Name, Surname : Prof. Yomtov Assis
Date and place of birth : 1942 Aleppo, Syria
Date passed away : June 16, 2013
Date of Aliya : 1971
Profession : Historian, academician
Prof. Yomtov Assis was the eighth child of a family of nine children in Aleppo, which had broken off from the Ottoman Empire after the First World War. The family moved to Lebanon abandoning all their assets, as a result of the events that started against the Jews in Syria at the time of the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948.
Yomtov was 10 years old when he emigrated with his family to Turkey. He completed his secondary and high school education in the Istanbul Bnei Brit Jewish High School. During these years, he educated the youth in the Istanbul Şişli Synagogue Mahazike Tora. In 1960, he pioneered in the establishment of the Culture and Art Group (Kadima Tzion/ Kultur Sanat) Association with four other friends.
Yomtov Assis completed his higher education in London and having made aliya in 1971, completed his doctorate in 1981 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. In 1996, he became a professor at the Hebrew University where he had been a faculty member since 1975.
He was the head of the Hebrew Jewish Studies Institute (Institute of Jewish Studies) between 1997-2001. He was the president of the International Center for Israeli Culture during 2001-2007. He was visiting professor at the University of California in Los Angeles; Yale University, the Sorbonne University in France and the University of Sydney.
He took over the management of the Ben Zvi Institute in 2007 and continued until his death in 2013.
Prof. Assis published an annual newsletter Hispania Judaica, about the history and culture of Jews in the medieval Iberian Peninsula; in Hebrew, English, and Spanish. This bulletin consisted of 11 volumes. He also penned the forewords of the series of 6 volumes, published with the title "Sources for the History of the Jews in Spain" including archives about Spain, in English and Spanish. Prof. Assis has published in Argentina and Brazil, two series of books titled "Biblioteca Universitaria de la Cultura Judia" both in Spanish and Portuguese.
Prof Yomtov Assis and his wife Klara had five children. Prof. Eliyahu Assis who is one of them is a lecturer at Bar Ilan University, Faculty of Jewish Sciences
Works: Golden Age of Aragonese Jewry , The Jews of Santa Coloma de Queralt, The Jews of Spain from Settlement to Expulsion, Ensayos Sobre Cabala y Misticismo Judio, Et Je Demeurerai Parmi Eux, Jewish Economy in the Medieval Crown of Aragon, Navarra Hebraica.
Outstanding and Permanent contribution /reasons for nomination:
Prof. Yomtov Assis who made numerous researches and penned several works is a person of science who has studied Spanish Judaism in the broadest sense in the world. He has been deemed eligible due to his contribution to Israeli history on this subject.