Not so long ago, our family was involved with the story of Aunt Ethel Baar, the centenarian who had written into her will that she wished to be cremated, but later recanted and expressed the desire to be buried according to the Jewish tradition. After an extended legal battle, the courts decided to honor the will, and refused to hear the testimony of those who heard her express her final wishes. In the end, her body was finally cremated.

That seemed like the end of the story. Throughout the legal battle, we were all asking, "what can we do to help?" But after that final verdict, it appeared that nothing more could be done.

But we were wrong.

It turns out that there is hope in saving the soul of a cremated individual from the pain it endures from this condition. Rav Yehoshua Rosenberger, Rav of Bet Shemesh Ramat Bet, and member of the Bais Din of the Eidah Charedis, has demonstrated that the main hope of tikun for such a soul is the writing of a Sefer Torah in her memory. This, and only this, is the way we can help her after suffering the cremation we all worked so hard to prevent.

Through the efforts of Rabbi Daniel Faber, a well-known askan dealing in such matters, we have been able to secure this mitzvah at a small fraction (approx. $10K) of its usual cost, by going into partnership with another shul or yeshivah that will actually use the Sefer (one of Rav Rosenberger's conditions to the tikun) while we would retain the dedication. By spreading payments over as much as 16 installments, this should be a mitzvah that is accessible to everyone.


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Rabbi Zohn, Director of the Queens Chevra Kadisha and familiar to all of us for his deep involvement in the case, recognizing the importance of this action, has graciously agreed to establish the fund through his non-profit organization, making all contributions tax deductible. Thus, family members who might have difficulty making the payments themselves can do fund raising among friends, kehillah, and the community at large with full confidence that this constitutes a worthy use of tzedakah funds, as important as any other mitzvah. Not only are we writing a sefer Torah here, we are saving a very dear neshomah through the only tikun available to us.

Contributions are made using a Paypal account, which also accepts all other credit cards. All contributions will be used towards the Sefer Torah; only $20 a month goes to pay Rabbi Zohn's Paypal fee to maintain the subscription option. Of course all amounts are welcome, but we are hoping that family members will be able to commit themselves to 16 installments of $50/month to cover the cost, if at all possible. Even if you have to collect tzedakah for an hour or two a month at your local shul, it's worth it for this important chesed shel emes, and if we don't do it, no one else will. Let's show our unity as a family as tikun for the damage done by the machlokes of the previous months.

Donate Here (scroll down to Ethel Baar Sefer Torah)

"I have heard that you are involved in the great and exalted mitzvah to perform an act of "Chesed shel Emes" (true kindness) for the soul of the unfortunate deceased ob"m. , of which it is impossible to fathom the greatness of the pain which has been caused her, may G-d have mercy. It is obvious that at a time like this, we have no recourse but for our Torah, and the merit which has fallen upon you is of inestimable value, to perform the mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah with all its hidurim and to transfer ownership to a Bais Medrash. This is a great action at this auspicious time, and it is certainly a great favor and elevation for this neshomah and a great tikun for everything done to it, to our great sorrow. You do not need my approval on such a great matter, as is explained in the seforim hakedoshim. Therefore I appeal to all our brethren, compassionate people, the children of compassionate people, to come to the aid with strength to perform this great exalted mitzvah, and the merit of our Holy Torah is sufficient to guarantee blessings to all those that support this endeavor with all the brachos written in the Torah, until we will merit to see the His glory revealed to us and to all Yisroel with the coming of the redeemer soon in our days"

Kiryat Rema, Beith Shemesh
Tuesday, Parshas Mishpatim, 20 Shvat, 5771
Rav Yehoshua Rosenberger