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Map of the route

Benjamin of Tudela was a medieval Spanish Jewish Rabbi, traveler and explorer. His vivid descriptions of Asia preceded those of Marco Polo by one hundred years, covering an even greater distance. With his broad education and vast knowledge of languages, Benjamin of Tudela was a major figure in the history of geography and Jewish history.

Benjamin set out on his 13-year journey throughout the known world in 1160, in what began as a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He had probably hoped to originally settle there but in fact he took the "long road" stopping frequently, meeting people, visiting places, describing occupations and giving a demographic count of Jews in every town and country.

In his journey he passed through large swathes of Europe, Asia, and Africa. He began in the town of Saragossa, going north through southern France, then setting sail from the port of Marseilles. After visiting Rome and Constantinople, he set off across Asia, visiting Syria and Palestine before reaching Baghdad. From there he went to Persia, then cut back across the Arabian Peninsula to Egypt and North Africa, returning to Spain in 1173. In all he visted over 300 cities including Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Damascus, Baghdad and beyond.

He described his thirteen years abroad in a book, The Voyages of Benjamin (מסעות בנימין, or Masa'ot Binyamin, also known as ספר המסעות, Sefer ha-Masa'ot, The Book of Travels). This book describes the countries he visited, with an emphasis on the Jewish communities, including their total populations and the names of notable community leaders. He also described the customs of the local population, both Jewish and non-Jewish, with an emphasis on urban life there. There are also detailed descriptions of sites and landmarks he passed along the way, as well as important buildings and marketplaces. Benjamin is noted for not only telling facts, but citing his sources; historians regard him as highly trustworthy.

The Voyages of Benjamin is an important work not only as a description of the Jewish communities, but also as a reliable source about the geography and ethnography of the Middle Ages. As well some modern historians credit Benjamin as giving very accurate descriptions of every-day life in the Middle Ages. Originally written in Hebrew, it was translated in to Latin and later translated into most major European languages, receiving considerable attention in the sixteenth century. =Menu


  • Benjamin of Tudela, The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela: Travels in the Middle Ages, English trans. originally published by Joseph Simon/Pangloss Press in 1993, ISBN 0934710074
  • The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela (PDF) Translation by Marcus Nathan Adler (1907). Includes map of route (pg.2) and commentary.

External link[edit]






Foreign Associates[edit]



Heads of High schools United States


Other Countries


Foreign Associates[edit]

  • Vladimir Arnold,Ukrainian-born Russian American mathematician, 1984
  • John Ball, 1900
  • David Baltimore, American biochemist, Nobel Prize (1975) in medicine, 2000
  • Seymour Benzer, American scientist, Recipient of National Medal of Science, 2000
  • Paul Berg, American chemist, Nobel Prize (1980), Head of Human Genome Project, 1981
  • Raoul Bott, Hungarian-born American mathematician, Recipient of National Medal of Science, (Jewish mother) 1995
  • Sydney Brenner, South African-born British American scientist, Nobel Prize (2002) in medicine, 1992
  • Joseph Doob, American mathematician,
  • Gerald Edelman,American scientist, Nobel Prize (1972) in medicine, 1978
  • Israil Gelfand, Ukrainian-born Russian American mathematician, 2002
  • Erwin Hahn, American physicist, nuclear spin echoes NMR, 1992
  • Eric Kandel, Austrian-born American scientist, Nobel Prize (2000) in medicine, Recipient of National Medal of Science 1995
  • Richard Karp, American computer scientist, Recipient of National Medal of Science, 2002
  • Ephraim Katzir, Ukrainian-born Israeli scientist, Fourth President of Israel 1989
  • Sergiu Klainerman, Romanian-born U.S. mathematician, 1996
  • Daniel Kleppner, American physicist, atomic research, 2002
  • Sir Aaron Klug, Lithuanian-born, South African British scientist, Nobel Prize (1982) in chemistry, 1989
  • Leopold Kronecker, Polish-born German mathematician, 1868
  • Peter Lax, Hungarian-born American mathematician, Abel Prize (2005) 1981
  • Wassily Leontief, Russian-born American economist, Nobel Prize (1973), (Jewish mother) 1968
  • Matthew Meselson, American molecular biologist, 1984
  • Elliot Meyerowitz, American biologist, plants 2002
  • Rita Montalcini-Levi, Italia-born American scientist, Nobel Prize (1986), Recipient of National Medal of Science, 1989
  • Louis Nirenberg, Canadian-born American mathematician, 1989
  • Sir Gustav Nossal, Austrian-born Australian biologist, 1989
  • Wolfgang Panofsky, German-born American physicist, particle physics, Recipient of National Medal of Science, 1989
  • George Polya, Hungarian-born Swiss American mathematician, combinatorics, (Jewish father)
  • Alexander Polyakov, Russian physicist, 1998
  • Frank Press, American geophysicist, Recipient of National Medal of Science, 1981
  • Michael Rabin, Polish-born Israeli American mathematician, nondermenistic algorithm, 1995
  • Alexander Rich, American biologist, Recipient of National Medal of Science, 1984
  • Frederic Riesz, Hungarian mathematician, founder of functional analysis,
  • Michael Sela, Israeli biochemist, immunology, 1995.0
  • Gilbert Stork, Belgian-born American chemist, organic chemistry, Recipient of National Medal of Science, 1989
  • Valentine Telegdi, Hungarian-born Swiss American physicist, 1900.0
  • Gabriele Veneziano, Italian-born Israeli Swiss physicist, quantum field theory, 2002FAS02
  • Edward Witten, American mathematician and physician, Fields Medal (1990), Recipient of National Medal of Science, 2000


Foreign Members[edit]