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Save a Torah is a charitable foundation dedicated to rescuing and restoring Torah scrolls hidden, lost or stolen during the Holocaust and other world upheavals and placing them in Jewish congregations.[1][2]

It was founded by Rabbi Menachem Youlus, co-owner of the Jewish Bookstore of Greater Washington, located in suburban Wheaton, Maryland.[3][4]

Congregations that have acquired Torah Scrolls from Save a Torah include New York's Central Synagogue and Congregation Kol Ami of Frederick.[5]

In January 2010, the Washington Post reported that many Torahs purportedly rescued from Holocaust sites in Eastern Europe appeared to be old Torah scrolls mostly acquired when American congregations closed, and resold at high prices because of Rabbi Youlis's unsubstantiated assertion that they were rescued form Holocaust-related sites.[3] Similar questions were reported in a April 14, 2010 New York Times article concerning a Torah at New York's Central Synagogue.[6]

On August 24, 2011, Youlus was arrested and charged with fraud. According to prosecutors, he made up the stories about the Torahs' origins. Youlus was also accused of taking more than $340,000 of the $1.2 million raised by Save a Torah, including $145,000 or more for his personal use. Through an attorney, Youlus denied the allegations.[7][8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.saveatorah.org/index.php
  2. "A Mission To Salvage Holy Message: Wheaton Rabbi Scours World for Torahs Buried, Hidden During Holocaust", Katherine Shaver, Washington Post, September 24, 2004; Page B01 [1]
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Rabbi to the Rescue: Menachem Youlus is called the Indiana Jones of Torah recovery and restoration. But there are doubts about his thrilling tales", Martha Wexler and Jeff Lunden, Washington Post, Sunday, January 31, 2010; W12 [2] [3]
  4. "The Indiana Jones of rabbis; For scribe Rabbi Menachem Youlus, Torah restoration can be a dangerous cloak-and-dagger business", Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 2007, Cathryn J. Prince [4]
  5. http://www.saveatorah.org/template.php?section=RT
  6. James Barron, "Two Torahs, Two Holocaust Stories and One Big Question", New York Times, April 14, 2010.
  7. James Barron, "Rabbi Fabricated Swashbuckling Tales of Saving Holocaust Torahs, Prosecutors Say", The New York Times, August 24, 2011.
  8. Jeff Lunden, "'Jewish Indiana Jones' charged with fraud", The Washington Post, August 25, 2011.

Further readingEdit

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