Torahs for Our Troops

It was a day of great pride – in a group of men who served our country in World War II, in the couple who saw fit to honor these men in a special manner and in the vehicle used to make it happen in a way that will give aid and comfort to current and future members of the armed services.  It was a day to be proud to be an American and a Jew.  July 12 was a day to remember the good deeds of “the greatest generation” by paying it forward.
As Dan Bernstein, president/CEO of the Merage Jewish Community Center and a board member of the Jewish Community Center Association explained, “In 1917 the Young Men’s Hebrew and Kindred Associations secured funds to enlist rabbis for service at military posts and called a conference…giving birth to the Jewish Welfare Board (JWB), which developed a comprehensive infrastructure for attending to the welfare of Jewish military personnel. Today JWB Jewish Chaplains continues as a department of the JCC Association.”
Rabbi Harold Robinson, director of the JWB Chaplains Council, related that U.S. military personnel are no longer operating out of static bases.  Rabbis need to move around to serve the Jewish members of the troops, and they need to have small, lightweight, portable Torah scrolls that can be carried in small valises, written in a special way so that they are kosher.
In response, the JWB has commissioned the writing of Torahs for the Troops, according to Bernstein.  Nancy and Irv Chase responded by donating such a Torah in honor of six men in the community who served in World War II – Irving Burg, the late Milton Chasin, Allan Fainbarg, Arnold Feuerstein, Leonard Jaffe and Isidore Myers.  Members of these families got to participate in the writing of the last letters of the Torah scroll with Rabbi Zerach Greenfield, a sofer (scribe) who has been working with the JCC Association on the project for three years.
Irv Chase said that his involvement in the project came about as a result of his patriotism, his parents having been Holocaust survivors and his hearing a story of how non-Jewish soldiers took great pains to protect a Torah scroll during the Iraq War.  Additionally, he said, “The men we honored symbolize to me what we should be – kind, charitable, giving, good husbands and fathers and role models.  It’s important to honor the Jewish men and women who are in our military protecting us.”
He concluded, “The Torah is a symbol of the Jewish people.  It will attract Jewish men and women and bring them comfort.”

One comment

  1. Anna Dicker Edelstein

    I would have loved to know about this Torah being written. My father, Chaplain Herman Dicker served on the front lines during WW II, helped liberate the camps and was a US Army Chaplain for 27 years. He retired as a Lt Colonel in 1967.
    If there are plans for future projects honoring US Army personnel, I’d love to know about it.
    Thank you.

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