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Precious Findings: Inscriptions in an old Torah scroll

By , New York

( This summer, the Jewish community of Port Washington welcomed a Torah scroll to the city’s local Chabad center that was begging, it seemed, to be restored to a familiar hearth. 

In honor of the Bar Mitzvah of his son Yosef, Menashe Shurko purchased an ancient Yemenite Torah scroll from a scribe in Israel.

While preparing to insert the scroll into its 400 year old case shortly before the Bar Mitzvah, Menashe discovered a change in handwriting halfway through the scroll and an inscription revealing its provenance.

“This is the story of our family Torah. The Torah was started by my grandfather  . . .  Galazan, and it was finished by his son . . .  Galazan.”  The name Galazan, observed Menashe, resembles Kalazian,  his wife Miriam’s maiden name.

Adding more drama to the discovery, below this inscription was another, noting the birth date of the first scribe, the 21st of the Hebrew date of Sivan 5557,  followed by the date of his passing on Rosh Chodesh (the start of the new month of) Tammuz. This was followed by the second scribe’s birthday and date of passing, both also the 21st of Sivan.

Yosef Shurko’s birthday is the 21st of Sivan (5757).

On Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, the Port Washington community led by Rabbi Shlomo Paltiel, joined Yosef Shurko as he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah and closed a 175 year old circle with his ancestral Torah.


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