NEW YORK, Nov. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Jews around the world are coming together today, on the Global Day of Jewish Learning, to celebrate Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's completion of his 45-year quest to produce the first original Talmud commentary and translation since the Middle Ages.
Rabbi Steinsaltz, the renowned teacher, philosopher, social critic and prolific author, will be making a live address from Jerusalem's City Hall (9:00 PM Israel time, 2:00 PM Eastern, 11:00 AM Pacific) on www.TheGlobalDay.com.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be congratulating Rabbi Steinsaltz in remarks timed with the Global Day at 2:00 PM Eastern also on www.TheGlobalDay.com.
Organizers are seeing this as an opportunity to inspire a revival in Jewish learning. Over 370 communities in 48 countries on six continents are holding more than 600 programs, from cultural gatherings to Talmud study sessions. From Albania to Uruguay, events range from small gatherings in people's homes to large community-wide programs engaging thousands of people. All events can be found online at: http://www.theglobalday.com/event-search.
The Global Day is being marked at this year's General Assembly (GA) of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) in New Orleans. The opening plenary is featuring an interactive learning piece led by Rabbi Uri Topolosky of Beth Israel, a local synagogue. During a special evening dessert reception the Global Day celebration will continue with Matthew Bronfman of the World Jewish Congress, Kathy Manning of JFNA, Steve Schwager of the JDC, Wayne Firestone of Hillel and dozens of Jewish educators from around the world. The GA is also featuring an exhibit of photographs by Caryl Englander, Chair of The International Center of Photography, who travelled the globe capturing the energy and intensity of the deep connection people have to Rabbi Steinsaltz's work.
"The Talmud is the shared inheritance of all the Jewish people. It does not belong to an elite group. We have a responsibility to share our common heritage with all Jews. We each get an equal share," says Rabbi Steinsaltz.
The mission of Rabbi Steinsaltz's life has been to translate the Talmud into modern languages to return to Jews the ancient wisdom and knowledge that is their rightful inheritance. In 1965, when he was just 27 years old, he began to translate the Talmud from the original Aramaic and ancient Hebrew into Modern Hebrew to produce the first complete modern commentary.
"It is fair to say that no one since Rashi – the 11th century pivotal interpreter of Jewish texts – has anyone accomplished such a task," explains Ilan Kaufthal, Chair of the Global Day. "This is a truly historic achievement, which is why so many diverse Jewish communities from every corner of the world are excited to be involved."
"The Talmud is the seminal work of Jewish thought covering not just topics like theology and law and ethics and morality, but also medicine, astronomy, zoology, literature, and many other areas," continues Mr. Kaufthal. "It is a glimpse back to classical times and represents a comprehensive view of human knowledge of the early centuries of the Common Era."
The Global Day curriculum, published with the generous support of Fanya Gottesfeld Heller, author, educator and Holocaust survivor, was developed by highly experienced educators for learners at all stages. The Global Day Curriculum can be downloaded in its entirety or by topic at: http://www.1people1day.org/Curriculum.php.
The Global Day of Jewish Learning's supporting partners include the governing bodies, leadership, and ordaining institutions of the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements of Judaism, as well as the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.
To build momentum for today's events, www.TheGlobalDay.com has for months been engaging thousands of Jews in a provocative dialogue about Judaism's take on "Big Questions" on topics including sex, prayer, community, gossip and civil disobedience. Prominent Jewish figures and organizations in business, culture, entertainment, philanthropy, and activism posed questions to Rabbi Steinsaltz. His responses to each question became launching points for online discussions among Jews of all backgrounds, from the most secular "cultural" Jews to the most religiously observant. The "Big Questions" are at: http://www.theglobalday.com/categories/big-questions.
Additional highlights of today's events include:
Miami, FL: The Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education is holding the largest Global Day program outside of Israel, with more than 3,500 people expected to participate. It is featuring multiple events in three regions of Dade County spanning a 100-mile radius.
New York, NY: The 92nd Street Y is presenting a full-day of programming with notable participants including Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Rabbi Harold Kushner, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rabbi Leon Morris, Rabbi Jennifer Krause, Rabbi David Ellenson, Richard Joel and Arnie Eisen.
Washington, DC: At the historic Sixth & I Synagogue, in a program called "Meet the Text," David Gregory of NBC News' Meet the Press will share how Jewish study has impacted his own life.
The Former Soviet Union: Global Day's main overseas partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is supporting activities in more than 80 cities and towns in 50 communities.
Brazil: In Rio de Janeiro, the Global Day is culminating a two-month, Talmud-focused educational initiative with a series of classes in two community centers.
Canada: In Montreal, The Bronfman Jewish Education Centre is showing the live feed of Rabbi Steinsaltz's address from Jerusalem as part of a full day of interactive Talmud study in both French and English.
Germany: One of Berlin's many events is a dynamic program by Limmud that is drawing more than 400 Jewish leaders and providing translators so that German, Russian, and English speakers can engage each other.
The Netherlands: In Amstelveen, a mixed group of Jews and non-Jews are coming together at CRESCAS Jewish Educational Centre to study Talmud and view the Rabbi's address.
Sweden: In Stockholm, Paideia, The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, is holding a special program for the young leaders participating in its One-Year Jewish Studies Program who are being steeped in Jewish culture and activism.
Along with the Aleph Society, organizing partners of the Global Day of Jewish Learning include: the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; the Jewish Community Center Association; Jewish Education Service of North America; Jewish Federations of North America; Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; and the Shefa Institute in Israel. Visit www.TheGlobalDay.com for the full list of partners.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz is a distinguished scholar, teacher, mystic, and social critic. He has written over 60 books and hundreds of articles on the Talmud, Kabbalah and Chasidut. His works have been translated into English, Russian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Chinese and Japanese.
The Aleph Society was established in 1988 to support Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's mission to make the Talmud and other sources of Jewish knowledge accessible to all Jews. The organization also represents the central branch of his schools and educational centers throughout the world. The Aleph Society's projects provide all Jews direct access to Rabbi Steinsaltz's teachings, and as a result, tens of thousands of Jews are learning what it means to be Jewish, identifying with their people and obtaining full access to the richness of their heritage.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz and key Global Day figures are available for interviews.
ADDITIONAL MEDIA RESOURCES:
Fact Sheet: http://bit.ly/Global_Day_Fact_Sheet
Steinsaltz Talmud Photo: http://bit.ly/Global_Day_Talmud
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Photo: http://bit.ly/Steinsaltz_Photo
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Bio: http://bit.ly/Steinsaltz_Bio
SOURCE Global Day of Jewish Learning