Missing Torah from Gush Katif sold on eBay

The 18th-century scroll is said to have belonged to a German Jewish community before the Holocaust.

Torah scroll 248.88 (photo credit: abe selig )
Torah scroll 248.88
(photo credit: abe selig )
An 18th-century Torah scroll that mysteriously disappeared from the Gaza Strip community of Neve Dekalim during the 2005 disengagement has resurfaced on eBay, and has been sold to the highest bidder. The scroll is said to have belonged to a German Jewish community before the Holocaust, and survived the war mostly unscathed. After the war, the scroll was purchased by an English family, who donated it to the Naot Katif elementary and middle school in Neve Dekalim in 1999. However, during the disengagement, it was one of two Torah scrolls that went missing along with other items from the school's synagogue. Now the scroll has reappeared on on the on-line auction site, where it is listed as sold for a winning bid of about $1,500. While the site does not say when the item was first listed for sale, bidding for the Torah scroll began in late November. The seller, listed only as "tlv-vintage," posted the item's location as Ramat Gan. The seller's description of the item goes on to mention that "the settlement was evacuated two years ago, and they had no use to it [sic]...I bought that beautiful item." But Ephraim Tashnady, the former principal of Naot Katif, refuted that statement, telling The Jerusalem Post by phone on Thursday, "There's no way we sold it to him. Before we left Neve Dekalim, the security forces told us, 'Don't touch anything, we'll come and pack everything up and move it for you.' The Education Ministry was supposed to be responsible for all of the items, because they belonged to the school, and they said that everything was going to be put in containers and moved." However, a couple of months after the disengagement, Tashnady became concerned since no one had contacted him regarding the items taken from the synagogue. "It wasn't just the Torah scroll," he said. "We're talking about all of the synagogue's furniture, the aron kodesh [ark], everything. These are very important and unique pieces. The children used to to attend prayers in that synagogue every day." Tashnady, who now resides in the Nitzan community of former Gush Katif residents, began trying to contact various government offices for help in locating the items, but to no avail. "I tried the Education Ministry, other ministries, and no one seemed to have any idea where these items had disappeared to. We tried everyone, but nothing has happened. I recently heard something about the other scroll, but it wasn't very specific. Now, suddenly, we're hearing these reports that this scroll has appeared on the Internet. I hope it's true - we'd love to find out what happened to it." Tashnady admitted that his was a purely emotional attachment to the items. "I personally renovated the synagogue, so I'm quite attached to these pieces emotionally," Tashnady continued. "But what can I do? I'm not the police or the Shabak, I'm just a simple citizen. I've been waiting for three years to hear something about these items, but I've gotten no answers. All I could do was cry."