Chabad of Howard Beach, Queens, directed by Shluchim Rabbi Avrohom and Zeldi Richter, celebrated a Siyum Sefer Torah on Sunday.
The event began at a Howard Beach public school, PS 207, where members of the community gathered to write a letter in the Torah, which was donated by Mrs. Anne Zeichner, a longtime member of Chabad of Howard Beach.
Hakofos were held in the auditorium and then, despite the heavy winds, everyone took to the streets to escort the Torah to its new home.
Chabad held its first Siyum Sefer Torah in 2009 and has since experienced vast growth. Many of Sunday’s participants had never seen a Siyum Sefer Torah and were moved to tears by the event. Students of Oholei Torah attended and laid Teffilin on many of the participants.
Scott Schwartz, a member of Chabad of Howard Beach said the atmosphere was electrifying. “I can’t stop thinking about today. It was amazing, moving and joyous. The best thing I ever did was find Chabad.”
Lara Cohen, mother of one the students in Chabad of Howard Beach’s Hebrew school added: “My family and I were so happy to be a part of what was a truly beautiful ceremony. Seeing all the generations of the Jewish community come together to celebrate the new Torah was so touching. Having the opportunity to write our own letter before its completion was an honor my son and I will treasure always. This was a wonderful celebration, with our truly wonderful Chabad family.”
Also in attendance was Jewish music star Avrohom Fried, Shluchim from nearby areas, and a delegation from the Satmar community, led by Rabbi Moshe Dovid Niederman.
Rabbi Richter also serves as a Chaplain for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and has a developed a close relationship with many Chassidic groups and their activists.
The night before the Siyum Sefer Torah, Rabbi Richter met with the Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg R’ Zalman and the Krula Rebbe, both of whom wrote letters in the Torah and gave Brachos of success for his Shlichus.
Rabbi Richter stated that he feels that the Achdus that he experiences as a Lubavitcher amongst the various Chassidic groups no doubt brings much Nachas to the Rebbe.
After the march, the participants made their way back to the public school for a grand Seudas Mitzvah. At the Seudah a wonderful surprise was gifted to Chabad of Howard Beach.
Another two members of the community informed the Shluchim that they too will be donating a Torah. The crowd broke out in applause and all are looking forward to repeating this event next year.