MOSCOW (May. 22)
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, the world-renowned scholar and educator who translated the Talmud into everyday language, is visiting Russia to commemorate the publication of the first volume of a new edition of the Talmud published in Russia.
The simple, deep-blue, hard-bound book is the first Russian Talmud produced since 1917, and was created with the sponsorship of the Russian Academy of Sciences and financial support from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
The initial print run is 6,000 copies.
Steinsaltz, a sliver of a man with a wispy white beard, described the publication of the Talmud in Russian as part of his ongoing work with Russian Jewry.
“It is like a tree without the branches — if you water it and tend it, new branches will grow. The roots are still there,” he said.
Besides producing the Russian Talmud, which will eventually include at least 10 volumes, Steinsaltz has helped create a number of key Jewish institutions in Russia.
They include Mekor Chaim, a yeshiva; Lamed, a school to train teachers for Jewish schools; and the Jewish University of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Steinsaltz’s commitment to Jewish education, including secular subjects, reflects his broad-minded approach to Judaism.
“It’s an idea of Rabbi Steinsaltz’s that Russian Jewish intellectuals must be absorbed into Jewish culture and religion. He says that the Jewish University is the most effective way to bring people in,” explained Arkady Kovelman, the rector of the Jewish University in Moscow.
While in Russia, Steinsaltz’s schedule includes meetings with students from the Jewish University of Moscow, delivering a lecture at Moscow’s Choral Synagogue and attending a breakfast prayer meeting with leaders from the Russian Orthodox Church, muftis and the Dalai Lama of Tibet, who is also now in Russia.