May 27, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 27, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

‘To Ukraine With Love’: Torah Dedication to The Jews of Ukraine

Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield, rabbi of Young Israel of Staten Island, writing a letter in the new sefer Torah with Rabbi Yaakov D. Blech, chief rabbi of Kyiv, Milton Pfeiffer and the sofer, Rabbi Jacob Spitzer, looking on.

On the first day of Selichot, September 10, Milton and Fran Pfeiffer hosted the dedication of a sefer Torah that was given to the Kyiv community in memory of the Ukrainian Jews who perished during the war taking place since February 2022. Among the dignitaries in attendance were Rabbi Dovid Waldman of Congregation Niles, Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield of the Young Israel of Staten Island and his assistant Rabbi Joshua Sturm, director of outreach at Renewal.

As president of Nachas Unlimited, a not-for-profit corporation, Milton Pfeiffer is well known for his tireless efforts to raise funds for tzedaka. His campaigns have helped children in need of multiple surgeries and long-term medical treatments. He is also a “marbitz Torah, (someone who spreads Torah)” has defrayed the cost of publishing seforim written by gedolim, and has raised funds for previous Torah dedications. He said that “the money we accumulate in this world is not our money—it all belongs to Hashem.” He and Fran Pfeiffer are grateful for all the good in their lives, primarily the blessing of b”H healthy children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As an expression of hakarat hatov, he has chosen to devote his life to charitable causes.

The Pfeiffers contacted a sefer Torah “shadchan” and told him of their desire to write a Torah in memory of the Ukrainian Jews. The “shadchan” connected them with a sofer who introduced them to Rabbi Yaakov D. Bleich. One of the chief rabbis of Kyiv and Ukraine since 1990, Rabbi Bleich has built a thriving Jewish community with many shuls and yeshivas throughout Ukraine. The war with Russia shattered the lives of 25,000 Jews who still live in Kyiv and are in desperate need of financial and spiritual support.

(l-r) Rabbi Yaakov D. Blech, Milton Pfeiffer and Rabbi Lehrfield at the sefer Torah dedication.

Milton, an accountant by profession, announced the following fascinating breakdown of numbers: The total cost of writing the Torah was $48,000. There are 54 parshiot so every man who wanted the zechus of “owning” a parsha by writing one letter, would contribute $888. Milton chose the number 891 (close enough) for two reasons. Firstly, it is the gematria of Milchemes Ukraina (war in the Ukraine) and secondly, because 8+9+1=18 (chai), which means life. Each male who sponsored a parsha for $891 wrote one letter in the Torah, guided by the hand of the sofer, thereby contributing to the spiritual rebirth of the Ukrainian people.

With beautiful refreshments and joyous dancing with the new Torah, the afternoon was a resounding success. It was planned that Rabbi Bleich would first transport the Torah to Israel before Rosh Hashanah to give chizuk to the thousands of Ukrainians who emigrated there, and then to its final destination before Yom Kippur, where it will reside in the Main Synagogue of Ukraine in the Podil neighborhood of Kyiv.

Our Torah unites Jews all over the world and promises life to those who cling to it. Right before we return the Torah to the Aron Kodesh, we say, “Eitz chaim He la’machazikim boh, v’somcheha me’ushar, The Torah is a living entity to those who embrace it and promises happiness to those who support her.” Through the selfless efforts of the Pfeiffers, the Ukrainian Jews will undoubtedly dance with boundless simcha and hug their new Torah ever so tightly as tears of gratitude stream down their faces. We pray that Hashem grants Jews all over the world a K’tiva V’chatima Tova, a year of peace and serenity, good health and nachas unlimited.

Milton Pfeiffer with Rabbi Yaakov D. Bleich holding the Torah that was dedicated.

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles