||Listing of the members of the Mekize Nirdamim (rousers of those who slumber), the first society for the publication of medieval Hebrew literature in every branch of intellectual activity, in scholarly editions for the year 650 - 1889.
The aim of the society was both to propagate a knowledge of Jewish scholarship and to establish personal contact between scholars. The structure of the society - which still continues - provided for a board of directors, consisting of the best qualified scholars in their field, and annual subscriptions from members. The Mekize Nirdamim was founded in 1862 by R. E. L. Silbermann in Lyck, founder-editor of the first Hebrew weekly Ha-Maggid, with the cooperation of Chief Rabbi Nathan M. Adler (London), R. M. Sachs (Berlin), and R. S. D. Luzzatto. There was a certain amount of opposition - for a variety of reasons - which included a lack of faith in the possibility of the renaissance of Jewish culture, an opposition to the publication of non-rabbinic texts, and an opposition in principle to the exclusive use of Hebrew, which was established as a rule by the society, and/or an opposition to its founders by such scholars as A. Geiger and M. Steinschneider. Support was found, however, among Polish and Russian scholars and even in rabbis such as R. Samuel and R. Mattityahu Straschun, R. S. Ganzfried, R. M. L. Malbim, and by 1864 the number of subscribers, from a great many countries, stood at 1,200. In the same year the first four publications were issued, among them the first installment of S. D. Luzzatto's edition of Judah Halevi's Diwan. The adherence of Moses Montefiore in 1865 brought with it the support of many who had been aloof. After a decade's activity, there was a pause until, in 1885, the society resumed its work in Berlin, guided by A. Berliner, A. Harkavy, and others. It was then that the series Kobez al Jad was initiated (26 volumes by 1970), devoted to the publication of smaller manuscripts and documents. In 1934 the seat of the Mekize Nirdamim was transferred to Jerusalem. By 1970, 110 works had been issued. S. Y. Agnon served as president of the society (1954–70), and was succeeded by Gershom Scholem.