Jerusalem, Israel - June 11, 2018 - On Sunday evening, June 10, the Steinsaltz Center hosted a Gala Dinner at the new Orient Hotel in Jerusalem, Israel, to mark the milestone 80th birthday and unparalleled pedagogical achievements of Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz. An intellectual luminary and trailblazing educator, speaker after speaker mentioned Steinhaltz's expansive commentaries and translations which have made the world of Jewish knowledge accessible to all.
“As innovators, our strength lies in our ability to figure out what’s next. This event was expertly orchestrated so that it will provide us with an opportunity to honor my father, showcase his seminal works and revel in our past successes, as well as allow us to lay the groundwork for the future of Jewish learning,” said Rabbi Meni Even-Israel, Executive Director of the Steinsaltz Center.
In addition to celebrating the culmination of Rabbi Steinsaltz’s life’s work, the event launched a special 24-hour online sale on all Steinsaltz titles offered by Koren Publishers Jerusalem, and a $500,000 CauseMatch campaign to support the Center’s ongoing educational programming, future book development initiatives, and a new digitization project that will provide global access to all Steinsaltz commentaries and translations.
The gala evening began with a reception featuring a display of all 360 titles produced by the Steinsaltz Center and a multimedia presentation detailing all of the educational institutions, programs and projects that will directly benefit from the CauseMatch campaign.
The dinner program included a keynote speech by Rabbi Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, a musical tribute concert by Jewish legend Rabbi Avraham Fried, and words of blessing from Member of Knesset Ze’ev Elkin. Videos included greetings from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, and Minister of Education Naftali Bennet.
Award presentations at end of evening went to long-time Steinsaltz Center supporters Leo Noe, Israel Klabin, Tomas Gurney, Yitzchak Miralashvili, and the Matanel Foundation.
However, the gala tribute attracted not only donors and relatives from as far away as Australia, but former students of Rav Steinhaltz's, who at age 24, went from being an effective teacher, to serving as the youngest principal in Israel. Admirers traveled from near and far to show appreciation, and say thank you to the Rav they "had learned from over the years and give kavod."
“We are by no means closing the book on our educational mission. Rather, we hope to illuminate laptops, tablets and smartphones with new pedagogical possibilities. While others have developed databases, we are proposing something on an entirely different level,” explains Rabbi Even-Israel. “For a nominal fee, the Steinsaltz Center’s entire expansive library will be accessible from anywhere in the world, and it will be searchable, printable and shareable, allowing for profound and creative engagement with the texts. This platform is already in development, and the beta version will be launched by the end of 2019. These are exciting times for knowledge seekers everywhere.”
Israeli media veteran Gilad Adin served as master of ceremonies.