||Letter by R. Ezra b. Joseph Harari-Raful (1857 - 1936), dayyan (judge) of the Sephardic Bet Din in Jerusalem and founder of Yeshivat Ohel Moed. He was born in Aleppo and studied under R. Jacob Saul Dweck. His other notable teachers were R. Mordehai Labaton, R. Mordehai Abadi, and his uncle, R. Nissim Harari Raful.
In 1890, at the age of 32, he left his parents to raise his family in Jerusalem, becoming one of the first of the Aleppo community of his generation to make the move. On the way the boat stopped in Beirut and the townspeople came to greet him and invite him for lunch but he refused to leave the boat out of fear that they would convince him to stay.
In Jerusalem, he studied Kabbalah under R. Hayyim Saul Dweck in the yeshiva Rehovot ha-Nahar. R. Ezra was active in opening institutions of learning in Jerusalem. In 1904 he became one of the founders of the yeshiva Ohel Moed, which was to be the forerunner of Porat Yosef. After Ohel Moed was closed at the outbreak of World War I, he opened another yeshiva in 1918 which eventually joined with Porat Yosef in 1923. In 1920, he started an elementary school in Jerusalem called Magen David. The building still stands today on Rehov David Yellin; it was run by his son, Haham Aaron Harari-Raful.
He was a founder of the Council of the Aleppian Community in Jerusalem and was active in improving the material and spiritual circumstances of the members of that community who came to Jerusalem during his lifetime. He was especially concerned with arranging for the support of scholars who had dedicated themselves to the study of Kabbalah. R. Harari-Raful was instrumental in forming the "Bet Din of the Aleppo Community in Jerusalem" and served on it as a dayyan (judge), together with R. Abraham Ades and R. Joseph Yedid. In one of their more notable actions they issued a halakhic ruling against the B'nai B'rith organization in 1924. R. Ezra earned his own living as an accountant and was one of the builders of Jerusalem. Through his influence a number of houses were built in the Ruhamah district of Jerusalem.
R. Ezra wrote a book of mussar (morality and ethics) which was posthumously published by R. Saadyah Manir with the help of his son, R. Abraham, under the title Heikhin Ezra (Jerusalem 1982).