Woman donates $30,000 Torah to Jewish community in UAE

Adina Krausz has travelled from Switzerland to present the scroll to Rabbi Levi Duchman in Abu Dhabi

Rabbi Levi Duchman writes first letters in the Torah that was donated by a lady in Switzerland. Photo: Adina Krausz
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A Jewish woman in Switzerland humbled by the signing of the agreement that normalised relations between the UAE and Israel is donating a handwritten scroll copy of the Torah to the Emirates' Jewish community.

Earlier this week, Adina Krausz travelled from her home in Zurich to Abu Dhabi ahead of the Hachnasat Sefer Torah celebration welcoming the Sefer Torah scroll to its new home.

Ms Krausz, 44, paid $30,000 (Dh110,000) to fund the project and will hand the Torah to the Jewish Community Centre, which has locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, on Sunday.

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Two years ago, I donated a Torah scroll to the Jewish community in Iceland because they never had their own Torah
Adina Krausz

For year, a specially trained pious scribe, known as a Sofer Setam, has been writing the script for the scroll, which comprises the five books of the Torah in Hebrew.

“Two years ago, I donated a Torah scroll to the Jewish community in Iceland because they never had their own Torah,” she said.

“It was the first such item dedicated and donated to the Jews of Iceland."

Ms Krausz said she was inspired by the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020, normalising relations between the UAE and Israel, to make a similar gesture to the Emirates' Jewish community.

“Then when the [Abraham Accords] was signed between the UAE and Israel, I told my husband I wanted to do the same again.

“It costs a lot of money to fund such a project, as you have to pay the scriptwriter for a full year, but I was adamant to go ahead and do it again.”

For a year, a specially trained pious scribe, called a Sofer Setam, has been writing the script for the scroll, which comprises the five books of the written Torah in Hebrew.

She contacted Rabbi Levi Duchman, head of the Jewish Community Centre of the UAE, who welcomed the gesture.

Ms Krausz and her family visited Dubai last year to mark the beginning of the first Sefer Torah in the UAE.

Rabbi Levi was tasked with writing the first letters of the script, before it was sent to the Sofer Setam.

This weekend, Rabbi Levi will complete the Sefer Torah by adding the final letters to the scroll.

Bringing Jewish couples together

Last year, Ms Krausz started a matchmaking service, helping families introduce Jewish singles to one another around the world.

Adina Krausz during a recent visit to Dubai.

Money she received in gratitude for helping to pair couples was invested into the Torah scroll for the UAE.

“I know a lot of people around the world and I managed to successfully pair 14 couples for marriage in Israel, the US and a few other countries,” she said.

“In our community, it is the norm for parents to pay for such a service. They pay for their children to be introduced to potential suitors.

“I managed to generate enough money for almost half the Torah costs through doing this and the rest of the money came from a tax refund I received.

“For me, it is not about the money, it is about the significance of the donation and how our community is all about supporting one another.”

As the Jewish community expands in the UAE on the back of a new era of relations with Israel, Ms Krausz said she felt “very humbled to be able to give such a significant gift” to her peers.

Founded on the principles of inclusivity and coexistence, Rabbi Levi officially opened the Jewish Community Centre in 2020, shortly after the Abraham Accords were signed.

The centre operates under the umbrella of Jewish UAE — an organisation dedicated to serving the thousands of Jews living in, working in and visiting the UAE.

Video - inside the Jewish Community Centre in Dubai

Updated: February 19, 2022, 8:28 AM
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