Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, a unique project offers the opportunity to sponsor a letter in a Torah scroll by performing an act of kindness.
May 24, 2017, marks the 50th anniversary of a united Jerusalem. In honor of this momentous occasion, the Afikim Foundation, in cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, is writing the Jerusalem50 Global Unity Torah – a special project that celebrates Israel and a reunited Jerusalem through acts of kindness.
The last commandment in the Torah states that everyone must write their own Torah scroll. This is not to be taken literally, given that we are not all calligraphers who understand the intricacies of writing a Torah. Therefore we can all participate in this great mitzvah by having a trained scribe write on our behalf. “The Global Unity Torah is an unprecedented communal platform for people worldwide to do good and inspire goodness in others,” said Rabbi Raphael Butler, founder and president of the Afikim Foundation. Typically when a Sefer Torah is written, individuals may be inscribed by purchasing their letter(s). In this case, the currency for the Global Unity Torah is not in dollars, but in acts of kindness.
Individuals can visit the website, www.Jerusalem50.org, record their act of kindness and pick a letter which will be inscribed as theirs forever in this unique Torah. The Global Unity Torah will be dedicated in a ceremony in Jerusalem on May 28, 2017, and will be donated to ZAKA, Israel’s primary rescue and recovery volunteer organization, with thousands of volunteers on call 24/7 to respond to any terror attack, accident or disaster. The Torah will be used by families during the period of mourning for the loss of a loved one.
“The love and kindness that has poured into the writing of this incredible Torah should provide these families with much strength and support,” said Rabbi Butler.
To date, over 230,000 letters have been inscribed. Individuals and families, 222 groups including schools, congregations and organizations from 21 countries from all walks of Jewish life have joined the Jerusalem50 movement. There are 304,805 letters in a Torah.
Northwest Yeshiva High School in Seattle, Washington, is one of 222 groups in the Jerusalem50 movement worldwide. The school reserved over 700 letters for students who have been inscribed with incredible acts of kindness, including volunteering at a crisis hotline, playing music for the elderly and preparing breakfast for the homeless.
The members of Beth Israel Synagogue in Edmonton, Canada, love to celebrate Yom Yerushalayim and were thrilled to have an opportunity to commemorate the 50th anniversary with Jerusalem50. The congregation partnered with the National Council of Jewish Women’s ‘End Poverty Initiative.’ They collected clothing and gently used books and made a donation to a local public school with many children in need. The members have also orchestrated a food drive for the general food bank and most recently collected coats for those in need.
“Jerusalem50 is exemplary of the Afikim Foundation’s mission of reaching, teaching and inspiring a searching Jewish world. As an innovative incubator, Afikim is where profound Jewish ideas take flight and we envision Jerusalem50 having a poignant and lasting impact on the Jewish people,” noted Rabbi Butler. “By using kindness as an impetus for change and Jerusalem as a uniting factor, we can transform our world.”
For additional information on The Afikim Foundation, please visit www.afikimfoundation.org.
To learn more about Jerusalem50, please visit www.Jerusalem50.org
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