Chava Agmon Prize
Chava Agmon ז”ל was a pioneer of Jewish Genealogy in Israel. She was a descendant of Rabbi Joseph Chaim Caro (1805-1895) of Wloclawek, Poznan, Poland and, through him, a descendant of Rabbi Joseph Karo (Toledo, 1488-Safed, 1575), the author of the “Shulchan Aruch”. After inheriting several family manuscripts, she spent many years researching her family history and was responsible for the Addenda to the Chronicle of the Caro Family, written by Jakob Caro in 1891. She deposited her research papers in IIJG’s Kaplan Genealogical Repository, located in the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.
In 2018, IIJG set up a prize in her memory for unpublished research that expands the horizons of Jewish genealogy. In July of that year the Institute announced that the recipient was Dr. Alexander Avram of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem for his doctoral thesis entitled “Historical Implications of Jewish Surnames in the Old Kingdom of Romania”.
In his study, Dr. Avram assembled and analysed a database of over 28,000 surnames, including phonetic and graphic variants, used by Jews in Romanian-speaking lands from the 16th Century until the end of WWII in Romania (1944). 91% of the surnames are of German-Yiddish or Slavic origin. 8% are Romanian and Romanised surnames and these constitute the central focus of the study. Among other things, Dr. Avram examined the historical development of the names, geographical patterns and ways in which they reflect the Jews’ interactions with their surroundings. The resultant dictionary of Romanian and Romanised surnames, expected to be published with the study in 2019, will be a valuable work-tool for Jewish genealogists and family historians.
Click here for the award announcement.
Click here to view an abstract of Dr. Avram’s work.