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AFS Review: In Memoriam

Dov Noy (1920-2013)

Sunday, September 29, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jesse A. Fivecoate

By Dan Ben-Amos — 

Dov Noy, renowned folklorist and ethnologist, of blessed memory passed away on September 29, 2013. Born on October 20, 1920 in Kolomyja, Poland, he immigrated in 1938 to Palestine where he began his academic studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He obtained his doctorate in folklore from Indiana University in 1954 with a dissertation on the motif-index of Talmudic-Midrashic tales (under the name Dov Neuman). In 1955 he began his teaching career at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he taught aggadah, folk literature, general folklore, and Yiddish. He became professor and holder of the Max Grunwald Chair of Folklore and Hebrew Literature. From this post, he had a profound influence on the development of folklore studies in Israel, mentoring many students and colleagues to engage with folklore and ethnology. His travel and advocacy for folklore are legendary: he taught and lectured all over the world, particularly on folk narrative and Jewish folklore. He founded and directed the Haifa Ethnological Museum and Folklore Archives (1956–82) and edited the Israel Folktale Archives Publications series until 1981. He founded the Israel Folktale Archives in 1955, now named after him. He was director of the Hebrew University Folklore Research Center from 1968 and edited its journal. He served as the Encyclopaedia Judaica departmental editor for folklore. He started the folklore section at Haifa University within the department of Hebrew Literature. From 1985 to 1992, he served as professor of Yiddish Folklore at Bar-Ilan University. In 1992–93 he served as professor of folk literature at Ben-Gurion University and in 1995–96 professor of folklore at Haifa University. In addition to teaching in Israeli universities, Noy devoted himself to spreading Jewish folk culture all over the world. He also wrote and edited about 60 books, including in English Folktales of Israel, Jewish Folktales from Morocco, and Studies In Biblical and Jewish Folklore. In 2004 he was awarded the Israel Prize for literary research. Biographies of Dov Noy can be found in the Encyclopedia Judaica, Encyclopedia of Jewish Folklore And Traditions (ed. Haya Bar-Itzhak), Who's Who In Israel and Jewish Personalities from All Over the World, and in the Hebrew Wikipedia.

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