Jul 3, 2007 — Students who attend Congregation Birkat Shmuel, which is located on the Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus of Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM), are the beneficiaries of a new gift to the congregation: a Sefer Torah (holy Torah Scroll).
The Sefer Torah was presented by the Lipman family of New York and Memphis, Tennessee. The inscribing of the Sefer Torah for YU was commissioned by businessman and philanthropist Ira A. Lipman of New York and given in observance of the 13th yahrzeit (anniversary of the passing) of his late father, Mark Lipman. It was presented on May 30, 2007, to the independent Congregation Birkat Shmuel, which was named for the late, revered Dr. Samuel Belkin, under whose tenure as the second President of YU the Albert Einstein College of Medicine was established.
Mr. and Mrs. Lipman and their family have given specially written Sifrei Torahs to universities, Hillels, and centers of Jewish learning across America each year on Mark Lipman’s yahrzeit. However—and uniquely—this is the second such special gift to benefit Yeshiva University students; a Sefer Torah was dedicated last year on the Wilf Campus in Washington Heights.
At the beginning of the dedication ceremony, Edward Burns, MD, AECOM’s executive dean, spoke on the significance of Hakhnasat Sefer Torah (dedicating a new Torah), explaining why the ritual, which incorporates the use of a chuppa (wedding canopy) may be compared to a joyous occasion such as a Jewish wedding.
The Lipman family and their guests, as well as AECOM and Yeshiva University students, were welcomed by YU President Richard M. Joel, who spoke of his long relationship with Ira Lipman dating back to President Joel’s tenure as president and international director of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Other speakers included Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, Yeshiva’s vice president for university affairs and Dr. Steven H. Lazar, assistant dean of AECOM, who helped coordinate the event.
Words of tribute were offered by rabbis who have been close to Mark Lipman, Ira Lipman, and the Lipman family: Rabbi Sol Roth, rabbi emeritus, Fifth Avenue Synagogue and professor of philosophy at YU; Rabbi Rafael Grossman, senior rabbi emeritus, Baron Hirsch Congregation, Memphis, Tennessee; and Rabbi Samuel Fox, rabbi emeritus, Beth Jacob Congregation, Dayton, Ohio, formerly rabbi of Congregation Agudath Achim, Little Rock, Arkansas.
The liturgical program of dedication that followed completion of the Torah was conducted by Cantor Joseph Malovany of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue in New York City. Cantor Malovany is also distinguished professor of Jewish liturgical music at the Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music at YU’s affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
A highlight of the ceremonies was the sacred privilege of writing a letter in the new Torah with the guidance of the Scribe, Rabbi Binyomin Spiro, of Baltimore, who has completed all thirteen Sifrei Torah for the Lipman family. Students, faculty, and invited guests joined the Lipman family, which included the sons of Barbara and Ira Lipman— Gustave, Joshua, and Benjamin—in writing a Torah letter.
The Siyum (conclusion of the writing of the Torah) was heralded by Rabbi Alex Mondrow, the young and dynamic spiritual leader of Congregation Birkat Shmuel, who conducts services and lectures and teaches classes on the Resnick Campus during the week, while working toward his PhD in psychology at YU’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology.
The Lipman family has given Sifrei Torah, also completed on previous yahrzeits of Mark Lipman, to the Hillel chapters of the University of Pennsylvania, Northeastern University, Columbia University, Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland; as well as to Fifth Avenue Synagogue; the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles; the Center for Jewish History, New York; Baron Hirsch Congregation; and Congregation Agudath Achim.
Ira A. Lipman is founder and chairman of Guardsmark, LLC, one of the world’s largest security services companies, with more than 155 offices in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, France, and Singapore, serving clients in more than 400 cities. His father, the late Mark Lipman, founded and operated Mark Lipman Service, a private investigations company in Little Rock and Memphis, and was a prominent leader of the Jewish community for many years, including having been president of Congregation Agudath Achim and the moving force to build a new synagogue that was completed in 1952 in Little Rock.