Century-old Torah goes missing from Miami Beach synagogue

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The search is on for a Torah after it was taken from a synagogue in Miami Beach right before one of the holiest holidays in the Jewish faith.

The handwritten Bible, which vanished on the eve of Yom Kippur, has been with Mordy Sohn’s family for more than a century.

Sohn, 80, said he is devastated. “Upsetting, to say the least,” he said.

Sohn had donated the Torah to the synagogue, located inside the Tower 41 Condominium, in the area of Pine Tree Drive and 41st Street.

The house of worship’s rabbi described the religious document. “It’s a Bible that’s handwritten by a scribe, and it’s a very large Torah that went missing from this [gate],” said Rabbi Zvi Tamir.

The Torah is quite valuable, but for Sohn, it is priceless. “For somebody to write a new Torah today runs well over $50,000,” he said. “It takes approximately a year to write the Torah.”

The Bible’s disappearance also hit hard for the rest of Sohn’s family. “It’s been in the family for 100 years. Imagine one of your children being missing,” said Ari Schrier, Sohn’s son-in-law. “It’s the same thing.”

The missing Torah, which has the name “Sohn” engraved on the side, was kept under lock and key in a gate. However, right before Hurricane Irma blew through South Florida, Torahs from nearby synagogues were also placed in the gate, and for a period of time, it was left unlocked.

The congregation is hoping and praying that the Torah will be returned. “It’s a Torah. It has [the family] name [engraved] on it,” said Schrier as he held back tears. “It’s something that runs deep.”

“It’s huge. It’s a very big deal,” said Tamir. “We need this Torah back.”

“Best-case scenario is that someone took it, somebody borrowed it, they’re using it,” said Sohn. “They needed it for Rosh Hashanah, and they’re going to bring it back to us forthwith.”

When asked what the worst-case scenario would be, Sohn replied, “I don’t even want to think. Somebody may have taken it, and they’re going to try to sell it.”

If you have any information on the missing Torah, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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