The JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, a service of JCC Association, will be at the GA, the annual conference of federations, this year to give everyone a chance to perform a special mitzvah. People are invited to stop by Booth 603 and help complete the fifth specially sized Torah for Jewish military chaplains. JWB Jewish Chaplains Council’s project Torah for Our Troops is commissioning small, lightweight scrolls, which are easier for chaplains to carry with them in the field. The Torah is the most powerful symbol of Judaism and Jewish life, and it means a great deal to men and women far from home to see a Torah at their worship service. As Air Force chaplain Gary Davidson wrote, “I brought the Torah with me aboard a military plane flown to Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. I first unveiled it during Rosh Hashanah services. A group of about twenty Jewish military personnel were delighted to see this holy treasure in their midst. They came to the Torah with great reverence…”
JWB has owned 60 full-size Torahs for many years, and regularly lends them out to military installations. When chaplains began to request lighter weight scrolls to carry with them as they deployed to battle theater or moved from ship to ship, JWB launched the Torah for Our Troops project. Each Torah scroll is handwritten and costs as much as $50,000. JWB has already created four such Torahs, and is working on completing the fifth.
It’s a mitzvah for Jews to participate in the writing of a Torah. A sofer, or scribe, will be at the booth, so this is a chance for people to fulfill the particular mitzvah of writing a Torah.
JWB Jewish Chaplains Council has been serving the needs of Jews in the U.S. armed forces since World War I. It is a government-approved endorsing agency for Jewish military chaplains and for chaplains serving in VA hospitals.