This article examines a surprising and valuable discovery. In 1988, nearly 1500 Hebrew-inscribed tombstones and tombstone remains were unearthed in Würzburg, Germany. Dating from 1147-1148 through 1346, the inscriptions offer unexpected insight into the life of the Jewish community from the late Second Crusade to the eve of the outbreak of the Black Plague, which decimated the city's Jewish population and left it uninhabited by Jews for a long time thereafter. The article is dedicated to the study of the titles used to describe the deceased, divided in the article into four main groups: (1) rabbinical, homiletic titles and literary occupations; (2) communal titles and occupations; (3) personal titles; (4) prefixes to the name of the deceased and titles denoting their age. A mere four tombstones of children were available for the study, indicating that most of Würzburg's children were not honored with a headstone for their grave. This assumption is reinforced by a listing in the city's Memorbuch of some nine-hundred community members who perished in the summer of 1298. The Buch often mentions child victims, but these are by and large anonymous. Children were not usually considered to possess independent personalities. Unlike the children's relative anonymity, rabbis and sages who lived and worked in the city were honored with impressive tombstones. Their relatives also made sure of commemorating themselves with elaborate headstones detailing their pedigree. Yeled, HaRav and Rabeinu are only three of the titles that the article discusses. It is hoped that the detailed analyses found in the article may offer a broad perspective on a medieval Jewish community: on its young and elders, its office bearers and even its social divisions.
|Translated title of the contribution||'A Tombstone Inscribed': Titles Used to Describe the Deceased in Tombstones from Würzburg between 1147–1148 and 1346|
|Number of pages||30|
|Journal||תרביץ: רבעון למדעי היהדות|
|State||Published - 2008|