New Torah Scroll Completed at Home of Rabbi Eliyahu Alpert

Mr. Jerry Wartski, Honorary President of the Israel Heritage Foundation, and Dr. Joseph Frager, the organization’s Executive Vice President, recently commemorated a Sefer Torah. It was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Wartski’s parents, who were killed in the Holocaust, in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Frager’s family, and in memory of Rabbi Yaakov Spivak, the founder of Congregation Ayshel Avraham.

Congregation Ayshel Avraham, established in 1974 by Holocaust survivors, was the precursor to the Israel Heritage Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Rabbi Spivak served at its helm as the Dean and Rosh Hakollel of the Kollel Ayshel Avraham, a seminary that ordained rabbis and chaplains located in Monsey, New York. Rabbi Spivak also headed United Kosher Supervision.

A noted Talmudic scholar, with wide-ranging knowledge of halacha and the laws of kashrut, Rabbi Spivak was a unique personality who disseminated his breadth and depth of Torah thoughts through his many lectures and, at one point, a popular radio show. He was a Renaissance man – an educator par excellence, a historian, music composer, Jewish Press columnist, and author.

Most of all, Rabbi Spivak was legendary for his good deeds and his dedication to his family. He was a super-mensch who strived, though his teachings and his actions, to make our world a better place.

Rabbi Spivak derived the name Ayshel Avraham from its historical ties to the Jewish land. The ancient Jewish patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov, each lived for a time in the city of Be’er Sheva. The patriarch Avraham planted a tree (אֵשֶׁל, ayshel) there, near the well (Genesis 21:33). For thousands of years, this was an important meeting place for merchants and nomads. Today, you can still visit the well and see the tree that was planted by Avraham, the forefather of the Jewish nation.

After ruling the land of Israel for over 1,000 years, the Jewish people were sent into an exile that spread them throughout the four corners of the world. Since that time, over two thousand years ago, Jews have suffered myriad periods of persecution and longed to return to their home. They never gave up hope that Hashem would one day fulfill His promise and bring His nation from the Diaspora back to their “Promised Land.” The horrors of the Holocaust impressed upon its survivors the urgency to re-establish their homeland in the land of Israel to ensure that these tragedies never happen again.

The dream of those Holocaust survivors was realized, and the mission of the Israel Heritage Foundation is to keep that dream alive. To that end, Jerry Wartski, a Holocaust survivor from Poland whose parents were murdered by the Nazis, became an active participant in the Jewish philanthropic community and dedicates himself to the pursuits of the Israel Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Wartski is joined in his goal by Dr. Joseph Frager and Executive Director Rabbi David Katz, himself a descendent of Holocaust survivors. In dedicating the Sefer Torah, they further the mission of their organization for generations to come.

The Siyum HaTorah (the completion of writing the Sefer Torah), which occurred on Chanukah, took place at the home of Rabbi Eliyahu Alpert, son of Rabbi Nison Alpert zt”l and grandson of Rabbi Pinchas Scheinberg zt”l. Rabbi Shmuel Bodenheim served as the scribe.

The commemoration of the Sefer Torah should stand in the memory of Rabbi Spivak, in the memory of Mr. Wartzki’s parents and in the merit of the Wartski and Frager – Goldstein families. May the blessings of the Torah come upon all who participated in this beautiful and consequential project.

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