The family of Leonard Grunstein dedicated a Sefer Torah to Yeshiva University Sunday in memory of his father, Morris Grunstein. The gift was celebrated in an all-day ceremony on December 7, featuring a traditional march through the streets with family, university administration, and students of the school. The Torah will be used for services at the university.
“Leonard Grunstein has always been a valued member of the Yeshiva University community, and we are humbled by the generosity he has shown to our school,” said Richard Joel, President of Yeshiva University. “Their family’s kindness is truly a model for Yeshiva University’s students.”
The dedication of a new Torah is a rare and deeply festive occasion. After a class presented by Rav Yaakov Neuberger, Rosh Yeshiva of the RIETS School, Yeshiva University students and family had the chance to fill in the final letters of the Torah, a tradition that goes back centuries. The Torah was then carried under a chupa through the streets surrounding Yeshiva University’s Wilf campus in Washington Heights, accompanied by singing and dancing.
The writing of a Torah is a product of painstaking craftsmanship. Every detail, down to the type of parchment used, must follow strict rules prescribed by Halakhic law. Each letter is written by hand by a sofer, a special scribe trained in the art of writing the Torah scroll, and any error must be fixed manually. As a result, a full Torah scroll will take over a year to write.
Leonard Grunstein and his wife Chanie, as well as their three children, are all alumni of Yeshiva University. A long-time supporter of the school, Grunstein was named a member of the Board of Overseers of the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies in early 2013. He has been involved with an array of other Jewish causes such as the Hebron Fund and the YIVO Institute.