|The only surviving family photo of the Berkowitz family. |
The three oldest (on the far left, middle, and far right) were the only to survive.
Two of the sisters married two of the Katz brothers, pictured below.
Okay, hold on, you're probably asking yourself: Why on earth does Tuvia's family have a Sefer Torah hanging out somewhere in their house?
|Where's the etz chayim!?|
Thus, there's a family Sefer Torah, and this is where you come in. We took the sefer to a sofer (scribe) to give it a once over and let us know what kind of shape it was in and what it would take to fix it. Yes, we noticed right away that one of the etz chayims was missing (that's the wooden thing that the parchment is rolled on), but the parchment looked like it was in pretty good condition. But these things aren't cheap, folks.
The sofer aged the Sefer Torah to at least 70-80 years, and he said that it's in pretty good condition for being so old. (Of course, my first thought was: I wonder if this came from Europe pre-Shoah?) The klaf (parchment) has some fraying and small tears, but nothing too severe. It is written in Ksav Bait Yosef, which is the Ashkenazi form of lettering. Oddly enough, one section of the sefer -- from Parshat Ekev through Ki Setzei -- was written by a different sofer, meaning that perhaps the section was damaged and needed to be written.
|The Sefer Torah goes for a ride ... to the sofer!|
Despite it being in good shape, there's been a lot of fading in Sefer Bamidbar and Devarim, and that with a complete refurbishing, we'll be good to go with a beautiful Sefer Torah! There also is a lot of wonky things going on with many of the letters like the yod (י), hey (ה), chet (ח), and tet (ט), which means that the refurbishing will cost anywhere between $1,500 to $3,400 (depending on if we go machmir and get the letters fixed). Yikes.
|The Katz Family, probably from the 1930s. The man in the hat, Fred Katz, Tuvia's great grandfather,|
we believe, is who gave money toward the purchase or writing of the scroll.
Translated: To take part in fixing up a Sefer Torah is a great virtue and fulfills a mitzvah in a most enhanced way! And this is where you guys come in. The sefer recommends doing the minimum fixing of $1,500 plus fixing the yod ("The letter י is missing the 'kotz' in the majority of instances. According to the vast majority of poskim, this renders the Torah possul, and must be repaired") for $600.
So help us save this Torah. Our plan is to loan the Sefer Torah to an organization or synagogue that needs a Torah use it, but for the Sefer Torah to remain in the family for use at b'nai mitzvah. (If you know of an organization that needs a sefer, please let us know!)
Will you help us in this mitzvah?
To help us in this mitzvah, click on the DONATE button on the top right of my homepage. We are trying to raise at least $2,100 by the High Holidays! I will be compiling a list of those who donate, and we hope to somehow acknowledge the donors upon the completion of the Sefer Torah's renovations by Rosh HaShanah!