LEVY, wealthy family of Portuguese refugees in morocco . MEYER (d. 1520) established an important spinning mill in Safi; the carpets woven there were famous. In about 1510 the king of Portugal appointed Meyer "royal treasurer." In 1520 the sharif of the Saʿadi dynasty accused him of espionage and had him put to death. His brother ISAAC (d. after 1555), who was the "confidential Jew" of the sharifs of the Saʿadi dynasty, played an active role in their foreign policy. Meyer's son JOSEPH (d. after 1560) entered the service of the Portuguese and was their official interpreter from 1535. A talented negotiator, he received a pension from the king of Portugal. His grandson JUDAH (d. c. 1635) was entrusted with important functions during the reign of Aḥmad al-Manṣūr (1578–1603) and became one of the favorites of the ruler's successors, during whose reigns he was responsible for "marine and commercial affairs" and was appointed rentero of the port of safi , then the most important one in the kingdom. He was a merchant and was as well known in London and Amsterdam as in Morocco. Toward the end of his life the sultan entrusted him with the administration of the funds of the royal treasury. He died in Safi. His brother MOSES (d. after 1620) was an important financier. In about 1600 the title of nagid was bestowed upon him and for a time he presided over the activities of Moroccan Jewry. In 1603 he signed the takkanot of fez . In 1617 the sultan sent him on an economic mission to the Netherlands with credentials addressed to the Estates-General and Maurice of Nassau. His family played an important role in the international commerce of Morocco and the leadership of the Jewish communities until about 1720. The family's descendants were known from their ketubbot in Safi, Mogador, and Gibraltar until the 19th century. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. Cazès, Notes bibliographiques… (1893), 44–50, 237–9; J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), 193; J. Abensur, Mishpat u-Ẓedakah be-Ya'akov, 1 (1894), no. 92; 2 (1894), nos. 123–4; SIHM, index. (David Corcos)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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