It was an evening of joy and tears.
In 2001 on 20 Menachem Av, a terror attack in Sbarro Pizzeria in Yerushalayim tragically claimed the lives of Mordechai Refael Schijveschuurder, his wife Tzirel and their children Rayah Shulamit, 14, Avraham Yitzchak Yedidya, and Chemda Bracha, 2.
Eight years later, on the evening of Hoshana Rabba, Meir Schijveschuurder held a Sefer Torah in his arms that was dedicated in memory of his parents and three siblings, as a joyous crowd danced through the street leading toward Chabad House in Gothenberg, Sweden.
Meir and his son Motty who is named after his grandfather HY’D, and his siblings Leah, Chaya and Shvuel, with his daughter Levana came to Sweden to dedicate the Torah.
“This is a historic moment that I just could not miss!” exclaimed Nava Bergman, a professor of semitic languages and Biblical Hebrew in Gothenburg’s University.
“When I come to the Chabad House, it’s real live Judaism, and we need that here. The Torah celebration was awesome!” said Rebecca Isaacsson, 28, who was born in Boden, Sweden, near the Arctic Circle, and now lives in Gothenburg.
“It was so much fun! It was a great atmosphere, and every time I come to Chabad, I feel more Jewish, ” smiled Hadas Creson, 15, who attended with her brothers.
This event was an incredible kiddush Hashem. For most who attended, this was the first time in their lives experiencing the simcha and honor to the Torah of a Hachnasas Sefer Torah.
As the Frierdiker Rebbe writes in a letter that a Hachnasas Sefer Torah arouses the Pintele Yid. (Igros Kodesh chelek vav, page 73)
Rabbi Alexander Namdar, director of Chabad in Sweden said, “This is a very special Sefer Torah. We are humbled and grateful for the privilege of receiving this Torah in the name of the holy Kedoshim here in our Chabad House. ”
Chaya Scheveschuurder, 16, said ” We await the coming of Moshiach, when the Torah will return with the Jews of Sweden to Eretz Yisrael.”
Jews in Sweden were in great spirits after three consecutive nights of Hakofos in Chabadhuset in Gothenburg, on Hoshana Rabba, Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah!
Tears sprung to the eyes of those who read the inscription on the mantel of the Sefer Torah, written by the Schijveschuurder family:
“Dedicated leilui nishmas the Tzadikim Mordechai Refael, Tzirel, Rayah Shulamis, Avraham Yitzchak Yedidya and Chemda Bracha HY’D, who were killed al kiddush Hashem in Yerushalayim, dedicated by Meir and Nechama, Leah and Chaya Schijveschuurder, B’Emunah Shelaima beBoreh Olam uBedrachav” – “in perfect faith in the Creator of the world and in His ways.”
“This Sefer Torah and its inscription express an incredible level of emunas Hashem. Perfect faith, despite tragedy. What hashgacha pratis that the Torah was brought to Sweden, a country where belief in G-d is not yet universal, which is a challenge for Jewish life. Our hope is that this Torah and the inspiration of this event will be a catalyst for strengthening faith in Hashem,” said Rabbi Namdar.