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Hachnasat Sefer Torah in Shi-rat HaYam

On Sunday evening 4 July, a Hachnasat Sefer Torah celebration was held in Yishuv Shi-rat HaYam in Gush Katif.    To view video coverage of the event, please click on the following URL's;

the link for the 100k is:

For the 300k:

Click here for the Shirat Hayam Hachnasat Sefer Torah Photo Album:

HaRav Yigal Kaminetsky - Chief Rabbi of Gush Katif

Photography by Randy Zelcer

Nachal Refaim 36/6
Ramat Beit Shemesh

Tel: 02-992-0502    Fax: 02-992-0503



The Sefer Torah was donated by Mr. Mendel Stein of Har Nof under the
auspices of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network

Nearly 100 hundred people from Jerusalem and Ramat Beit Shemesh attended the festivities.

The buses from Jerusalem and Ramat Beit Shemesh arrived in Neve Dekalim at 6:40 PM and 7:00 PM respectively.  The dancing began at 7:00 PM outside the Neve Dekalim Ir'ya Building and made it's way to Shi-rat HaYam arriving at about 8 PM.

There was electricity in the spirit and ru'ach in the air.  The residents of Shi-rat HaYam, of Gush Katif at large as well as the celebrants from Jerusalem and Ramat Beit Shemesh were B'Simcha. Everyone enjoyed an uplifting experience and received great chizuk from having participated.  Many voiced sentiments similar to one Beit Shemesh resident who said that the event was a highlight of his 10 years in Israel.

Speakers included a member of the Va'ad of Gush Katif, a representative of Shi-rat HaYam, Rav Malinowitz, Sh'lita and myself.  The Gabbai of the Shul, Micha'el Picard introduced the speakers.

Rav Malinowitz brought numerous sources in asserting that the Jews must be strong against the Arabs and not give in, appease or surrender -- for there is no end to the contempt in which we are held when we give in or appease.  I spoke about the Brachot of Bila'am HaRasha to B'nai Yisrael as expressions of Hashem's great love for B'nai Yisrael.  I spoke of Bila'am's forced Brachot to B'nai Yisrael being an expression of Hashem's love for B'nai Yisrael and of Gush Katif's being integral to Eretz Yisrael for all times, that we are all as residents of Gush Katif and that we will not be moved from Gush Katif, the Shomron, Tel Aviv or Beit Shemesh.  I also collectively thanked the many people who assisted in the planning and logistics for this event as well as all who attended this event.

A presentation of a framed letter of thanks and a poster of an entire Sefer Torah was made to Moshe Stein, a resident of Gush Katif and nephew of the donor. Mr. Stein was unable to attend the event for health reasons. 

Due to the lateness of the hour, the planned Seudah was abbreviated and the visitors ate on the buses returning to Ramat Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem.

Background on the Sefer Torah and it's Donor

Near the end of April, I was introduced to Mr. Mendel Stein who lives in Har Nof and who was interested in donating a Sefer Torah to a needy location.

Mr. Stein is 82 years old and is a resident of Har Nof.  He and his wife made Aliyah 10 years ago, having lived in Brooklyn.  Before making Aliyah, he set out to find donors of Sifrei Torah to bring over and came to Israel with 7 Sifrei Torah. Coincidentally,10 years ago I founded The Sefer Torah Recycling Network .  It's a shame that we didn't know each other then.

Over the past 10 years, although neither of us knew of the other, both Mr. Stein and I have separately seen to placing or facilitating placement of a number of Torah in needy locations in Israel. The Sefer Torah Recycling Network has facilitated placement of 6 S'forim to date and the Sefer Torah which Mr. Stein is donating which will be placed in Shi-rat HaYam will be my 7th.

Previous to this Sefer Torah for Shi-rat HaYam, the most recent Sefer facilitated by The Sefer Torah Recycling Network was placed in Givat Nof Harim (Yishuv Eli) just before this past Pesach.   At that time, a group of Ramat Beit Shemesh residents accompanied the Sefer Torah to Givat Nof Harim on a chartered bus.

Mr. Stein knows nothing of the history of the Sefer Torah or it's age. My Sofer, Rabbi Moshe Sandowski of Ramat Beit Shemesh, estimates that the Sefer is between 40-50 years old.  The Sefer is written in S'fardi Vulise K'sav.

On 28 April, 2004, Mr. Stein transferred the Sefer Torah to me.  On 2 May, 2004, I received word from my Sofer that the repairs to the Sefer Torah had commenced.

About Yishuv Shi-rat HaYam

The community in Shi-rat HaYam is comprised of 15 families, mainly young newly-married couples in their mid-20's.  Most of the men learn each day in the twoYeshivot located in Neve Dekalim.

On Friday, 28 May, 2004, I set out to spend Shabbos in Yishuv Shi-rat HaYam.   Upon my arrival in the early afternoon, I went to the beach and went into the sea up to my thighs.

Afterwards, I found a shady place and a couch in back of one of their caravans.  There I sat and learned, relaxed and watched the tide roll in until later in the afternoon.

Tefillah on Friday night was most spirited, spiritual and enjoyable.  During the Shabbos meals, my hosts were very warm and hospitable and I believe that our being together over Shabbos was very meaningful to all.

The residents gave me some history of the Site where Shi-rat HaYam is situated and how they came to make their homes there.

The Shi-rat HaYam site was, prior to the 6 Day War, summer vacation offices for the Egyptian Army.    As a result, there are a number of building shells which remain standing until today.  The Yishuv would like to develop and renovate them into permanent dwellings and other infrastructure rather than living and praying in Caravanim.  However, the government doesn't approve of such renovations.

Young single people started coming and staying at the Shi-rat HaYam site a few years ago as a response to the terrorist attack which crippled the Cohen family children,as well as other such attacks.   I'm not sure at what point Caravanim where brought there for these young people to live.

Eventually, as many of the singles become married, they settled in the Caravanim in Shi-rat HaYam.  Many of the couples now have children.

The community often has guests for Shabbos and a wonderful time was had by all.

Gush Katif Community to Receive New Torah Scroll

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Sefer Torah, Sifrei Torah, Sefer Torah Recycling, Sefer Torah repairs, Torah scrolls, Torah Scroll Restoratation, Sefer Torah restoration, Sefer Torah transfer, Israel, Eretz Yisrael, Mokom Torah, Mekomot Torah, chessed, mitzvah, tzedaka, donations, memorial donation ideas, Jewish memorial donation ideas, raise funds, Shuls, Israel, Eretz Yisroel, Yeshivas, Yeshivot, Israeli Yeshivot, chizuk, Ahavat Yisroel, Sofer, Sofrim, Sofrus, Synagogues, Synagogues in Israel, Beit Knesset, Israeli Batei Knesset, Israeli cities, Israeli towns, needy locations in Israel, Memorials in Israel  Mission: Acquires donations of Sifrei Torah and raises funds to restore them to a Kosher state for transfer to needy locations in Israel.