Rabbi Adin Even Israel Steinsaltz
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz was born in Jerusalem in 1937. Alongside his Jewish studies and rabbinical ordination he also studied Mathematics and Chemistry at the Hebrew University. After graduating, he established a number of experimental educational institutions in various parts of Israel and, at the age of 24, he was the youngest school principal in Israel.
In 1965, with the encouragement of Israeli President Zalman
Shazar, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, and Knesset Chairman Kadish Luz, he founded The Israel Institute for Talmudic Publications, and since then he has been working on his monumental project of translating and reinterpreting the Talmud. This new edition of the Talmud, of which 30 volumes have thus far been published, has made the Talmud accessible to tens of thousands of Hebrew-speakers. In 1989 he began producing an English Edition of this Talmud and by the beginning of 1995 Random House, Inc. will have published twelve volumes. In 1994, the first two volumes of the Steinsaltz Talmud in French, and the first volume in Russian, have appeared. The Talmud project has been acclaimed the most important Judaica publication of the century.
In 1984, Rabbi Steinsaltz founded the Mekor Chaim Educational Institutions in Jerusalem, with 400 students from preschool through yeshiva high-school. These institutions strive to create integrated religious personalities capable of helping bridge the enormous gaps that have developed among the Jewish people.
In 1988, Rabbi Steinsaltz received the Israel Prize - Israel's highest honor.
In 1989 the Rabbi established a Russian branch of Mekor Chaim the first Jewish institution to receive official recognition in the former Soviet Union. Since then, he has established in Moscow the Open Jewish University, the Lamed umbrella organization of teachers of Jewish tradition throughout the former Soviet Union, and the Institute for Leadership Training.
That same year, friends and admirers of Rabbi Steinsaltz founded the Aleph Society in New York, London, Melbourne and Israel, whose aim is to help propagate his teachings and sustain his various institutions.
In November of 1995, Rabbi Steinsaltz was invited by the Chief Rabbis of Russia and communal representatives to assume the position of "Duchovny Ravin," Spiritual Leader of Russian Jewry.
In 1996, the inaugural Russian edition of the Steinsaltz Talmud was published -- the first to be printed in modern Russian. That summer, Rabbi Steinsaltz's commentary on Pirkei Avot was published in Chinese, by the Chinese National Academy of Social Sciences. The Rabbi also led seminars at the Universities of Shanghai and Beijing.
The Rabbi has written numerous books and articles dealing with a large variety of topics. His books and articles have been translated to English, Russian, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Georgian, and even Chinese and Japanese.
In the course of the years, Rabbi Steinsaltz has lectured in major universities and research institutions in the United States and Europe, such as the Institute of Advanced Studies of Princeton University, the Terry Lectures at Yale University, the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC, Oxford University in England, and the Sorbonne in Paris.
The Rabbi has developed a reputation as a profound spiritual leader who does not belong to any social, religious or political organization. His advice is sought by statesmen and by simple people and his opinions are frequently aired in the printed and electronic media. Rabbi Steinsaltz has been invited to meet at the Vatican in Rome, with the Archbishop on South Africa, as well as with the Dali Lama.
The Rabbi has been accorded honorary Ph.D. titles from the Yeshiva University in New York, Bar Ilan University, and Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel.
Rabbi Steinsaltz lives in Jerusalem with his wife, children and grandchildren.
AN APPRECIATION OF RABBI ADIN STEINSALTZ
By Chief Rabbi of England, Dr. Jonathan Sacks
Steinsaltz's Father with President Shazar