One of Martin Small’s deepest dreams was to have a Torah scroll at Congregation Bonai Shalom, the Boulder community in which he has played such a significant role in his years in Colorado. The Torah is the most holy of the sacred writings in Judaism and contains the Five Books of Moses. To help accomplish his dream Martin donated his portion of the proceeds from the sales of his recently published book “Remember Us from my shtetl through the holocaust”.
Martin and his Rabbi Marc Soloway, along with Bruce Wildman, president of the congregation, chose a Torah that is 65-70 years old and was originally from Poland or Southern Germany. It is believed that before the war the Torah escaped to Israel and eventually came to the United States. Martin is proud of the fact that both him and the Torah are holocaust survivors.
On July 31, 2008 the memorable evening’s celebration took place at the shul (synagogue) at Bonai Shalom. Martin looked reasonably well despite his condition and marched the Torah into the sanctuary just as he had dreamed. He then walked under the chuppah (traditional canopy) and told the capacity crowd that he was giving the proceeds from his book to help pay for the Torah. Martin walked the room embracing the Torah to connect with all of those in attendance. He then read from the Torah and mentioned that he had gone through the ‘gates of hell’ but was ready to go through the ‘gates of heaven’. As the Torah was placed in the ark both Martin and Doris were chanting "the Torah is coming home."
Rabbi Marc Soloway commented: “It was a highly charged and very emotional ceremony that deeply honored our beautiful new Sefer Torah, as well as our friends Martin and Doris Small. Martin was so joyful, spoke about achieving this final dream and prayed that his grandfather would open the sha’are Tzedek (Gates of Righteousness) for him to return home. It was deeply moving and one of the highest and most significant rituals that I have ever experienced; a powerful moment for saying a she’cheyianu (the special blessing that we recite when we reach auspicious times).
A special thank you to everyone that contributed to make Martin's dream happen. If you are interested in contributing to this ongoing fund, please contact:
Rabbi Marc Soloway
Congregation Bonai Shalom
1527 Cherryvale Road
Boulder, CO 80303