Simhat Torah will be celebrated twice at Chabad of Western Monmouth County this fall.
The first “Simhat Torah-style ceremony” will take place on Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Manalapan synagogue, to celebrate the arrival of a new Torah scroll donated by the family of Rabbi Boruch Chazanow, codirector of the center.
According to the tradition of “hachnasat sefer Torah” or welcoming a new Torah scroll to its home, the center’s four existing scrolls will be removed from the ark and held under a huppah outside the building, where they will “greet” the new scroll.
And, of course, Simhat Torah itself will be celebrated at the synagogue on the date of the holiday, which this year begins the evening of Oct. 20.
On Sept. 18, “together under the huppah, all of the Torahs will be brought into the center, where we will do a Simhat Torah service,” Chazanow said. “We expect our entire community to join us in this festive and meaningful occasion.”
The event is particularly poignant for Chazanow and his family. He and his five siblings and their parents traveled to Israel last summer, where a sofer — a scribe of sacred texts — was commissioned to write the scroll. The trip was a 50th anniversary gift to their parents, Rabbi Meir and Dvorah Chazanow.
“My parents had a lifelong dream to write a Torah, and they were able to accomplish that goal and dedicate it in memory of their parents,” Chazanow said. Both his paternal and maternal grandparents were from the former Soviet Union, where they risked their lives to celebrate their religion and study Torah with their children, he said.
“Writing a Torah is quite a big mitzva that entails a lot of effort and money,” Chazanow’s mother told NJJN. “It was very heartwarming for us to be able to accomplish this. We decided the best place to put the Torah to use was in my son’s Chabad in Manalapan,” she said. “My parents and my husband’s parents left a legacy of generations, who continue in their path of Torah and good deeds.”
Writing a Torah scroll takes up to a year and can range in price from about $25,000 to $40,000, Boruch Chazanow said. “Just like a child is precious to his or her parents, a Torah is precious to a community.
“We feel like we are welcoming a new child to the family,” he said.
The final 40 letters will be inscribed by family members in his parents’ Brooklyn home on the morning of the 25th, before it makes its way to Manalapan for the 5:30 p.m. ceremony.