NEW YORK (Feb. 17)
Rabbi Joseph Ralbag, special emissary from the Israeli Minister for Religious Affairs, is now in the United States on a mission to get Torah scrolls for a growing number of new communities in Israel, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today. According to the Minister for Religious Affairs, Zerah Warhaftig, an increasing number of border settlements, kibbutzim, army outposts, schools and institutions have submitted a request to the Ministry for Torah scrolls. The supply of scrolls which were brought from Rumania, the Ministry reported, has now been depleted. The Ministry’s report stated that in the last three years, 4, 694 Torah Scrolls have been requested from 433 different localities, including 15 cities, 25 development towns and new immigrant settlements, 362 kibbutzim and moshavim, and 30 border settlements. Thus far, the report disclosed, 1300 scrolls have been distributed and there is an immediate need, it stressed, for 800 scrolls for places that have no scrolls at all. Rabbi Ralbag hopes to obtain scrolls not only from synagogues on the verge of closing down but also from existing synagogues. This, he feels, could “simultaneously serve as a direct link between donor and recipient and serve to enhance the ties between the respective communities.” The JTA was told that the Consulate General of Israel in New York and Israeli Consulates throughout the U.S. and Canada are prepared to receive and ship scrolls to Israel.