Chabad of Brandon to Host Completion Ceremony for Torah Scroll
The event, celebrating the completion of Chabad of Brandon's Torah scroll, will take place Feb. 12.
For a year, scribes armed with only quill pens and a specially mixed ink have been busy re-creating the more than 300,000 handwritten letters that make up the Torah scroll for Chabad of Brandon.
Now, with the completion of the work featuring the five books of Moses on 54 pieces of parchment, Chabad of Brandon is preparing to celebrate and welcome the Torah to its new home at the Chabad of Brandon Jewish Center.
The celebration will take place at the Chabad Jewish Center, 3005 Waylon Ln., Brandon, Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m.
According to Rabbi Mendel Rubashkin, director of Chabad of Brandon, the celebration marks not only the culmination of the Torah but pays tribute to the efforts of the chabad members who raised the funds to commission the Torah.
"The Torah scroll is one of the Jewish people's most sacred objects," said Rubashkin. "The average process takes over a year to produce the beautiful workmanship of a Torah scroll. When a scroll is completed, it calls for great celebration by the city greeting it to its new home, the Holy Ark of the Synagogue."
This scroll is being written by the Jewish community of Brandon in memory of Nosson Deitsch, 21, a rabbinical student who was killed in a jet ski accident in May 2009 when he came to Brandon to assist at Chabad of Brandon during the Jewish Lag B'omer celebration.
In the Jewish faith, it's traditional to bring something good from tragedy, said Rubashkin.
"“Even though Nosson was only here for a few days, he made a strong impact on our community," said Rubashkin. "We were looking for a fitting memorial and so, at an event in his honor 30 days after his passing, we launched the campaign to raise the funds needed to write a Torah in his memory.
"In Judaism, we try to bring some light into the darkness of tragedy," said Rubashkin. "We want to ensure that something good comes out of the sadness."
So the members agreed to raise the $35,000 for their own Torah in Deitch's honor.
Formed in 2004, Chabad of Brandon has been using a loaned Torah for its Saturday services.
"The reason they're so expensive is that they are entirely written by hand on hides by a scribe. No machines are used.
"It's tradition to read from the Torah on Saturday mornings, and when Nosson was here, he read from our Torah. We felt purchasing a Torah in his memory is a befitting way to keep the lessons learned from Nosson alive. Each week as we read from the Torah, we will be reminded how Nosson was a living example of a young adult who identified with the Torah and lived his life according to its teachings with great joy."
Members were given the opportunity to contribute and dedicate a portion of the Torah to a loved one.
"This way the whole community will have a part of the Torah," said Rubashkin. "They'll have a stake in it and pride of ownership."
Now, 18 months later, on Feb. 12, an expert scribe will travel to Brandon to complete the Torah scroll. Following its completion, the Torah will be paraded through the streets of Brandon on its way to its new home in Chabad Jewish Center where there will be dancing followed by a festive meal, said Rubashkin. Guests will have the opportunity to use an authentic quill to write their names in Hebrew guided by the scribe.
The celebration is open to all Jews regardless of affiliation or background, and no membership is required.
For more information, call 813-657-9393 or visit chabadbrandon.org.