Donor Stories

Rubin Family Sponsors
The Commentators’ Bible: The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot

December 4, 2012

rubin-familyJoel Rubin first learned about JPS in the 1960s as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. He attended Hillel House weekly and in those days the new JPS Torah translation was a major topic of conversation. Years later he served on the JPS board and was asked to consider a book sponsorship. He was intrigued by the concept of the The JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot, by Michael Carasik.

But since the first volume had not yet been published, he couldn’t picture what it was going to look like. When the first volume (Exodus) was released, Mr. Rubin was very impressed. Since then Joel and Tammy have generously sponsored all the remaining volumes.

“I always had a feeling that as an orthodox Jew I had an obligation to open up these sacred texts to those who are not as educated in Torah as I am … to make them more accessible. I also realized that it is much easier for many people to study Torah commentary in English than in Hebrew,” said Joel.

Joel Rubin confessed that he was tempted to sponsor the writing of a Sefer Torah instead, which could be considered a more significant contribution, but he felt it would be a more selfish one. “Sponsoring the Miqra’ot Gedolot is more about making Torah reachable to others,” he said.

With the support of the Rubin Family, JPS has published three volumes of The JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot: Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. Deuteronomy and Genesis will be published in the coming years. (Note: Deuteronomy was published in 2015.)

These books are substantial works of Jewish scholarship, requiring much time and resources. Without the generous gifts of the Rubin Family, this vital JPS series would not have been possible.

About The Commentators’ Bible: The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot:

First published 500 years ago as the “Rabbinic Bible,” the biblical commentaries known as Miqra’ot Gedolot have inspired and educated generations of Hebrew readers. In these new JPS volumes the voices of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides and Rashbam, and other medieval commentators come alive, speaking in a contemporary English translation, annotated and explicated for lay readers. Each page contains the biblical Hebrew, surrounded by both the 1917 and the 1985 JPS translations, and by new English translations of commentaries.

The Commentators’ Bible: The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot has been the life work, a magnum opus, of scholar and translator Michael Carasik.

A Story of JPS Pink Tanakhs

December 3, 2012

pink-tanakhsJPS Supporter, Rabbi Howard Gorin, has a passion for distributing JPS Tanakhs in the most interesting places.

He began with the emerging Jewish communities in Nigeria, who were waiting for someone to address their spiritual needs. It was not unusual for a recipient to accept a Tanakh on bended knees (literally!), extending both hands to indicate that a gift of this magnitude was too weighty, too significant, for merely one hand.

Rabbi Gorin found many recipients for the pocket editions of both the Hebrew-English Tanakh and the English-only Bible. Chaplains—in hospitals and prisons—and the populations they served clamored for these books. The blue, black, denim and white deluxe editions were snapped up immediately.

Didn’t anybody want beautiful Tanakhs with pink-colored covers?

Rabbi Gorin was then struck by the obvious: pink is the color of the fight against breast cancer. Searching the web for breast cancer organizations that specialized in working with Jewish women, he stumbled onto Sharsheret and discovered that they partner with numerous college organizations to sponsor Pink Shabbat programs during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Sharsheret was thrilled by his offer to ship 350 pink-colored Tanakhs to campuses in North Carolina, Florida, Maryland and New York.

If you would like to distribute pink Tanakhs at a breast cancer awareness event, please contact Rabbi Gorin at

A Gift of 100 JPS Books for 100 Years

December 3, 2012

David Lerman, JPS Board President, made a very generous gift of 100 JPS books in honor of the 100th birthday of his lifelong family friend, Ted Krause, a thoughtful man whose daily routine still includes full-time work, Torah study and exercise. As a child David had great admiration for Ted, who discovered Torah study in his 40s and has been studying daily ever since.

JPS visited with David and Ted (now going on 102!) to learn about their special relationship and the story behind this meaningful gift.

View another tribute to Ted Krause. This one by his company, AXA Equitable, where he has been employed for the past 65 years!

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