Return Torahs to rabbi’s widow, court rules


(JTA) — Four Torah scrolls that once belonged to a Southern California rabbi should be returned to his widow, a Los Angeles court ruled.

Tuesday’s decree in Los Angeles Superior Court follows a ruling in favor of Rita Pauker in a rabbinical court, according to the Los Angeles Daily Newsnewspaper. The rabbinical court, however, had awarded the Torah scrolls to the Paukers’ congregation and not to Rita Pauker directly.

Rabbi Norman Pauker had given the scrolls to a Sherman Oaks, Calif., synagogue in the late 1990s after he closed his own synagogue, the newspaper reported. The Sherman Oaks synagogue is still using the scrolls, which had been in the rabbi’s family for decades and are worth $29,000 to $80,000.

Rabbi Samuel Ohana, who was Pauker’s assistant, contends that Pauker gave him the scrolls; Rita Pauker claims the scrolls were on loan and wants to give them to her nephews, who are rabbis in Long Beach, Calif., New York and Florida, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

It was the third time that the Los Angeles court ruled in Rita Pauker’s favor. Ohana has said he will appeal.

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