A Siyum Sefer Torah held this past week in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, was especially moving for participants, as it marked the first time a new Torah was welcomed in the city since the start of communism in the country 99 years ago.
By Anash.org reporter
A Siyum Sefer Torah held this past week in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, moved the participants for more than one reason.
The new Sefer Torah, dedicated by supporters of Chabad of Zhytomyr, was donated in recognition of the work of the shluchim, led by shliach Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm, for the local Jews, as well as the many visitors from Eretz Yisroel and around the world.
A Siyum Sefer Torah is always an exciting event, especially in cities like Zhytomyr which rarely sees public displays of Jewish pride such as those. But the Siyum held this week felt especially moving for the participants, as it marked the first time a new Torah was completed and welcomed in the city, once a Jewish metropolis, since the country joined the Soviet Union 99 years ago.
Locals joined the procession as the donors and shluchim proudly paraded down the streets from the Ohr Avner Chabad Educational Village and resort to the newly rebuilt historic shul – another first.
Schoolchildren also joined the dancing, adorned with crowns and holding flags or small drums. A local band led the way, and one after another, members of the community emotionally grasped the Torah and walked with it under the festive chuppah.
“The day was a historic and emotional day for the Jews of Zhytomyr,” Rabbi Wilhelm told Anash.org. “After much effort we just recently rebuilt the city’s main shul, and due to various reasons we hadn’t held a hachnosas habayis, so the Siyum also served as an unofficial celebration for the shul.”