Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

A new Torah in honor of Orlando Jewish community - watch it be written live!


November 20, 2020

Rabbi Yanky Majesky dancing with the Torah at the Torah completion in 2015. 

In the times of the Baal Shem Tov (founder of the Chassidic movement) there was an outbreak of a dreadful disease. The holy master suggested that the community participate in the creation of a new Torah scroll. In the merit of this Torah, miraculously, the community began to heal.

With COVID-19 raging around the world, Meir and Shawna Waizman and their family have stepped up to generously donate a new Torah to Chabad of North Orlando and Nate's Shul in Longwood for the protection, health and prosperity of the Orlando Jewish community.

Three-thousand, three-hundred and thirty-three years ago, G‑d instructed Moses to transcribe the Torah, the five Books of Moses, while the Israelites were in the desert and so the very first Torah scroll was born. For thousands of years since, each Torah has been transcribed precisely the same way.

It begins with parchment, ink, a hand-sharpened feather quill, and an expert Sofer (scribe). It takes about one year, 62 large sheets of parchment, 248 columns, 10,416 lines, and a perfect 304,805 letters. Completed, a Torah scroll is the holiest object in Judaism.

The Torah is brought into its new home, the synagogue's holy ark, in a celebration reminiscent of a wedding. Elegant velvet, gold and silver, adorn the new Torah.

Though the Torah is 3,333 years old, it remains flawlessly unchanged. It is a living miracle.

"A dream come true for our family to donate a Torah," said Meir Waizman. "In times of such distress, we need something to celebrate and there's no better way to celebrate than by going back to our roots and embrace our belief that G‑d has a plan for everything and everyone."

On Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, at 7 p.m., there will be a Zoom celebration for the start of the Torah scroll, where participants will be able to witness as the scribe writes the first letters in the new scroll. The entire community is invited to join for this special program. FREE reservations can be made on www.JewishNorthOrlando.com/NewTorah, Zoom details will be provided upon making your reservations. 

"A new Torah is a sign of a vibrant community and this will be our third in about seven years,"  said Chanshy Majesky of Chabad North Orlando. "Having three Torahs is especially useful to a community, since there are times during the year when we read from three Torahs in one service and we were unable to do so until now." 

Rabbi Yanky Majesky writing one of the last letters at the Torah completion in 2015.

Members of the community are encouraged to partake in this special project by dedicating sections of the Torah or its ornaments. Donors of $360 and above will be honored to help the scribe write a letter in the Torah and participate in the conclusion and welcoming ceremony and celebration, approximately a year from now. 

"Starting a Torah is a great simcha (joy) for a community and we are extremely grateful to the Waizman family for this wonderful gift," said Rabbi Yanky Majesky of Chabad North Orlando. "Though COVID-19 won't allow for the traditional in person celebration with dancing and L'Chaims, we are thrilled to be able to get together virtually with the community over Zoom for this special occasion and we hope YOU can join us too." 

More information or dedication opportunities can be found at http://www.JewishNorthOrlando.com/NewTorah or 407-636-5994.


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