AVILA, DE, Sephardi family. Several of its members held prominent positions in Spain, both when professing Jews and after they became ostensibly converted to Catholicism, in the 15th century. From the second half of the 17th century the family appears in Morocco, England, and later in the United States. The most notable member living in Spain was the Converso DIEGO ARIAS DE AVILA, secretary and auditor of the royal accounts, one of the most disliked courtiers of his day. The marriage of his son into the nobility was the subject of a satire. His enemies dwelt on his depravity and asserted that he sucked the blood of his country. His son PEDRO succeeded to his father's post, while another son, JUAN ARIAS D'AVILA (Dávila) became bishop of Segovia and was subjected to the persecution of the Inquisition. Among the members of the family in Morocco were ISAAC (d. 1717), MEIR B. JOSEPH (c. 1724), author of responsa, in Rabat-Salé, and MOSES (d. 1725), philanthropist and talmudist in Meknès, author of responsa (preserved in Berdugo's Mishpatim Yesharim, 1 (Amsterdam, 1891), 93a, 94a). Moses was the father of samuel avila and grandfather of eliezer avila . SOLOMON DE AVILA (d. after 1791), son-in-law of Eliezer, talmudist and dayyan in Rabat, was also the banker and adviser of the sultan Muhammad ben Abdullah. Under the reign of Moulay Yazid, Solomon was cruelly persecuted. His son SAMUEL (d. after 1810) was the author of Oz ve-Hadar (Leghorn, 1855). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Baer, Urkunden, 2 (1936), 106, 181–4, 424; Baer, Spain, index; J. Abensur, Mishpat u-Ẓedakah be-Ya'akov, 1 (1894), 17, 90, 261; S. Romanelli, Massa be-Arav (1834), 38, 59ff.; J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), 167; Azulai, 1 (1852), 23, 59; 2 (1852), 77. (David Corcos)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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