Rabbi Aaron Kagan said the newest Torah to soon serve the Kollel Jewish Learning Center was commissioned much the same way a synagogue is — one piece at a time.
Rather than ask one well-to do-family to commission the entire scroll, Kagan, the rosh kollel (dean) of the Kollel, asked one family to buy the naming rights.
The rest of the cost would be shouldered by anyone who wanted to perform the mitzva of writing a Torah in their lifetimes.
“I wanted this Torah to be owned by everyone who buys a share in it,” Kagan said.
Result: The Weinberg Family Torah was dedicated Sunday at a ceremony at the Kollel. The festivities began with the scroll being paraded from 6401 Beacon St. to the center.
The Kollel currently has just three Torahs in usable condition, according to Kagan, the oldest — and, interestingly, the one in the best shape — being approximately 150 years old.
The Weinberg family, who had the honor of filling in the first word of the scroll two years ago — bereshit — named this newest Torah in memory of their parents, Jacob and Belle Weinberg.
Since then, some 400 people have bought a share of the Torah. Some bought letters at $36 a character (letters could also be bought by children for $1 for each year of the youngster’s age).
But Kagan didn’t stop there. People could buy parshas, ark covers, mantels, rollers, crowns, belts, parchments and yads.
Everything must go,” Kagan quipped. “We still have some pieces left.”
Six events were held over the past two years — at the Jewish Community Center, Weinberg Terrace and private homes — where people could write a letter.
And it was made possible by one family who started the process by buying the naming rights, Kagan said. The Weinberg children are Joel and Tova Weinberg, Lee and Liora Weinberg, Jerry and Ruth Kirschner, and Harvey and Sharon Weintraub.
“There’s a statement in the Talmud: ‘Greater is the one who provides the opportunities for people to do good deeds than the ones doing the goods deeds themselves,’ ” Kagan said. “In this case, the Weinberg family did both.”
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)