K.C. synagogue donating Torah scroll to Sandy-ravaged N.Y. congregation


NEW YORK (JTA) — Members of a Kansas City synagogue will donate a Torah scroll to a suburban New York congregation that had its four scrolls badly damaged by superstorm Sandy.

Kehilath Israel Synagogue, an Orthodox synagogue in Overland Park, with more than 15 Torah scrolls, will give one to Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, a small Orthodox synagogue in Cedarhurst on Long Island.

Ahavas Yisroel was decimated by Sandy: Four feet of water washed away tables, chairs, prayer books and the scrolls, including one that was more than 90 years old, its 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.”

A small ceremony honoring the Torah donation and dedication will be held Dec. 4 on Long Island.

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. 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. 


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