When Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, the Senior Rabbi of Kehilath Israel (KI) Congregation in Overland Park, KS, wanted to donate a Torah scroll to a congregation devastated by Hurricane Sandy, he turned to the Orthodox Union to help him to find a new home for his treasured offer. As a result, the Torah will be delivered on Tuesday, December 4 to Congregation Ahavas Yisroel in Woodmere, Long Island.
OU President Dr. Simcha Katz stated, “The gift of the Torah is a welcome supplement to the OU Hurricane Relief Fund, which since the storm has provided significant funds, emotional support and manpower in order to assist synagogues and communities in need. I was very touched that a rav of a shul in Kansas reached out to offer a sefer Torah, as well as the shul’s entire Artscroll siddur collection to wherever needed, but having dealt with Rabbi Yanklowitz in the past, I am not at all surprised.”
Through the efforts of Jeff Leb, the OU’s Director of Political Affairs for New York State, KI’s sefer Torah found its new home. “Ahavas Yisroel lost four Torah scrolls in the storm -- one of them rescued from the Holocaust by a survivor -- and the shul was in desperate need of a Torah. The offer by Kehilath Israel to donate a new Torah was literally a match made in heaven,” said Mr. Leb.
He noted, “As a resident of the Five Towns, I know first-hand how devastated the area is. While we are still in the process of restoration and recovery, it is extremely comforting to know that there are synagogues and people halfway across the country that want to do whatever they can to aid in our recovery.”
Rabbi Yanklowitz will fly to New York to bring the Torah for a private ceremony in honor of its donation. Noted speakers Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, OU Executive Vice President, Emeritus, and Rabbi Paysach Krohn will be featured presenters at the event.
Rabbi Yanklowitz declared, “At times of crisis, I believe it is crucial for the Jewish people to transcend their institutional walls to support other communities in need. 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 siddurim, so I approached Dr. Katz at the OU to see if there was a community in need after the terrible hurricane. Thankfully, the OU made the connection with Ahavas Yisroel, which has a real need. My wife, Shoshana, and I are honored to fly out to deliver this Torah next Tuesday.”
Rabbi Yissachar Blinder, Rabbi of Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, expressed, “We are thrilled by this loving gesture by the KI shul in Kansas City to reach out to us and to give us a sefer Torah that we can use. 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. We are very excited.”
Contributions to the OU Hurricane Relief Fund may be made at www.ou.org.
OU | Enhancing Jewish Life