A scribe (Sofer in Hebrew) in Jerusalem works on restoring a damaged Torah scroll.
Posts Tagged ‘Torah Scroll’
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was the second most important member to participate in a ceremony to honor the memory of the victims of terror who died in Paris last month.
The most important member was the beautiful new Torah scroll upon whose parchment the scribe and honored guest penned the final Hebrew letters.
The scroll was the first of four, two of which will be in placed in synagogues in Paris, and two to be kept at the Western Wall.
After inscribing the last letters in the Torah written in memory of those who were murdered last month by an ISIS terrorist at the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery in Paris, the prime minister said, “I express the feelings of the Jewish People regarding these victims, who are part of our people and who were murdered just because they were Jews, in terrible anti-Semitism that is sweeping across Europe. Many European governments are still not ready to point to the source of the new anti-Semitism – extremist Islam. To my regret, we saw an expression of this spirit yesterday at the UN, when they refused to condemn Hezbollah, which claimed responsibility for the murderous attack against our forces.
“On the one hand, in Europe they refuse to call the child by its name, or at least they are not ready to grab the bull by the horns and say that the source of the new anti-Semitism and the murderous attacks that are running rampant around the world, this terrible brutality against Jews and against non-Jews, is extremist Islam.
I share not only in the grief of the families, but in the feelings of the entire Jewish People who understand that the attack in Paris was an attack on all Jews wherever they are. If these murderers had the ability, they would kill all Jews wherever they are. By the way, they say this very clearly; therefore, there is no alternative to Jews defending themselves – first and foremost in the state of the Jews. Governments that line up against this anti-Semitism will discover its source.”
A Torah scroll was stolen yesterday (Tuesday, Oct. 28) from Moshav Bareket, according to sources from within the community. Bareket is located in the Shefela region, in central Israel.
The writing of the scroll and its intended donation was paid for by a woman in memory of her five lost children.
“The mother hasn’t stopped crying” since the scroll was stolen, a member of one of Israel’s branches of the Chabad-Lubavitch women’s organization, told JewishPress.com on Wednesday.
“Please let people know,” she urged. “Perhaps the stolen scroll will surface if the thieves try to sell it, and then they will be caught and we will be able to recover it.”
Remember the scene in Life of Brian, where the different splinter groups of the Judean Liberation Movement run into each other and start a brawl? Well, you’re in for a treat.
A group of Women of the Wall supporters, mostly from the United States, have split off over the negotiations between WOW and the Israeli government. The women have named their splinter organization Original Women of the Wall, or O-WOW, and plan to hold their own services at the Wall.
According to Aliza Lipkin, blogging for Times of Israel, O-Wow consists of some founding members that have not lost sight of the original concept, which is to pray as they please by the Western Wall. The compromise of moving to an egalitarian section that has been offered in exchange for WoW’s list of demands surely misses the point. They want to pray at the Kotel, where they have been the past 25 years and to be acknowledged as having the right to pray there. And so two steps forward three steps back.
Now, if we could stage a brawl involving everybody: the Women of the Wall, the Women against the Women of the Wall, Haredim who hate the Women of the wall, seminary girls bused in to mess with the Women of the Wall, and, possibly, the players and coaches of the Miami Dolphins – we could worship God like He hasn’t been worshipped since the deluge.
Incidentally, I’ve been saying for a long time that all the WOWs should get the entire Kotel, which is, basically, the supporting wall of the real thing, the Temple Mount up above – and let the rest of the Jews move up a rung to God’s real place. But nobody listens to me.
Meanwhile, according to Haaretz, Women of the Wall is close to approving an agreement with the Israeli government to move the group’s monthly prayer service to a new egalitarian area.
The agreement comes after months of negotiations between the organization and an Israeli government committee.
In October, the Women of the Wall presented 16 conditions under which the group would move its monthly prayer service to an egalitarian section of the Western Wall’s plaza now under construction.
The conditions pertain to the section’s size, appearance, management, accessibility, budget and name. Taken together, the conditions mandate that the new section be treated as equal to the existing Western Wall plaza.
Women of the Wall chairwoman Anat Hoffman said in a letter sent to key supporters of the organization that a special government committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mendelblit had agreed to most of the conditions, reported Haaretz, which obtained a copy of the letter.
The letter reportedly said the committee’s recommendations would be submitted to the Cabinet for approval in the coming weeks and that the egalitarian area would be ready in “a year or more,” Haaretz reported.
The site will have a mobile, temporary mechitzah for the monthly prayer services since some of the members are Orthodox and do not pray with men, according to the letter.
The committee also reportedly agreed to allow group members to jointly oversee administration of the egalitarian space, according to Haaretz.
Hoffman said in the letter that the group will continue to work to gain permission to bring its own Torah scroll to the site once the negotiations are completed. She also said, according to Haaretz, that the group will continue to pray in the women’s section “until the full implementation of the report’s agreed-upon recommendations.”
JTA content was used in this report.
At first glance, it looked like any other community day in the park. Kids dabbled on arts-and-crafts projects while the adults mingled, enjoying refreshments on a nearby table as a band played in the background.
But a few details hinted that this Sept. 10 festival was unlike any other the city of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada had ever seen—namely, the tent just off to the side, where a bearded gentleman sat with a quill in hand and a large Torah scroll open on a table before him.
The pomp and circumstance went hand in hand to mark the completion and dedication of a brand-new Torah scroll for the two-year-old Chabad-Lubavitch of the Okanagan, co-directed by Rabbi Shmuly and Fraidy Hecht.
“People were just flabbergasted, and so excited to have a Sefer Torah,” said Rabbi Hecht. “People in the community came over to me in tears telling me how happy they are living in this small town, and who would have ever thought we’d get to write our own Sefer Torah?”
Hecht noted that the date was chosen to recognize the yahrtzeit, the anniversary of the passing of Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson, mother of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.
Community member Stephen Cipes acknowledged the “great deal of support, merriment and gaiety” at the celebration. “It was very meaningful.”
Of some 117,000 residents in Kelowna, Hecht estimates that maybe 1,000 are Jewish. And while Kelowna is the largest city in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, how did this relatively quiet area—a full 4½-hour drive northeast of Vancouver—end up with its own Torah?
‘A Nice Coincidence’
According to Hecht, the story goes back several months ago to the Jewish festival of Shavuot.
For that holiday—held this year in mid-May and which commemorates G‑d’s giving of the Torah at Sinai—Hecht needed to borrow a Torah scroll from a synagogue in Vancouver, since Chabad Kelowna didn’t have one of its own. Having secured one, he then sent out invitations to the community to attend a lively holiday service.
Cipes, originally from New York, and his adult sons were among those who took the rabbi up on the invite. “It was a wonderful time we had,” recalled Cipes, adding that two of his sons were even honored with an aliyah, being called up to the Torah as it was read aloud.
After services, Cipes and his son Ezra went to talk to the rabbi. That’s when Stephen Cipes announced that he wanted to buy a Torah.
“I was just inspired, and I stood up and made the gesture spontaneously,” said Cipes. “I really didn’t even know we didn’t have a Torah,” he said, because one was present during the service. As for the timing—making a pledge to buy a scroll on the day Jews celebrate G‑d’s giving of the Torah—Cipes noted that it was a “nice coincidence.”
Hecht recalled telling Cipes after his announcement “how amazing it was that on the day of Shavuot when the Jewish people received the first Torah, how honored we are that on that day we received our first Torah.”
Given that it can cost between $20,000 and $60,000 to purchase a new Torah scroll, it is often not something most Chabad houses can do when they are first getting off the ground. (The cost is due to the meticulous work and significant time it takes for the sofer, the scribe, to compose the scroll.)
During the next few months, Hecht located a Torah scroll being written in Israel and arranged for Cipes to purchase it with a planned completion marked for the High Holidays.
The Torah they got, said Cipes, “is a piece of art. It is one of the most beautiful Torahs anyone’s ever seen … .”
And in that beautiful scroll, Cipes and other community members had a hand in physically helping to complete the final letters on that early September day in the park.
“Everyone got to do a letter from their Hebrew name, which was exciting,” said Hecht, noting that this Torah is believed to be the first ever written for Jews living in the Okanagan Valley.
Among those who wrote in the scroll was Chabad supporter Lesley Spiegel, who stood in for her husband, Timothy, who was on a plane at the time. Reflecting on that moment, Spiegel said, “Honestly, it happened so quickly that I had difficulty collecting my thoughts and trying to understand the scribe at the same time. When I thought about the whole experience later, I was very emotional. I have never seen a Torah up close!”
A Torah scroll that since 1942 has been hidden in a monastery was returned to a synagogue in Dabrowa Tarnowska in southern Poland.
The Torah had been returned earlier this month but the event was reported for the first time on Saturday.
The Torah scroll was brought to the monastery in Tuchow, Poland, some 60 miles from Krakow, by an anonymous person who asked the priests to keep it until the synagogue in Dabrowa again became a place of prayer, according to Father Kazimierz Piotrowski of the Redemptorist monastery in Warsaw.
“After the war for many years the synagogue was systematically devastated. The Torah was thus kept in a monastery in Tuchow,” Piotrowski told the Catholic News Agency.
The synagogue in Dabrowa Tarnowska was built in the second half of the 19th century. During World War II, the Germans turned it into a workshop. Over the past few years, the building was renovated and it is now called the “House of Cultures.”
Following the building’s dedication, the Redemptorists decided to return the Torah scroll there. In 2010, the mayor of Dabrowa Tarnowska gave the scroll to conservationists, and today it can be seen in the prayer hall of the former synagogue.
Haredi men and women and the Women of the Wall movement made their monthly commotion at the Western Wall Wednesday morning, ignoring pleas from the Western Wall rabbi to show “sensitivity” to Muslims and not to pray at the holy site.
The Women of the Wall also rejected a police request not to come with Tefillin, which are not used by women in traditional Judaism. However, police have successfully barred Jews from ascending the Temple Mount the entire week.
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz published a letter Tuesday, emphasizing “sensitivity and security at the conclusion of the month of Ramadan”, the Muslim holy month that concludes this week. Tens of thousands of Muslims crowd the Temple Mount for Muslim prayers in Ramadan, especially at the beginning and the end of the month.
Rabbi Rabinowitz has failed in the past to keep the Women of the Wall (WoW) away from the Kotel, but his using “sensitivity to Muslims” as an excuse is exactly the kind of Ghetto mentality that has allowed Arabs to squeeze out political and religious concessions from Jews for decades.
The unprecedented closure of the Temple Mount to Jews for an entire week was a victory for the Waqf, the Muslim authority that runs the holy site to which Israel has surrendered de facto sovereignty. Harassment, insults and riots by Palestinian Authority Muslims have occasionally forced Jews to leave the Temple Mount, but they have become routine in recent weeks.
Police have allowed the violence to win the day, and Rabbi Rabinowitz’s “sensitivity” to Muslims broadcasts a strong signal that Jews are willing to give up their rights if it means causing a commotion.
Ironically, it is the Women of the Wall and Haredim who are not surrendering. Approximately 250 women showed up at the Western Wall Wednesday morning, which is the first fay of the Hebrew month of Elul and the first day of daily shofar blowing until the day before Rosh HaShanah, except for Shabbat.
An unusually large number of Haredim also showed up and filled up the women’s section, preventing the Women of the Wall from praying there.
Police also stopped a woman from breaking the rules of the Western Wall by bringing a Sefer Torah into the prayer area. The only Torah scrolls that are allowed to be used are those that already are in place, and, of course, Rabbi Rabinowitz does not allow women to use one of the Western Wall scrolls.
However, he had no problem breaking the rules and allowing Haredim to use a megaphone so they could pray louder and blow their whistles louder in order to aggravate the women.
Between the women’s singing and the whistles and shouts of the Haredim, the shofar sounded, heralding the People of Israel to repent for their sins towards the High Holy Days.
The Muslims, instead of scratching their heads at the absurdity of politics disguised by a costume of prayer at the Western Wall, are probably celebrating the end of Ramadan as the first blow against true Jewish prayer at the Western Wall.