The Faculty of Jewish Studies
The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History
The Project for the Study of Jewish Names
THE ELEVENTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR THE STUDY OF JEWISH NAMES
In conjunction with the Sixteenth World Congress of Jewish Studies
The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Mount Scopus Campus
July 29, 2013
The organizing committee:
Prof. Aaron Demsky, Dr. Ber Kottlerman, Dr. Yigal Levin
It is a pleasure to introduce the participants of the Eleventh International Conference on Jewish Names. These biennial conferences have attracted both established senior scholars as well as independent younger researchers, who are beginning their academic careers. In addition to the Israeli scholars, our roster of lecturers includes presenters from The Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Canada and the United States.
The chronological framework discussed in these papers spans the total Jewish historic experience, from the biblical period until the present day. Several papers treat naming trends in modern Israel and abroad especially in regard to communal, religious and national identity. Other lectures raise the unique halakhic issue of the importance of the correct spelling and custom in writing bills of divorce. The variety of topics presented today stretch from the divine to the mundane. They are indicative of how the study of Jewish onomastics has flourished over the past twenty-two years when the Project of the Study of Jewish Names was initiated.
The success of the Project for the Study of Jewish Names, housed in the Israel and Golda Koschitsky Department of Jewish History at Bar-Ilan University, in making onomastics a field of Jewish studies is measured by the wide interest these conferences have for academics and laymen. One of the goals of the Project is the publication of scholarly papers in English and in Hebrew. To date we have published the series These are the Names – Studies in Jewish Onomastics (Bar-Ilan University Press) volumes 1-5 and also, in cooperation with the University of Maryland Press and CDL, we are publishing onomastic studies of different Jewish communities. The first volume A. Demsky (ed.), Pleasant are Their Names – Jewish Names in the Sephardi Diaspora appeared in 2010. At this time, I am happy to announce two forthcoming monographs: Prof. Aharon Gaimani, Yemenite Jewish Names: A Cultural and Social History and Dr. Alex Avraham, Romanian Surnames in the Old Kingdom. Indeed, onomastics has become a tool for historic research in understanding changing fashions, aesthetics and beliefs of World Jewry and their interaction with gentile cultures over the ages.
We want to express our thanks to Prof. Yaron Harel, Chair of the Israel and Golda Koschitsky Department of Jewish History as well as to Saul and Hila Rosen of New York for their support in making this conference possible.
Professor Aaron Demsky