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Odyssey of a Torah


 By Ken Turkewitz, Ritual Committee Chair
As detailed in the May HaKol, Temple Shaare Tefilah had decided to donate its tall
Torah to the Jewish Community of Alicante Centre in Alicante, Spain (or Comunidad
Judía de Alicante Centro, also known as Beth Shalom). The Torah has now been sent,
has arrived, and has been re-dedicated in Alicante. This article details its journey.

Our challenge was to deliver the Torah safely and securely, while minimizing costs,
and getting it to Alicante in time for a Masorti Europe conference in June.

The trip started with Bob Braitman and Bonnie Gordon. Bob and Bonnie packed the
Torah for shipment, and Bob travelled with it on April 15 to deliver it to Rabbi
Charles Simon at FJMC HQ.

Rabbi Simon had planned to immediately hand it over to a rabbinical student to take
with him to the Masorti Europe HQ in Amsterdam, where it would then be carried
by a conference attendee to Alicante. Unfortunately, Volcano Eyjafjallajokull in
Iceland was planning differently. It erupted on the same day that the Torah was
scheduled to fly overseas, and the flight was cancelled.

We waited for the volcano to calm down and stop spewing volcanic ash, and
alternative plans needed to be made. In the meantime, the Torah was stored at
FJMC HQ in NY. On May 26, Rabbi Rivon Krygier of Adat Shalom Paris flew to Paris
with the Torah. From there, on June 3, Mr. Claude Machline from Adat Shalom Paris
(and Honarary Life President of Masorti Europe) made the final leg of the trip from
Paris to Alicante.

The Torah was re-dedicated on Saturday, June 3, as part of a Masorti Europe
conference being held in Alicante. Armando Azubel, Presdient of Comunidad Judía
de Alicante Centro, writes:

In Shacharit shel Shabbath Rabbi Weiner read from the Sefer Torah and
we had as much Aliot as possible.

During Mincha we have made the Inauguration and Welcoming to the
New Sefer Torah with seven hacafot where everybody danced with
the Sefer.

Rabbi Chaim made a nice Shiur about some details of the
Sefer Torah considering the weight, the wood, the types
and measures explaining that due to those details The Sefer must
be very old.

Rabbi Carlos Tapiero made a Mi Shaberach for Kehilat Shaare Tefilah
and a nice speach thanking for this generous donation.

  We, the Synagogue Beth Shalom of Alicante, Board, friends
and members, are very proud to hold and being the new home for
such Anciane- Zaken- Sefer Torah.

Let´s hope, B"H that our Kehila and your Kehila B"H continue to
improve and stay active and creative for the next 120 years and more,
and we can continue helping others and giving to others the chance
of growing.

This donation is a kind of richness that Kehilat Shaare Tefilá will
never loose.

  I must also say a special THANKS to Rabbi Simon. He listened to our
need when I spoke to him in Berlin and I know he made a big effort to
find out how to manage it.

  With our best wishes to you and your Kehila.

It’s wonderful to hear how well the Torah was received, and how it is appreciated.

Thank you to all of the above who provided transportation, and a special thank you
to Rabbi Simon who provided the shidduch for our Torah and Comunidad Judía de
Alicante Centro, and who coordinated (along with Joanna Kubar, VP of Masorti
Europe) the transportation arrangements for the Torah.

Ken Turkewitz

Our Torah donation received in Spain

Picture of the Torah We Donated Being Held by Community Leaders in Alicante, Spain

The Av Beit Din Rabbi Chaim Weiner, Comunidad Judía de Alicante Centro’s President Armando Azubel, and Comunidad Judía de Alicante Centro’s Rabbi Carlos Tapiero with
the donated Sefer Torah.

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Last Updated: July 23, 2010.