meaningfulWhen you dedicate a Torah selection, please email us with the subject line “Meaningful to Me” at beablessing@beth-israel.org and tell us why the letter, word, verse, chapter or portion spoke to you, and we’ll publish it here! If you know an inspiring story of why someone chose to dedicate the Torah selection they did, and you don’t see their story here, encourage them to send it to beablessing@beth-israel.org so we can publish it here on the Be a Blessing website.

One scriber’s moving experience…

The experience of writing a letter in the Torah was one of my most meaningful Jewish experiences. I felt such an incredible connection with my Jewish heritage. I could feel all my relatives who came before me as well as those who will come after me. The image of my descendants reading from this Torah was overwhelming. Laura and I began to cry.  Rabbi Lyon is brilliant bringing this program to our Temple. I applaud his remarkable accomplishments in moving Beth Israel into the 21st century.

Jay Tarnow

Congregation Beth Israel’s People’s Torah Project: A Message from Head of School Ricki Komiss

 Ricki Komiss, Head of School, The Shlenker School

A new Torah! What does that mean for me? For us at Shlenker? In its 160th year as a congregation, Beth Israel aspired to do something special. What could possibly be more special to a congregation and a school than a Torah, a People’s Torah?!

Plans were made to bring in a sofer (scribe) to write the Torah for Beth Israel. I never had the opportunity to participate in writing in a Torah so I was not sure what to expect. However, on February 10th, the sofer was at Shlenker. He met with third, fourth, and fifth grade students and discussed with the students how we received the Torah with Moses. The sofer described the parts of the Torah, including the paper, type of ink, and a little about being a sofer. The Shlenker students asked remarkably intuitive questions and were delighted with the sofer’s congenial style, abundant knowledge, and easy manner.

Following the discussion with the students, the Shlenker staff was invited to write a letter in the Torah with the sofer. I did not realize how powerful the experience would be for me. February 10th was my father’s birthday and he would have been 95 years old. Before I held the sofer’s hand to write my letter, yud, the sofer said a blessing in memory of my father, Max Jack Bernstein (Mordechai Jankel Bernstein), of blessed memory. With tears in my eyes, I placed my letter on the parchment for my grandchildren to see when they study Torah. They will know that the Torah they read from at their b’not mitzvah is the Torah that is for the People and written at Beth Israel especially for us. And their “Grandy” wrote a letter in this Torah especially for them.

The sofer will be at Beth Israel and Shlenker several times throughout the next year. The Torah will be complete at Chanukah next year as we celebrate the 160th anniversary of Beth Israel. Throughout the year, Shlenker families will have several opportunities to meet the sofer, to write their own letter (or letters) in the Torah, whether or not you are a Beth Israel member. We are grateful to the chairs of the Torah Project & Be A Blessing, Roslyn Haikin and Joe Chesnick, for their leadership in bringing this exciting experience to Shlenker.