Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Rediscovered Torah

Today's New York Times has a beautiful story about an old, forgotten Sefer Torah that has found a new home. The Torah had been buried by the shamash (sexton) of a shul in Auschwitz, Germany in order to keep it out of the hands of the Nazis. A determined Rabbi from Maryland found the Torah in 2004 and even located 4 missing pieces, which were being held by a local priest who had been born Jewish. The repaired Torah was rededicated today at the Central Synagogue in Manhattan in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
It's a very moving story, I recommend reading it.

UPDATE: I see that Dov Bear has also posted about this story, but he (or his commenters) are decrying the fact that the Central Synagogue is a Reform shul, and expressing the opinion that it would have been better for the Torah to remain buried forever than to allow it to be used in a Reform congregation. I am Orthodox, and I do not agree with the tenets and practices of Reform Judaism. Nevertheless, I am glad that this Torah will now be used again by a Jewish congregation (of whatever type) to perform mitzvot.

4 comments:

Rafi G said...

it is an amazing story. I tend to think we orthodox are very haughty to claim a monopoly on Judaism and its traditions. Reform jews, comprising about 90% of Jewish people, do not have a right to claim a Torah that survived the Holocaust? Even though our philosophy is different?

ilanadavita said...

I am not a Reform Jew myself and disagree with a lot of its tenets (especially patrilineal descent) but have to admit that sometimes it is the last link some families have with Judaism or that (at least here in France) it is a way for secular Jews to go back to their roots and religion.

Phyllis Sommer said...

i read this story too - and i thought it was marvelous...

The Babka Nosher said...

I know the rabbi who rescued those Torahs. He lives in Baltimore and works out of a store in Silver Spring, MD. He is a wonderful man with a heart of gold who was been chased, questioned by police, and even beaten up by people as he has rescued Torahs. My synagogue has two scrolls that he rescued (one kosher, one not). Our congregation is a Conservative shul which considers itself honored to be in possession of these rescued Torahs. I'd hate to think that someone would think that we should not use it because we are not Orthodox.