On November 11, Calvary Hospital officially launched the restoration of a historic Torah scroll–technically a Holocaust survivor–at a kick-off event at the 92nd Street Y. Scroll No. 515, from the town of Taus-Domazlice, is on permanent loan to Calvary from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London. The scroll is housed at the hospital’s Bronx campus. The goal is to repair this Torah–dating from 1880–so that it will once again be kosher for use in services and Jewish rituals.
Rabbi Moshe Druin from Sofer On Site captivated the audience with his comprehensive presentation about the restoration process and what this project will entail. In nearly three decades, Sofer On Site has helped repair hundreds of Torah scrolls throughout the world.
Among the dozens of attendees at Calvary’s kickoff event at the 92nd Street Y were Anne Cote Taylor and Jim O’Hara (members of Hospital and Calvary Fund boards); Stanley Leffler and Paul Rosenberg (Calvary Professional Advisors Council); and five Jewish veterans who served in World War II and in the Vietnam era.
“From the hospital’s earliest years, Calvary has always welcomed patients from all religions. We are dedicated to providing the best end-of-life care that a person can find. At Calvary, we also honor and celebrate the spiritual and faith traditions that are so important to our patients, families and staff,” said Frank A. Calamari, president and CEO, Calvary Hospital. “We are honored that the Memorial Scrolls Trust has loaned us this sacred Torah. We know that it is our responsibility to safeguard and repair it. We have no doubt that we will be able to enlist support for this worthy project from people of all faiths.”
Calvary also presented the sacred Torah to Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan at a private reception at St. Joseph’s Seminary. The hospital educated seminarians and the deaconate about the importance of this project to people of all faiths.
The hospital’s outreach to the Jewish community and the Torah restoration has been spearheaded by Dr. Michael J. Brescia, executive medical director.
Once the hospital raises enough funds to pay for this restoration, any remaining funds will be used to benefit all patients and families at Calvary’s inpatient facilities in the Bronx and Brooklyn, Home Hospice patients throughout the greater New York area, and at the Dawn Greene Hospice in Manhattan located at Mary Manning Walsh Home. Calvary is grateful to the Charles R. and Winifred R. Weber Foundation for their early, generous support of the Torah Restoration project. To support this important initiative, please visit www.calvaryhospital.org/torahrestoration.
During World War II, the Nazis confiscated all the Jewish ritual items and sacred Torah scrolls from Jewish communities of Bohemia and Moravia, then known as Czechoslovakia. This collection of Jewish cultural and religious artifacts bears witness to the horrors of the Holocaust. In 1964, the Westminster Synagogue in London, England, agreed to receive 1,564 Torah scrolls from Prague. They established the Memorial Scrolls Trust to restore the scrolls and distribute them to communities throughout the world. Torahs are currently on permanent loan to more than 1,400 congregations throughout the world–an estimated 1,000 in the U.S. alone. To learn more, visit www.memorialscrollstrust.org.
Three rabbis care for hundreds of Jewish inpatients and home hospice patients at Calvary each year. In addition to kosher food upon request, Jewish inpatients and their families can expect a daily visit from a rabbi, food from an expanded kosher hospitality room, dedicated Shabbos lounge, KabbalatShabbat service, and celebrations of all major holidays.
Since 2012, Calvary has partnered with Yeshiva University to educate people in the Orthodox Jewish community about how to access excellent end-of-life care in accordance with Jewish law. The goal of this partnership is to provide observant Jews with the information they need in order to make the right end-of-life care decisions for their families.
To learn more about the YU program or to submit questions, visit yu.edu/riets/end-of-life-care. To learn more about Calvary, visit www.calvaryhospital.org.