Tom Fogel

S. D. Goitein Yemenite Research

I am a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in the Department of Folklore and Folk culture. I am writing my dissertation on ‘S. D. Goitein Yemenite Research’, under the supervision of Prof. Hagar Salamon and Dr. Carmella Avdar. I live in Giv’at Ye’arim, married to Berenika and father to Tuvia and Hayyim.

I wrote my Master’s Thesis in the department of Plant science and the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University. In the course of my studies there I specialized in botany, ecology, and forestry, and served as curator at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. After finishing my M.A. (2013) and attending supplementary studies (2013-2014), I began my studies as a doctoral student in 2015.

My dissertation is titled ‘S. D. Goitein Yemenite Research’. In my work I wish to describe Goitein’s ethnographic study of Jewish immigrants from Yemen in the early 50’s, mainly through a consideration of his Yemenite archive. By presenting Goitein’s theoretical and methodological approach, and his interactions with informants and assistants, I wish to describe an important chapter of the study of Yemenite Jews and Folklore studies in Israel. As an archive based study, my work deals with issues regarding ethnography in the archive, endeavoring to trace the ‘original’ absent context of archive materials, along with ‘new’ contexts created by the situation of the folkloristic material in the archive.

Since 2017 I have filled the position of administrator at the Ovadia Ben Shalom Center for the Study of Yemenite Jews at the Ben-Zvi Institute, where I am also a board member in ‘Kedmata’ – the Israeli Center for the Study of Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews. In the course of my studies I received the following grants: Badihi Scholarship for Excellence (2017), the Institute of Contemporary Jewry Scholarship (2017), Ben Zvi Institute Scholarship (2017), Misgav Jerusalem Scholarship (2016), and the Patai (2016) and Olsvanger (2015) Awards from The Folklore Research Center at the Hebrew University.