OMAHA - A collection of one of the Jewish religion’s most important documents is now a part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) Natan and Hannah Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies.
As part of a gift made to the center by Omaha natives Caryl Bercovici Greenberg and Judith Bercovici Tully, students, faculty and visitors will have access to a 26-volume collection of writings known as the Babylonian Talmud.
For observant Jews study of the Talmud, which contains the Oral Torah (Mishnah) together with the analyses (gemara) of hundreds rabbis between 200 and 500 C.E, is on the same level as study of the Written Torah contained in the Hebrew Bible.
“The impact of the Babylonian Talmud upon Jewish religion and culture cannot be over-exaggerated,” said Moshe Gershovich, director of the UNO Schwalb Center. “For centuries it has provided guidelines for Jewish life as well as a working, living example of the diversity of Jewish thought and traditions.”
The gift was made in honor of Caryl and Judith's father, Moses Bercovici, who passed away in 1971. A celebratory event in honor of Bercovici and his daughters will be held on the UNO campus on Friday, Sept. 5, at 3 p.m. at the Schwalb Center offices, which are located in UNO’s Arts and Sciences Hall, Room 200.
Moses Bercovici was born in Romania in 1898 and came to Omaha in 1902 with his family; he eventually became a certified public accountant in the city and was a regular member of the Beth El Synagouge with his wife, Ann.
In addition to the new, 26-volume set, the sisters also donated their father’s original volumes of the Talmud.
These texts will immediately be used in courses at UNO, including a course on Hebrew Scriptures within the UNO Religious Studies program.
Curtis Hutt, who teaches Judaic Studies and will teach the Hebrew Scriptures class, as well as being the Special Projects Coordinator at the Schwalb Center, explained that the gift is, in religious terms, priceless.
“In tractate Pe’ah 1:1 of the Jerusalem Talmud it reads that charity and acts of kindness are the equivalent of all the commandments of the Torah, but what if the gift is of the Talmud itself,” he said. “Surely, this must count for even more.”
The celebratory event, which is free and open to the public, requires an RSVP in order to ensure parking availability. To RSVP, please contact Gina Pearson at 402.505.4912 or by email at email@example.com.
For additional information, or questions, please contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at 402.554.2129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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