Before offering Torah restoration services on our revised site we carefully considered discontinuing this department. Such services shoulder tremendous responsibility! Bear in mind that over 300,000 letters must be checked, often many repairs made, many of them requiring considerable patience and skill. In addition to all the possible problems that must be looked for and dealt with in a new Torah scroll, cracked, fading and crumbling letters are a major concern in an older Torah scroll. We did not reconsider due to our lack of expertise but rather because no matter how careful and expert one is, the risk of overlooking one problem letter is significant. One non-kosher letter means a non-kosher Torah scroll!
However, for the same reason we feared continuing these services we chose to maintain our Torah restoration department! There are very few who are properly trained and have the disposition necessary to be a success at refurbishing Torah scrolls. Many knowledgeable, trained and certified sofrim, scribes and examiners have failed in this particular field or are unwilling to take on this type of work. This is besides the pious looking charlatans who claim to provide such services knowing they are incapable of doing the job right or whose intention is to rip off the customer by doing an incomplete or substandard job or claiming to have restored the Torah while having done nothing more than fixing a few blatant problems, cleaning the parchment and spraying a protective coating over the letters. We felt a continued responsibility to make these services available because we believe we offer very reliable restoration services. Our Torah renewal and refurbishing department is under the direction of one of the few, used Torah experts. He hand chooses his team of experts and oversees their work and accepts responsibility for it.
Under most circumstances we guarantee that Torahs we refurbish will retain their kosher status for 3 years, during which time we will make any necessary repairs on our premises or possibly by someone closer, who we recognize and know to be an older Torah expert. This is, of course, assuming that these are problems that evolved due to our oversight or due to natural causes not made worse by neglect, poor ventilation or extreme temperatures. (In other words, not caused purposely or accidentally by the customer or any other person viewing, handling or caring for the Torah scroll.) We make every effort that, as a result of our restoration, the Torah scroll should remain kosher, with proper care, for at least 10-20 years. We are unable to extend the guarantee, as used Torah scrolls are unpredictable. We also assure our customers that the restoration work is aesthetically pleasing.
In addition to the manual restoration we also provide computer examination of Torah scrolls for textual errors. It is not uncommon to find misspelled words or missing and extra letters even in a Torah that has been read from for many years. This is a one-time expense and is most worthwhile even if not intending to have the Torah scroll manually restored. However, in order to be able to computer check the Torah scroll it must be in good condition, to be determined by the one doing the computer examination. The minimum cost is $300 plus an hourly fee of $30 per hour (minimum one hour) for repairs resulting from the computer examination.
The Torah Restoration Process
If you are considering having a Torah or Torahs restored please contact us. If you have a significant number of Torahs you may want to consider bringing us in to review each one and provide you with a written estimate, a detailed report and an evaluation of the value of the Torahs before and after restoration, for insurance purposes.
You can also arrange to send us your Torah scroll(s) for restoration. We can evaluate each Torah and prepare a report. If you choose to use our services, part of the fee for this evaluation will go towards the restoration fee. You may also choose to hire us on an hourly basis. You will not have to pay the evaluation fee but on the other hand we will not know the final cost until the Torah is close to completion.
The cost for restoration is dependant on your demands. Are you satisfied with a minimally kosher Torah? Do you want it restored to its original level of kashrus? Do you want even only slightly faded letters to be strengthened? Do you want aesthetic repairs done in addition to halachic corrections, such as cleaning of the parchment, patching holes, resewing sections, etc?
We can also outfit your restored Torah with new Torah rollers and cover.
Please contact us for information on the evaluation fees and payment scheduling.
STAM will consider accepting Torah scrolls as trade-ins towards new or used Torahs or to be used towards the cost of restoration of other Torahs. We will also consider purchasing a used Torah outright! We will need to carefully review a potential trade-in Torah and will need detailed information on its history and any maintenance that has been done on it in order to determine its value to us and if we will be interested in accepted it in trade. Please note that the value of a trade-in Torah is limited since significant amount of cost and business risk go into acquiring such a Torah. The average trade-in/purchase value of an older Torah scroll is $1000-5,000 and in unusual circumstances up to $10,000.
We furnish appraisals for insurance purposes, etc.