Moscow Yeshiva’s Temporary Closing Was Just Bureaucracy, Says Steinsaltz

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz said Monday that his Moscow yeshiva is open, and that the whole controversy over its being closed was no more than bureaucratic jockeying.

“It was true that they tried to push the people out,” he said, but “the whole thing took three days.”

Steinsaltz said there was no termination of the lease on the building the yeshiva was housed in, and that he expects the yeshiva to continue in its location. He said he hopes to visit it next month.

Steinsaltz, who was in New York to herald the publication of the first two volumes of his English translation of the Talmud, acknowledged that the building housing the yeshiva had been virtually closed down with the shutting off of heat and electricity.

But he said that situation was corrected with the return to Moscow of the yeshiva’s patron, Professor Yevgeny Velikhov, chairman of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

The attempt to bring down the yeshiva was no more than a power struggle between the Moscow municipality and Velikhov, who was out of the country at the time, he said.

“It had nothing really to do” with the yeshiva itself, he said. “It wasn’t a message.”

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