By Howard R. Feldman, Ph.D.
Lander College for Women
The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School
A Division of Touro College
New York, NY
Division of Paleontology (Invertebrates)
American Museum of Natural History
New York, NY
It was with shock and great sadness that I heard from my colleagues about Amnon and his wife Tami's terrible accident and his passing. We are hoping for Tami’s speedy recovery and our prayers are with her.
Amnon and I worked together for many years on different aspects of geoarchaeology. He had a wonderful, quick and sarcastic sense of humor and was always ready for a good laugh. When Amnon came to the States we developed a serious routine of working together. We ate breakfast first (Amnon always loved this part of our work together) and then worked at my computer writing about everything from ostracodes to artifacts.
Amnon was an expert on ostracodes, a class of the phylum Crustacea, that is usually 1 mm in size. They are bivalved, lived in both marine and non-marine environments and range from lower Cambrian to Holocene. He wrote extensively on these fossils and was considered an expert in this area. One of his papers, co-authored by Oertli, Honigstein and Gerry in 1987, described Jurassic age ostracodes from the Majdal Shams area at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, Israel. In a more recent publication Amnon wrote about Holocene ostracodes from the continental shelf and slope of the eastern Mediterranean. His expertise was wide-ranging indeed.
Amnon was always interested in geoarchaeology and became even more well-known for his paper on the Jehoash Inscription Tablet (JI) that was entered into evidence at the trial of Oded Golan. Based partially on this paper Golan was acquitted of forging the tablet. Recently, Hershel Shanks noted that “While it can never be proved with absolute certainty that the JI is authentic, the case is certainly highly likely. We should treasure the JI as very probably an authentic inscription of an Israelite (or rather Judahite) king” click here. Ironically, Amnon’s last article was published at bibleinterp.com right before he died. This project was his passion for many years and it showcased his point of view and persistence in getting to the heart of the matter. You can find ‘The Antiquities Game - Behind the Trial of the Century’ click here.
Some years ago Amnon joined me and my students in the field looking at Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian rock formations in the Hudson Valley, New York. He was right at home even though his expertise was in younger Mesozoic rocks and fossils. The students gained much from Amnon’s interpretation of the history of the Earth as recorded in the formations that we observed as well as from his stories detailing his experiences in Israel.
Amnon will be sorely missed, not only by his wife Tami and his children and grandchildren and many good friends, but by the geological and archaeological community of scholars. We have lost a beloved individual in our field. May he rest in peace.
I appreciated very much this obituary for it touches professional as well as personal aspects of the deceased in the country where he lately spent several months a year.
Yes, Amnon will be missed for his kindness, generosity, wit and professional knowledge and skills. Be his memory blessed.
#1 - Francis Hirsch - 07/23/2014 - 23:57