Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sad News

Some sad news this week. One of the nicest people and one of the best scholars in my small corner of the academic world has passed away.

This is a nice tribute from the H-Judaic listserv:

This past week our community lost a dear friend and colleague, and a
very talented young scholar.

Elka Klein, z"l, received a B.A. from Yale in 1988, and a PhD from
Harvard in 1996. She was a Dorot post-doctoral Fellow at the Skirball
Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU before becoming an
assistant professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Klein was a regular and enthusiastic contributor to scholarly
panels at the annual Association for Jewish Studies conference. In her
work, she drew upon her knowledge of rabbinic literature and Spanish
archival materials to shed new light upon Jewish-Christian relations in
medieval Iberia, stressing the influence of royal power on Jewish
social history. A fine archival scholar, Dr. Klein also translated
royal charters and other sources for the study of medieval Sephardic
history for a number of on-line sourcebooks.

In her recent book Hebrew Deeds of the Catalan Jews (1117-1316)
(Barcelona, 2004), Dr. Klein edited 18 Shetarot that she discovered in
the archives of Barcelona, and she was in the final stages of
completing a study entitled Community and King: Jews and Christian
Society in Medieval Barcelona, 1050-1300. Dr. Klein also leaves behind
a legacy in the field of Jewish Women's History, in which she had
become an important and pioneering voice. Her publications in this
area include "The Widow's Portion: Law, Custom and Marital Property
among Medieval Catalan Jews," (Viator 2000), "Splitting Heirs: Patterns
of Inheritance among Barcelona's Jews" (Jewish History 2002), and
"Getting their Day in Court: the Jewish Community and Royal Justice in
Thirteenth Century Catalunya" (forthcoming).

Dr. Klein is survived by her husband, Yossi Francus, and her two
children, Dina and Shaul. Our thoughts and prayers are with her

Jonathan Ray
Yale University

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