NEW YORK (Feb. 13)
The first independent yeshiva permitted on Soviet soil in 60 years will be inaugurated in Moscow Feb. 22 by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, according to the New York-based organization that supports his work.
The rabbis and scholars who will train at the Judaic Studies Center are expected to become the religious and cultural leaders of the next generation of Soviet Jews, those who are unable or unwilling to leave the USSR, according to the Aleph Society.
The Soviet authorities affirmed the Aleph Society’s exclusive right to choose all curriculum and materials, faculty members and students.
About 80 students were accepted into the Center’s day and evening programs, out of 147 applicants.
All were selected by Steinaltz, the renowned Israeli scholar who is at work on a monumental modern Hebrew translation of the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud.
The Judaic Studies Center is the first result of agreements signed in October 1988 with Evgeny Velikhov, vice chairman of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
The center will be affiliated with the Academy of World Civilization, under the auspices of the World Laboratory, an international scientific exchange program which has legal status in the Soviet Union.
The international affiliation allows the yeshiva freer rein than were it to be under official Soviet auspices, a spokesperson for the Aleph Society explained.
Faculty members will thus be free to deliver open lectures for the general public, under the Academy’s auspices.