Friday, September 30, 2005

New Torah for Nalchik

חדשות חב"ד

New Torah for Nalchik

( The Jewish community of Nalchik, a member of the FJC Russia, celebrated the bringing in of a new Torah scroll, received as a gift from the Ohr Avner Foundation. 

By evening, many people crowded near the synagogue, waiting to join in the festive procession to mark the bringing of the new Torah scroll. At the most exciting moment of the ceremony, music sounded and Rabbi Levi Shabayev, Chief Rabbi of Nalchik and Chabad Lubavich emissary, carefully carried the Torah under a Chuppa, as if it were a bride. Weaving its way through the city's streets, participants passed the scroll to one other during the procession, seeking an opportunity to touch it and hold its warmth in their hearts. Children carried candles to symbolize the shedding of light on their path towards the future.

Approximately 500 Jews arrived to see the yard of the Synagogue filled with beautifully-adorned tables. After the Torah scroll was carried around the Bimah seven times, a prayer was read out and the Torah was put into a new and beautiful Aron Ha-Kodesh. A festive meal followed, lasting until late night, with dances, cheerful songs and congratulations sounding throughout.

This was the first time in history of the city that such a ceremony has taken place, many participants shedding tears of joy. The festivity also involved officials from the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the City Administration, as well as many journalists, signifying how the entire city shared the Jewish community's excitement on this joyous occasion. "The holiday of Bringing in the Torah has become a festive event for everybody, revealing Jewish life from inside, which undoubtedly assists in promoting inter-religious relations," remarked Djambulat Gerkogov, the Head of the Department of Religions Affairs. "We are grateful to Rabbi Levi Shabayev and everyone who participated in arranging this exceptional event. Its importance cannot be over-estimated today!"

"The new scroll is a symbol of the community's rebirth. I am happy to see these youngsters running about and our community growing," expressed Milana Shabayeva. Colonel Vladimir Tokhayev, the Chief Inspector of Public Affairs and frequent visitor to the Synagogue, wished the community more occasions that are this cheerful. "I hope that the good times, when we lived in peace and worked together as Jews, will soon return," he said.

"New life is taking root in our community. Let this new scroll represent a new start. The very existence of the timeless Torah is a good lesson for each Jew and every conscious person," expressed Rabbi Levi Shabayev. "We are happy because the Torah is the meaning of our life, and there is nothing more significant to us. This symbolic event has taken place in the lead-up to Rosh Hashanah, the period when we reflect on ourselves, our neighbors and G-d. We analyze the things we have done this year, we weigh the good and the bad, and make a plan for the next year that will be quite different from the previous year!”

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