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Over the past 3 decades, SHAMIR Publishing House has created and distributed 12,000,000 Jewish books in Russian. This has played a major role in the spiritual and social revival of Russian Jewry worldwide.

For centuries, the Jewish communities in and around Russia were great centers of culture and learning. This flowering was cut off by the seventy years of oppression by the atheistic Soviet regime, which systematically burned Jewish books, outlawed Judaism, and viciously persecuted Jewish teachers and spiritual leaders.

In 1971, long before the Soviet Union fell, the SHAMIR Publishing House in Jerusalem started its work to reverse this terrible trend. We educated and trained translators and editors, who created a veritable library of Jewish books in Russian, which were then smuggled behind the Iron Curtain to preserve Jewish identity and morale.

Today, thank G-d, Russian Jews are free. But for millions the world over, there still remains an inner iron curtain of ignorance and alienation. SHAMIR breaches the barrier with such projects as:

  • HaShofar newsletter reaching tens of thousands in 80 Israeli communities;
  • The famed B’Or HaTorah Journal demonstrating the harmony of faith and science;
  • Our prestigious Encyclopedia of Russian Jewry engaging hundreds of researchers, spanning a millennium, and documenting thousands of Jewish communities, personalities, and their contributions.
  • SHAMIR Mini-Libraries which have been donated to thousands of schools, families, community centers, and libraries throughout Israel and the Former Soviet Union.

In recent years, SHAMIR has partnered with the F.R.E.E. organization of New York. SHAMIR & F.R.E.E. are committed to continue building up its Russian-language Jewish library, particularly its translated classic works of Torah and commentary, and are determinedly working to produce new releases and reprint timeless classics for the benefit of Russian Jewry worldwide.

We endeavor to satisfy the thirst of Russian Jewry for our spiritual roots. It's goal is to inform and to inspire, to help raise the consciousness and spirit of every Jew in preparation for that great day when "the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea."

Professor Herman Branover



Russian-speaking Jews have a great thirst for Jewish literature. The SHAMIR Publishing House endeavors to satisfy this thirst and to ease the search of these people for their cultural roots. Our translations of Jewish literature into Russian are considered of the highest quality. Much care is taken in selecting titles that answer the needs of a broad readership. SHAMIR aspires to provide content, style, and graphic format suited for the intelligent reader.

SHAMIR'S Publishing House began printing Russian-language Judaica in the early 1970's, and despite laws against distributing ethnic and religious literature, we sent millions of books to the USSR where the Jewish population was starving for Judaica. In Israel, SHAMIR-translated books have been distributed to several hundred local libraries, offering immigrants easy access to Russian-language texts of classic Jewish literature. Titles include; This is My G-d, by Herman Wouk, Collected Essays on Jewish Themes, by Aryeh Kaplan, The Five Books of Moses, prayer books and other Jewish texts.

SHAMIR Publishing House in Jerusalem

Today, more than 400 titles published in 12 million copies have been printed in Israel and the FSU and distributed to Russian speakers around the world. SHAMIR publishes works both translated into Russian and written originally in Russian.

The seventy-year Communist regime in the Former Soviet Union was terrible for the Jews. Nobody knows yet how many hundreds of thousands of Jews–accused of treason, espionage, and other trumped up crimes–were shot or exiled to labor camps where many perished. Jews who survived this persecution were completely stripped of any vestige of Jewish culture, language, and tradition.

Jewish books were the ultimate target of Communist attack. The older generation of Soviet Jews will never forget how convoys of trucks loaded with Jewish books slowly made their way from libraries to incinerator sites outside the cities. The demolition of Jewish books in the 1940's and 50's came after three decades of harassment and murder of rabbis and teachers.

Destroying Jewish books was the last step of a methodical plot to destroy everything Jewish in the Soviet Union.

Now, years after the collapse of Communism, great strides have been made towards repairing the damage and restoring spiritual and cultural Jewish life in the FSU. The network of schools and community centers that have been established in Russia, the Ukraine, and elsewhere is nothing short of a miracle reaching many tens of thousands. However, the vast majority of the millions of Jews remaining in the FSU can best be reached with books.

SHAMIR wants to flood the FSU with quality books on Jewish life, religion, tradition, culture, history, language, and arts. The final target of the Communists' attempt to destroy everything Jewish was books. Therefore in our attempt to reverse Russian Jewish history, we choose to start with books.

The Jews living in the former Soviet Union now enjoy new conditions allowing them to become acquainted with Jewish spiritual values, Jewish history and tradition, and the Hebrew language.

The Shofar newsletter
reaches nearly 100 communities
in Israel and abroad every month

Yet the vast majority of Jews living in the FSU and the Baltic States read only Russian, and the selection of Jewish books in this language is still very limited. Moreover, Russian-speaking Jews have a great thirst for Jewish literature. This is expressed by the active interest that new Russian immigrants in Israel and the USA show for Russian-language Judaica.

The SHAMIR Publishing House endeavors to satisfy this thirst and to ease the search of these people for their cultural and spiritual roots. The Jewish reawakening in the former Soviet Union is growing.
The SHAMIR Publishing House is doing everything it can to aid this long hoped-for process.

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