Monday, May 30, 2011

Sefer Torah Dedication in Katamonim

I promised i would write about the events of Katamonin, specifically the Sefer Torah procession of last week.  In Jewish tradition, when a new Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) is dedicated to a synagogue, before it is placed in the Ark of that beit knesset (synagogue), there is a procession down the streets - escorting the Sefer Torah to it's home. It's a lovely tradition, colorful, meaningful, and fun.  The Sefer Torah is carried by various honored individuals and under a canopy. It is escorted by songs, dance, brachot (blessings) and usually the young boys carry torches.  Here in Jerusalem, at least the procession last week, the real fire torches were replaced with torch like lights.

I don't know what beit knesset was receiving this new Scroll, although by the sign on the side of the van with the loudspeakers apparently this and other beit knesset are assisted by an organization which provides the equipment and coordination for the procession.

Actually I was in my apartment at my computer and heard the music and the loudspeakers. Of course, I had to investigate, and when i ran up the terrace to the street where the music was coming from, I discovered the parade.  People filled the street and sidewalk, walking along with the procession.  Twice the van broke down, the loudspeakers stopped functioning, the lights were out...and people waited. Most importantly, cars and buses also waited, as this is a busy but very narrow thoroughfare and bus route.  At one point I counted 8 buses lined up waiting for the procession to pass so they could get through.  All I could think was how glad i was that i wasn't ON one of those buses in a hurry to get somewhere !!  It was however, coordinated with the police as there were police vehicles at the front and back of the parade.

I've been to many Sefer Torah dedications and each one is special for its own reasons.  This one was special because it was in my neighborhood, an unexpected simcha (happy event) to enjoy and join in.
For a few more pictures of the procession on Rh.Yosef ben Yozer click here

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