Samuel Palache, grave, Jewish Cemetery, Ouderkerk aan Amstel, the Netherlands

Here lies Samuel Palache (c. 1550-1622) at the Jewish Cemetery in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, the Netherlands. Born in Fes (Morocco) to a family that came from Islamic Spain,  Palache was a merchant, diplomat, envoy, spy and pirate, who spent much of his time in the Dutch Republic and co-founded the Amsterdam Sephardic community.

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago and it’s joining the permanent collection of the Jewish Department at the Musée Illigh in Southern Morocco. Samuel Palache’s nephew Isaac (1593–1650) visited Illigh where I’m currently involved with an historic project. I’m also collaborating with Bert Hogervorst on an article about the Jews of Illigh, who left for Israel and elsewhere in the latter part of the 20th century.


The inscription on Palache’s grave reads:

‘This is the grave of a wise man (chacham)
Who was good with Man and God,
Samuel Palache.
May he rest in honour.
He was summoned by God on Friday,
17 of Shevat, 5376.
Let me weep bitterly,
Let him rest in peace.
Those who walk upright enter peace.
They find rest as they lie in death.’

Translated by Tehila Jouchovitzky & Yael Lavi-Bleisweiss.

Translation included in Jerusalem on the Amstel: The Quest for Zion in the Dutch Republic by Lipika Pelham, Oxford University Press, 2019.

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