A Siyum and Hachnosas Sefer Torah was held Sunday, Elul 24, uniting the Sydney Jewish Communities, celebrating the lives of two special shluchim, Zev and Rochel Simons OBM.
The Siyum Sefer Torah was performed at the South Head Synagogue, Rose Bay in the presence of Zev and Rochel’s families including two of their daughters, Shaina and Bassie. Also in attendance were leading Sydney Rabbis, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull – Leader of the Federal Opposition of the Australian Parliament and many friends.
The large crowd was addressed by Mr Mark Braham, father of Rochel a”h and also the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull. Rabbis Aryeh Leib Solomon and Benzion Milecki delivered inspirational messages.
Letters in the special Sefer Torah were purchased by the wider community within Australia and worldwide. The students of Kesser Torah College (the school where Zev and Rochel taught and dedicated their lives) purchased letters and one lucky student won the honour to represent the school and watch as the Sofer wrote the 13th last letter in the Torah.
The honour of writing the last ten letters were auctioned off and the very last letter was written by Zev’s a”h brothers Binyomin and Steven Simons.
Later that day, the footpaths were packed and people were overflowing onto the streets, as the communities paraded in celebration of the Hachnosas Sefer Torah. In an extraordinary turn of Hashgocha Protis, it was discovered that the Chupah that was used to escort the Torah had been hand sewn many decades earlier by Rochel’s a”h grandmother and then donated by them to the South Head Synogogue.
The community paraded through the balloon decorated streets, singing, kissing the Torah and taking turns to hold it. The joyous music reflected the spirit of the community. It was with great happiness that the Torah was accompanied to its new home, the Tzemach Tzedek Community Centre.
During the Hakofos, a unique joy, and Chayus was felt by the large crowd. One could have imagined Zev dancing right in the centre, while welcoming others to join in, to sing and dance along with him.
To conclude the event as the Torah was being placed in the Aron Hakodesh, Rabbi Yosef Braun made a Shehecheyanu and encouraged the community to strengthen their commitment in refraining from talking during Torah reading time.
Additional photos of the event will be on the website www.simonssefertorah.com from Thursday 17th Sept and a recording of the broadcast can be viewed at www.simonssefertorah.blogspot.com