Gush Katif Community to Receive New Torah Scroll

A special Torah-scroll dedication ceremony is scheduled to take place July 4 at the seaside Jewish community of Shirat HaYam (Song of the Sea), in Gush Katif.

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, | updated: 00:05

The Torah scroll (‘Sefer Torah’) is being dedicated by the Sefer Torah Recycling Network, an initiative seeking to match up unused Torah scrolls with communities in need of them.

The project is the brainchild of Moshe Burt, who told Arutz 7’s Ezra HaLevi about how the project began. “I was living in Philadephia,” recalls Burt, “and the Oslo accords were driving me crazy – I was looking for a way to do something positive for the Jewish people.” Since December 1994, when Burt first matched up a Torah scroll from Philadelphia with the community of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion, he has made ‘Torah matchmaking’ the focus of his efforts.

"It is said that one is not truly connected to a place until that place has its own Sefer Torah," says Burt. "Therefore, to donate a Torah to, or to donate toward the restoration of a used Sefer Torah for a community in the Land of Israel that needs one, is to grasp and to actively possess the Land - it creates the strongest 'facts on the ground' that there are." With no budget and always on the lookout for "philanthropic angels," Burt has seen to the restoration of six Torah scrolls - donating each to a community that could not afford the $25-30,000 price tag of a brand new one.

Burt made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in 1999, and today lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh. This past April, he was introduced to Mendel Stein from Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood. Stein, 82, expressed interested in donating a Torah to a needy location.

Stein and his wife also made Aliyah – 10 years ago – having lived in Brooklyn. As he was preparing for the move to Israel, Stein set out to find donors of Sifrei Torah to bring on Aliyah with him. He arrived in Israel with seven Torah scrolls. Although Burt founded the Sefer Torah Recycling Network at that exact same time, they never met one another.

Over the past 10 years, neither of the men heard of the other, but each saw to the placement of a number of Sifrei Torah in needy locations throughout Israel. The Torah which Stein and Burt are together providing to Shirat HaYam will be the seventh for both men.

The beachfront community of Shirat HaYam is comprised of 15 families, mainly young newly-married couples in their mid-20's. Most of the men learn each day in the two Yeshivot located in nearby N'vei Dekalim.

The site where Shirat HaYam is built was, prior to the Six Day War, the summer vacation offices for Egyptian Army officers. Young people from Gush Katif moved into Shirat HaYam a few years ago in response to several terrorists attacks - primarily, that which hit a school bus and crippled the three children from the Cohen family of Kfar Darom.

The dedication event is set to begin at 6:30 PM on Sunday, July 4, beginning in N'vei Dekalim. The lively procession marking the dedication of a new Torah scroll will then make its way to Shirat HaYam. The main festivities, which will include speeches from Rabbis and dignitaries, will take place at Shirat HaYam beginning at 7 PM. Armored buses will be providing transportation to the dedication ceremony from Ramat Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem.

For more information, to offer assistance, or to make reservations for transportation to the event, contact Moshe Burt at: mosheb@sefer-torah.com or 067-305-497





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