September 22, 2010

Rescued Torahs are Headed to Eastern Europe

Torahs rescued from pair of New York thieves bound for Eastern Europe

From the New York Daily News
BY Matt Bultman and Corky Siemaszko

DA Cy Vance Jr. (r.) and Assistant DA Joel Seidemann with rescued
Torahs at sendoff.
Photo from NY Daily News website
Two torahs rescued from a pair of New York thieves are heading to Serbia and Bulgaria to replace scrolls stolen by the Nazis during World War II.

The 150-year-old scrolls were handed over Tuesday by the Manhattan district attorney's office to a rep from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, who will take them to synagogues in Belgrade and Sofia.

"These two Torahs will begin becoming trees of life for communities around the world and hopefully breathe life into communities decimated by Nazis," Assistant District Attorney Joel Seidemann said.

Each worth anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000, the Torahs wound up in the hands of prosecutors in the 1990s when they busted a Brooklyn burglar and a Diamond District silversmith who had been fencing stolen scrolls.

When prosecutors were unable to find the rightful owners of the two Torahs, they began looking for new homes for the refurbished scrolls in Eastern Europe, which has seen a rebirth of Jewish life since the Holocaust.

"I'm confident the Jews of Sofia and Belgrade will rejoice as they never have before when they welcome these Torahs next week," said former Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau, whose grandfather founded the JDC.

Read more at DNA Info, eJewish Philanthropy and JTA

No comments: