Ephraim ben Israel Anqāwa (fl. late 14th to early 15th century), known to his devotees simply as Rab (Heb. master), was a Sephardi rabbinical scholar, philosopher, and physician who became a leading saint in the Maghrebi Jewish pantheon of holy men (Heb.
ṣaddiqim). His tomb in Tlemcen became an important site of pilgrimage (Ar.
ziyāra). Ephraim was born in Toledo, where his family had lived since the twelfth century and had their own synagogue, established by his great-uncle Abraham ben Samuel, who was murdered in 1341. Ephraim’s father, Israel ha-Qadosh (Heb. the martyr), was the author of the pietistic and ethical
Menorat ha-Maʾor. Israel and his brother Solomon immolated themselves during the pogroms that swept Toledo and the rest of Spain in 1391, but Ephraim was one of many refugees who escaped to North Africa. He became the rabbi of Tlemcen. Under his leadership and that of men like Isaac ben Sheshet Perfet, Simon ben…