Yomtov ben-Isaac of Joigny

(d. 1190)
   Scholar and poet. Yomtov was a pupil of Jacob TAM and became an author of biblical commentaries and liturgical poems, one of which is still sung on the eve of the Day of Atonement. He settled about 1180 in York, known as a centre of Jewish scholarship in the Middle Ages. The coronation of Richard the Lionheart in 1189 saw the beginning of anti-Jewish riots in England, fanned by the Third Crusade. The worst massacre occurred in York in 1190. The Jews, led by Josce, father of AARON OF YORK, took refuge in the castle where the warden did his best to protect them. The inflamed mob besieged the castle, first slaking their fury by slaying Josce’s gentile servants. Aware that they could not hold out for long, and fearing the warden’s treachery, Yomtov urged his fellows to die for the glory of God rather than wait for their inevitable doom. On Friday, 16 March 1190, the eve of the ‘Great Sabbath’ before Passover, the York Jews set fire to their goods, then killed each other. Last to die was Yomtov, who killed Josce and then himself.
   The York incident took place while Richard I was out of the country. When he returned in 1194 it was impossible to trace the ringleaders. Three rioters were executed, accused of robbing Christian houses too, and some severe fines were imposed.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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  • Yomtov ben Isaac of Joigny — (d. 1190)    Liturgical poet, of Spanish origin. He settled in York in c. 1180. He wrote commentaries on the Bible and engaged in anti Christian polemics. He composed an elegy on the Blois martyrs of 1171 and the hymn Omnam Ken for the eve of the …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

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