Page 69 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

Basic HTML Version

6 3
K
e r s t e i n
— J
u d a h
L . M
a im o n
Following his ordination he became rabbi in his home town,
serving from 1900 to 1905. He then ministered until 1915 in
Ungeni, also in Bessarabia.
From his early youth Maimon was an ardent Zionist. In 1902
he met Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines, founder of Mizrachi, who
brought him into the founding group. Maimon participated in
the organization meeting in Vilna in 1902, and attended the
1903 convention in Lida. At the first World Congress of Mizrachi
(Pressburg, 1904) he was elected secretary. Years later, when
Jerusalem became the world center of Mizrachi, he served as
its head until he entered the Executive of the Jewish Agency,
where his duties were concerned with religious matters, as well
as with commerce and labor. He took part in every Zionist
Congress, beginning with the second in 1898. From 1935 he
served for many years as a member of the Zionist Actions Com-
mittee and represented Mizrachi in the World Zionist Executive.
Maimon was only in his twenties when his literary contribu-
tions won recognition. His first work (1902)
Ha-Noten Be-Yam
Derekh
(Who Maketh a Path in the Sea)—a discussion between
a man of sharp mind and another possessing considerable knowl-
edge—made a profound impression. The same was true of his
Heder Hora t i
published ten years later—a treatise on selections
from the Talmud and from Maimonides—and also of other
notable works on law and legendry. In the interim, he had
published articles on Torah and on literature in the press and
in various collections. In 1907 he made his first attempt at editing
with a monthly called
Ha-Yonah.
Many prominent rabbis in
Bessarabia had agreed to contribute articles, but the magazine
was unfortunately short-lived. The rigid censorship of the Bes-
sarabian authorities compelled its discontinuance after the first
issue.
Rabbi Maimon worked intimately with Israel's first Chief
Rabbi, Harav Abraham Isaac Hacohen Kook; they jointly estab-
lished the Chief Rabbinate. For ten years he edited
Ha-Tor ,
the major weekly periodical of the movement. In 1936 he founded
and headed
Mosad Harav Kook
(Rabbi Kook Foundation) which
has already published more than 700 volumes.
A Life of Literary Creativity
A great deal could be written about Maimon as a bibliophile.
Through his collections, researchers and bibliographers will be
enabled to enrich all branches of Hebrew and Yiddish literature.
His immense library contained more than forty thousand titles,
including manuscripts, rare incunabula, unique documents, and
perhaps the finest compilation of works on Hasidism. (The