The rabbi at first declined to buy the Torah, protesting that it was priceless. But astounded by Rit's story and eager to help him, Herman gave Rit a check for $250, emptying his bank account, then located benefactors.
A Jewish couple gave $750, but with a request that Herman tell the story of the scroll, rather than leave it in a museum. Herman spent the next 30 years taking the Torah to audiences around the world. Everywhere he went, he unrolled the sacred text and encouraged people to touch it.
In February, Herman died after a prolonged battle with cancer. Agnes Herman asked officials at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College to honor her husband's wish that rabbinic students pick up where he left off.
"It was like another child, and I had to make arrangements before I die," said Herman, a freelance journalist and retired social worker. "I'm almost 87 years old. I don't know how much longer I'll be here. I want this to continue to live."