In the Media

Bklyn's Ties to 12th Century Cordoba
- Courier Life

February 1, 2007

Never will the 12th century cities of Cordoba, Fez and Tiberius get more connected to modern Moscow, Be'ersheva and Brooklyn than by the newly published Russian-language book titled "Rambam - Collected "Writings". The Rambam, an acronym for Rabbeinu Moshe ben Maimon, or Maimonides, probably never figured his books or letters would be immortalized through the ages.

But they were and the pres­ent anthology is offering a taste of the epic Torah schol­arship and gigantic intellect of the 12th century Spanish-born physician of whom it has been said, "From Moshe (Rabbeinu) to Moshe (Maimonides) there never stood another Moshe." The offer is made without cost to over three million Russian-speaking Jews in the world today.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson zt"l, recognized the Rambam's contributions to Jewish life and learning and urged all to study the works of the Rambam, whether it was his towering Mishne Torah (Yad Hachazaka), which covers all of Jewish law and lore, or his Sefer Hamitzvos.

The present edition was published in honor of the Rambam's 802nd yahrtzeit, which will take place on 20th of Teves, 5767, corresponding to January 10, 2007. The Rambam was born in Cordoba, Spain, in 4895 (1135 CE) and died at age 70 in Fostat, Egypt. He is buried in Tiberius, Eretz Yisrael, right next to the famous Tana, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai.
The book was jointly pub­lished by the SHAMIR organ­ization in Jerusalem and the FREE Publishing House, a division of (Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe), in Brooklyn, NY. Professor Herman Branover, Editor-in-Chief of SHAMIR, observes that "Russian people do a lot more reading than Americans." He wasn't con­cerned that the book would be too lofty for the average Russian Jewish reader. Rabbi Yosef Y. Okunov, Director of FREE Publishing House, co-publisher of the book, says, "Our goal is to get this book into every Russian library and every shul where Russian Jews daven and to the homes of those who are searching for authentic Jewish learning."

The 446-page hard-cover book was researched, translat­ed and edited by a team of professionals headed by Dr. Branover in Israel. Rabbi N.Z. (Velvel) Rapoport served as chief translator and Pinchas Gil, Publishing Manager of Shamir, managed the operation. Over 3,000 copies were printed in the first press run by Chish Printing in Ramie, Israel, but many requests have prompted SHAMIR and FREE to embark on a second printing. The book elaborates on six of the Rambam's many thematic writings.

SHAMIR, Israel's Association of Jewish Professionals from the Former Soviet Union, was founded in 1972 and is still going strong. The name is an acronym for Shomrei Mitzvot Yotzei Russia, Mitzvah Observant Russian Emigres.

Rambam - Collected Writings can be acquired from the FREE Publishing House at 1383 President Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11213, by telephone at 718-467-0860, by fax at 718-467-2146 or by e-mail at Publications@RussianJewry.org. It can also be ordered though FREE's newly launched Jewish Russian Books web­site at www.JRBooks.org.

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