Tidewater Jewish Foundation hosts Sofer and educational experience for Tidewater

by | Aug 11, 2022 | Other News

Rabbi Moshe Druin works on a Torah at the Sandler Family Campus.

A unique educational experience for the Jewish community took place last month at the Sandler Family Campus. Hosted by Tidewater Jewish Foundation, the event, Grants in Action: Meet & Greet with a Sofer, offered an opportunity to meet a Sofer, learn what they do, and see one in action. Invited by Temple Emanuel, the Sofer spent a week in Tidewater evaluating and assessing 30 scrolls from various congregations and organizations.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Tidewater Jewish Foundation for allowing us to have the community’s Torahs evaluated,” says Jason Lovitz, grant writer and past president of Temple Emanuel. “Bringing in the Sofer to evaluate 30 scrolls is a pretty cool thing.”

The event, which more than 50 members of the community attended, was part of a $24,000 Tidewater Jewish Foundation Community Impact Grant to Temple Emanuel. In addition to the event, the grant paid for the travel expenses and Torah evaluations by the Sofer, Rabbi Moshe Druin.

“I’ve been honored to come here and look over these Torahs,” says Druin. “I’m examining them to make sure we know the condition of each individual scroll and evaluate if they need repairs. I also appraised each for its current value for insuring the Torah.”

Rabbi Druin’s visit took place because Lovitz and Temple Emanuel began investigating their Torahs’ condition. When a congregant pointed out that they did need repairing, Temple Emanuel started contacting others to see if their Torahs also needed repair.

“Temple Emanuel contacted every synagogue, Hillel, nursing home, Chabad, and Chavurah in the area to ask whether they had Torahs that needed, or they wanted, to be inspected,” says Lovitz. “It was determined that there were over 25 Torahs in community that needed to be evaluated.”

In addition to Rabbi Druin’s presentation, TJF set up a window for attendees to see the Torahs being repaired and assessed in action.

“Tidewater Jewish Foundation was able to bring together members of various different congregations in the same room to celebrate our sacred text, our Torah, and learn how we have a responsibility to repair our Torahs and repair our world,” says Naomi Limor Sedek, TJF president and CEO. “TJF was honored to be a part of this momentous occasion, which brought everyone together to work toward a common goal. We are only stronger when we can work together.”

Rabbi Druin stresses the importance of what he calls ‘Torah Care.’ That is, making sure Torahs are repaired, evaluated, and maintained during their lifetime. According to Druin, it’s just as important to look after the Torah as it is to follow its wisdom and teachings.

“You are the guardian of Torah,” says Druin. “The responsibility is on you to make sure that your Torahs are in good condition and that they are maintained from time to time. We are the people of the book, this is our book, and it’s our job to make sure it stays in good condition.”

Thomas Mills