The Upper West Side of Manhattan was a backdrop to an impressive demonstration of Jewish pride and continuity as Chabad of the West 60s welcomed a new Torah scroll.
Hundreds lined the streets as the joyous ceremony, held on Sunday, Yud Daled Kislev featured participants holding torch lights and joyous Jewish music. Families and children led the congregation in songs of joy, as the procession passed Central Park, Lincoln Center and other iconic New York landmarks.
“It was a real sight to behold,” remarked Shliach Rabbi Yehuda Lipskier who with his wife, Faya, runs Chabad of the West 60s right across from Lincoln Center. “The Rebbe’s Army continues to march all over the world, and we all felt Jewish strength as we danced from Central Park to Lincoln Center.”
The NYPD closed off the streets for the celebration, whose participants included Rabbi Shlomo Kugel, Director of Chabad of the West Side, real estate magnate Mendi Gertner, public relations guru Ronn Torossian, and David Slager, a philanthropist to Chabad institutions in Europe and the U.S. and a founding member of Chabad West 60s.
“We lit up the streets of Manhattan,” said Slager about the event.
Another participant, Helen Stechler, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, was heard saying: “I haven’t seen anything like this since before the war.”
Over 100 children attended, where they enjoyed a special program including creating their own stuffed Torah, and a birth certificate for it. The children also colored Aleph Beis themed cookies, decorated crowns and lots of other fun theme-related art activities.
The Torah was donated by Allen and Mandyf Davoudpour in honor of their parents.
The Manhattan Shul was established 2 years ago by the Lipskiers, and has rapidly expanded as they have inspired residents with prayers and classes. The center received national attention for their special High Holiday services for fashion week earlier this year.