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  • Joshua de Sola Mendes

In Memoriam: Herman P. Salomon

Herman Prins Salomon, a stalwart preserver of Spanish & Portuguese history and customs, passed away on Jan. 31. Born in the Netherlands in 1930, he moved with his family to Canada in 1939 to escape the Nazi onslaught, eventually settling in New York where he earned a PhD in French Literature from New York University followed by a second PhD in Romance Languages from the University of Amsterdam.

Armed with the knowledge he had learned, Prof. Salomon served for more than 40 years with great distinction as a Professor in the University of Albany's Department of Languages Literatures and Cultures, an area of study that was a lifelong pursuit.


But his other great passion were the traditions of the Spanish & Portuguese Jews. He was a frequent contributor to The American Sephardi: Journal of the Sephardic Studies Program of Yeshiva University. He was also was a frequent reader of Zemirot at Congregation Shearith Israel in New York and a contributor to the "overflow" High Holiday services there. He also participated in High Holiday services in the Sephardic synagogues in Montreal and at Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia.


Another of his notable contributions was a study of the origin of Bendigamos, the popular melody sung at the end of Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals), which can be read here: https://www.jstor.org/stable/44713683?seq=1.


In 2011, Prof. Salomon was knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in the Order of Orange-Nassau in recognition of his world-class scholarship on the history of Portuguese Jews in the Netherlands; and in 2012, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Lisbon recognizing his stature as a world-class scholar of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition.


Prof. Salomon was interred in Congregation Shearith Israel's Beth Olam Cemetery.



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