By Stephen E. Lipken
Fleetwood Synagogue, Mt. Vernon kicked off their Sefer Torah Campaign this fall, with a visit from Torah Sofer (Scribe) Rabbi Yaakov Hoffman of Washington Heights (the Bridge Shul), who provided a practical demonstration of the Sofer’s craft on a real Sefer Torah, especially geared for school age children or anyone interested in how Sifrei Torah are written and repaired.
Asked how many Torahs Fleetwood Synagogue intended to purchase, Rabbi Daniel Rosenfelt replied, “It depends on how much money we raise. In a perfect world, we would raise enough for one of our Torahs to be repaired and a brand new one. We plan on refurbishing one as well as repairing one or two.
“Our goal is to buy a new Sefer Torah with this money. We may also sell some of our Sifrei Torahs beyond repair. It depends how much is missing…It costs anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 for a brand-new Sefer Torah. To repair a good Sefer Torah which has never been repaired, could cost $8-$10,000; to refurbish, $15-20,000.”
The Synagogue possesses 5 full-sized and 3 small-bodied Torahs. Rosenfelt stated that they would like to finish the campaign by Shavuot. Regarding any special events, Rosenfelt said that their committee is “currently going over all its options at this time. We will certainly have a capstone event at the end of the campaign.” Information can be found at their website, www.fleetwoodsynagogue.org/torah.
Rabbi Rosenfelt noted that he is the mashgiach (Kosher Certifier) of a new restaurant on 5 Broad Street W, Swirls and Sweets, “the first Kosher eatery in Mt. Vernon, in approximately 30 years.”
An Orthodox synagogue having approximately 65 members/25 families, Fleetwood is blessed to have an Eruv (circumscribed path for Shabbat); Shabbat morning youth groups; daily minyanim and weekly classes. With Fleetwood’s proximity between Riverdale and New Rochelle, its residents not only have Kosher establishments and mikvahs within reach but also educational options.