On Sunday 24th October, 2010 – 16th Cheshvan, 5771 – the Rambam Community of Melbourne, led by Rabbi Shlomo Sabbah, had the privilege to welcome a brand new Torah scroll donated by Mr. Patrick Sabbah and family of Los Angeles, CA.
After the final letters were completed at the Rabbi’s residence, on Wavenhoe Avenue in S. Kilda East, the Rabbi emerged, cradling the new Sefer Torah, to the large crowd in the tiny street where the music then started.
Underneath the chuppah, a steady stream of people took turns in sharing the honour of holding the new Sefer Torah. The music blasted and the Yeshivah Gedolah Students, respected elders of the Jewish community, and children danced together and jumped, shouting the lyrics of the music at the top of their lungs – a favourite of the day being “Avinu SheBaShamayim”.
So intrigued by the 700-800 strong crowd of Jewish, residents from neighbouring apartments and houses began to emerge, most standing in awe at the incredible sight before them, others taking pictures with their cameras and mobile phones.
By the time the procession arrived at the Yeshivah College, all you could see was a sea of black hats and kippot, along Hotham Street and inside the gates of the Yeshivah. As the crowd squeezed through they made their way to the Rambam Synagouge. Once inside, the celebrations did not abate – all the sifrei Torah were removed from the Aron Kodesh and paraded around the room and in hakafot around the bimah. After the hagbahah and a speech from Rabbi Sabbah, the new Sefer Torah was placed inside the Aron Kodesh. But the celebrations were still not complete – later that evening the Rambam Community held a seudat mitzvah at the Elwood Shule on Dickens Street, Elwood, where the dancing and simcha continued well into the night.
It was a journey that took almost a year, from the moment it was simply an idea, floating in the air, through to is completion, but at last, the new Sefer Torah was finally home.