(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The city of Yavne, once the home of the Sanhedrin, will soon host a “hall of wisdom of the Jewish people” showcasing the Jews’ contributions to mankind’s intellectual development.
Its launch will be officially announced at next week’s General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in Washington.
The organizers of the new hall played up Yavne as the “historic seat of the Sanhedrin,” the chief rabbinic legislative body of the First Jewish Commonwealth, for 70 years.
It was reconstituted there following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70CE.
The work of the Jewish sages in Yavne following the destruction was critical in transitioning Judaism to a form that could survive in exile.
The hall, organizers stated, will highlight Jews throughout history whose oeuvre significantly enriched humanity and “created a noticeable change in society as a whole.”
Jews and those with Jewish ancestry have won more than 20 percent of all Nobel Prizes and have made significant contributions in the arts, philosophy, religion, and natural sciences.
Academics from around the world will be convened to debate the figures to be showcased, including a number of Israel Prize winners. While the program has already received an NIS 2 million commitment from the Yavne City Council, a further $70 million in funding will be required and is expected to be raised abroad, organizers said, making the choice of the JFNA General Assembly as the venue for officially unveiling the project a logical choice.
Yavne is hoping to make the to-be-named “global center for Jewish excellence” an “international tourist center” as soon as 2018.
“The Jewish people has made a huge impact on the world in so many areas,” Yavne Mayor Zvi Gov Ari told The Jerusalem Post. “It is clear to me that we have played a crucial role in the world, yet we have no worldwide recognition of this achievement and we are still struggling for our right to exist.”
“It is as if our existence on the planet has been of interest [only to us] and no one else. It became clear to me that we need to stand up and show the world that our presence is crucial – not only to our survival as a people but on a global level as well. All of humanity has benefited and will continue to benefit from our existence.”