The historic American Jewish Heritage Torah dedication by Rabbi Yossi and Leah Rubin of Chabad of Clifton Park, NY, took place on Lag B’omer May 18 – Iyar 18 with great celebration.
The event began at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library, with Torah themed refreshments and crafts, accompanied by Klezmer melodies representing Jewish life in America from colonial times until today.
Members of the community were all invited to write a letter with the scribe Rabbi Moshe Klein’s assistance. This was followed by a Ribbon Cutting with Congressman Paul Tonko and local leaders.
The American Jewish Heritage Torah was commissioned by Bruce Lorence and dedicated to the memory of his relatives: poetess Emma Lazarus whose poem graces the Statue of Liberty, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo, Robert Goralski – NBC White House correspondent, and political columnist and humorist Art Buchwald.
Bruce recited Emma Lazarus’s poem to all gathered and got great applause.
A short “Celebrate 360” documentary was screened, beginning with the first Jews arriving in 1654 and ending with the Previous Rebbe arriving in America and his blessing to this country upon receiving US citizenship, as well as the Chabad outreach led by the Rebbe that truly inspires Jewish life today with the Torah at the center of Jewish life.
This year, 2014, American Jews complete a full circle, celebrating 360 years of Jewish Life in America – Double Chai Century. The American Jewish Heritage Torah is a timeless connection to the past, and a key to a Jewish future, the Living Torah scroll that helps us navigate the spiral of life. We all rally in a joyous circle round the Torah, proclaiming: “Am Yisroel Chai” – Judaism lives on!
After the Torah was completed there was a unique Torah/Lag B’Omer Parade led by a Bagpiper and “Uncle Sam” on a unicycle, followed by “Love your Fellow Jew” and “Aleph Bet” banners by Chabad Hebrew School, and American Jewish themed banners by Maimonides Hebrew Day School and community friends from all walks of life.
The crowd, truly reflecting the spectrum of Jewish life in America, paraded down Moe Rd to Clifton Park Chabad.
The Torah was welcomed with lively music by Shachar Luz inspiring 7 hakafos, each one with a variety of niggunim, representing the mosaic of different wave of immigration / eras of Jewish Life in America climaxing with the entry 8th Hakafah (as the previous Rebbe writes) as we approach Shavuot dedicated to all Jewish Children, our future, in zechus for an immediate refuah shelaimah to Menachem Mendel ben Menucha Rochel, our young nephew.
The 1st Hakafah was dedicated to Asser Levy and First Families 1654, 2nd Hakafah – Sephardic Jewry 1720, 3rd Hakafah – Ashkenzic German Jewry 1840, 4th Hakafah – Russian and Polish Jewry 1880, 5th Hakafah – Turn of the Century Jewry 1920, 6th Hakafah – Post Holocaust Jewry – Rebuilding 1950, 7th Hakafah – Jewish Renewal Chabad Outreach 1970, 8th Entry Hakafah Full Circle 2014 Our Future, Our Children, Our Guarantors.
The event culminated with an All American Kosher BBQ- also celebrating the Shluchim’s daughter Chaiki’s 7th birthday, with a grand Torah cake and themed pastries baked and decorated by the Bnos Chaya High School, Lag B’Omer Bonfire, 12 Pesukim, an amazing Uncle Sam juggling show, which entertained children and adults alike, a bounce house and innovative Torah Crafts.
The Torah will be read for the very first time on Shavuot, when we receive the Torah anew for the 3,326th time, how apropos! You can still join and part of this historic Torah www.americanjewishtorah.com.