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In blessed memory of Professor Benjamin Fain.

B'Or Ha'Torah mourns the passing of Professor BENJAMIN FAIN, a brilliant scientist dedicated to the Jewish People and the Torah. Born in Kiev in 1930, Benjamin Fain was named after his grandfather who was murdered in the Proskurov pogrom. During World War II, the family was evacuated and wandered from place to place until settling in Dushanbe, where Fain completed school. While studying at the Moscow Power Institute, Fain began to visit the synagogue. He was deeply impressed by the first Israeli ambassador to the USSR, Golda Meir. In 1950, Fain was accepted to study physics at Gorky University. His mentor was Nobel laureate Vitaly Ginzburg, and he graduated summa cum laude. By 1965, Fain was appointed a professor at his alma mater. The scientific books he wrote during this period on condensed phase and optical physics were translated into English and German and are still being used today. Fain combined mathematics, intuition, and a deep understanding of physics in an original way. Among his major titles are Quantum Radiophysics (written with Y.I. Khanin and published in Russian) and Quantum Electronics (written with Y.I. Khanin in English and published by Pergamon in 1969).

In 1966 he moved back to Moscow, where he worked at the Institute of Solid State Physics and became involved in the Zionist movement. He participated in a refusenik scientific seminar and in the anti-Communist underground. After applying for an exit visa to Israel in 1974, he was dismissed from his post for political reasons.

In 1976, Fain initiated sociological research on Soviet Jewry, attempting to organize an international symposium on the subject. This attempt was foiled by the KGB, who began to follow him. After a period of arrests, searches, interrogations, and a hunger strike, Fain was finally permitted to immigrate to Israel in 1977. During his final period in the USSR, Fain gradually became a Torah-observant Jew.

In Israel, Professor Fain continued to struggle to improve the life of Jews in the Soviet Union. He worked in the School of Chemistry of Tel Aviv University in the fields of quantum electronics, lasers, and condensed matter. In 1998 his attention changed focus to the interrelation between the philosophy of science and Judaism. After retirement, Fain wrote his first book in this field, Creation ex Nihilo. Written originally in Hebrew, this book was translated into English and Russian. In 2008 Fain completed another book in Hebrew, Law and Providence--Spirit and Matter, Divine Providence and the Laws of Nature, and the Openness of the World to G-d and Man, which was translated into English by Urim Publications and reviewed in B'Or Ha'Torah, volume 21. In 2011, Professor Fain's third book, The Poverty of Secularism, was published in Hebrew by Mosad Harav Kook. It was translated into English by Urim Publications in 2012. Shortly before his death on the fifth of Iyyar 5773 (March 14, 2013), his Hebrew book Sod Ha'Nishamah was published by Mosad Harav Kook, and his article "Fain's The Poverty of Secularism versus Dawkins' The G-d Delusion" was published in BHT 23.

Benjamin Fain is survived by his wife, Shoshanah, his children Eva, Aharon, and Gideon, and his grandchildren. May his memory be for

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Publication:B'Or Ha'Torah
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Jan 1, 2014
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