Hebrew and Jewish Studies in Jaipur

Here is an under-reported initiative from Jaipur, India. Hebrew and Jewish Studies set in a Sufi college framework.
And at the bottom of this post I note a 13th century Sufi Muslim teacher of Maimonides.

Central University’s courses on Sufism and Hebrew for world peace* – Times Of India – India; Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jaipur: To cash in on the growing bilateral ties between Israel and India, the Central University, Kishangarh, has announced a language course on Hebrew. It is also starting a research programme on Sufism to spread progressive school of Islam from the coming session.

“The growing strategic and diplomatic relationship between two nations is generating many opportunities for professionals. The proficiency in this language besides management or engineering degree will open floodgates for our students in fields like space technology, agricultural and strengthening business ties,” said MM Salunkhe, vice-chancellor of Central University.

For instance, in 2008, Israel and India finalised a three-year plan to introduce crops such as olives, dates and grapes in Rajasthan for products like olive oil.

The university might open a research centre on Judaism considering the large presence of Jews in Pushkar and Ajmer. The Chabad — a place of worship for Jews in Pushkar, attracts thousands of Jews in the state. The course came into the thought of V-C after reading an international opinion survey conducted in 2009 on behalf of the Israeli foreign ministry.

In fact, the university is taking assistance to formalise the structure of the course as per the Sufi teachings and Sufi philosophy of Khwaja Moinuddhin Chishti, which dates back to 11th century. “I have experienced Sufism and found it necessary to have extensive research on its practices and values,” said M M Salunkhe, vice-chancellor, Central University.

They are also planning to invite speakers from Jewish and Sufis to find out solutions to growing confrontation between Muslims and Jews across the globe. Syed Nazmul Hasan Chisthy, a sufi scholor has offered his assistance to design the curriculum for research programme in Sufism.

I have had this clipped for months since I read the article waiting for some chance to mention Sufis and Jews in the same post.

Ibn Sabʿīn’s circle included both the controversial poet al-Shushtarī and the intriguing figure of Ibn Hūd al-Mursī (d. 1299 or 1300), who taught Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed to Jewish students, and who reportedly once scandalized a scholar who had asked to be initiated into his order by replying, “Into which order, that of Moses, Jesus or Muhammad?”

Cited in Khaled El-Rouayheb, “Heresy and Sufism in the Arabic-Islamic world, 1550–1750: Some preliminary observations” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (2010), 73: 357-380

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