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Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines
Isaac Jacob Reines, Pritzker Family National Photography Collection

Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines

The Reines collection includes 88 manuscripts that were entrusted to the National Library of Israel in memory of Rabbanit Elka Cyperstein. The collection allows public access, for the first time, to the unpublished writings of Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines (1839-1915). Rabbi Reines was a brilliant scholar with wide ranging interests and impacts. He is known as one of the first rabbis to give wholehearted support to the Zionist movement and founded the Mizrachi movement, an international religious Zionist organization that functioned within the larger secular Zionist organization. Rabbi Reines also founded and stood at the head of a yeshiva which combined traditional intense Talmud study with secular studies and with a broader Jewish studies curriculum including Jewish history and literature.

The eleven books that Rabbi Reines published during his lifetime were only a tiny fraction of his writings that existed only in manuscript form. After his passing, Rabbi Reines's son published one more book of his, and prepared a large number of his manuscripts for publication. However, the publisher did not print the manuscripts as promised, and they remained hidden from public view and largely forgotten for decades. Recently descendants of Rabbi Reines learned of the existence of the manuscripts, purchased them, and donated them to the National Library of Israel, where they were digitized and are now available online to all readers. The manuscripts span a wide range of topics, including Talmud and Jewish law, Aggadah, Zionism, and philosophy and Jewish thought.