Prof. Aharon Gaimani
Thursday 11:00-12:00 by Appointment
Areas of academic specialization
The Eretz Israel system of study in the period of the Spanish Expulsion; research into names and bynames in the Cairo Genizah and among Jewish communities; colophons in Yemenite Manuscripts; Yemenite ketubbot (marriage contracts) and gittin (divorce documents); research into Jewish communities and settlements in Yemen.
In research into names, my studies focus on personal names, bynames, and family names in Genizah documents and records of rabbinical courts. My studies on the topic of Yemenite names were well received and earned widespread academic recognition. In this field my book on this topic, The Names of the Jews of Yemen: a Social and Cultural History, has been accepted for publication by the University of Maryland (see accompanying letter).
For my research in the field of colophons to Yemenite manuscripts, I have collected thus far some 650 colophons, from the thirteenth century to the dissolution of the Yemenite exile. A colophon is a small historical document, and study of this topic is capable of making a considerable contribution to the history of Jews in Yemen. In my article “The Scribe Pinhas ben Gad Hacohen,” based on colophons, I resolved contradictions that came to the fore in the works of my predecessors, including some of the leading scholars of Yemenite Jewry.
In the area of the study of Yemenite ketubbot and gittin, I have collected some 1,850 ketubbot and some 180 gittin from the past 400 years. The collection itself was arduous because most of them were gathered from private hands. The research into the ketubbot and gittin encompasses about 570 settlements throughout Yemen. The documents are an important source for studying the status of women as well as customs in various fields in comparison to Genizah documents and the other Jewish communities. The study on ketubbot has been accepted by publication by the Ben-Zvi Institute.
In the study of Jewish communities I am focusing on the large communities of Sa‛da, Rada‘, and Dhamar. Documents from these communities were given over to me from emigrés of the communities who served in their leadership; research into these communities is in the pioneering stage (to date study of Yemenite Jewry concentrated for the most part on San‘a, the capital and the main Jewish community). In 5772 (2012), I was awarded a research grant to carry out a study on the Sa‛da community.
I am also engaged in the study of the over-all Jewish community in Yemen. The purpose of the research is to construct a comprehensive list of the Jewish settlements in Yemen, on the basis of analysis of various historical certificates and documents and in comparison to source material by Arab historians. This study will contribute to gaining knowledge of the dissemination of the Jews in Yemen throughout their time in the country and the nature of their settlement as well as of their migration and settlement in times of crisis.