NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) was host to a special Torah dedication ceremony June 24 in the carrier's home port of Norfolk.
The dedication ceremony was attended by approximately 600 service members, community members and special guests, including Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan.
The Torah was dedicated to the carrier in honor of 33rd President Harry S. Truman and in appreciation for Truman's decision to recognize the newly-formed state of Israel on May 14, 1948.
A Torah, which means "law" or "instruction" in Hebrew, also refers to the first five books of both the Jewish and Christian Bible, known as the Five Books of Moses.
"This is the second time I've had an opportunity to help install a Torah, which is the greatest honor in the world," said Mark Talisman, president of Project Judaica Foundation.
Talisman said he was pleased with the diversity of those in attendance, and felt they were very receptive to both the meaning and the message of the Torah.
"A ceremony like this doesn't happen very often, and I think those in attendance were in awe of being able to witness such an extraordinary installation ceremony," Talisman said.
Capt. Herm Shelanski, Harry S. Truman commanding officer, said he was honored to receive the Torah on behalf of the ship, and said the presence of the Torah aboard Truman would stand as a reminder to the ship's crew of the sacrifices made by service members throughout history.
"This Torah is a reminder of what Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen will do, if necessary to end tyranny," Shelanski said. "It will serve for all of us as a piece of history and as a symbol of what we do as Sailors everyday aboard this ship."
Shelanski said the role of today's Navy is the same as the role it played in helping to end the Holocaust and maintaining control of the seas in World War II.
Barry Kesser, a real estate appraiser from Norfolk, was one of many community members in attendance for the ceremony, and said it was an honor to be a part of the Torah dedication.
"I'm very grateful for people like Capt. Shelanski and his men in uniform for the work that they do and the protection they provide us," said Kesser. "This Torah dedication is a proud moment in our history, and a dedication of a holy scroll aboard a U.S. warship."
The Torah is one of the last recovered from the Holocaust, and is expected to remain aboard Truman for the next 41 years. It will be stored in Truman's chapel and used during all Jewish services onboard.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.