Chabad of North Orlando celebrates completion of its first torah
North Orlando was rocking Sunday, Nov. 16, and it wasn't because boy band One Direction was headed into town. All the fuss and fanfare was for Lake Mary's newest celebrity, Chabad of North Orlando's new Sefer Torah, sponsored by Steve and Dawn Chamu family, and Paul Sebag. The torah was dedicated that morning at Lake Mary's Westin Hotel with all the festivity customary of a blessed and joyous event. The auspiciousness of the day was compared to "momentous, awe-inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime events like Halley's Comet and flights to the moon," by members of the Chabad community. Rabbi Yanky Majesky of Chabad of North Orlando was smiling ear to ear as he thanked the crowd, his wife, Chanshy, and Hashem for making him lucky enough to partake "in this awesome day."
Rabbi Pape, a professionally licensed torah scribe from New York, was visibly moved by the enthusiasm of the participants of all ages. Pape has spent the last year writing by hand each the 304,808 letters and notation in the new Sefer Torah. The scribe writes the five books of Moses on parchment, in exactly the same way it has been done for the last 3000 years. Pape completed the final letters of the magnificent scroll at the dedication, with members of the Chabad community holding the quill alongside the scribe. Numerous families helped sponsor the new scroll, and dedicated a letter in which they had a hand in writing.
As Pape etched the final letter, the crowd of more than 300 people rejoiced with song and dance. The torah was placed under a wedding canopy. Rabbi Majesky noted that the joy of a torah dedication was comparable to the joy of a wedding.
David Mealor, mayor of Lake Mary, raised the level of hubbub as he issued a proclamation declaring Nov. 16 to be "Torah Day" and called the day "a remarkable moment for the community, and all of us." Mayor Mealor thanked Rabbi Majesky "for his optimistic message of a better world for (the residents of) Longwood, Sanford, and Lake Mary." He stated, "The torah is an unbroken chain that has shaped Western civilization with the promise of a better tomorrow."
JFGO Executive Director Olga Yorish brought greetings from the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando. "It is a great pleasure to offer you 'mazel tov' on the dedication of your new torah," she stated. "A torah is like a new child coming into the family."
Hebrew school student Maxwell Burtoff, 9, brought a message from the next generation. The Heathrow Elementary student remarked that he had written reports that were 250, and even 400 words, but couldn't imagine putting together as many words as were written in the new torah. He added, "I am here on behalf of kids. (It is our job) to transmit the torah and remain connected to our roots. ... I can't wait to read from the torah at my bar mitzvah in 2018."
Rabbi Dubov of Chabad of Orlando remarked, "Chanshy and Yanky Majesky came (to North Orlando) and connected with individuals like letters of the torah. First came letters, then portions... and today we celebrate a complete torah. Every letter apart, and together, was created by the community."
Dubov declared that this torah "would not be left in the Ark, but inscribed in all our hearts."
"Mazel tov to Chanshy and the entire community... Up to five minutes ago we did not have a torah, but a scroll with lots of words. With the last letter, the entire scroll becomes a torah. Yes, we have finished writing our torah, but our work is not complete until we have reached every member of our community," said Majesky in concluding the dedication.
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