Under Jerusalem’s bluest skies, a historic Torah scroll from Massachusetts culminated its intricate journey to reach the welcoming arms of Israeli students at Boys Town Jerusalem. For many decades, the Torah had been used by congregants of the Ahabat Sholom Synagogue in Lynn. When the historic 120-year-old synagogue closed, its Board of Directors sought suitable places to donate their Torah scrolls. Thanks to Dr. Mathew Zizmor of nearby Sharon, an avid lover of Torah and Torah scrolls – and a member of the American Friends of Boys Town Jerusalem Board of Directors – a perfect match was made.
At the spirited ceremony at Boys Town Jerusalem’s campus on Feb. 15, students, faculty and a large contingent of Massachusetts “natives” in Israel greeted Zizmor and his wife Maxine as they delivered the Torah scroll. To live music and singing, the Torah was held beneath a chuppah (wedding canopy) in the school’s courtyard before being danced to the synagogue and reverently placed in the Ark. “This Torah, which has now made aliyah to Israel, will be lovingly used by our students and generations to come,” said BTJ Dean of Students Rabbi Meir Linchner.
Zizmor said “it was love at first sight” when he saw the Torah’s beautiful script, handwritten on parchment years ago by a master scribe. Once the synagogue agreed to contribute the scroll to Boys Town Jerusalem, the doctor tackled the complex mission to personally bring it to the campus. Facing the daunting challenge of packing the Torah for the journey, Zizmor deftly commissioned a sturdy handmade crate with special handles and bars. Ultimately, his trip became delayed for months by COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“You have carried out a small miracle,” Linchner told the guest of honor. The generosity of the Ahabat Sholom Congregation and Dr. Zizmor’s immense efforts and devotion are crucial lessons for us all.”