A Woodmere Orthodox synagogue that lost its Torah scrolls due to flooding from Hurricane Sandy received a donated replacement Tuesday morning by way of Kansas.
The donated scroll came from Congregation Kehillat Israel in Overland Park, near Kansas City, and was delivered in a ceremony at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel in Woodmere, which had been heavily damaged by the Oct. 30 storm and flooding. Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, founder of Uri L’Tzedek, senior rabbi at Knesset Israel (and a Jewish Week columnist) delivered the Torah with his wife, Shoshana.
“At times of crisis, I believe it is crucial for the Jewish people to transcend their institutional walls to support other communities in need,” said the rabbi in a statement. “Thankfully, my synagogue is blessed with many Torah scrolls — which we’ve accumulated over the last 100 years — and we are replacing our collection of prayer books, so I approached [OU President] Dr. [Simcha] Katz to see if there was a community in need after the terrible hurricane.” Jeff Leb, an OU staff member who lives in the area made the connection.
The OU operates a Hurricane Relief Fund, which has provided money, emotional support and volunteers to assist shuls and communities in need. “I was very touched that a rabbi of a synagogue in Kansas reached out to offer a Torah, ” said Katz.
The shul’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Yissachar Blinder, added “Having a synagogue reach out all the way from Kansas City is a silver lining after so much devastation our synagogue went through and that people have experienced.”
Ahavas Yisroel lost four Torahs due to the flood, including one that survived the Holocaust donated by a survivor.