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Spira/ Spiro Family
Spira/ Spiro family
Family of scholars and rabbis of Speyer, Rhenish Bavaria, with numerous branches in other parts of Germany, and in Bohemia, Galicia, and Poland. It originally bore the name "Ashkenazi," to distinguish it from the Kahane or Katz-Spira family. Many prominent families of Bohemia added to their names that of "Spiro" or "Spira"; e.g., Frankl-Spiro, Wiener-Spiro, and Porges-Spiro.
11. Isaac Kohen-Spira: Son of David Kohen-Spira; died in 1582 at Cracow, where he had officiated as rabbi. He was the father-in-law of Rabbi Meïr Lublin. He had a namesake and contemporary, Isaac Kohen-Spira, who was probably rabbi at Kreminiec, and afterward at Cracow.

Bibliography: Frankel, Zeitschrift, iii. 386;
Ha-Karmel, xii. 658;
J. B. R., Bemerkungen zu I. M. Zunz Ir ha-Zedek, p. 18, Brody, 1878

12. Isaac ben Nathan Spira: Rabbi and scholar of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; born at Grodno; died in Lublin 1623. He was principal of a large yeshibah at Kowlo, whence he went to Cracow and became identified there with the publication of his father's "Imre Shefer." While engaged upon this work he accepted a call as rabbi to Lublin, and the uncompleted work of his father's was taken to Venice, where it was published in 1583 under the title "Bi'urim." On account of the misrepresentations which were circulated in Venice re garding the contents of this work Isaac found himself compelled to forbid its further sale in that city; and in 1586 he issued a new edition in Lublin.

Bibliography: Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 372;
Friedberg, Marganita Shappira, pp. 4-6.13. Isaac ben Nathan Spira: Polish merchant; born at Cracow 1624; died there 1649; son of Rabbi Nathan. He was a man of means, and when, in May, 1641, the Jewish community of Cracow was financially embarrassed he voluntarily made it a loan of 800 Polish gulden in gold. When, toward the end of the eighteenth century, his tombstone began to decay, the community showed its gratitude by erecting a new one.

Bibliography: Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. iv. 1207;
Fürst, l.c. iii. 372;
Friedberg, Lu?ot Zikkaron, pp. 61-62, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1904.



2. Aaron Simeon Spira: Son of Benjamin Wolf Spira (who died in 1630); rabbi at Frankfort, Lemberg, Brez in Lithuania, Lublin, Cracow, Vienna, Prague (1640), and also rabbi of Bohemia; born 1599; died Dec. 3, 1679, at Prague. He led an ascetic life, and collected many pupils about him. He wrote "Moreh Ye?ez?iel ?a?on" (Prague, 1695), penitential prayers ("seli?ot") on the sufferings of the Jewish community of Prague when that city was besieged by the Swedes in 1648.




22. Nathan Nata Spira: Son of Reuben David Spira, associate rabbi of Cracow; died at Reggio, Italy, in 1662. He was sent from Jerusalem to Germany and Italy to collect alms. Most of his works are cabalistic in nature, including "Tub ha-Are?" (Venice, 1655; Zolkiev, 1781), on the excellencies of the Holy Land, on the holy vessels, etc.; "Yayin ha-Meshummar" (ib. 1660), on "Yayin Nesek"; "Ma??ot Shimmurim" (ib. 1665), on the mezuzah, ?i?it, etc. Azulai saw the manuscripts of his religious discourses and of several of his cabalistic works.

Bibliography: Azulai, l.c. i. 148;
De Rossi-Hamberger, Hist. Wörterb. p. 301;
Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 2051.


24. Nathan Nata Spira:


Son of Solomon Spira and grandson of Nathan Nata Spira (No. 23); born about 1584; died July 20, 1633. In 1617 he was called to the rabbinate of Cracow, where, being well-to-do, he refused to accept a salary. He was gifted with an extraordinary memory, and devoted much time to the study of the Cabala. He wrote a cabalistic commentary on the prayer of Moses in Deut. iii. 24, and two prayers, under the title "Megalleh 'Amu??ot" (Cracow, 1637; Fürth, 1691). He published also novellæ to Alfasi's work which were printed with it (Amsterdam, 1720).

Bibliography: Azulai, l.c. i. 148;
De Rossi-Hamberger, l.c. p. 301;
Steinschneider, l.c. col. 2049;
Zunz, Monatstage, p. 41;
Zedner, l.c. p. 610;
I. M. Zunz, 'Ir ha-?ede?, pp. 52, 176 (contains Spira's epitaph).

Solomon Spira: Son of Nathan Nata Spira (No. 24); born in 1616; slain by the Cossacks under Chmielnicki in 1648. He was rabbi of Satanow, and edited, together with his brother Moses, the work "Megalleh 'Amu??ot," to which he wrote additions and a preface.

Bibliography: Fuenn, l.c. p. 66.E. C. M. K.