Sefer Torah to Be Celebrated in Brighton Beach
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a photo gallery of the event
restoration of two ancient Russian Sifrei Torah to regular
use in a Brighton Beach shul will be the cause of a joyous
Hachnasas Sefer Torah celebration on Sunday, according
to Rabbi Yosef Y. Okunov, Program Director of FREE (Friends
of Refugees of Eastern Europe). FREE maintains twelve
shuls throughout the Metropolitan region to serve recent
Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
Sunday's gala Torah parade will begin in front of the
Washington Mutual Bank at Brighton-Beach Avenue near the
comer of Coney Island Avenue at 11 am. The 45-minute celebration
is expected to attract approximately 2,000 participants
from the Brooklyn community and surrounding neighborhoods.
The two sifrei Torah will be accompanied by music. Police
will close off the parade route as the celebrants accompany
the restored Torah scrolls to their new home at the Hebrew
Alliance/FREE shul at 2915 Brighton 6 Street.
Once the sifrei Torah reach their new permanent home,
members of the community will be treated to an inspiring
performance of the M Generation Russian Boys Choir under
the direction of Boris Rokuter. Also performing will be
Chazzan Zalman Baumgarten.
The main speaker will be Rabbi David Hollander, shlita,
Rav of the Hebrew Alliance, an American kehilla in Brighton
Beach that shares its facility with FREE. Also speaking
will be Rabbi Mayer Okunov, chairman of FREE. A reception
in the simcha hall of the shul will follow and is open
to the public.
The smaller of the two sifrei Torah was donated to the
shul by the family in memory of their father, Avrohom
Dovidov, a"h, who served as the gabbai in a shul
Following the German invasion of Latvia, Avrohom Dovidov
fled to Russia with the 150 year-old Torah scroll. In
the Communist land where Yiddishkeit was outlawed, Reb
Avrohom hid the sefer Torah, taking it only out for secret
prayer services on Shabbos.
The second sefer Torah was also recovered from the former
Soviet Union and is being donated through the generosity
of the Schuster family. It, too, followed a dangerous
path through post-Holocaust Europe prior to arriving
Rabbi Hershel Okunov, Rav of the Brighton Beach FREE
shul, said that more than $10,000 was raised by members
of the Russian Jewish community to help repair . the sifrei
Torah and make them kosher for use in their new Brooklyn
home. This unique event is cause for celebration for the
broader Jewish community.
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