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Meet the Torahs at Cedar Sinai Park

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

Cedar Sinai Park owns three Torahs that are used for a variety of Jewish services and holidays, and resident Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.

“We exist because of Torah,” said Board Member Eddy Shuldman, who is chairperson of the Religious and Spiritual Life Committee. “The Torah teaches us about honoring our parents, valuing our elders, and about choosing life!”

Eddy said all three Torahs have been with Cedar Sinai Park for a very long time. “I can’t begin to estimate the length of time we have had these Torahs,” said Eddy. “But the Torahs are all estimated to range in age from 50 to 120 years. We do know that the Nudelman family generously donated a Torah in memory of Alysmae Nudelman in 1997.”

 

Two of Cedar Sinai Park’s Torahs are typically housed in the Cogan Chapel ark in the Robison Jewish Health Center/Harold Schnitzer Center for Living, and one is generally in the Zidell Hall ark. We also currently have one Torah in the Zidell ark, which is on loan from Congregation Shaarie Torah.

Just prior to the onset of Covid, all three campus Torahs were inspected by a sofer (scribe) for the first time in their history with Cedar Sinai Park, a gift from Marcy Tonkin. Two of the Torahs are currently in Florida undergoing the necessary repairs.

The remaining Torah on campus is our smallest, a 16” medium weight scroll, written in a Nice Bet Yoseph script approximately 100 years ago in Germany. There are 42 lines per column. The scroll is called a “vuv” scroll, which means that almost every column starts with the letter “vuv.”

“Vacationing” in Florida, said Eddy, is our other “vuv,” a 21-inch, heavyweight Torah scroll written in a Good Bet Yoseph Sephard script approximately 50 to 60 years ago in Israel.

The other Torah under repair is a 16.25” lightweight Torah scroll written in a Good Bet Yoseph script approximately 120 years ago in Germany.

Eddy said that prior to Covid, Cedar Sinai Park participated in B’yachad, pairing Rose Schnitzer Manor residents with Portland Jewish Academy seventh and eighth grade students.

B’yachad means ‘together’ in Hebrew. One of B’yachad’s last activities was cleaning the scrolls before sending them off to Florida, one of the most “memorable activities,” said Eddy.

“These Torahs are treasured and have been lovingly used for Shabbat and holiday services for decades,” she said. “They are considered a part of our Cedar Sinai Park family!

 

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