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April 28, 2015 / 9 Iyar, 5775
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The Torah Rescuer

The Torah Rescuer

Photo Credit: Steinfeldt Photography Collection of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest

You’d have thought Butcher David Gantman was probably more at home with his cutlets and chickens than he was with the Torah scrolls he held, posing for this picture. And yet, according to the Steinfeldt Photography Collection of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, some time in the 1930s, Gantman rescued these Torah scrolls from a St. Paul synagogue (possibly the Sons of Moses) which burned to the ground.

The Orthodox Sons of Moses congregation was largely composed of Russian and Rumanian Jews, who worshipped in what had been a church on the West side of St. Paul on Thirteenth and Canada St.

Here’s a picture circa 1945 of David and Joe Gantman at work at Gantman’s Kosher Meat Market, at 682 Selby Avenue. The guy on the left went into a burning synagogue and walked out with two Torah scrolls.

 Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, 4330 South Cedar Lake Road, Minneapolis, MN 55416

Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, 4330 South Cedar Lake Road, Minneapolis, MN 55416

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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