It was decided to undertake two major projects with regard to the JCC Torahs in 2014 and 2015. The first was to clean and repair the three existing Torahs. With the financial support of the Shapiro and Levine Families, Scribe Neil Yerman was engaged for this work. At the completion of this process each Torah now had a new identification ring atop the Torah, one each in memory of Jennie and Morris Shapiro and one for the Levine family. The Mantels for these Torahs had been previously dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Jack Friedman (Z”L).
Subsequently, we learned that a synagogue in Latrobe, Pa. would be closing it’s doors soon. The president of that schul, Mickey Radman, is a good friend of JCC President Don Pripstein. A delegation consisting of Don, Torah reader Howard Hait and Harold Farin (chair) visited Latrobe and selected two of their Torahs to be “rescued” by the JCC, along with their silver adornments. In the Summer, Mickey delivered the Torahs to the JCC and a grand celebration ensued.
After the joy of bringing the Latrobe Torahs to the JCC they were put to good use during the High Holidays. The smaller Torah (named for sponsors- Hait) was carried by several women in the course of the holidays, a new “Mitzvah” for some who would have had difficulty with a heavier Torah.
New Mantels have been ordered for these Torahs. A design depicting Jerusalem has been selected, with a “gold” color scheme for the Hait Torah, and “silver” colors for the Herman Torah (named for the sponsors-the Herman family), both on blue background to match the Torahs in the Holy Ark. Since these particular Mantels are made in Israel, it will take a while for them to be delivered. The embroidery on the Mantels was chosen to honor the donors, the Herman family and the Haits.
High Holiday Mantels will also be ordered for the new Torahs. They will be designed to match the current High Holiday Torah Mantels which were made by Judith Pripstein. We are fortunate that Judith has volunteered to decorate the new Mantels as well.
Scribe Neil Yerman examined the Latrobe Torahs after the High Holidays as we had planned. The Hait Torah has been turned over to him for minor repair and cleaning. The Herman Torah, owing to its age and delicate condition, will be used as is without subjecting it to that process.
We expect to hold a dedication ceremony when the Scribe has completed his work and when the new Mantels are available.