Rabbi Raphael Meldola was born in 1754 in Livorno, the son of a Professor of Oriental Languages at the University of Paris. He came from a line of rabbinical scholars taking their family name from Meldola, near Forli, in north-east Italy. In October 1804 he was invited to become hakham (chief rabbinical authority) of the Sephardic Jews in London, a successor of Jacob Sasportas and David Nieto. His name is indissolubly associated with that of Bevis Marks Synagogue, no. 4 Heneage Lane. He never mastered English properly and may have preached in (broken) Spanish. Medola died in June 1828 and was buried in the Sephardic Jewish cemetery at Mile End.