By CT NRV
A restored Torah that survived the Holocaust was dedicated to the memory of April 16, 2007 shooting victim Liviu Librescu, who blocked the door for his students to escape Norris Hall.
Virginia Tech’s Chabad chapter dedicated the Jewish religious document Sunday outside the Librescu Jewish Student Center, already named in the late professor’s honor.
The Sandra Brand Foundation donated the Torah to the group following the shootings. Chabad at Virginia Tech Rabbi Zvi Zwiebel said the dedication of a Torah is a high honor.
“It’s a very rare event,” Zwiebel said. “Whenever we read the Torah, it’s going to be in his honor.”
Zwiebel said the Torah donated was special because Librescu was also a Holocaust survivor. He said scribes handwrote the document on parchment.
The document is kept in a wooden cabinet with a curtain hanging in front of the door. It will be used for services and programs at the Librescu center.
Engineering and science mechanics department head Ishwar Puri, a close friend of Librescu, spoke at the event. Zwiebel said Puri gave Chabad piece of a plant in memory of Librescu.
“The first present he received here at Tech was a plant from the Librescus,” Zwiebel said of Puri.
Marilena Librescu, Librescu’s widow, requested Chabad, an organization based in Brooklyn, N.Y., become active at Tech.
“She encourages us in everything we do,” Zwiebel said.
Zwiebel said the chapter began in 2007, but was largely inactive until last fall. He arrived to assist the program in April 2009.
Tech’s chapter plans to send a delegation to a Chabad conference in New York City in November. Tech has not sent any students to the conference in the past.
Zwiebel said the group hopes to carry on the spirit of Librescu.
“The way he ended his life shows his selflessness,” Zwiebel said. “He gave his life away for his students. That’s the legacy we are trying to continue here at Tech.”