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Synagogue Restores 300-Year-Old Torah

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a season of celebration for members of one Jewish congregation–not just because it’s Hanukkah but because they’ve just finished restoring a 300-year-old Torah. 

Gigi Barnett has more.

This sacred parchment filled with Hebrew script has survived 300 years of history, outlasting wars and the Holocaust.  It belongs to members of the Har Sinai Synagogue and they’ve spent the last year restoring it.

Rabbi Yochanan Salazar Loewe restores Torahs.  The Torah contains the Jewish sacred writings.It has more than 300,000 letters and must be error-free.  Salazar Loewe says even the ink is made from a special, secret process.

“It’s not the ingredients that makes it so special, it’s the way you cook it,” he said.  “There are only a handful of families in the world that know how to cook it.”

This particular Torah is one of 1,500 Eurpoean Torahs.  It comes from former Czechoslovakia. 

The congregation is dedicating the Torah during Hanukkah.  Har Sinai’s Rabbi Benjamin Sharff says the 300-year-old Torah is a gift, especially for the youngest members.

“They are the ones who are going to keep these Torahs,” he said.  “This is your treasure.  This is your possession.”

The Torah has exactly 613 commandments and the last one requires all Jews to write a Torah.  Participating in the restoration of one is the same thing.

The congregation celebrated the restoration of the Torah with a special dedication service.

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