Torah Arks have become easy prey for thieves. The objects in the Arks are of great value (not only spiritually but also in financial value). Since the responsibility for them is usually shared among many people, it is often difficult to pin down a specific person in charge. As the sages have written, a pot belonging to a partnership will be neither hot nor cold. In addition, identifying property stolen from an Ark is not easy, and this includes both the Torah scrolls themselves and the ornaments.
Most property can be protected with an alarm, but this is problematic for the Ark, which is mainly used on Shabbat and holidays. A way must be found to allow authorized people to open the Ark on Shabbat. How can the sexton stop the alarm if it is sounded (by mistake or on purpose)? How can the alarm be disconnected before the start of Shacharit in the morning, reconnected, and then disconnected again before Mincha? It is not practical to use a Shabbat timer for the alarm, since there is often a need for unscheduled use of the Ark, as for a spontaneously organized prayer or to prepare the Torah scrolls for the next prayer. And what can be done if the alarm suddenly begins to sound?
The solution for these problems which is available from The Zomet Institute is based on the principle of disconnecting an open electric circuit. This will not be explained in detail here, but we note that with this device the person in authority can allow access to the Ark even during the prayers by turning a key. After the prayers are over, the key is returned to its former postion, turning the alarm system on again.
If the alarm sounds, either on purpose or by accident, there is no problem. The alarm is set to go on and off in regular cycles. When it is off, the key can be switched to the off position, and the alarm will remain silent.
This system has received the approval of prominent halachic authorities, providing a convenient solution for the problem of theft of Torah scrolls.
For consultation and orders, contact The Zomet Institute.