Ron LasriJerome and Lorraine Aresty Visiting Scholar (Spring 2022)

Ron Lasri is a scholar of Sephardic literature and classical rabbinic literature. His research examines the reception of Talmudic stories—often referred to as Aggadah—within the Jewish communities of medieval Iberia, and among the Sephardic diaspora around the Mediterranean basin. He is particularly interested in how the contribution of literary analysis can enhance our understanding of the cultural history of Sephardi Jews.

Lasri completed his Ph.D. in Hebrew literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His dissertation, “Yitzhak Aboab's and Yisrael Al-Nakawa's Menorat Ha-Maor: A Literary Evaluation of Two Anthologies of Rabbinic Aggadah from 14th-Century Castile,” presents two rival Sephardic interpretive methods of handling the complex corpus of Aggadah: one emphasizes mimetic and political elements, while the other focuses on aesthetic adaptation. One example of Sephardic approaches to Talmudic stories will be presented in his forthcoming article in The Jewish Quarterly Review.

While at Rutgers, Lasri will study Ya'aqov Hagiz's Spanish translation of Yitzhak Aboab's Menorat Ha-Maor, printed under the title Almenara de la Luz (Livorno 1656), for use by conversos (Iberian Jews who converted to Catholicism during the 14th and 15th centuries, inclusive of their descendants). Lasri will also offer a mini-course for the public and participate in Bildner Center activities.