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New Reform Temple begins process of restoring Holocaust Torah

Rabbi Kevin Hale Courtesy Rabbi Kevin Hale Courtesy Rabbi Kevin Hale

The 613th Commandment in the Hebrew Bible is to write our own Torah Scroll. Maimonides (1135-1204) taught, “It is a positive commandment for every Jew to write a Torah. …” Our ancient rabbis state that if we write even one letter in the Torah, it is as if we have written an entire Torah.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, The New Reform Temple is embarking on a ResTorah project to restore its Holocaust Torah. The project, which will also serve as a fundraiser for the congregation, begins Nov. 3 with the congregation’s annual Krasne Scholar in Residence weekend.

Rabbi Kevin Hale, a certified scribe and an expert in Holocaust Torah scrolls, will be the Krasne Scholar in Residence as well as the sofer (scribe) restoring NRT’s Torah.

“ResTorah is our congregational project to restore the Holocaust Torah entrusted to us, and enable each of our member families, under the scribe’s supervision, to fix a letter in the Torah to fulfill the 613th commandment,” states the invitation to the Krasne Scholar in Residence weekend.

Rabbi Hale was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and graduated in 1997. Following several years of congregation work and experience, he began apprenticing with Dr. Rabbi Eric Ray (of blessed memory), one of the pre-eminent sofers of the 20th century. His work focuses on evaluating and restoring sifrei Torah, writing, and teaching about our sacred scribal traditions. He has worked with every kind of congregation and community including modern Orthodox, Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, independent and minyanim.

The weekend begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, for pre-Shabbat cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Rabbi Hale will speak at the 7 p.m. Shabbat service, “Why is this Torah different from all other Torahs,” followed by and Oneg Shabbat.

The schedule Saturday, Nov. 4, begins with a continental breakfast at 9 a.m., following by Torah study with Rabbi Hale at 9:15 a.m.

Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. NRT’s Religious School students will spend time with Rabbi Hale learning how a scribe creates and repairs Torah Scrolls. A congregational bagel and lox brunch will take place at 10 a.m.

The ResTorah opening event will begin at 11 a.m. Nov. 5 when Rabbi Hale leads a special ceremony to formally launch the restoration of the Holocaust Torah. NRT members can take part in letter-writing opportunities from 12:15 to 3:30 p.m. 

NRT plans to bring Rabbi Hale back to Kansas City at least one more time after the first of the year to give its members another chance to write a letter in the Torah. The project will be completed sometime this spring.

For more information or to make a reservation, contact Chris at 816-523-7809 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Rabbi Hale will return in 2018 to provide additional opportunities for congregants to fulfill the 613th commandment.