The birth eight hundred years ago of Moses Maimonides, medieval Jewish scholar and sage, was celebrated last night at the Hotel Pennsylvania by representatives of all national Jewish organizations.
Scholars, rabbis and laymen, Jewish and non-Jewish, joined in recognition of Maimonides, who is regarded as the greatest Jewish philosopher of the Middle Ages.
Prof. Albert Einstein, honorary chairman of the National Maimonides Committee, described the sage as “one of those strong personalities who by their writings and their human activity achieved this synthesis, and thus paved the way for the coming development. May this hour of grateful remembrance help to strengthen our love and appreciation for the treasures of our culture, which have been won through arduous effort. Then will our battle for their preservation against the powers of darkness and barbarism of today be fought to a good end!” Dr. Einstein’s address was translated into English by Herman Bernstein.
Other speakers at the gathering were Henry S. Hendricks, chairman of the committee; Rabbi H. Pereira Mendes, Dr. James J. Walsh, Prof. H. A. Wolfson of Harvard University, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland, Prof. Louis Finkelstein of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Rabbi Leo Jung. Sol M. Stroock presided.
The genius of Maimonides as a physician was reviewed by Dr. Walsh, prominent Catholic scholar, author and physician. “The great influence in the development of medicine in the thirteenth century besides Constantine and his Jewish teachers at Kairouan and his translation of the works of Jewish physicians, was undoubtedly Maimonides,” Dr. Walsh said. “His reputation as a writer on medical topics is not as great as that which has been accorded him for his writings on philosophy and on Talmudic literature, but he well deserves a place among the great practical masters of medicine as well as high rank among the physicians of his time.”