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Traveling Torah

Smaller scroll can be brought to the patient's bedside

Rabbi Levi Meier and volunteer Sandy Gordon (pictured above, l-r) display the new "Traveling Torah" at Cedars-Sinai. Recently, other hospitals from as far away as Montreal have contacted Rabbi Meier to learn more about the concept.

Physicians often see the positive effect that prayer can have on their patients.

Today, Cedars-Sinai has something new to soothe patients' souls in addition to prayer: a "Traveling Torah" that can easily be brought to their bedside. The "Traveling Torah" measures only 12 inches high and six inches wide, making it much smaller than a full-sized Torah.

"The new scroll is helping many of our patients feel less anxious during their hospitalization," says Rabbi Levi Meier, the Jewish chaplain at Cedars-Sinai. "Because of its small size, it is easy to carry into their rooms, and we are able to set it down right next to patients if they so desire to feel more connected to God."

This smaller Torah is the brainchild of Chaplaincy Volunteer Sandy Gordon, who decided to give the hospital the gift of a new scroll specifically designed for patient visits.

"I thought that Sandy had come up with an ingenious form of pastoral care and caring," Rabbi Meier said. "I began to contact a number of scribes who could undertake this task. After several months of research with different individuals, I located a father and son who were rabbis in Israel."

The rabbis personally delivered the "Traveling Torah" to Rabbi Meier earlier this year. "It wasn't long before the new scroll began to play an important role in our chaplaincy program," Rabbi Meier said. "I continue to be astounded by the ways in which it is being received by patients and their families."