In an effort to honor the memory of a Jewish Israeli family which experienced its own personal Holocaust, an American donor has dedicated a Torah scroll rescued from the flames of the Shoah to help build their community.
Ehud (36), Ruth (35), Yoav (11), Elad (4), and Hadas (3 months) Fogel were knifed to death in their home in the Samaria community of Itamar on March 11 by a pair of Arabs from neighboring Awarta. Three Fogel children – Tamar, Roi, and Yishai – were not physically harmed and have been taken in by their grandparents.
An international outcry was raised following the massacre, with foreign governments condemning the killings and Jewish communities holding memorial services. In New York, a man by the name of Jack Ross prepared a gift for the community of Itamar, to strengthen the grieving town.
Ross, who was in possession of a Torah scroll which had been rescued from Poland during the Holocaust, made contact with Itamar with the help of Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI), and offered to donate the scroll to the community.
He then had the scroll repaired and restored by a scribe. Next, he joined a group from AFSI to go to Itamar and help finish building a synagogue and new ark for the residents, a project sponsored by the Israel Independence Fund. On Tuesday, he and the inhabitants of Itamar took part in a ceremony to write the last letters in the scroll, and to escort it to its new home in the new ark of the new synagogue.
At the ceremony, Samaria Regional Council Liaison David Ha’ivri and Itamar Mayor Moshe Goldsmith presented Ross and AFSI president Helen Freedman with certificates of appreciation.
Samaria Regional Council Director Gershon Mesika told attendees that just as the Torah is the heart of the Jewish people, Itamar is the heart of Israel on the map. He thanked Ross and the directors of AFSI and the Israel Independence Fund for their friendship and ongoing support.