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Rabbi Ezra Attiya

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About The Rabbi

Rabbi Ezra Attiya was one of the greatest teachers of Torah in the Sephardic Jewish world during the 20th century. He was rosh yeshiva of Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem for 45 years, nurturing thousands of students who, together with their students, constitute the bulk of Sephardic Torah leadership today.

Attiya was born on 31 January 1885 (Tu Bishvat 5645 on the Jewish calendar) in Aleppo, Syria, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. His parents, Yitzchak and Leah, had lost several children in infancy, and before his birth they traveled to the gravesite of the Prophet Ezra to pray that if the child they were expecting was a boy, they would name him Ezra and see that he dedicated himself to a life of Torah. He had one brother, Eliyahu. His father, a respected Aleppo melamed (teacher), was a direct descendant of Shem Tov Attiya, a disciple of Joseph Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch.

Advancing age and weakness forced Attiya to give up much of his responsibilities at the yeshiva. However, he continued to make himself available for advice and consultation with anyone who needed him. In this way, he continued to nurture the Sephardic Torah leaders he had trained and dispatched to communities around the world.

In 1969, he became seriously ill and drifted in and out of a coma for an entire year.

Rabbi Ezra Attiya fulfilled his goal of training Sephardic Torah scholars who could build Sephardic communities at large.

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