Reuven Bonfil: An Appreciation

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Tov Elem: Memory, Community and Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Societies Essays in honor of Robert Bonfil

Elisheva Baumgarten, Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Roni Weinstein


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2* | David B. Ruderman BonfE 001_012.indd 2 10/4/11 5:56 AM .

Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin.indd 3 10/4/11 5:56 AM . Community and Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Societies Essays in honor of Robert Bonfil Editors: Tov Elem: | 3* Elisheva Baumgarten. Roni Weinstein The Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies The Hebrew University of Jerusalem The Bialik Institute • Jerusalem BonfE 001_012.Reuven Bonfil: An Appreciation Memory.

4* | David B. 2011 www. The Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ISBN: 978-965-536-035-6 © Copyright by the Bialik Institute • Jerusalem and the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies.indd 4 10/4/11 5:57 AM . Ruderman English section: Doron Narkiss Hebrew Section: Noa Rosen Style Editing: The publication of this book was made possible by the assistance of The Charles Wolfson Research Set by Danon Printing Production.bialik-publishing. Bar Ilan University and The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. The Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Center for the Study of Women in Judaism and the Israel and Golda Koschitsky Fund. Jerusalem Printed by Offset Shlomo Natan Printed in Israel BonfE 001_012.

mother. she stood firmly by her husband’s right side in their acts of philanthropy and benevolence and received each individual with a countenance of radiant beauty and joy. of blessed memory. BonfE 001_012. grandmother.Reuven Bonfil: An Appreciation | 5* This book is being published in loving recall of Mrs. crown to her husband. May her soul be bound in the bond of eternal life.indd 5 10/4/11 5:57 AM . and great-grandmother. Unassuming woman of modesty and kindness. woman of valor. Rosa Nagel.

Marcus Why Is This Knight Different? A Jewish Self-Representation in Medieval Europe Alessandro Guetta Italian Translations of Hebrew Literature and Jewish Philosophy in the Renaissance 139* 153* BonfE 001_012. the Roman Comunità. and Marriage in the Early Modern Papal State Jeffrey R.indd 6 10/4/11 5:57 AM .6* Contents | David B. Ruderman English Section David B. Ruderman: Reuven Bonfil: An Appreciation 9* Part One: Gender and Culture in Pre-Modern Jewish Societies Sylvie-Anne Goldberg Is Time a Gendered Affair? Category and Concept: “Women” and “Mitzvah” Elliott Horowitz Between Cleaniness and Godliness: Aspects of Jewish Bathing in Medieval and Early Modern Times Hava Tirosh-Samuelson Gender and the Pursuit of Happiness in Maimonides’ Philosophy Kenneth Stow Jewish Pre-Emancipation: Ius Commune. Family and Civility 15* 29* 55* 79* 103* 118* Part Two: Communal Space and Representations of the Past Ivan G.Woolf Damsels in Distress: Jewish Women in the Responsa of Rabbi Joseph Colon Roni Weinstein Abraham Yagel Galico’s Commentary on Woman of Valor: Commenting on Women.

Reuven Bonfil: An Appreciation | 7* Joanna Weinberg Azariah de’ Rossi and Pythagoras. Or What has Classical Antiquity to do with Halakhah? Benjamin Ravid Translators of Hebrew Documents for the Venetian Government and the Venetian Government as Preserver of Documents of the Venetian Jewish Community Robert Bonfil: Publications 178* 188* 215* Hebrew Section Part One: Gender and Culture in Pre-Modern Jewish Society Roly Zilberstein The Role of Jews in Greek-Latin Polemics: Beards and a Comment about Fasting on the Sabbath Avraham Grossman The Plight of the Yebama in Eleventh and Twelfth Century Ashkenaz Alick Isaacs Decorated Women Among the Men: Gender and Space in the Medieval Ashkenazic Synagogue Elisheva Baumgarten Pious Pretenders: A Gendered Look at Medieval Jewish European Piety Moshe Idel The Feminine Aspect of Divinity in Early Kabbalah Nadia Zeldes Jewish Women in Late Medieval Sicily: Subversive Culture within Religious Conformism? Micha Perry Female Slaughterers: Halakhic Traditions and Late Medieval Realities Motty Ben-Melech The Other in the Eyes of the Other: Women in David HaReuveni’s Writings Maria Modena-Mayer Women’s Language in Judeo-Italian Yosef Kaplan Clandestine Marriage in Amsterdam.indd 7 10/4/11 5:57 AM . Broken Hearts in Hamburg and a Kidnapping in London 23 40 55 68 91 111 127 147 165 171 BonfE 001_012.

Jacob Prado (1740-1819) Robert Bonfil: Publications in Hebrew 241 282 306 336 363 381 BonfE 001_012. Samuel Valero Gerard Nahon Epigraphy.indd 8 10/4/11 5:57 AM . Literature and History by R. Ruderman Part Two: Communal Space and Representations of the Past 193 223 Ithamar Gruenwald Typology of Exemplary Figures and Leadership in Relation to Multiplicity of Divine Revelations Yom Tov Assis The Beginnings of Jewish Settlement in Provence David Cassuto and Niccolò Boccaria The Synagogue and the Ritual Baths in Palermo in Light of Textual and Archaeological Evidence Avraham David Spiritual Life in the Kingdom of Naples at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century according to Hebrew Texts Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin Law and Censure: The Printing of the Shulkhan Arukh as the Commencement of Jewish Modernity Joseph Hacker The Historical Vision of R.8* | David B.

forcing me to reevaluate every step I took. He had been working on his doctorate for many years and teaching. I cannot capture the essence of my friend’s personality and career in such a brief reflection. When I invited Reuven to Yale some fifteen years later. I simply want to share three moments of our long friendship. After a conference in Venice in the late 1980s. When he termed my book on science as “Roth with footnotes. I was a novice without an obvious mentor in Italian Jewish history. always brimming with new ideas. I always argued back. to accept him as my most serious critic. especially the politics of the Middle East. In the end. I am grateful for the opportunity of expressing my pleasure at being his friend for some thirty-five years. we usually viewed the past and the present. he challenged everything I wrote.Reuven Bonfil: An Appreciation Reuven Bonfil: An Appreciation David B. From that point on I learned from him at every stage. as we proceeded to debate each other publicly at Yale. and always with an original take on things. which for him meant history based on faulty assumptions. I went with Reuven [ 9* ] BonfE 001_012. I struggled with his criticism. on the eve of his retirement. our spontaneous discussions about the meaning of the Renaissance in Italy were even staged. Ruderman | 9* It is with mixed feelings that I write these words in honor of my dear colleague Reuven Bonfil. and to beg to differ. I first met Reuven when I began my graduate work at the Hebrew University in 1968-69. since his power of persuasion and brilliant analytic mind often left me silent at the end of our animated discussions. from very different perspectives. I am also sorry that this “young Turk” (I know he is Greek) has formally retired at so young an age.” I was compelled to reflect on whether I should be proud of this designation or not. It was great fun to engage in conversation with so formidable a presence. I found a way to learn from him. He became my guide and friend.indd 9 10/4/11 5:57 AM . And because of our very different backgrounds. And given my background and my own American notions of doing history as opposed to his European ways. even though it was clear we agreed on most things. Princeton and Chicago. offering his generous support and encouragement when he well appreciated how little I knew and how much more I needed to know. When he told me that my first book on Abraham Farissol was in the mold of Cecil Roth. which may show how meaningful it has been for me for so many years.

I was given the honor of commenting on Reuven’s paper on the meaning of the ghetto period. Ruderman to my beloved Padua. also in the late 1980s. and an exciting moment in conceptualizing Italian Jewish history for all who heard and subsequently read Reuven’s provocative essay. then rabbi of the small Jewish community. The rabbis automatically removed their kipot and I followed timidly as we marched through the huge church on Shabbat. Anthony’s day. I’m not sure) came up with the notion of visiting the church and watching the rituals of the day at first hand. We met for lunch and Rabbi Viterbo mentioned that it was St. I was invited to join him at the home of his friend Achille Viterbo. such as Heiko Oberman and Natalie Zemon Davis. organized by Shmuel Eisenstadt. When my father was BonfE 001_012. Several wellknown scholars. He once asked Reuven to speak at such a gathering. when thousands of worshippers descended on the city to pay homage to their patron saint. and invite anyone he could convince to praise and bless him publicly before his friends and family.10 * | David B. My greatest challenge as an academic commentator came at a conference organized at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem on early modern Jewish culture. attempting to understand. his lack of inhibition in not feeling ill at ease in a Christian house of worship. revisionist theory of Jewish cultural formation in early modern Italy. It was Shabbat. It proved to be one of the most important essays he had ever written. his curiosity in examining their art. had come from the United States to join a group of young and older scholars for this truly interdisciplinary discussion. In his later years my father would arrange his own birthday parties. Reuven unhesitatingly agreed and my father enjoyed his accolades immensely. a topic recently discussed by Joanna Weinberg. even though their relationship was hardly intimate. I was reminded of Azariah de Rossi’s visits to churches in sixteenth-century Mantua.indd 10 10/4/11 5:57 AM . based on structuralist ideas which I could hardly understand at first reading. and the two rabbis went off to synagogue while I impiously headed for the university library. who visited him on several occasions. It was both a frightening and an exhilarating moment in my own development as a scholar. Viterbo proceeded to lead us through the huge space filled with thousands of parishioners. My late father had a special affection for Reuven. My third moment is more personal but perhaps the most meaningful. explain and respond creatively to a brilliant exposition of an epoch by this master historian. I can’t recall who suggested the idea. which I received only a few hours before the conference. I was in completely in awe of the openness and boldness of Reuven and his pious colleague in initiating and carrying out this remarkable visit. but one of the rabbis (whether Rabbi Viterbo or Rabbi Bonfil. This was a high point of intellectual conversation in my own career. offering a bold.

At his funeral. who gently but firmly keeps him in on the right course and constantly raises his spirits. I think especially of you and your personal presence in Jerusalem. with such a designation. on Eva. professionally and personally. or anyone other than my family. Like all of Reuven’s hespedim. Con amore. I was not used to saluting my male friends. dear Reuven. Reuven visited him regularly. and he has welcomed me into his home and heart. Reuven expected me to sign my emails or letters regularly with the expression “with love” (con amore). And when I think of all the good that the state of Israel has created for the Jewish people and the world. It was an enormous sign of respect and tolerance for my late father. I initially resisted the idea. despite or perhaps because of all our debates and disagreements. he is always supportive. on your children and grandchildren. sensitive and thoughtful.R euven Bonfil: An Appreciation | 11 * stricken with a painful cancer. It is the essence of Reuven’s character to be open. He immediately agreed. I do indeed love Reuven. Reuven’s home. and your many students. all the blessings God can bestow on you. He has taught me much and generously as a scholar and as a person. his wonderful wife.” a rare designation by an Orthodox rabbi. forever belongs to Eva. May you be blessed with many more years of creativity. and in those of your family. When Reuven referred to my father as “his colleague. but because he is a unique human being.indd 11 10/4/11 5:57 AM . But this took on a deeper meaning for us and our long-term relationship. even when I was not in Israel. though he is. your colleagues. it touched my soul. for me. tolerant and respectful of other Jews and of other human beings. You have enriched many lives. not because he is a great historian. a Reform rabbi. BonfE 001_012. I wish you. I asked Reuven to offer a eulogy for my father. and even for non-Orthodox Judaism. his heart. it was eloquent. as you have mine. of satisfaction in all your endeavors.

Ruderman BonfE 001_012.12 * | David B.indd 12 10/4/11 5:57 AM .

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