Since the launch of our webpage, we have issued over nine hundred informative articles, essays, and responses to viewers' questions regarding Judaism.
We are the first and only Polish-language webpage where viewers and readers can receive detailed answers on a host of issues related to Judaism and Jewish religious culture.
In September 2007 we released our third brochure (after Szabat Szalom and Pesach) - Hagada na Pesach (Passover Haggadah) in Polish.
The booklet is avaliable free of charge.
On the 29th of June, 2006, Rabbi Sacha Pecaric and I met at Kazimierz, the historic Jewish district of Krakow. We both remember this date quite well. Needless to say, this was no ordinary day: at the GS Printing Press on Zablocie Street, the last (fifth) volume of the Torah was in its final stages.
In 2001 Rabbi Sacha Pecaric began a monumental project entitled Torah Pardes Lauder, the goal of which was to make available to the Polish-speaker Judaism's most significant book, translated from Hebrew to Polish, enriched by traditional Jewish commentary. No other previous translation of the Torah into Polish had included such a broad spectrum of rabbinical interpretation. In addition, it was the first translation of the Torah into Polish since well before the Second World War. In the course of five years four volumes had been published: Bereshit, Shemot, Vayikra, Bammidbar. The completion of this momentous undertaking was approaching its culmination.
We stayed in Kazimierz a short time. We wanted to see the bindings of the last volume, and their requisite decorative cases, as soon as possible. So we headed off.
On one hand it was an ordinary trip through the city to the printer's. But the symbolic scale of the moment was obvious: driving through Kazimierz we passed the Remuh Synagogue and the walls of the old cemetery, on the grounds of which to this day one can find the tombstone of Moses Isserles (REMA) - the great, sixteenth century Talmudist and codifier of religious Jewish law (Halakha) - and where such prominent figures as Rabbis Joshua Heschel and Nathan Nata Spira are buried.
Ostensibly we were driving through the city in which Jewish religious thought had developed and flourished for centuries, in which Jews - the People of the Book - had found their place on Earth at a time when their survival in exile was secured only by the Torah and their devotion to it.
At the same time, we were also traveling through the city in which the Jewish community had been destroyed by the contemporary Amalek, and afterwards for decades to come, it seemed that perhaps the Amalek had emerged ultimately victorious here.
But today the goal of our short trip through Krakow was to receive the last volume of the Torah straight from the printing press. In a few days the complete five-book set of the Torah would be available in bookstores throughout Poland as a full edition of the Chumash (Pentateuch), the central document of Judaism and it's holiest book. A book containing not only the story of Creation, the history of the Patriarchs, and the Hebrews' Exodus from Egypt, but also the commandments that are the basis of religious Jewish law and its ethical system, as well as the Decalogue (Aseret ha- dibrot, literally the Ten Statements) the moral foundation of Western civilization.
At the printing press, as is usual, after we had our fill of the impressive stacks of Torah, as well as the Yedid Nefesh (Song of the Soul) by Rabbi Yechiel Bar-Lev also being printed there, we had plenty of things to take care of. Rabbi Pecaric in particular had many questions to answer and numerous decisions to make. So we had no choice but to stop thinking in symbolic terms.
But after this brief interlude, we were left with the certainty that the cooperation between the 614th Commandment Society and the Pardes Association, which today publishes here, in Krakow, the Devarim (Mishneh Torah) more than fifty years after the Shoah, has a much deeper meaning than we are able to appreciate in our everyday, ordinary thinking.
The result of that certainty is this very edition of the Book of Kohelet.
- Since the launch of our webpage, we have issued over three hundred informative articles, essays, and responses to viewers' questions regarding Judaism.
- We are the first and only Polish-language webpage where viewers and readers can receive detailed answers on a host of issues related to Judaism and Jewish religious culture. Since its inception, we have answered more than two hundred questions pertaining to moral and ethical problems, holy days and rituals, the knowledge of the Hebrew Bible, and various viewpoints and approaches that Judaism considers from everyday concerns to philosophical dilemmas.
- On our webpage, we offer regular competitions dedicated to the knowledge of Judaism and the Hebrew Bible. At this moment, the current competition is an interpretive essay contest in which the participants are asked to analyze the often-quoted sentence from the Passover Haggada, "In each and every generation, a person is obligated to regard himself as though he actually left Egypt."
The winners of each contest receive topical books and a cash prize.
- In March we released our second brochure (after Szabat Szalom) - this time about Passover (Pesach). The brochure (see photo) provides detailed information as to ritual, procedure, texts and recitations, and the meaning behind all the elements of the traditional Jewish Passover. The booklet is avaliable free of charge to any and all who are interested in the topic at hand.
- On our webpage, we have also included the full text of the Haggada in Polish and Hebrew, the first such publication on the Internet in Polish ever. The translation included on our website is an original publishing of the Haggada first issued in Vienna, Austria in 1927.
- We are continuing our cooperation with Polish Jews Forum.
- We have begun to collaborate with Stowarzyszenie Pardes, a publishing house administered by Rabbi Sacha Pecaric, who is the translator, editor, and publisher of such fundamental works as "Shaarei Halachah: A Summary of Laws for Jewish Living," Jewish prayer book (Sidur), and most importantly, the first five books (Torah) of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh).
We look forward to supporting this publishing house in its monumental and exceptional endeavors. We hope to finance the publication of a book as soon as Fall 2006.
We began our endeavor in the summer of 2005, so our achievements are understandably modest.
Realizing how important sanctifying the Sabbath is, we decided to make it our first educational project.
In cooperation with the Polish Jews Forum and the Jewish Community of Warsaw, we published an instructional booklet about the Sabbath (Szabat Szalom) - the first such booklet in Poland, brief yet detailed, outlining Sabbath rituals, customs, and blessings (in Polish as well as Hebrew, the latter in Polish transliteration).
Numerous booklets were donated to all the Jewish communities in Poland, to the Jewish Library in Krakow, and to departments of Jewish Studies on university campuses.
The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation requested one copy of our booklet for each participant of their educational camp for Jewish families in Wisla (August, 2005).
Furthermore, hundreds of Jewish families and individuals have asked us to remit to them Szabat Szalom, which we provided them free of cost.
"Midrasz," the leading and most popular Jewish monthly in Poland agreed to help us in our outreach campaign to continue providing our brochure to those interested. We are counting on the fact that when "Midrasz" publishes an announcement regarding Szabat Szalom in their upcoming issue, it will certainly enable us to distribute our brochure to even more Jewish families.
Currently (December 2005), we are launching our Internet website. Anyone will be able to ask a question or voice a concern regarding religious practice, philosophy, and ethics. The answers will appear on the website in turn. In addition, we are planning to publish numerous informative essays about all sorts of topics, ranging from religious holidays to discussions of the Torah.
Finally, we are beginning work on a translation of a pre-eminent book, The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin, facilitated by the generosity of the publisher, Simon and Schuster, with the personal approval and blessing of Dennis Prager himself.