Israel Prize to be awarded to Hebrew University's Prof. Yosef Kaplan, in recognition of work on history of Jewish people


Prof. Kaplan (center, holding hat) with fellow members of the Scholion research groupJanuary 27, 2013: Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar has announced that Prof. Yosef Kaplan of the Hebrew University will receive the 2013 Israel Prize. Kaplan, the Bernard Cherrick Professor of the History of the Jewish People, will receive the award for his work on the history of the Jewish people. He will become the 271st Hebrew University faculty member or graduate to receive the prestigious award.

The award committee noted that Prof. Kaplan has made a decisive contribution to understanding the key processes in the development of modern Jewish society and is “a prominent and outstanding academic leader with a unique participation in the country’s professional and public academic activities.''

The award will be presented at an Israel Independence Day ceremony in April attended by Israel's president, prime minister, Supreme Court president and other national leaders. Established in 1953, the Israel Prize is considered Israel’s highest honor and is awarded to Israeli citizens or organizations that have displayed excellence in their field or contributed significantly to Israeli cultue.

Prof. Kaplan was born in Argentina in 1944 and immigrated to Israel in 1962. He studied at the Hebrew University, majoring in Jewish history and sociology, and in 1979 he completed his doctorate in Jewish history. For over 30 years he has taught and conducted research at the University, including as director of the Department of History of the Jewish People and Contemporary Jewry and as a founder and director of the School of History

Prof. Kaplan’s research interests include the social and intellectual history of the Western Sephardi Diaspora in the 16th-18th centuries, the history of the Portuguese community of Amsterdam in the 17th century, and the social and cultural history of the Conversos in the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th-18th centuries. In 2011, he was awarded an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) for his research project ‘Religious and Cultural Changes in the Western Sephardi Diaspora in the Early Modern Period’. Prof. Kaplan has published several books, edited and contributed to many journals, and traveled widely as a fellow and visiting scholar, including at Princeton University, the Sorbonne, the University of Oxford and Yale University,

In 2004 Prof. Kaplan was elected a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and in 2009 he was elected to head the World Union of Jewish Studies, whose goal is to unite Jewish Studies scholars from all over the world and to serve as a unifying framework for regional research organizations. He is currently working on the preparation of the organization’s 16th World Congress, which will take place at the Hebrew University from July 28-August 1, 2013. Prof. Kaplan is a member of the "Eros, Family and Community" research group at the Hebrew University’s Scholion – Interdisciplinary Research Center in the Humanities and Jewish Studies.

Source: Dept. Media Relations, Hebrew University