Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Death of Prof. Yom-Tov Assis

Death of Prof. Yom-Tov Assis

I am sad to report the death of Prof. Yom Tov Assis (1942-2013), Professor of Medieval Jewish History at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.  Born in Aleppo, Prof. Assis settled in Israel in 1971 where he became a leading scholar of Hispanic Jewry and also a popular academic tour guide.  His deeply researched and documented historical articles about Jews in medieval Spain will remain essential reading for generations.   

Though best known as a political and economic historian, his 1992 article "Synagogues in Medieval Spain," in Jewish Art remains an essential go-to reference for anyone wanting to understand the role of medieval synagogues in Spain.  Typical of Assis's work, it is both erudite and accessible.  In this work, he showed the valuable role of responsa literature in our identifying and understanding forgotten synagogue buildings and the culture around them.  His many important books include The Golden Age of Aragonese Jewry: Community and Society in the Crown of Aragon, 1213-1327 and  Jewish Economy in the Medieval Crown of Aragon (1213-1327), Money and Power.

A full list of his publications can be found here:

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