R. Yaakov Moshe Toledano was born on 11 Elul 1878. As a young man, he studied in the yeshivas of Tiberias, the city of his birth. In addition to his diligence in Torah study, he was very active in public religious life in Tiberias. He founded a kindergarten and a school for youth, was a member of the city council, and head of the local branch of the Mizrahi movement.
When the need to redeem lands and strengthen the Jewish presence in the Galilee arose, R. Yaakov Moshe moved to Peqi’in. ”The beautiful gardens of Peqi’in eased my spirit,” wrote R. Toledano, and indeed, many of his writings and studies were composed in the village.
He spent four years in Peqi’in, founded the Jewish school there, and maintained the ancient synagogue. When he returned to Tiberias, he also engaged in land purchase and the strengthening of the Jewish settlement in the city, arousing the ire of the Ottoman authorities, who deported him in 1916 to Corsica, in France. He remained there for four years, attending to the needs of 700 Jewish deportees from Eretz Israel, who were also exiled from the Holy Land by the Turks. In 1920, he was permitted to return. On many occasions, he served as a holy emissary to Jewish communities in the Diaspora. In 1930 he was invited to serve as head of the rabbinic court and assistant chief rabbi of the Jewish community in Cairo. Four years later, following great success in the job and finding favor with both the community and the authorities, he was appointed chief rabbi and head of the rabbinic court at Alexandria for an additional eight years.
In 1942, he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv. He died on 24 Tishrei 1951.