Steinsaltz in Moscow to Open Judaic Center
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Steinsaltz in Moscow to Open Judaic Center

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Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, a renowned Talmudic scholar from Jerusalem, arrived in Moscow Wednesday to negotiate the final touches of an agreement to open a Judaic Studies Center in the Soviet capital.

The announcement was made by the Aleph Society Inc., which was founded by Steinsaltz here last spring to coordinate financial and other assistance for his activities around the world.

The Judaic Studies Center, which will also serve as the first rabbinical seminary in the USSR, is currently his major project. It is expected to be inaugurated next year.

The agreement in principle for the Judaic Center was reached last May with the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

It provides for an institution, staffed initially by Western scholars, to train a new generation of Soviet Jewish scholars and rabbis.

Its opening would represent a dramatic change of policy in the Soviet Union, where Jewish culture has been discouraged since the Bolshevik revolution.

Another unprecedented gesture is the invitation the Academy of Science has extended to Steinsaltz, an Israeli citizen, to deliver a series of public lectures on religion.

Steinsaltz is in Moscow as head of a delegation of historians, manuscript experts and computer specialists from Canada, Denmark and France. Their host is Evgeny Velikhov, vice chairman of the Academy of Sciences.

The agreement reached also provides for the rabbi to establish an organization to work in partnership with Soviet institutions to catalogue collections of ancient manuscripts, rare books and other materials.

Libraries cooperating in the project include the U.S. Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Royal Danish and Geneva libraries, and those at YIVO, Cambridge, Boedlein, and the Sorbonne.

The society is a private, non-profit organization. Jack Nash and Ludwig Bravman, both New York businessmen, are chairman and president, respectively.

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