North Shore Torah Heads to Israel

Am Shalom gives one of its sacred scrolls to Israeli congregation.

Watch the presentation of a gift that sent a Torah from Am Shalom in Glencoe to Beit Tefilah Israeli in Tel Aviv.
Watch the presentation of a gift that sent a Torah from Am Shalom in Glencoe to Beit Tefilah Israeli in Tel Aviv.

Congregation Am Shalom in Glencoe got a new Torah recently and pledged to find a synagogue needing one to be the recipient of one of their existing scrolls.

Beit Tefilah Israeli, a congregation in Tel Aviv, was in need of one. A Torah is a scroll handwritten on parchment containing the first five books of the Bible.

When the paths of Am Shalom Rabbi Steven Lowenstein, its cantor Andrea Markowicz and Beit Tefilah Rabbi Estebon Gottfried crossed in Glencoe last weekend the pledge became a gift “in a matter of seconds,” according to Markowicz.

Gottfried and musicians from Beit Tefilah Israeli spent the weekend at Am Shalom participating in services offering their blend of secular and sacred music which draws as many as 1,800 Israelis to the port in Tel Aviv on a Friday night. Am Yisrael of Northfield also participated.

“They infuse secular music into our sacred service,” Markowicz said. “Music is important to the ever changing status of Israeli life.” She met Gottfried when they were both students in Jerusalem four years ago and she developed a relationship with Beit Tefilah Israeli.

After services Friday, Lowenstein and Markowicz were giving Gottfried a tour of Am Shalom when they learned his congregation’s Torah was old and could no longer be used. “A scribe said it could not be saved,” Markowicz said.

That is when Lowenstein and Markowicz knew Am Shalom’s pledge would be fulfilled. “His face just lit up,” she said of Gottfried when he was told.

Gottfried and the musicians of Beit Tefilah Israeli gave a concert to Am Shalom Sunday School students Sunday morning. Only he, Lowenstein and Markowicz knew what was about to happen at the end. Watch the Patch video and find out for yourself.

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