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Yeshiva U Museum adds historic items to Maimonides exhibit

The additions include a receipt written by 12th-century sage for funds raised to ransom Jews from Crusader captivity.

The ongoing exhibit at the museum in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. Credit: Yeshiva University Museum.
The ongoing exhibit at the museum in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. Credit: Yeshiva University Museum.

Yeshiva University Museum has announced additions to its Maimonides exhibit, including a new installation that features several historic fragments of centuries-old documents on loan from Cambridge University Library.

The documents hold particular relevance to the current situation in Israel, the school said.

One noteworthy document is a receipt written by Maimonides (1138–1204), also known as Moses ben Maimon or Rambam, for funds raised to ransom Jewish captives taken after the Crusader assault on Bilbeis in the Nile Delta. Maimonides’ involvement in redeeming captives seized during the Crusades is a poignant and timely piece of history given the current situation of Israelis being held hostage in Gaza. 

According to Yeshiva University, the document provides tangible evidence of the enduring Jewish commandment to retrieve hostages and save lives, a principle dating back millennia and reinforced when Maimonides himself proclaimed, “There is no greater mitzvah [commandment] than the redemption of captives.”

The exhibition at the museum in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, “The Golden Path: Maimonides Across Eight Centuries,” runs until Feb. 29, offering a rare glimpse into the legacy of the renowned figure.

Artifacts with a personal connection to this great Jewish luminary include a Mishneh Torah (code of law that revolutionized the study and practice of Judaism) signed and personally approved by Maimonides; a fragment from the Cairo Genizah with Maimonides’s signature and other fragments written in his hand; and a volume of his commentary on the Mishnah, containing notes written by Maimonides and a well-known sketch of the Temple Menorah, which may have been drawn by the sage and has in recent decades become the model for menorahs used in public Chanukah celebrations across the world.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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