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Oklahoma City Chabad center dedicates second Torah scroll

Oklahoma City Jewish center celebrates new Torah scroll with singing and dancing
by Carla Hinton Modified: August 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm •  Published: August 25, 2012

The singing and dancing outside a local Jewish center seemed contagious.

As Rabbi Ovadia Goldman joined hands with several people and high-stepped in a circle, three women created their own dancing loop as lively music filled the air Sunday at the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning.

Goldman and about 275 people gathered at the center, 3000 W Hefner, to celebrate the completion of Chabad's second Torah scroll.

“The Torah really represents the people,” Goldman said. “It represents our mission, our joy in life to bring people back to Jewish life, back to the Torah.”

Visitors celebrated the completion and dedication of the Paul and Sabina Schechter Oklahoma Unity Torah. Goldman said Ed Kaswan, of Oklahoma City, helped provide much of the funding for the center's second Torah scroll in honor of his aunt and uncle, the Schechters, who searched for him after World War II and welcomed him into their home in the United States.

Kaswan helped commission the center's first Torah scroll in memory of his parents, who put him on a kindertransport, a train in which Jewish children rode to escape the Nazis.

Goldman said a professional scribe in Israel was commissioned to create the Sefer Torah, a special handwritten copy of the Torah. He said the Israeli scribe completed all but the last word of the Torah. The last word was completed in Oklahoma City by Rabbi Moshe Klein, a Brooklyn, N.Y., scribe, with the help of Goldman and Chabad's special guests.

Rabbi Yehuda Weg, director of Chabad Oklahoma, based in Tulsa, told the audience Sunday that each letter of the Jewish Holy book is important.

“God Himself came down to this world and gave us this incredible gift,” he said.

Written for Oklahoma

In a poignant ceremony, Kaswan and his great-nephew Jonathan Schechter, of Buffalo, N.Y., helped Klein write the first letters of the Torah's last word, “Israel.” Goldman, as the center's rabbi, completed the last letters, prompting the crowd to stand and applaud enthusiastically.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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