New Torah completed at Henderson Synagogue

Las Vegas, Nev. (FOX5) – The Ner Tamid congregation at Henderson’s New Torah took place in the synagogue’s ark on Sunday.

It took about a year to complete the new Torah.

It was written in Israel, with some final letters done in a synagogue in December and again on Sunday.

Rabbi Sanford Axelrad said: “It should last for hundreds of years, inspiring the students who read it and the Jews who come to hear its holy words.”

Congregation Ner Tamid already has several Torahs on permanent loan.

This new Torah was created by Jack and Elaine Chernikoff and their son Neil.

The Torah is in memory of Harvey Alan Chernikoff, who was born with intellectual disabilities.

He died in July 2011 when he was hit by a paratransit bus in a sandwich.

The bus driver did not know how to administer the Heimlich maneuver, which would have likely saved Harvey’s life.

The family was given a multi-million dollar settlement and part of that money was used to pay for a new Torah.

“We will miss Harvey very much,” said Elaine Chernikoff.

The family also lobbied and convinced our state politicians to pass Harvey’s Law AB234, which took effect in January 2020.

“We’re talking about the most vulnerable people in our community,” said attorney Alison Brazier, one of two attorneys representing the family.

This law requires all paratransit drivers to be trained in CPR and other life-saving measures.

Before Harvey’s death, paratransit drivers were not trained in life-saving measures, according to Benjamin Cloward, another attorney.

“There was no such requirement in the state of Nevada. They put out those pages at a savings of about $40,000 per contract, $200 or $300 million, so it was about saving dollars,” he said.

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