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Milwaukee Jewish Federation Maimonides Society

The Maimonides Society is an honorary society for Jewish members of the Healing Arts professions in Milwaukee. It aims to celebrate the medical/dental professions' commitment to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation's principles of fellowship, dedication, and support for Jews throughout the world. The Society also upholds the Jewish and medical traditions of learning and study by acting as a forum for members to consider ethical, political, and social issues related to their profession. Membership is open to any person in the Healing Arts professions (including doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, veterinarians, optometrists, and others) who contribute a minimum gift of $1,800 to the Annual Campaign for the Community. (The membership requirement for Healing Arts professionals who are in their first three years of practice is $500, and any giving level is sufficient for students, residents, interns, or fellows.)

The first local chapter of the Maimonides Society was formed in the late 1980s by a group of Milwaukee doctors who wanted to create an opportunity for Jewish doctors to associate with one another. By sponsoring social and educational events for doctors and their spouses, as well as by honoring and involving physicians in the activities of the Federation and greater Jewish community, the Maimonides Society filled a need both in the profession and the community. Future plans for the Society include developing a social action component and a mentoring program.

The Maimonides Society is named for the great 12th-century Jewish physician and sage, Moses ben Maimon, also known as Rambam. Maimonides' major contribution to Jewish life remains the Mishneh Torah, his code of Jewish law. This code became a standard guide to Jewish practice and served as the model for the Shulchan Aruch, the 16th -century code of Jewish law. He also wrote the Guide to the Perplexed, one of the great philosophic statements of Judaism, and the Book of Commandments (Sefer haMitzvot), a compilation of the Torah's 613 commandments. However, the only mitzvah that Maimonides ever refers to in his writings is that of tzedakah.

Source: Joseph Telushkin. Jewish Literacy. NY: William Morrow and Co., 1991.

For further information on the Society, please e-mail Debra Gorra Barash, Campaign Manager, at debrab@milwaukeejewish.org.