The summer of 2009 the Maimonides Heritage Center officially opens and dedicates the mini-museum on the life and legacy of Maimonides in Tiberias. This milestone marks the culmination of a number of years of work by numerous volunteers and donors dedicated to cleaning and restoring the area surrounding the grave of HaRambam, Maimonides.
In the late summer of 2003 Rabbi Yamin Levy and small group of personal friends’ took a trip to Israel in the hopes of being inspired and educated at the gravesite of one of the most important figures in Jewish history – Maimonides. Instead the small group was horrified to find that the gravesite was totally neglected and in such a state of disrepair that people literally would throw their garbage and old appliances on the grounds surrounding the grave. The building immediately adjacent to Maimonides Burial place was actually a crack house for drug addicts and troubled teens. There certainly was no inspiration here and there was no educational material suggesting that this place was sacred.
Rabbi Yamin Levy came back to the United States on a mission not only to transform Maimonides’ burial grounds into a place befitting one of the most significant personalities in Jewish history, but also to make the surrounding area a place that visitors can come and learn and be inspired. A parallel goal, one that is very much in sync with the teaching and legacy of Maimonides was the urgency felt by Rabbi Levy and those involved that they need to help stem the tide of economic depression that plagued the city of Tiberias. By turning the Maimunia neighborhood into a place that tourists will find interesting an infusion of tourist dollars and attention could dramatically change the future of this community. Thus the Maimonides Heritage Center was born.
In November of 2003 the building adjacent to Maimonides grave was purchased and the renovations began. Through a series of ups and downs setback and progress the museum is complete.
The Museum was designed by Rabbi Yamin Levy and Rabbi Menachem Makover, director of the Temple Mount Museum. The space is small and includes a fascinating walk through the life of Maimonides, his literary and professional legacy and his impact on Judaism, Medicine and Philosophy.
The meditation Gardens alongside the museum have been dedicated by Stanley and Raine Silverstein in Honor of there children Rene and Ezra Dabah and the entire campus is called Kikar Dabah. The Meditation Gardens have an area where we are growing a series of medicinal herbs that appear in Maimonides’ medical writings.