For the first time ever, a new Torah was completed and inaugurated on Kauai.
The Torah was sponsored by Mr. Richard Seigel, a former Ship Captain from Alaska, who is retired on Kauai.
Interestingly, Richard was first drawn to Chabad, and reconnected to his Jewish roots many years ago, when he saw an advertisement in the Alaska Newspaper, about a New Torah coming to Anchorage, with Rabbi Yoske and Esti Greenberg, Chabad Shluchim there. This intrigued him and inspired him to attend.
This began his journey toward a Torah life. Richard has since become a pillar of Chabad’s community in Kauai, directed by Shluchim Rabbi Michoel and Zisel Goldman, serving on its board.
Several months ago, Richard’s father Bennett Seigel passed away in Florida, at 97 years old. He had requested to be buried near his son in Kauai. It so happens that a new Jewish Cemetery was recently established in Kauai – with Richard’s effort – Bennett being the 3rd person interred there. The new Torah is dedicated in Bennett’s memory.
In the biggest Jewish event ever on Kauai, over 150 people turned out for the celebration, to be part of the historic moment. Rabbi Moshe Klein, expert scribe from NY, flew in for the day to complete the writing.
The setting for this historic occasion was the magnificent 130-acre home called “Makanalani”. Makanalani is Hawaiian for ‘Gift from Heaven’ and its owners, Eric and Lyn Taylor, open their home to under-privileged children, giving them the opportunity to experience the majesty of G-d’s world, for one-week vacations.
“How appropriate to have a Torah dedication here, being that Torah is also a ‘Gift from Heaven,'” said Rabbi Michoel Goldman, of ‘Gani’ Chabad of Kauai.
The timing of the event was also significant, being completed and dedicated in the week leading up to Shabbos, Elul 18, which is the birthday of the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, who founded Chabad. It’s also the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov.
Rabbi Itchel Krasnjansky, Head Shliach and Chief Rabbi of Hawaii, flew in for the occasion, as did Rabbi and Mrs. Chazanow of Big Island, and David Weisfeld of Oahu. Yudi Weinbaum of OahuKosher.com – Hawaii’s only Kosher Caterer – flew in from Honolulu to cater the event.