||Letter from R. Mordecai Samuel ben Benzion Aryeh Ghirondi to R. Abraham Vita de Cologna concerning a prayer instituted due to a plague, which R. Ghirondi supports.
R. Mordecai Samuel ben Benzion Aryeh Ghirondi (17991852), Italian scholar and biographer. Ghirondi was a descendant of a rabbinic family. His grandmother Mazal-Tov Benvenida Ghirondi (c. 1760), wife of Mordecai, rabbi of Cittadella, was famous for her Jewish learning and educated many disciples to a relatively high grade of knowledge. Ghirondi was born in Padua. He taught theology at the rabbinical college of Padua, where he had studied, beginning in 1824. He was assistant rabbi of Padua 182931, and from 1831 to his death was chief rabbi.
Apart from a juvenile moral treatise, Tokho Razuf Ahavah (1818), Ghirondi's minor works include some scattered essays and a number of unpublished works, mainly in the Montefiore collection and in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. His major work is Toledot Gedolei Yisrael (1853), a biographical dictionary of Jewish scholars and rabbis composed as an extension of Zekher Zaddikim li-Verakhah, a similar biographic work by Hananel Graziadio Neppi. The Toledot was published by Ghirondi's son Ephraim Raphael (183457) at Trieste. Although naive and badly proportioned, the work retains its importance for information, based in some entries on personal acquaintance or oral tradition, on Italian rabbis of the 18th and early 19th centuries; these are the vast majority of the entries. Ghirondi also annotated Azulai's Shem ha-Gedolim (publ. in E. Gartenhaus, Eshel ha-Gedolim, 1958). Ghirondi was a notable book collector; many of his manuscripts are in the Montefiore Library in Jews' College, London, and his printed books and some manuscripts are in the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
Abraham Vita de Cologna (17541832), Italian rabbi. Cologna, then serving in Mantua, was a delegate to the Assembly of Jewish Notables convened by Napoleon in 1806. In 1807 he was appointed vice-president (hakham) of the French Sanhedrin and in the following year one of the three Grand Rabbins of the central Consistory, of which he was president from 1812 to 1826. In 1827 Cologna became rabbi of Trieste. He published a collection of sermons and apologetic writings, besides many occasional poems.