Project title: Kima: towards an open digital historical Hebrew gazetteer
Grantees: Sinai Rusinek
Home Institution: Haifa University
Project Overview: Since late antiquity and medieval times, centuries of Jewish diasporic existence projected its own coordinate system on the map of the world. Though muted as spoken language, Hebrew was very much alive as a poetic and especially as Halachic (Religious-legal) language, which interacted with local contemporaneous place names whenever and wherever Jewish people dwelled: the local rabbinate authoritative spaces, the network of responsa correspondence, diverging cultural, Halachic and liturgical traditions created the cultural continents of Sepharad and Ashkenaz, categories at once anchored in geography and mutable by temporal and cultural dimensions.
The Hebrew Script was used not only for pre-modern and modern Hebrew, but also Aramaic and Yiddish, as well as several families of Jewish Languages, such as the Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) and others – a variety engendered by diglossia and multiple contacts with local population. Thus the Hebrew script names (which will also be made available transcribed) may contain historical evidence pertinent to toponymies of other languages as well.
Kima’s goal is to bring together existing resources and efforts and lay the ground for an open, interoperable Hebrew Historical Gazetteer. Each entry will be structured in a schema that will facilitate the identification of places based on toponyms and toponyms variants, and will provide a stable and shared reference for annotating digitized resources.