Matching Up Torahs With Towns

Another match has been made! Moshe Burt of Beit Shemesh, founder of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network, has matched up Ephraim Goldstein of Queens, NY, and a neighborhood in Eli with no Torah Scroll of its own - and this evening, in a gala celebration, Goldstein's Torah Scroll will find a new home in a synagogue in the southern Shomron.

Mr. Burt has been working for several years to locate and receive Torah Scrolls that are not in use, repair them when necessary, and send them off to communities in Israel that sorely need them. Tonight's event, at the 35-family community of Givat Nof Harim in Eli - 30 kilometers north of Jerusalem - will feature live music, singing and dancing, a festive meal, and talks by local rabbis. Bus transportation will be provided from Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, and elsewhere; for information, see "", or write to "". Pictures of the Givat Nof Harim horizon, neighborhood and synagogue can be seen here.

Burt's unique Sefer Torah Recycling Network project has several proud successes to its credit. For instance, the Torah Scroll now in the Gush Etzion community of Bat Ayin originally came from the Philadelphia Yeshiva, and other Torah scrolls now in Shvut Rachel, Maaleh Hever, Tapuach and Kiryat Arba originated in Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Brooklyn, and Baltimore, respectively. He is now engaged in readying his seventh Torah Scroll, which spent many years in Baltimore, for the Shomron community of Chomesh - although he says that "philanthropic resources are necessary for the project's success."

Burt's wish is that "every location in Eretz Yisrael, regardless of economic means, be 'places of Torah' - i.e., one that owns its own Torah" - and to this end, he asks that people "keep their eye out for extra or need-to-be-repaired Torah scrolls in their synagogues or amongst their acquaintances." Among the congregations that do not own Torah scrolls, Burt lists some in Yesha areas, as well as Herzliya, central Tel Aviv, and other established locations.