My War Story: A New Torah for Sderot

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21 Aug 2014

torah_sderotThis summer has been incredibly difficult for our brothers and sisters in Israel. Instead of vacationing with their families or making memories at day camps, most Israeli children have spent the sunny days hiding in bomb shelters and learning more than their fair share about the Iron Dome missile defense system. Instead of jumpstarting their careers or focusing on basic training, thousands of young men and women have found themselves on the front lines of the war in Gaza.

It has been a very long and challenging summer, to be sure. But as the war slips into its second stage, Jews around the world are sharing inspiring stories, anecdotes of extreme charity and unprecedented displays of brotherhood that have taken place over the last few weeks. These stories buoy our spirits and help us remember just how fortunate we are to be members of “the Tribe.” Since I spent some time in Israel during the war, I have a few stories of my own, and one in particular stands out above the rest—a life-altering moment that I experienced in the rocket-battered Negev city of Sderot.

The story actually begins in January, with a phone call from Yossi Baumol, executive director of the American Friends of Sderot. Yossi explained that he was in dire need of a Torah for an Ethiopian Synagogue in Sderot. The congregants had been using ritually unfit Torahs until that point, and they were pining for a kosher Torah to call their own.

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The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.