web analytics
December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

War Story: A New Torah For Sderot

Torah scroll. (illustrative only)

Torah scroll. (illustrative only)
Photo Credit: Flash 90

This summer has been incredibly difficult for our brothers and sisters in Israel. Instead of vacationing with their families or making memories at day camps, Israeli children have spent sunny days hiding in bomb shelters and learning more than their fair share about the Iron Dome missile defense system. Instead of jumpstarting their careers or focusing on basic training, thousands of young men and women have found themselves on the front lines of the war in Gaza.

It’s been a very long and challenging summer, to be sure. But Jews around the world have been sharing inspiring stories of extreme charity and anecdotes of unprecedented displays of brotherhood that have taken place over the past few weeks.

These stories buoy our spirits and help us remember just how fortunate we are to be members of “the Tribe.” Since I spent some time in Israel during the war, I have a few stories of my own, but one in particular stands out above the rest – a life-altering moment I experienced in the rocket-battered Negev city of Sderot.

The story actually begins in January, with a phone call from Yossi Baumol, executive director of American Friends of Sderot. Yossi explained he was in dire need of a Torah for an Ethiopian synagogue in Sderot. The congregants had been using ritually unfit Torahs and were pining for a kosher Torah to call their own.

I immediately got on the case. Dr. Joe Rozehzadeh, Simon Jacob, and I decided to dedicate the Torah in memory of Joe’s father, my father, and Simon’s father-in-law. Promptly, a Torah was on its way to Sderot.

Joe, Simon, and I postponed the Hachnasat Sefer Torah (Torah dedication ceremony) until all three of us could be in Israel together. After much discussion, we settled on Friday morning, Aug. 8 (the eve of Shabbat Nachamu) as the date for the ceremony.

As the war unfolded, we made a conscious decision to stick to our plan. Not only did we want to see it through, it dawned on us that a celebration of this kind was more important during a war than at any other time. We were committed to giving our Torah a proper homecoming and standing in solidarity with the citizens of Sderot when they needed us most.

On the morning of Aug. 8, Nachum Segal Network general manager Miriam Wallach, Joe, Simon, and I arrived in Sderot with an entourage of family and friends. Though we were overcome with excitement, we were also somewhat nervous because there’d been several air-raid sirens that morning. Later we would realize that while sirens rang out immediately before and after the event, not one sounded while we were actually singing and dancing with the Torah.

The first thing we noticed was that the “synagogue” was actually a trailer with a capacity of no more than 30 people. The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride. In addition to genuine excitement about the Hachnasat Sefer Torah, it was clear they were simply thrilled to have a reason to celebrate outdoors on a sunny day. In a city plagued by aerial terror, moments such as these were not taken for granted.

And so we began. The small group gathered together, dancing with the Torah at the entrance to the synagogue as we raised our voices in song. Israeli musician Yehuda Katz joined us for the ceremony, and his sweet vocals and instrumentals helped set the mood. As the members of the congregation chose one song after another, we were pleasantly surprised by the selections.

We had assumed that an Ethiopian synagogue would mark the occasion by singing melodies American Jews couldn’t possibly know, and we were all prepared to just hum along and clap when it seemed appropriate. It turned out, however, that their Hachnasat Sefer Torah set list matched our own without exception. The universality of the custom was moving.

About the Author: Nachum Segal is the founder of the Nachum Segal Network (www.NachumSegal.com), the Jewish world’s premier English-language Internet radio network. He is best known as the force behind the popular radio show “JM in the AM - Jewish Moments in the Morning.”


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “War Story: A New Torah For Sderot”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
funny rocket joke
Israel Retaliates: Hits Terror Tunnel Cement Factory
Latest Indepth Stories
The annual  Chabad menorah lighting in Sydney has been called off this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Greiff-112814-Men

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

Two dreidels from the author’s extensive collection.

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

More Articles from Nachum Segal
Torah scroll. (illustrative only)

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/war-story-a-new-torah-for-sderot/2014/08/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: