Thursday, May 1, 2008

Miraculous Story: Torah Found in Polish Cemetery Restored

The NYT has a fantastic story of a Torah that was found buried in a Polish cemetery. The scroll was hidden by a sexton in the synagogue in the Polish city of Oswiecim who buried them before the Nazis could steal and burn them. The Torah was hidden for more than 60 years and was miraculously discovered by Rabbi Menachem Youlus of Wheaton, MD. who based on stories told to him by survivors decided to take a trip to the cemetery in question. Using a metal detector the Rabbi attempted to locate the lost torah but to no avail. After his 13 yr old asked if the cemetery was the same size in 1939 the Rabbi went back and after aiming it at a burial plot for damaged holy writings the detector beeped and he found a torah but it was missing 4 pages. After taking an ad in a polish paper saying he would pay top dollar for parchment with hebrew lettering a Priest stepped forward. The Polish priest offered the Rabbi the missing 4 pages which after intense scrutiny was said to be a match. The priest who was born Jewish and was an Auschwitz survivor explained that he was given the pages by Jewish prisoners who asked him toafeguard it after they died.

Rabbi Youlus said that nearly half the Torah’s lettering needed repair, work that the foundation has done over the past few years. Thirty-seven letters were left unfinished: 36, or twice the number that symbolizes “life” in Hebrew, will be filled in by members of the congregation before the service on Wednesday, the 37th at the ceremony.

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