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Congregation Beth Shalom receives Torah

Posted: June 28, 2008 2:19 a.m.
Updated: August 29, 2008 5:03 a.m.
A 150-year-old Torah has found a new home at Congregation Beth Shalom thanks to a donation from members Marianne and David Simon.

The gift was donated in honor of Marianne's parents, Leonard and Nancy Marcus.

"Torah refers to the most ancient and holy text that unites Jews, Christians and Muslims," said Rabbi Ira Rosenfeld of the conservative Jewish congregation. "The word Torah is rooted in the Hebrew word for teaching or instruction. So, we are also thankful for the gift of Torah that we receive form the righteous actions and generous contributions of Dave and Marianne, as well as so many others in our friendly and inclusive community."

While donating a Torah is common in other areas, for Congregation Beth Shalom, Rosenfeld said it is a "rare event."

A Torah, or the first part of the Hebrew Bible made up of the Five Books of Moses, is a scroll of parchment written by hand in the Hebrew language. The Torah is read from beginning to end throughout the year in weekly portions.

The couple originally wanted to donate a new Torah, however, the rabbi said they were encouraged to donate a "used one" because it has history.

After meeting with rabbis who specialize in torahs, the couple was able to choose from 10 different scrolls until they decided on the 150-year-old one that is believed to have origins in Eastern Europe.

From there, a sofer (Hebrew for scribe) went through the scroll to repair it before officially being donated to the congregation.

The new Torah was given special acknowledgment during a June 20 ceremony. Rosenfeld said the Torah will receive different introductions throughout the year.


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