A Short Tribute
Hacham Michael Yaakov Israel, son of Haim Yehuda Michael Israel, was born circa 1790 in Rhodes, which at the time was under Ottoman rule.
Hacham Michael Yaakov Israel studied with Hacham Abraham Halevy, Rabbi of Rhodes. He served as the city's cantor and shochet and at the age of 31, in 1821, began to officiate as Rabbi of Rhodes.
Every year, on 2 Kislev, he would hold a festive celebration for his family to commemorate his rescue from drowning at sea on that date, when he was shipwrecked on his way to Egypt.
In 1853 he immigrated to Israel, settling in Jerusalem where he was made a candidate for the position of Rishon LeZion. He refused the position and was eventually appointed Av Beit Din.
Hacham Michael Yaakov Israel passed away in Jerusalem on 7 Iyar, 5616 (1857) and was eulogized in Jerusalem, Rhodes and Izmir.
His Responsa were published in Yad Yemin, and the sermons he composed in Shnot Yamin.