Gala Parade Escorts Two Torah Scrolls From Russia
To New Home at F.R.E.E. Brighton Beach Synagogue
Long-Hidden Torah Paraded Through Brooklyn
- Associated Press

October 24, 2004
By VERENA DOBNIK

Click here to see a photo gallery of the event

The following report was released in honor of our historical milestone
of restoration of two torah scrolls from the Former Soviet Union. It was
syndicated by Associated Press in papers throughout continental U.S.
The following is a partial listing of papers that reported this story:
The New York Times, Newsday, Daily News, USA Today, New York Post, Guardian, Washington Post, Washington Times, Jerusalem Post, Federal News Radio, AT&T Business Services, Anchorage Daily News, The Bostone Globe, Indianapolis Star, The Mercury News, Fort Mill Times, Star Tribune, Oregon Live, Find Law, Tri-City Herald, Fresno Bee, Island Packet, Herald Sun, Beaufort Gazette, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Bakersfield Californian, The Herald Rock Hill, North County Times, Burlington County Times, The Scaramento Bee, Times Union, Tennessean, American-Republican, The Bauffualo News, Staten Island Advance, Houston Chronicle, Union-Trubune.

Click here to view screen shots captions of some of the major media websites

NEW YORK (AP) -- A 150-year-old Torah, hidden for a half-century in the former Soviet Union, was paraded through New York's streets Sunday on its way to its new home at a Brooklyn synagogue.

Many in the procession of hundreds of former Soviet Jews sang English, Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian songs as the foot-high scroll, covered by a Jewish bridal canopy, was taken to the Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe Synagogue.

"We kept it in a closet, behind the clothes. And every week, my father carried it to the Sabbath service, then back home to hide it," said Senya Dovidov, 68, a one-time shoe factory worker in Latvia who gave the Torah to the synagogue.

Dovidov said his father, Abraham, was a leader of the Jewish community in the Latvian capital of Riga during the 1930s, and fled to Russia with the scroll when the Nazis invaded during World War II.

He returned to live under a Soviet regime "that made it dangerous to show that you were a practicing Jew," said Hershel Okunov, a Ukrainian-born rabbi at the synagogue.

Dovidov, who speaks only Russian, Latvian and Yiddish, brought the scroll with him when he came to the United States in 1995. He worships at the FREE Synagogue, where a plaque hangs in honor of his father.

"Our Torah has found its home," he said, speaking in Russian. "We can walk in the streets here with the Torah, and we don't have to be afraid of anybody."

The scroll, worth about $15,000, is one of two Torahs the synagogue has acquired in recent years from former Soviet Jewish immigrants. The other scroll, originally from Ukraine, was also rededicated Sunday for use at its services.

The synagogue has had both scrolls completely restored.

© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Back to Top

Torah Gala Parade
 Scroll Survivors
New York Post
 Moving Scripture
USA Today

 Hidden Torah finds new home
Washington Times

День Торы в Бруклине
A report of the story in Russian

 A second Simchas Torah in Brighton Beach (Yidish)
Algemeiner Journal

  A Second Simchas Torah in Brighton Beach (Yidish)
Algemeiner Journal

Прикоснуться к Торе (Russian)
Russkaya Reklama

Тора нашла свой дом (Russian)
Evreysky Mir

Torah Scrolls' New Home
The Jewish Week

Hidden Torah finds new home
Kfar Chabad Magazine

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