Have Torah, will travel

A group of commuters living in Beit Shemesh has commissioned a special 30-cm. high Sefer Torah for their traveling daily prayer group.

Torah travel 88 224 (photo credit: Shaul Plen/Tiferet Studios)
Torah travel 88 224
(photo credit: Shaul Plen/Tiferet Studios)
A group of commuters living in Beit Shemesh has commissioned a special 30-cm. high Sefer Torah for their traveling daily prayer group. Howard Jackson, who recently made aliya from the UK, explains: "My job in the financial sector necessitates an early start, which makes praying with the train minyan an excellent option. The Mesilat Yesharim minyan was well-established when I joined, and we tried unsuccessfully to obtain a Torah for many years." Donated by Darren and Dina Shaw of Ramat Beit Shemesh in memory of the eight students killed in the terror attack on Jerusalem's Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in March, the Sefer Torah was inaugurated on Sunday and used beginning Monday. Darren, who made aliya from London in 2006, hired a scribe to write an unusually small sefer Torah. Fellow traveler Ariel Abraham, originally from New Jersey, has converted a suitcase on wheels into a portable holy ark. Halachic questions on how the Torah should be carried on and off the train and stored have been referred to Jerusalem's senior halachic authority, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch. The minyan, which meets in the last car on the train, plans to read from the Sefer Torah on Mondays and Thursdays. Everyone is welcome. Afternoon and evening services are also held on trains leaving Tel Aviv. The Torah dedication was arranged in cooperation with BeLev Echad, an organization that teaches secular and unaffiliated Jews about Judaism. There is another train minyan that uses a Sefer Torah on the Beit Shemesh-Tel Aviv route - contact is David Schapiro: [email protected]