Huberman Maimon

  • Issue: March 1989
  • Designer: R. Beckman
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 40 mm
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5

Judah Leib ha-Cohen Maimon was born in the small town of Marculcati in Bessarabia on December 11, 1875. His father was Rabbi Abraham Elimelech Fishman from whom he inherited a deep love of books. From his childhood until his last years he managed to acquire a huge library-one of the biggest in the world. With his fathers encouragement he read voraciously in all fields of Judaism - research, Jewish philosophy and even fictional literature, as well as the newspapers of his day.

From the age of 11, he began to show his qualities of leadership and became active in communal affairs.

The awakening among Russian Jewry to Zionism and settlement of the Land of Israel struck a very responsive chord in him. He was influenced by the fund-raising emissaries from the Land of Israel who reached his town and told about the Land and its wonders. Rabbi Maimon studied for a number of years in Lithuanian Yeshivot - Academies of Talmudic Study - and served as the Rabbi of the township of Ungeni in Bessarabia. He strengthened his connection with the Lovers of Zion Movement, participated in their meetings and promulgated material exhorting settlement of the Land. An accidental meeting with Rabbi Isaac Reines, the founder-to-be of the Mizrachi Movement, influenced him deeply, and in March 1902 he participated in a conference in Vilna where it was resolved to found a National Religious Union called 'Mizrachi (The Spiritual Centre). From then on he devoted himself to working for the Movement. In 1913 he settled in the Land of Israel, where he established the Mizrachi office.

During the First World War he was expelled from the country by the Turkish authorities, together with other leaders of the Jewish Settlement, and after a period in the United States he returned to Palestine in 1918, transferring with him the World Centre of the Mizrachi Movement, which he headed.

In 1921 he founded the weekly 'Ha-Tor" which continued to appear under his editorship for the next 15 years.

Rabbi Maimon played a key role in the establishing of the Chief Rabbinate in the Land of Israel and served as the chairman of all the first election committees for this supreme religious office. Until his last days he called for the strengthening of Torah lifestyle in the Mizrachi movement, in particular among its youth.

In 1935 he was appointed a member of the executive of the Jewish Agency and served as the Head of the Organization Department and the Department dealing with Artisans and Retail Business, at all times concerning himself with expanding religious facilities. Rabbi Maimon participated in the ceremony proclaiming the Establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, where he publicly pronounced, without prevarication, the blessing normally reserved for divinely ordained festivals, in full.

He served as a member of the first Government of the State as Minister of Religious Affairs and Minister responsible for War Casualties. At the end of 1951, he retired from political activity and devoted himself entirely to literary and cultural work within the framework of the institution he had nurtured, 'Mosad ha-Ray Kook".

A prolific author, his pen was active from his childhood and until ten days before his death. A list of his writings includes hundreds of books, articles, essays, anthologies, and journals that were written or edited by him or with his participation.

He died on July 11, 1962 in Jerusalem. His library was made over to Yad HaRav Maimon, within whose framework is the "Institute for Religious Zionism" which was named after him. Kfar Maimon, the Negev settlement, also bears his name.

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Rabbi Maimon