Members of a Kansas City synagogue have come to the aid of Jewish Hurricane Sandy victims in Long Island by donating a Torah scroll to a synagogue that lost four.
Kehilath Israel Synagogue, an Orthodox synagogue in Overland Park, Kan., which has more than 15 Torah scrolls, is donating a Torah scroll to Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, a small Orthodox synagogue in Cedarhurst which had its four Torah scrolls badly damaged by the hurricane.
The Long Island synagogue was decimated after 4 feet of water washed away tables, chairs, prayer books, and four Torah scrolls, one that was over 90 years old, the congregation's rabbi, Yissachar Blinder, told JTA.
“Our Torahs were soaked with enough damage that it will be months before we are able to use them,” Blinder said. “We are really grateful for everyone in Kansas City for making this gesture to help us.”
The donation effort was spearheaded by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, Kehilath Israel’s senior rabbi, who noted that damage to synagogues could hurt the community as a whole.
“Torahs aren’t like necklaces that should just be worn occasionally and then stored away, they should be used and shared with the community,” Yanklowitz said. “We obviously weren’t affected by the hurricane here in Kansas City and we were looking for different ways to contribute to those hurt.”
Blinder’s synagogue does not own any Torah scrolls; the four scrolls damaged in the storm were on loan from synagogue members, and Blinder said a Torah scroll is just what the community needed.
“This is a silver lining for all that we’ve been through with this hurricane,” he said.
A small ceremony honoring the Torah donation and dedication will be held in Long Island on Dec. 4.