem Nakhum Twersky of Chernobyl, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Lord Immanuel Jakobovitz who was the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, Martin Buber, Karl Marx, Moses and Felix Mendelsshon, Baron Guy de Rothschild and Helena Rubenstein plus many others.  

Ashkenazi migrants were particularly common in the northeastern and northern parts of the Apennine Peninsula: the Republic of Venice (especially in the cities of Venice, Padova and Verona), the Duchies of Milan and Mantua (today both in Lombardy) and the area of Trieste. They also settled in Piedmont, as well as central and even southern Italy.
For example, sources from Rome written from 1536-1554 mention a separate Ashkenazi congregation with its own synagogue called Scola Tedesca (German synagogue). Some of these migrants had surnames already, like Rappa from Nuremberg (later, this name gave rise to the Rappaport family, famous in Eastern Europe, with the second part, Port, coming from the town of Porto in northern Italy), Heilpron (in Italy, the most common spelling became Alpron) and Mintz (Italian Minci).                                                                         
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