The Torah scroll invalidated by the Disengagement

After Gush Katif expulsion Torah was found to be invalid - even though it had been completely valid in its decades of use in Gaza.

Eliran Aharon ,

The Gush Katif Torah scroll
The Gush Katif Torah scroll
Eliran Aharon

A Torah scroll used for years by Jews in Gush Katif was forced out along with its owners in the 2005 Disengagement Plan that saw all Jews expelled from Gaza and four towns in Samaria.

In a miraculous turn of events, after being relocated in the Golan Heights the scroll was found to be invalid - even though up until the expulsion it had been completely valid. The Torah scroll has a unique history connected to the life of its donor, Amos Magidish.

Magidish was born in 1927 in a small town in the Libyan mountains, in a remote area in which there were only two villages which had a mixed population of Jewish and Arab residents. Each village had its own synagogue, and they were located a day's journey from the capital city of Tripoli.

At the age of four, Magidish lost his mother and his father had trouble raising him and his three older sisters. His uncle Daniel Guetta, who was married but childless, stepped in to help raise the children of his late sister and informally adopted them.

When the renascent Jewish state of Israel was established in 1948 news reached the Libyan village, and Magidish made Aliyah through Italy in 1949 in an operation to bring in young Jews. Half-a-year later all the Jewish residents of the two towns together made Aliyah as well.

Magidish lived in moshav Ben Zakai near the coast just north of Ashdod, and until his uncle Daniel Guetta passed away in 1977 he made sure to stay in contact and take care of him. Several months before Guetta's death, he asked Magidish to have a Torah scroll written in his name after he passed.

Keeping his promise, Magidish had the scroll completed in 1978. He decided to donate it to the synagogue of the moshav Netzer Hazani which had just been established in Gush Katif and was in need of a Torah - Magidish at the time worked in the moshav organization Hapoel Mizrahi that helped establish Gush Katif.

Residents of the new town had been using a borrowed Torah scroll and were overjoyed to receive their own scroll, and a large celebration was held to welcome the new Torah.

The Torah was in constant use - until 2005 when all Jews were expelled from Gush Katif. Magidish transferred the scroll to the Golan Heights, where it was found that the scroll was invalid even though it had been checked and found to be valid during all its years of use in Gush Katif.

After it was found that the scroll was invalid, it was donated to the Gush Katif Museum to commemorate its tragic story.

The Torah scroll Eliran Aharon