DID YOU KNOW THAT ... in 1267, the Ramban emigrated from Spain to Israel? R. Moshe ben Nachman (c.1194-c.1270), also known as Nachmanides and by the acronym of Ramban, was a great Biblical, Talmudic, and Kabbalist scholar, and a physician by trade. Born in Girona, Catalonia, he was the leading Jewish scholar in the Disputation of Barcelona of 1263 called by King James I of Aragon at the behest of the Dominicans friars. In its aftermath, and despite or maybe because of his brilliant defense of Judaism he was banished from Aragon on grounds of blasphemy. After sojourning through Spain and southern France, he headed to Israel. He reached Acco in 1267 and continued his journey to Jerusalem. In a letter to his son, he reports having found Israel and Jerusalem, in particular, in a rather desolate state. R. Moshe started immediately working on rebuilding Jewish life in the city. In Mt. Zion, in a ruined house with marble pillars and arcs, he established a synagogue that bears his name and stands to this day. Restorations work proceeded swiftly. The synagogue was ready for use on Rosh Hashanah, a mere three weeks after his arrival. The next task was to set up a yeshiva, which promptly attracted students from near and afar. Since his arrival, Jewish settlement is said to have been continuous in Jerusalem. Hence, he is in this context referred to as ‘Avi HaYishuv’, Father of the Community. He later moved to Acco, where he is known to have interacted with R. Yechiel of Paris [1190-1268] and the very successful yeshiva he had recently relocated from Paris. R. Moshe died in Acco in 1270 and is buried in Haifa near R. Yechiel of Paris. Having been the first major Halachic authority to pronounce the resettlement of the Land of Israel as one of the 613 Biblical Commandments, R. Moshe spent the last three years of his life working to rebuild Jewish life in a land which over the previous two centuries that had been devastated by the Crusades.