Kansas synagogue donates Torah to Sandy victims

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Members of a synagogue in the Kansas City metropolitan area have come to the aid of Jewish Hurricane Sandy victims in Long Island by donating a Torah scroll to a synagogue that lost four.

Kehilath Israel Synagogue, an Orthodox synagogue in Overland Park, Kan., which has more than 15 Torah scrolls, is donating one of them to Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, a small Orthodox synagogue in Cedarhurst, N.Y. that had its four Torah scrolls badly damaged by the hurricane.

The Long Island synagogue was hit by 4 feet of water that washed away tables, chairs, prayerbooks and four Torah scrolls, one that was more than 90 years old, said the congregation’s rabbi, Yissachar Blinder.

“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.”

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.

A small ceremony honoring the Torah donation and dedication will be held in Long Island on Tuesday, Dec. 4. — jta