Approximately 300 people gathered last Sunday to welcome the Unity Sefer Torah, the very first Torah for Chabad of Downtown Vancouver, dedicated in memory of Rabbi Gabi and Mrs. Rivky Holtzberg.
The event also marked four years since the inception of Chabad of Downtown, under the direction of Rabbi Binyomin and Malky Bitton.
The completion of the Torah and the dedication ceremony took place at a Downtown hotel near the Chabad house. It was an exceptionally moving program, and speakers included Rabbi Binyomin Bitton, director of Chabad of Downtown, Rabbi Yitzchak Wineberg, head Shliach of British Columbia, and David Zigelman, on behalf of the Downtown community.
The program also included two video presentations, one spanning 4 years of growth of Chabad of Downtown, the other a special presentation featuring Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg and their special shlichus in Mumbai, India.
The ceremony concluded with hagbaah, glila and the placing of the crown, and then, to the accompaniment of joyous music, the entire crowd followed the Torah down the hotel steps to the lobby where the chupah awaited.
Thus began a procession that surely made history, a Kiddush Hashem and display of Jewish pride as hundreds of Jews made their way down a busy Downtown street, with a specially decorated, balloon-adorned Torah truck playing lively music on the road alongside the chupah. Children carried torches and flags, the crowd clapped and danced, walking those two blocks to the Chabad House was an experience that has become the talk of the town!
At Chabad House, the celebration continued as the Torah was brought into the shul, hakafos were danced to the music of a live band, and guests were invited to an outdoor dessert buffet.