In music
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Click image above for more details

By Cantor Benjamin Z. Maissner.

Dear Congregants and Friends,

SEPTEMBER 21, 2014 INTERFAITH PEACE DAY
METROPOLITAN UNITED CHURCH (56 Queen Street)
DEDICATED TO LEARNING ABOUT TOLERANCE BETWEEN PEOPLE

This day is a milestone and hopefully a turning point in the interfaith relationships among the three monotheistic religions —

Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

I have been working on this admirable committee for a long time preparing for this significant interfaith day.  Please save the date and join us in learning and exploring the cultural heritage.

A gift to the world.

PHILOSOPHY OF THREE MEDIEVAL SCHOLARS

By Cantor Benjamin Z. Maissner.

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Click to enlarge

“Discourse on Peace in the Middle Ages:
Moses Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas & Jalaladdin Rumi”

SEPTEMBER 21, 2014 – INTERFAITH PEACE DAY
METROPOLITAN UNITED CHURCH (56 Queen Street)
DEDICATED TO LEARNING ABOUT TOLERANCE

Bridges Beyond Faith, Twilight of Peace:

Moses Maimonides
Mosheh ben Maimon – “Our Rabbi/Teacher Moses Son of Maimon”), was a pre-eminent medieval Spanish, Sephardic Jewish philosopher, astronomer and one of the most prolific and influential Córdoba (present-day Spain), 1135 and died in Egypt on December 12, 1204. Location of his death is possibly Tiberius, where his son and his tomb are set. He was a rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt.

Although his writings on Jewish law and ethics were met with acclaim and gratitude from most Jews, even as far off as Iraq and Yemen, and he rose to be the revered head of the Jewish community in Egypt, there were also vociferous critics of some of his writings, particularly in Spain. Nevertheless, he was posthumously acknowledged to be one of the foremost rabbinical arbiters and philosophers in Jewish history, his copious work comprising a cornerstone of Jewish scholarship. His fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah still carries significant canonical authority as a codification of Talmudic law. In the Yeshiva world he is called sometimes “haNesher haGadol” (the great eagle) in recognition of his outstanding status as a bona fide exponent of the Oral Torah.

Maimonides lived towards the end of the golden age of Jewish culture in the Iberian Peninsula, after the first centuries of the Moorish rule. At an early age, he developed an interest in sciences and philosophy. He read those Greek philosophers accessible in Arabic translations, and was deeply immersed in the sciences and learning of Islamic culture. It is believed that the “Gaonic” tradition, especially in its North African version, formed the basis of his legal thoughts. It is clear that Muslim law, had a substantial influence on his philosophy. Maimonides was not known as a supporter of mysticism, although a strong intellectual type of mysticism has been discerned in his philosophy. Maimonides studied Torah under his father Maimon, who had in turn studied under Rabbi Joseph Ibn Migash, a student of Isaac Alfasi.

Maimonides gained widespread recognition as a physician and was appointed court physician to the Grand Vizier Al Qadi al Fadil, then to Sultan Saladin, after whose death he remained a physician to the royal family. In his medicinal writings, he described many conditions, including asthma, diabetes, hepatitis, and pneumonia, and emphasized moderation and a healthy lifestyle. His treatises became influential for generations of physicians. He was knowledgeable about Greek and Arabic medicine. Maimonides in his medical writings sought to interpret works of authorities so that they could become acceptable. Maimonides displayed in his interactions with patients attributes that today would be called intercultural awareness and respect for the patient’s autonomy. It is remarkable that he managed to write extended treatises, including not only medical and other scientific studies but some of the most systematically thought-through and influential treatises on halakha (rabbinic law) and Jewish philosophy of the Middle Ages. In 1173/4, Maimonides wrote his famous Iggeret Teman (Epistle to Yemen). His rabbinic writings are valued as fundamental and unparalleled resources for religious Jews today.

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