Philadelphia-born Israeli professor Shamma Friedman will be awarded this year's Israel Prize for research in Talmud, Education Minister Shay Piron said Sunday.
Piron called Friedman Sunday evening to inform him of the news and congratulate him, and the Talmud scholar will be given the prize on Israeli Independence Day, which falls May 6 this year.
Friedman has taught Talmud (Jewish Oral Law) and Rabbinics at various Israeli institutions and at universities in the United States – among them the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and its Jerusalem campus, the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Bar-Ilan University, the Hebrew University and Harvard University.
The committee led by Rabbi Daniel Sperber and charged with selecting the prize-winner said Professor Friedman was chosen for his "enormous and varied study of Talmudic literature, which has earned him an international reputation as a leading speaker on the study of the Mishnah and Tosefta [supplement to the Mishnah], and questions of literary structure and formation of the Talmud text," among other things.
Friedman was born in Philadelphia in 1937 and immigrated to Israel with his wife and four children since 1973.
He is the author of various books and articles dealing with different aspects of Talmudic studies, including literary and conceptual development, linguistic studies in Hebrew and Aramaic and the nature of variant readings of Talmudic texts.
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