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Flora Sassoon

07/11/2019 02:02:20 PM


Yosef Lopez


Marat Freha Flora Sassoon 

Madam Frecha-Flora Sassoon was born to Aziza and Yehezkel Abraham Gabay in 1859, in Bombay, India. The Sassoons were a family of merchants and businesspeople who reached India from Iraq.

Madam Sassoon was educated by private tutors and the Baghdadi community’s rabbis and attended a Catholic school. By the age of 17, she had mastered Jewish texts and seven languages. In 1894, her husband died and she undertook the entire operation of the family's business. During the 1896 plague epidemic in India, she provided financial support to develop vaccines against plague and cholera and helped save many lives. She was also active in the anti-purdah movement that fought the attempt to impose complete veiling of women's bodies, including their faces and, in some cases, eyes as well. In 1910 she visited Baghdad from her new home in London. Her trip included official meetings with the Walli of Baghdad, with the Chief Rabbi of Baghdad Hakham Ezra Danghoor –, and with Hakham Yosef Haim, aka the Ben Ish Hai. During her stays in Baghdad, she read the Torah in the synagogue of the Ben Ish Hai for the congregation. Madam Frecha-Flora Sassoon located and collected manuscripts written by Oriental Jews. Today, the Sassoon collection is one of the more important sources for the research of manuscripts pertaining to Jewish Studies. Madam Frecha-Flora Sassoon was an expert in Oriental Jewish manuscripts, in Midrash, and in Sepharadi customs and halakhic practice, and continued to correspond with Hakham Yosef Haim, known as the Ben Ish Hai, on halakhic issues and additional topics.

Madam Frecha-Flora Sassoon passed away on 9 Tevet 5696 (1936) and was buried on the Mount of Olives cemetery. Her articles were published in the Jewish Forum journal.

(Information is taken from the HeHakham Yomi (the Daily Sage) Website.

Wed, December 7 2022 13 Kislev 5783