The World Union connects communities worldwide in many different and wonderful ways.
That is why one of the highlights of WUPJ Connections is when, at the opening ceremony, a congregation donates or lends one of its Torah scrolls to another community, which badly needs it, in an emotional display of generosity and connection.
We have seen Sifrei Torah ‘paid forward’ multiple times, from country to country, each congregation passing it on once they were able to afford to buy their own scroll or had one permanently donated by a member.
Progressive scrolls have travelled from and to Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Minsk, New Jersey, Copenhagen, Prague, London, Lyon, Chicago and many more.
Speaking about the project, Lenore Mass – a member of the WUPJ North American Advisory Board – said: “Imagine a new Progressive congregation somewhere in the world that has congregants, a rabbi and a strong desire to increase their Jewish knowledge and connection… but no Torah. Or maybe they have a Torah, but it’s very damaged.
“Now, consider a congregation with many scrolls. Are they all used? How many are ‘enough’?
“If you have more than enough Sifrei Torah or know of scrolls left without a home after a congregational merger or closing, we hope that you might consider giving or lending a scroll to a congregation somewhere else in the world that needs one.
“Alternatively, if you are a community that requires a Torah, we hope you will get in touch so we can find you a match.”
There are currently 11 congregations looking for a Torah through the World Union for Progressive Judaism, including six in Latin America, one in Indonesia, two in Australia and two in Europe.
At Connections 2023, we are hoping to kick the conference off with a touching ceremony passing on scrolls to those congregations that need them.
For those donating, this not only gives you a great reason to come to Jerusalem but it creates a strong and lasting connection between your congregation and another one far away.
Please consider this amazing mitzvah. If you think you can help, or want more information, contact Lenore on firstname.lastname@example.org.