The great scholars and leaders from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries were a bridge and a foundation. They carried Jewish faith and Talmudic scholarship from its historic spawning area of Eretz Yisrael and Babylonia to the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean and to Western and Central Europe. Thanks to them, the Torah made its way to Morocco, Tunisia, Spain, Portugal, Provence, France, Italy and Germany. Upon the foundation they laid with struggle and tempered with blood, Jewry and Judaism survived and flourished in centuries of brutal persecution and savage bloodletting.
The period of the Rishonim was the epoch of such glorious figures as Rambam, Rashi, Ramban, the Tosafistts, Maharam Rothenburg, Rif, Shmuel HaNaggid and many many more. This volume presents brief biographical sketches of 300 prominent 10th-15th-century Rabbinic sages and leaders. The focus is on their contribution to the history of Torah life and scholarship. An introductory essay provides perspective and insight on the development of the various Jewish communities and their distinctive cultures.