Five years ago, De Leeuwe began focusing on another aspect of his roots, the Talmud, which he started to painstakingly translate into Dutch. This summer he reached the first milestone in his work, completing the translation of the first tractate, Brachot, in nine annotated volumes.
De Leeuwe says that though the Jewish population here is minuscule, Friesland is a fitting place for such work.
Writing here, he says, is a form of “tikkun," repair: He would produce the world’s first annotated Dutch translation of the Talmud in the place that the Nazis had tried to destroy his family and his people.
In the introduction to his recently completed translation, de Leeuwe mentions the “enemies” of the Jewish people but refuses to use the word Nazis. “I wasn’t going to give the Nazis the honor of being mentioned in Talmudic text,” he tells JTA.
“A thousand years from now,” he says, “this book will still say that, despite how the Germans tried to wipe out the Jewish people, we prevailed.”
The first two volumes of his translation took the most work, says De Leeuwe, a doctor and former cantor who used to teach Talmud classes while living elsewhere in the Netherlands. “I’m able to work much faster now,” he says. He hopes to finish two additional tractates by Passover.
Judaica collectors, libraries and others have bought about 300 copies of each volume, according to de Leeuwe.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
THE TALMUD IS BEING TRANSLATED INTO DUTCH: New Dutch translation of Talmud a tribute to Friesland’s nearly vanished Jews (Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA).