Gift of an ancient Torah
has B'klyn doing the hora
October 25, 2004
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a photo gallery of the event
By NANCY DILLON
Click here to read this article in Daily News
A delicate Torah scroll hidden in a closet for a half-century
- surviving the Nazis and anti-Semitic Soviet rule - was
welcomed yesterday with dancing, singing and tears in
the streets of Brooklyn.
Brooklynites dance through Brighton Beach as a Torah
(below) hidden from Nazi and Soviet hands was donated
to local synagogue.
More than a thousand Brighton Beach residents, many of
them Jewish emigres from the former Soviet Union, paraded
on Coney Island Ave. as they carried the Torah under a
bridal canopy to its new home in the Friends of Refugees
of Eastern Europe Synagogue.
"It's a miracle the Torah survived," said Rabbi
Hershel Okunov. "It symbolizes the survival of the
The 150-year-old handmade parchment is a gift from Senya
Dovidov, a one-time shoe-factory worker from Latvia who
inherited the scroll from his father, Abraham.
Dovidov, 68, said his father took great care to safeguard
the scroll when the Nazis invaded Latvia during World
War II and later when the Soviet government cracked down
on religious freedom and routinely locked, looted or seized
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 Dovidov, who immigrated to
the U.S. in 1995.
The Torah, worth an estimated $15,000, has a new burgundy
velvet case embroidered in gold thread with Abraham Dovidov's
"Our Torah has found its home," Senya Dovidov
said. "We can walk in the streets here with the Torah,
and we don't have to be afraid of anybody."
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