Rabbi Itshak Shoraqui, ed. Jewish Heritage in Modern Times, Sephardic Sages in the Latter Generations (Tel Aviv: Yediot Achronot and Sifrei Hemed, 2009). [Hebrew] PO Box 53494, Tel Aviv, 61534, Israel.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rabbi Itshak Shoraqui, an educator on social action and social policy in Sephardi/Mizrahi rabbinic tradition and director of the Mimizrach Shemesh (under the auspices of the Israel branch of the Alliance Israelite Universelle school system), social action education program for Sephardi/Mizrachi rabbinical graduates, took initiative and wrote a book on contemporary Sephardi/Mizrahi front row rabbinic ages and their positions on social justice in Jewish law, charity in Sephardic rabbinic tradition, Sephardi/Mizrachi religious law as pertaining to women, and other issues pertaining to Sephardic ethics and positions on social issues. He included essays from the rabbis Eliyahu ben Amozegh, Yosef Haim, Moshe Halfon Hacohen, Ben-Tzion Meir Hai Ouziel, Yosef Messas, Haim David Halevi, and Yehuda Leon Ashkenazi (“Manitou”).
In Yediot Achronot’s series of some 30 books of the religious classic works, aside from Shulhan Aruch by Yosef Caro and Moshe Lussato’s Sifrut Hamusar, and some early medieval Spanish texts, the classic rabbinic works of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry and their luminaries in the last 500 years in dozens of countries were overlooked mostly out of ignorance. The main series does not mention this book on its inside covers and even in this book, all the other works of the series are mentioned in the inside cover, but not this book as being part of the series. No one with any scholarly or professional familiarity with Sephardi/Mizrahi rabbinic tradition was included in the editorial committee of the series, despite Sephardi/Mizrahi Jewry being half of the Jewish population of Israel and growing in size toward comprising half of those affiliating with the Jewish people worldwide.
This Hebrew work is a first attempt to include Sephardi and Mizrahi modern rabbinic tradition and grasp of modern issues and problems in both the religious and secular world in the last 200 years. Published by the mainstream Israeli publisher Yediot Achronot the book is no where to be found in public bookstores and unfortunately is limited to those who read modern Hebrew, but it’s a must for anyone and any library with any concern for Sephardi/Mizrahi Jewry, Jewish law and tradition, and if any reader of this review or librarian reading these lines makes an attempt to contact the publisher, maybe they’ll succeed to purchase this valuable and pioneering book. To the best of the knowledge of this reviewer and editor, this book was never reviewed in the Israeli press, or any Jewish or scholarly publication.
Yaffa Banaya, ed., The Sages of the Sephardim under the Test of Law, Intelligence, and the Times, Lessons for Batei Midrash (Jerusalem: Mimizrach Shemesh, 2011). [Hebrew]
Sponsored by the Alliance – Kol Israel Haverim and the Avi Chai Foundation.
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