A Website which chronicled a Torah Restoration and Shul Renovation Project to the current, working, lively and vibrant Shabbat and High Holiday Minyan
Welcome Paterson Minnyannaires and Friends. If this is the first time you visit, welcome!
Please check our Facebook Page for more timely updates until this site is organized better!
Our Next Minyanim are scheduled for:
Saturday (Shabbat) February 15, 2020 Parshat Yisro
@ Senior Towers of Paterson (STOP - formerly Federation Apartments)
MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2020 AT 7:25P.M. MA'ARIV FOLLOWED BY MEGILLAH
TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2020 AT 8:45A.M. SHACHRIS FOLLOWED BY MEGILLAH
BUT WE HAD SOME SPECIAL GUESTS COME AND WRITE UP A VERY FLATTERING ARTICLE ABOUT US IN THE JEWISH LINK NEW JERSEY:
Thank you Rabbi Levy Neubort for leading a Tu B'shvat night with the residents c/o Jewish Link NJ
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, WE WERE FEATURED IN THE FRONT PAGE OF A SUNDAY LOCAL NEWSPAPER COVERING BERGEN AND PASSAIC COUNTIES:
CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE THAT WAS PUBLISHED JUST BEFORE ROSH HASHANAH 2016.
WE ARE IN MIDDLE OF A FUND-RAISE FOR A NEW SUKKAH FOR 2019 -- LET US KNOW HOW YOU CAN ASSIST!
The purpose of this initial website is to serve as:
1. A visitor's guide and reference point for the semi-regular, Shabbos morning Minyan and High Holiday Minyanim throughout the year in Paterson Shul located in the basement of the Federation Apartments Building. We meet at least two-three times a month. To be added to the email list please contact: JerrySchranz@gmail.com.
2. An immediate point of reference to a recent Torah restoration project we started in Spring 2015 to help raise funds to maintain two Sifrei Torah (one dated circa 1953, the other circa 1927) so that they conform to Jewish Law (Halacha) We have already finished restoring, re-inking the two Sifrei Torah. Thank you for all those who donated funds and time to assist. We can still use donations of any size to help maintain items around the shul.
The Minyan is led by a group of elderly men (and women participants) and throughout the years, had the guidance since the early 1970s through the leadership of those connected with the Yavneh Academy, to Reverand Joseph Fooks, to David Berman (early 2000s-2014 before moving to Israel), and Sam Heller for his leadership role with this minyan throughout the last two decades, who helps recruit not only congregants but also Ba'al Koreh (Torah Readers) and the Torah classes he leads Monday evening's for the residents). This Minyan has been kept alive since the late 1970s and is perhaps the last synagogue "shul" in Paterson.
The Federation Apartments building that houses the shul in the basement is located at: 510 East 27th Street, Paterson, New Jersey (between 11th/12th) across from Rosa Parks School, off Broadway/Route 4 West in Passaic County.
Throughout the years there have been different congregants and walkers from Fair Lawn and occasional guests from all across New Jersey and New York. Some have (or had) relatives at the building and some have no connection at all to the apartments or Paterson either. We are always looking for more shul goers and Ba'al Korim to read the weekly Torah portions.
The building that houses the shul is owned and operated by the Jewish Community Housing Corporation, a non-profit organization that has welcomed the lay-leadership minyan practically since its inception. The Federation Building Apartments today houses approximately 60 Jewish individuals out of 142 resident apartments in the 10-story building. There are security guards on-premises who greet and welcome visitors to the basement Shul, which is under lock and key when not in use. Some of the early funding and support came from Mr. Leon Rosenblum. We are also always fact-checking and looking for any individuls connected to this place.
FOR THE HIGH HOLIDAYS ESPECIALLY ROSH HASHANAH
AND YOM KIPPUR 2017: WE ARE CURRENTLY IN A FUND-RAISE FOR CHAZZANS TO
LEAD THE SERVICES FOR THE HIGH HOLIDAYS, READ THE TORAH, BLOW THE
SHOFAR, ETC. OUR GOAL IS FAIRLY MODEST COMPARED TO MANY SYNAGOGUES AND
ANY AMOUNT YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE WOULD GO A LONG WAY. OUR GOAL IS $1,000
We are also entertaining the idea of adding Rimonim or a Crown to these Torahs. You can donate this in memory of a loved one. If you would like to make a donation, please contact us.
Donations of any amount can be made out to:
Jewish Community Housing Corporation
Reference: Paterson Shul Restoration Project
Checks can be mailed or dropped off to:
c/o Paterson Shul
2-11 Kenneth Avenue
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
Questions can be addressed to: JerrySchranz@gmail.com
General Update: Thank you all the current donors, including the anonymous ones, who I can only thank from here if you happen to visit the site. It's an honor and special mazal to know how many people care about this project and the needs of the shul. We have raised enough funds for the Torah restoration and now have other needs of the Shul, so we can still use your support.- Jerry
The Torah is the testimony of the covenant between G-d (Hashem) and B'nai Yisrael, as it is written, "Take this Torah scroll that it may serve as a testimony for you" (Deut. 31:26). A Torah scroll must be treated with the utmost respect. We are taught that whoever honors the Torah will himself be honored.
A person is obligated to treat a Torah scroll with great respect and it is praiseworthy to appoint it a special place and to respect that place and beautify it. One should not hold it without a cloth [in between the scroll and one's bare hands. One who sees someone carrying a Torah scroll must rise before it until the Torah scroll is placed in its position or until one no longer sees it.
The Paterson Shul currently houses two Sifrei Torah, both which were brought in the 1970s by the Yavneh Academy Men's Club (now known as the YPAA), which was then conveniently located across the street since the 1950s prior to relocating to Paramus, New Jersey in Bergen County. (Photo below, courtesy of the Paterson Jewish Historical Society)
Update as of May 1, 2015: I have succeeded in my personal mission to reconnect the families of the Torahs that were written in honor of family members who have passed away. It started with a fascination of mine with the words written on the Atzei Chaim. I'm not sure how often people in Shuls around the world bother to look at the inscriptions, but I thought it was worth looking up for historical purposes as well as what I thought might be a cool way to let a descendant or family member know where the Torahs are being used today in case they were unaware.
I'm happy to discuss more details with you all, but for now, after looking through census and genealogy sites, talking to people who once lived or worked in Paterson, rabbis, laymen and women, white pages, and all sorts of other searches, I located family members connected with these Torahs. I made some calls and was able to reach people who were happy, sad, emotional and forever will change the course of history in their lives and mine. From this tremendous experience I learned that there is a much greater connection to these two Sifrei Torah than I could have ever imagined. I encourage other people to preserve history and to learn from artifacts and the history that surrounds you.
I consider it an honor to be able to utilize these Torahs and knowing that these families can see what and where these Torahs are being used today, is the ultimate Kavod (respect).
Also, I approached the current Rosh Yeshiva from the current Yavneh Academy in Paramus and we arranged for the students in the second grade class to choose a new design for the cover of one of the Mantels. It came out really nice. Here is one old and new one.
ARTICLES DOCUMENTING FROM RESTORING/REPAIRING THE TORAH'S TO OUR RE-DEDICATION EVENT AND THE FUTURE!
May 6, 2015: Article as seen in the Jewish Link of New Jersey - only correction is the second torah is actually from 1927, and that I have reunited the family who originally had that Torah scribed.
May 7: 2015: Article as seen in The Jewish Standard - some of the people they edited out include David Berman and all the people who come to help make the minyan. There are many people
October 29, 2015 Article as seen in The Jewish Link: Local Bar Mitzvah Boy Helps Restore Torah
Very fitting that we were able to honor the Sussman/Kossman family's Torah via a coming of age story of a young man preparing for his Bar Mitzvah and being able to practice, re-ink letters with the Sofer and then leyn on his Bar Mitzvah was pretty cool if you ask me.
November 19, 2015 Article as seen in The Jewish Standard: Torah Tales from Paterson: Restored Scrolls Tell Stories of Past Dedications
[I happen to love this article since it unlocks a lot of the stories that have unfolded since embarking on this Torah restoration project]
December 10, 2015 Article as seen in Jewish Link New Jersey Hachnasat Sefer Torah Celebration Held in Paterson
December 18, 2015 Article as seen in New Jersey Jewish News Finding lost Torah a Hanukka Paterson man reunites families with a scroll missing for decades
The Torah scroll is handwritten by a Sofer (scribe) with a feather and special ink on carefully prepared parchment.
The a long scroll is rolled up around two ornate wooden shafts (etz chayim) attached to either end of the scroll.
An authentic Sefer Torah is a mind-boggling masterpiece of labor and skill. Comprising between 62 and 84 sheets of parchment-cured, tanned, scraped and prepared according to exacting Halachic specifications-and containing exactly 304,805 letters, the resulting handwritten scroll takes many months to complete.
An expert Sofer carefully inks each letter with a feather quill, under the intricate calligraphic guidelines of Ktav Ashurit (Ashurite Script). The sheets of parchment are then sewn together with sinews to form one long scroll.
Common Problems with Torah Scrolls that everyone should be aware of:
All four of these problems have been the issue we tackled, as well as worn out Montals (Torah slip covers) and other accessories.
Just before Passover of 2015, one of the Torah scrolls had become more awkward to conduct the Hagbah (lifting and showing) of the Torahs immediately following the conclusion of the weekly Torah reading. This is due to the poor condition of the Atzei Chaim (wooden rollers) which need to be replaced. The second Sefer Torah also has major wear and as a result, both Torahs are in danger of falling. As of June they have both been restored!
Why is this so important?
Jews have often been called am ha-sefer, the people of the book. This designation underscores the importance of text in Judaism and the belief that God communicates with us through the written word. The central text in Judaism is the Torah. Enhancing the importance of its teachings is the fact that it is written in a special way.
A SCREENSHOT OF WHAT THE LETTERS THAT NEED RE-INKING LOOKS LIKE:
Writing a Torah scroll is a religious act. First and foremost, a kosher Torah scroll must be hand-written. This is done by a sofer (scribe), a specially trained individual who is devout and knowledgeable in the laws governing the proper writing and assembling of a scroll.
Sofer is from the Hebrew root "to count." According to the Talmud (Kiddushin 30a), these scholars would count each letter of the Torah. More specifically, the modern scribe is called a sofer stam, an acronym for sefer torah (Torah scroll) tefillin (phylacteries) and mezuzah. All these ritual objects must be written according to strict standards regarding size, lettering style, and layout.
We are currently honored to have Mr. Rephael Hirsch, Ba'al Koreh and Sofer STaM, who is working ambitiously on re-inking and restoring the two Sifrei Torah before the holiday of Shavuot. He will also disassemble, dispose in a special Shaimos the worn out wooden parts and will replace and install new Atzei Chaim rollers. He already started working since the 12th Day of the Omer (April 14, 2015). Here is his card should anyone have any needs with Torah, Mezuzza or Tefillin, even Megillot and custom parchments:
Side note: Raphael Hirsch taught me how to read Half-Torah several years ago while attending Congregation Anshei Lubavich, where he is a regular Ba'al Koreh and the in-house Sofer, in charge of a half dozen Sifrei Torah, and many Mezuzzot and Tefillin. His website is: www.newjerseysofer.com.
Parchment used for the writing must be made from the skin of a kosher animal.
This photo shows one particular page that needed to be re-sown.
The Sofer mixes a special ink for the writing and prepares the actual writing utensil, a quill, usually from a turkey feather. He uses a reed instrument to scratch lines into the parchment in preparation for the writing. Once all the writing has been completed, the pieces of parchment are sewn together with thread made of animal veins. The finished scroll is attached to wooden rollers called Atzei Chaim. As seen in this photo, they are in desperate need of being replaced.
No instrument containing iron or steel may be used in the creation of a Torah scroll, because these metals are used to create instruments of war.
Congregants of the Paterson Shul are split between a handful of residents of the brick apartment complex and walkers from the broader Fair Lawn community, ranging from a 20 minute to 45 minute walk in good weather, hot, cold, rainy, icy, etc.
The Paterson Shul is looking to raise additional funds to keep up the Minyan in various ways to also refresh certain aspects of the Shul. Inquire with me at any time.
Thank you for visiting the website. Come back for periodic updates.This website is a work-in-progress by: Jerry Schranz.
We hope you can also visit the Shul when we have a Minyan.
! If you are interested in being the Ba'al Koreh or if you would like to read the Torah on a special occasion or your Bar Mitzvah Parsha, please be in touch with me.
We are looking to make a minyan whenever we have a Ba'al Koreh available to read the Torah. Please check our Facebook page for updates and a calendar of times we have a Minyan (which starts at 9:00a.m.) Please be in touch with me via e-mail to let me know of your interest: JerrySchranz@gmail.com.
Keep checking back for a new section for Minyan times and events to be aware of. The Minyan is not every week.
Website (C)opyright: Jerry Schranz 2018