“Give Torah Scrolls A New Life in Italy”
We are the oldest Jews in the Diaspora and the only Jews to settle in a new homeland voluntary. We are Italian Jews whose roots began at the time of the Macabbees and regardless of persecution and expulsion, and at great personal cost, we have maintained our traditions. How? We are called “b’nei anusim,” and we are the ancestors of those forced into Christian conversion at the time of the Inquisition but we clung to our traditions by practicing in secret. And now, finally, after 500 years, we “hidden” Jews are coming home.
In the south of Italy, the “foot” of the Italian “boot,” where we Jews have practiced in secrete for centuries, we now have dedicated of our first synagogue. And thanks to the generosity of a renowned Torah collector, we received our a beautiful antique Sefer Torah ten years ago.
Our synagogue, Ner Tamid del Sud, (The Eternal Light of the South) is thriving and as more and more lost Jews come home, we have had the opportunity to organize three new congregations. These groups (“chavurot” in Hebrew) are located in Palermo, on
the island of Sicily, in the town of Nuoro on the island of Sardinia and in an area between the towns of Bari and Matera in the Italian region of Apulia.
Lay leaders are in place and this summer I plan to travel to each chavurah to make a community presentation, lead a service and teach basic Judaism to Italians who are eager to discover and embrace their Jewish roots.
This is where you come in. We are searching for three Torah scrolls, one for each of these emerging communities. Sadly throughout the United States and Canada there are synagogues that are closing. Other synagogues are pooling resources and merging together. When this happens, often there are Torah scrolls that are stored away or no longer in use. If you are aware of Torah scrolls in need of a new home, please let me know. Our tiny congregations will dedicate the Torah scroll in your honor and most important your donation will give an emerging congregation the gift of unity and purpose – something only a Torah scroll can do.