The publishers of hitherto unknown works by two famous Baghdad rabbis are appealing for funds to complete their project.
The Rabbi curators of the Sephardic Heritage Museum inspected the Iraqi Jewish Archives that were rescued by the US Army in Baghdad in 2003 and are now being stored at an undisclosed location in the US. They found unpublished manuscripts by two famous Baghdad rabbis extensive enough to make up seven volumes.
So far the Sephardic Heritage Museum has published five volumes and has raised most of the funds for the sixth volume. They are now appealing for funds to pay for the seventh volume.
Three volumes are by Hakham Yosef Hayim, better known as the Ben Ish Hai., who died in 1909. The other four volumes are by the 18th century rabbi Hakham Sadka Hussein. Three pertain to his discussions of the Torah and the fourth on Jewish Law.
Sami Salem, who is overseeing the project, says: “This is material that was never known before and therefore would be of great value to scholars.”
The manuscripts are being printed in modern Hebrew. Two thousand copies will be produced and will be distributed free of charge to yeshivot and universities.
It costs $30,000 to produce each volume.
The unexpected discovery of the rabbinical manuscripts lends credence to the argument that the Iraqi Jewish archive, which is due to return to Iraq after restoration, should stay in the US.
To donate by credit card visit this link. Cheques may be sent to Sephardic Heritage Museum (Att. Rabbi Raymond Sultan) 619 West County Line Road, Lakewood, NJ 07042, USA (Please email Sami Salem to inform him that you have made a donation).
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