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Deglining Jewish Community in Kansas Sends Its Torah Scrolls to Israel

The decline of the once-flourishing Jewish community of Leavenworth has prompted two of the few remaining Jews there to turn over three Sifrei Torah to Israeli authorities for needy synagogues in Israel.

Leavenworth is the site of the first synagogue in Kansas, erected in 1864. Mount Zion Cemetery is the oldest Jewish burial ground in Kansas, containing tombstones dating back to 1857. In recent years, the town has become one almost without Jews, most of the Jewish families having moved to other cities and few new ones settling there. The Jewish personnel at Fort Leavenworth come and go.

For these reasons, Meyer Garfinkel and Joe Kram became concerned over the eventual fate of the three Torahs in the Ark of their largely-unused Leavenworth synagogue. They conferred with Rabbi Maurice D. Solomon of Kehillath Israel Synagogue in Kansas City, who suggested that the Scrolls be sent to Israel. The Scrolls were properly packed and shipped to Israel Consul Haim Zohar in New York, who arranged for transhipment to the Israeli Ministry for Religious Affairs for distribution.

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