A unique translation of the Mishnah, the Jewish Oral Law codex, was presented last week by FJC publishing house Knizhniki. The Rohr Family Edition, which took five years to complete, is said to “radically improve the understanding of Jewish texts” for Russian-speaking Jews.
The Mishnah was first recorded in writing at the beginning of the third century CE, in a time when the persecution of Jews and the passage of time raised the possibility that the details of the Jewish oral traditions would be forgotten. The written volumes ensured the passing of the traditions on to the younger generations. The Russian translation of the Mishnah, which consists of six volumes, pursued the same goal, said leaders of Russian Jewry, speaking at the project’s presentation.
“This goal is very connected to today’s reality in the FSU, where the Jewish people were detached from their roots for a long time. It is my hope that this translation will help transform that reality and instill respect and love for their heritage in the new generations,” said chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar. The project’s completion was celebrated at Moscow’s Museum of Tolerance, in the presence of many honorable guests.
Also speaking at the evening was Mr. George Rohr, a prominent philanthropist and the main sponsor of the translation project. “Today we are witnessing a miracle – the revival of Jewish life in a place where not so long ago any type of Jewish communal activity was unthinkable. I am very happy to be a part of this process,” Rohr said, dedicating the completed translation to the memory of his parents.
The director of Knizhniki publishing house, Baruch Gorin, explained that the main highlight of the translation is a presence of a ‘teacher’ in the commentary, which helps explain difficult passages and get a better understanding of the text. “The work on this translation of the Mishnah took over five years. This project was completed by a large team of specialists, who created a revolutionary work that will radically improve the ability to independently learn Jewish texts for Russian-speaking Jews everywhere,” he said.