July 03, 2018

A Heartwarming Torah Story

With the Knesset soon to vote on a new Basic Law (much like a constitutional amendment) declaring Israel as a Jewish State, it’s nice to see that this is not just a legal definition but a reality.

I'd like to share with you this story which was told in shul the other week by Rabbi Yehoshua Hartman in London.

He told of his nephew in Israel who became part of a group of young men who decided that they would each put aside 200 shekels a month for as long as it took to pay for a Sefer Torah to be written. They maintained this commitment for 17 years, many months with great sacrifice as young people with heavy mortgages and some bad patches at work and in business.

At the end of the 17 years, after paying the scribe they had to decide on a ‘home’ for their new Torah.

They decided to advertise for suitable shuls and communities that didn’t already have a Sefer Torah of their own. There were many replies. But the one that impressed them most was from a secular kibbutz right on the edge of the Gaza Strip. It’s called Kibbutz Kerem Shalom – famous for the nearby crossing point for transporting goods to Gaza and also the regular target of mortar attacks from Hamas.

A date was fixed for the dedication ceremony and the first shabbat reading. Two days prior, there was an outbreak of missile attacks from Gaza, and they thought about postponing it to another quieter week. In the end they decided to go ahead as planned and read from it on their first shabbat service.

Here is a video of the celebrations, and an announcement from the head of this secular kibbutz that, from now on, there will be a minyan every shabbat in Kerem Shalom.

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