YJC Torah Dedication

December 18, 2021, 10:00 am

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Recently, the Yorktown Jewish Center donated a beautiful Torah to the Bet Torah congregation.  For us, this is a unique Torah, lettered in the Sephardic tradition, and it will be a sacred and valuable addition to our aron kodesh.

We want to show our gratitude for this act of generosity by dedicating the Torah during our Shabbat service on December 18th and by inviting all the members of YJC to join us to participate in this celebration of continuity and commitment to strengthening Jewish life in our area.

Members of the YJC community will read from the Torah and offer reflections.

Services will take place in person beginning at 9:30am on December 18th. Learn how to join online.

We look forward to you celebrating the continued life of this sacred Torah with us.

Several of our congregants who have come from Yorktown Jewish Center will be sponsoring an enhanced Kiddush.

From Rabbi Aaron Brusso:

After 69 years, our sister synagogue, Yorktown Jewish Center, closed its doors. For a number of generations this community, like ours was a spiritual home and source of support to hundreds of families. Because of our geographic proximity we have over the years shared families and our clergy have maintained close relationships.

So it was no surprise that we recently were blessed with a number of YJC families joining our Bet Torah family. It has been a joy to welcome them to shul on Shabbat and watch them seamlessly join our participatory davening and communal singing.

Recently YJC leadership made the decision to gift their Torahs to local synagogues. They invited us to come and pick one out. Cantor Ezring, Michael Gordon, Mike Rosenman, Dan Petigrow and I drove up to the YJC building and met Marvin Meadows and Mike Mirsky in the sanctuary to decide which one would be a good fit for our collection. We decided upon a beautiful sephardic scroll with gorgeous calligraphy. Every Torah has crowns, small and thin scepter like extensions emerging in twos and threes from some of the Hebrew letters. The sephardic scribal tradition is represented by an explosion of them on most letters all over each parchment panel. The letters almost look like they are in motion. There is a mystical tradition of interpretation based on which letters get crowns. The meaning of this approach is heightened in sephardic Torahs. Since we have nothing like this in our collection of Torahs we thought this would be a truly unique addition. It is a gift for which we are extremely grateful.

As we walked the Torah out of the sanctuary and into the lobby of the YJC we all stopped and sang “eitz chayim hee – it is a tree of life,” the song we sing as we put away the Torah and just before we close the ark doors. “It is a tree of life to those who hold it and those whose lives support its teachings are enriched. Its pathways are pathways of righteousness. Return us God to you and we will return. Renew our days as they once were.” As we sang, the words echoed off of the walls and resonated all around us. We were taking the Torah out of its ark for the last time, but bringing it to its new home. This is the story of the Jewish people. Homes come and go but Torah is eternal. It is a tree of life and will continue to live. One ark door closes and another opens. Am Yisrael chai, the people of Israel live. It was an emotional moment for all of us.