An additional graduation certificate

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Shlomi Cohen wrote me the following with a photo attached: "For three years my son and his classmates have been working towards this event. Under the guidance of their mentor, Rabbi Avi Cohen, they decided that if their yeshiva high school, Ort Ma'alot (in Upper Galilee), was lacking a Torah scroll -- they would solve the problem. They would finance acquisition of a Torah scroll from pocket money and small donations, but mostly from plastic bottle recycling.

Thousands upon thousands of bottles were collected to the point where all the supermarkets in Ma'alot threw up their hands. So a special truck from a recycling conglomerate would stop regularly at the home of Rabbi Avi in order to load up the vast quantities of plastic bottles that had been collected.

Although there were offers of financial assistance, the students refused to accept large contributions. They wanted to feel the burden, the process of adding one shekel to another in the most literal way. If a wealthy individual would contribute tens of thousands of shekels, everything would be ruined from their point of view. Today, just before they scattered in different directions (to a yeshiva, pre-military academy, or regular army service), a new Torah scroll was welcomed emotionally by students, parents and many residents of Ma'alot and the surrounding area.

As a parent of one of the students who participated in the project, I feel that all of us learned a lesson about patience, looking far ahead, and also about the honor that a Torah scroll deserves. And in a certain sense, this Torah scroll serves as an additional graduation certificate".

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