more on torahs

In June 2004, Project Kesher kicked off a new wave of activism with a cruise down the Volga River for 250 activists from the U.S. and our partner countries.  As part of this social activist adventure, we placed 6 Torahs in areas where members of the community could learn to read, lead services and conduct Jewish programs. In 2007, we took an additional 8 Torahs to the region.  Since then, we have returned 6 more Torahs to the region.

  • One Torah went to Vinnitsa, Ukraine, a city with many Jewish groups and no Torah.

    Today in Vinnitsa:
    More than 120 people have learned to read from the Torah
    150 people received Jewish names.
    More than 80 people became Bar or Bat Mitzvah
    500 people danced with the Torah this past Simchat Torah.

  • A Torah that had been rescued from the Holocaust went to Volgograd (the former Leningrad, where Hitler's advance was halted). It would be only the second Torah in that city of 10,000 Jews.

    Today in Volgograd:
    In the last two years, more than 100 people attended classes to learn to read Torah
    80 people received Jewish names
    60 people became Bar or Bat Mitzvah

  • Several friends bought a Torah that had been sitting on the shelves of a scribe in New York's lower East side. It went to Harkov, Ukraine.

    Today in Harkov:
    The community conducts semi-monthly Torah study using Project Kesher materials.
    Working with World Union for Progressive Judaism Rabbi, Mischa Kapustin, participants learn Hebrew fundamentals, trop (chanting) and text study.

  • One Torah, originally written in Czechoslovakia, went to Ulyanovsk, Russia.

    Today in Ulyanovsk:
    Because of the arrival of the Torah, the mayor of the town has returned the long-ago confiscated synagogue building to the Jewish community.
    The Jewish community has become stronger
    The Torah is the center of Shabbat celebrations
    The youth group now meets weekly for Torah study.

  • Sandra Brand, a Holocaust survivor whose whole family died in the camps, rescued a Torah that had been written in Eastern Europe. She had it repaired and dedicated it in memory of her parents for use in Bobruisk, Belarus.

    Today in Bobruisk:
    The Torah has become part of all community celebrations and events with more than 2,000 local Jews participating.
    132 children from 3 local Jewish schools are engaged in Torah study classes.

  • Oryol, Russia, a town that has experienced problems with anti-Semitism, experienced a resurgence of Jewish pride and new community respect when a Project Kesher leader brought a Torah home.

    "I told [the representatives of other nationalities] that there are many, many Project Kesher groups all throughout the CIS," said Tatiana Ponomareva, who had carried the Torah home with her on a long train ride. "I told them that we Jews in Oryol are not alone."


    Today in Oryol:
    More than 200 people have received Jewish names
    More than 100 people attend weekly Torah study classes.
    At least 1000 community members have had the opportunity to listen and read from the Torah scroll.
    At Simchat Torah, more than 500 people danced with the Torah. More than 150 people have become Bar or Bat Mitzvah

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