The Jaffe Family Association was established in 1990 dedicated to the furthering of genealogy research into Jaffe ancestry, including the contribution of individual Jaffes to Jewish religious and cultural life, especially in Israel. To this end, two World Conferences were held in Tel-Aviv in 1996 and 1999 dedicated to promulgating the unique story of how Jaffes have contributed to the settlement of Israel, including its scientific, medical, educational and economic/commercial institutions. By sharing this history, new generations of Jaffes may find the key to their Jewish roots and heritage. There are variant ways of spelling and pronouncing the Jaffe surname, e.g. in Hebrew, Yaffe, and in Yiddish, Yofeh/Joffe. However differently they may be spelled and pronounced, they all have common roots. While some of the personages referred to below spelled their name differently, we use a common variant: Jaffe.
Many Jaffes trace their decent from Rabbi Mordecai Jaffe of Prague (1530-1612) and his uncle Rabbi Moses Jaffe, who traced their ancestry to Samuel ben Elhanan, great-grandson of Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1040-1105), and from the latter to King David. Rabbi Mordecai’s lifework was the compilation of the Levush (Apparel), a major codification of rabbinical law. Rabbi Mordecai Jaffe’s opinion was sought on many questions of law, and his responses were highly valued. Descendents of Rabbi Mordecai Jaffe include many rabbinical authorities, such as Rabbi Mordecai Gimpel Jaffe (d. Eretz Israel, 1890), who was one of the founders of the Jewish colonies at Ekron and Yehud and a yeshiva in Petach-Tikva.
We can list many others who contributed to the settlement of Israel. Among them include Rabbi Israel Jaffe, a founder of the re-settlement of Hebron in the early 19th century, Bezalel Jaffe (1868-1925), a founder of Tel-Aviv, Dr. Hillel Jaffe (1864-1936), a pioneer physician noted for his battle against malaria. The hospital in Hadera bears his name. We may also mention Eliezer Jaffe (1881-1942), one of the organizers of workers’ settlements and a founder of Nahalal and the Tnuva dairy cooperative (now Israel’s largest producer of dairy products), Leib Jaffe, former head of the Keren Hayasod, poet and former editor of the Haaretz newspaper, Abraham Jaffe (1913-1983), farmer and army general, head of the Southern Command and later, the Northern Command and a hero of the Sixth Day War. As far as the defense of Israel is concerned, there are many Jaffes who serve as officers, e.g. Lt. Colonel Abraham Jaffe who commanded an air force base (his two sons are also pilots in the air force).
Our membership is kept up to date through a newsletter that carries articles describing recent and planned activities and relevant genealogical information of interest to our members. We have also sponsored the publication of a “Jaffe Passover Haggadah”, a traditional Haggadah, but which also contains commentaries by Rabbis Mordecai (Levush), Joseph and Mordecai Gimpel Jaffe. There are plans to help in the publication of original rabbinical treatises from within the Jaffe legacy.
The Jaffe Family Association is a non-profit organization, registered (#58-016-057-0) and approved by the Israel Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Finance. We are totally nonpolitical and managed by a voluntary Board of Directors, whose members are from the legal, accounting, educational and business sectors. All grants and membership dues are kept in a separate bank account as required by law for nonprofit associations. Our annual CPA report is submitted to the Ministry of Interior. Professor Eugene D. Jaffe of Bar-Ilan University currently chairs the Board of Directors.
Annual membership dues are the major source of our income. Future planned activities include the construction of a virtual website, continued genealogical research and educational conferences. By becoming a member of the Jaffe Family Association, you will help to further these endeavors.