In the Media

Congregants Welcome Torah Home
- Bay Ridge Courier

 Read this article on Bay Ridge

December 28, 2006

Hundreds gathered at a gala procession to escort newly completed Sefer Torah scroll, which will be used for Jewish services at the FREE (Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe) headquarters, America’s first Russian synagogue.

The Torah—the central and most important document to Jews, comprised of the Five Books of Moses—was believed to have been presented to the biblical prophet by God atop Mount Sinai.

The holy scroll was carried under a canopy, accompanied by torches, joyous singing, Russian dances, banners and live music.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz presented FREE with a proclamation, prior to declaring it “Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe, Sefer Torah Completion Celebration Day, in Brooklyn, USA.”

Amongst the prominent members in attendance were Rabbi David B. Hollander, a long time rabbinic activist and senior member of FREE’s Rabbinical Advisory Council, noting the great self sacrifice of the Safaniev family, who dedicated this Torah scroll in memory of their late father, Ravchida ben Gilad Safaniev, z”l.

Those in attendance who witnessed the scribe complete the letters of the Torah’s final verse, realized how fortunate they were to welcome this new Torah scroll—the latest link in a holy, eternal chain, reflected Rabbi David Okunov, associate program director at F.R.E.E. headquarters, 1383 President Street.

According to Rabbi Okunov, “This event was indeed a major Kiddush Hashem, an event sanctifying G-d and the Jewish people.”

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