Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
New Shaare Torah will travel to shiva homes, simchas
Every so often a great community story lands on my desk right about press time.
Yesterday I was sent a fabulous photo from David Zoller (see Page 1 main photo) and my curiosity was piqued. I had not heard that Shaare Tefilla had welcomed a new Torah last weekend, but this Torah has a unique back story. It was the result of an encounter at a shiva home, when Richard Rohan, a past president of Shaare, was sitting shiva for his mother, Valy Rohan ob”m, in early January. “It was a Friday afternoon and we were transporting a Torah and an Ark to the Rohan home to read from during morning services during the shiva period,” explained Shaare Tefilla’s Rabbi Ariel Rackovsky. “The Ark we have is exceptionally heavy, and the Torah we were using — one of our regular Torahs — is not light, either.”
Rabbi Rackovsky explained that at the shiva home was Richard’s aunt, Ann Rosenberg. She expressed concern that the items Shaare uses for shiva — the Ark and the Torah — were so heavy and require significant manpower to transport.
According to Rabbi Rackovsky, “On the spot, she offered to donate a smaller, more portable ‘traveling’ Torah and a lighter, smaller Ark to house it.” This smaller Torah will be used for shiva houses, but Shaare plans to use it on many joyous occasions as well. Mrs. Rosenberg donated the Torah in memory of her sister-in-law and brother-in-law Manny and Valy Rohan, Richard’s parents and a founding family of Shaare Tefilla.
Rabbi Rackovsky explained how one goes about getting a Torah. They can be purchased mostly finished and then a sofer (scribe) typically finishes it at the synagogue where it will be housed. The Rohan traveling Torah was purchased from Tiferes Stam, a resource for all Sefer Torah matters and other Judaica in Brooklyn, New York.
“The owner, Rabbi Tzvi Chaim (aka Heshy) Pincus, has traveled all over the world completing Sifrei Torah and has even done this at Shaare Tefilla in the past, where he developed a close relationship with Manny Rohan, Richard Rohan’s father.”
The Shaare community welcomed the Rohan traveling Torah Sunday, Aug. 6, with a processional from Shaare’s social hall outside onto Whitley and back into the synagogue. Local sofer Rabbi Avraham Bloomenstiel completed scribing the final 75 letters Sunday alongside community members who sponsored the writing of a letter in order to fulfill the commandment to write a Torah scroll.
In his remarks Sunday, Rabbi Rackovsky said, “As a community, our mandate is to have Torah scrolls in their resting place, in the Aron Kodesh — representing the steadfast values we hold and the principles from which we will not deviate. But our Torah must ‘travel’ as well, showing that the Torah life we live is always relevant and that Torah governs every aspect of our lives.”
Rohan was deeply touched by his aunt’s generosity and said that this Sefer Torah is a testament to his parents’ love of their Jewish heritage.
“I’m very grateful to have parents who stressed the importance of our Jewish heritage and the need to pass that knowledge on to successive generations, and to have family like the Rosenbergs, who continue to set examples for philanthropy and for placing the needs of the community among their highest priorities. I’m thrilled that this Sefer Torah will be something my kids and their kids will be able to see in action for decades to come,” Richard Rohan said.