Naveh with the Sefer Torah he dedicated

Naveh Schindler, from the central Israeli village of Bruchin, was ten years old when three Israeli teenagers, Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Shaer (16), and Eyal Yifrah (19), were murdered in 2014. They had been on their way home from school when they were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. A massive manhunt was launched that gripped the nation. Two weeks later their bodies were found.

Deeply affected by the search for the boys, Naveh committed to dedicate Judaism’s holiest item, a Torah scroll, in the memory of the three boys. Last week, at an emotional ceremony, Naveh realized his dream and dedicated a Sefer Torah to his community's shul.

From candies to letters

Naveh began raising the huge sum of 100,000 NIS ($30,000 US) needed to commission a Sefer Torah, by selling candies to his friends. He set up a table with boxes of sour sticks in his school and at his youth movement Bnei Akiva. At first his plan was met with some disbelief.

“When you went around the village, announcing that you would dedicate a Torah Scroll in our synagogue in the memory of the three boys, none of us took your dream seriously,” his mother admitted at the ceremony, “but you worked nonstop, and did everything to make it happen.”

Naveh selling candies

As momentum grew he recruited a team of sellers across several yeshivot and seminaries. His mother explained, “You would give your friends boxes full of candies and each afternoon they would return them empty but full of coins.”

“Nothing Can Stand Before the Will to Succeed”

Amid the challenge of staying focused and committed on the long-term project, Naveh stayed positive throughout. One occasion, after standing at a candy stand at an event for hours, the box full of money Naveh got lost. “You didn’t throw your hands up and give up,” his mother praised him. "You just said with God’s help you would get there in the end and that’s what you did.”

The three boys

Quoting the Hassidic master Rabbi Nachman of Breslav, Schindler explained his philosophy that drove him to beat the odds. “There is never a reason to despair in this world, to get down and give up hope.”

So many people said we wouldn’t succeed but nothing can stand before the will to succeed. Anything is possible when you really want to achieve something important to you.”

Emotional ceremony

A few months ago, when Schindler had raised the full amount, he turned to a scribe to write the Torah scroll. At a packed dedication ceremony last week in his hometown, Schindler completed the scroll writing the final few letters. “It was so emotional,” he said. “We actually did it!”

Completing the Sefer Torah

The Torah scroll which will be read from every week in Naveh’s community synagogue was welcomed with hours of dancing, music, a festive meal and speeches from community leaders. Among the hundreds of guests, the dedication was also attended by the parents of the three boys, Gilad, Naftali and Eyal.

“There are no words to describe how much we as families thank you,” Avraham Fraenkel, Naftali’s father said, praising Schindler’s “vision, kindness, determination, faith and hard work.”

Rachelli Fraenkel, Naftali’s mother added, “There is something very inspiring our youth have to teach us here about being audacious and unflinching not giving in. It is a real life lesson for us about being stubborn, being obsessed about something, and going for it until the end. Pieces of candy, popcorn and ice pops, this boy and his friends turned them into a Sefer Torah.”