Jack Abraham took his family’s Torah scroll to Las Vegas for a trade event, where it was stolen from the hotel.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
A New York jeweler has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the return of his Torah scroll that was stolen from a Las Vegas hotel, FOX5 of Las Vegas reported on Saturday.
Jack Abraham, a veteran diamond dealer, has taken his family’s scroll with him on business for some two decades – whenever his travels force him to stay over the Sabbath, when the Torah is read during services.
“It was dedicated to the entire community of jewelry shows,” Abraham said, according to Fox5, and “has been all over the world.”
This time, he took the holy object to the JCK Show, North America’s largest annual trade event for jewelry, which took place over the first few days of June at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
The New York Jewish Week reported that it had been left in the room where all the religious Jewish businessmen prayed, because, Abraham said, “I was told it was secured. And somebody took it.”
He was “disappointed” with the attitude of the hotel management, who just told him that the police were handling the case, he said.
Abraham, who was born in Afghanistan and emigrated to Queens, NY with his family, is a Sephardic Jew. Unlike in Ashkenazic tradition, where the Torah is wrapped in a velvet covering, the Sephardim encase their scrolls in ornate silver containers.
Because of the value of such a holder, and the fact that the scrolls themselves generally cost more than $10,000, the authorities are investigating the crime as one of grand larceny.
They’re close to catching their man, Abraham said.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has “an excellent lead,” he noted, with “clear pictures” of the suspect, who had attempted to peddle his purloined goods.
According to the Jewish Week, Abraham is willing for the thief to remain unpunished and even get the reward, although he said, “It’s hard to swallow what happened; you shouldn’t take something holy like this.”
“If he knew it was a Torah, if he tried to sell it, it doesn’t matter. I’ll close my eyes to him,” he added.
“If he comes forward before the police go after him, he’ll get the money,” Abraham said. “But if not, the money is going to charity.”
The Torah holds personal meaning to Abraham beyond being a way for him and his colleagues to “feel at home” while on their business trips, as he put it.
“It’s been to Israel for my grandson’s bar mitzvah, it’s been at the weddings of my son, my daughters, and brit [circumcision] of my grandkids,” he told Fox 5.
It’s a family heirloom, he said, and “I just want it back. Take the $10,000. Please bring it back. I’m not going to press charges.”