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Lox, Bagels and Cheesecake For All Part 3

pierre_100It was now time to bring out the Torah from the Ark. With a retinue of servers, a young girl was given the privilege of opening the curtains to the Ark.

Blog 2, Part 3/3


It revealed what appeared to be two Torahs scrolls, one with an enormous sterling silver medallion, a breastplate so large it would dwarf a WWF champion belt. I'm not being sacrilegious here, I'm just giving perspective - it's huge!

The Torah was taken out and handed to a server who carried it to the front of the stage. There, they removed the protective cover to reveal the twin scrolls, each about 20 inches long by 6 wide, plus scroll handles and stops. The breastplate was put back on the Torah and something wonderful happened.

To music and song the Torah was carried around the sanctuary. The carrier had an indescribable look of total joy as he presented the Torah to the everyone in the congregation. Each person touched it with either their prayer shawl or their Siddur (Shabbat Prayer Book), but not their hand (think Uzzah), and then kissed the part of the object that had touched the Torah. The ornate breastplate shows the tablets Moses brought down with the 10 commandments.

I joined in, touching the Torah with my Siddur and kissing the part that touched it. I felt the awe in that gesture, venerating the Torah itself. This is very different from Christian rituals. We do not revere the Book itself, we revere the Word it contains, as the physicality of the document is not important to us. For Jews, it is. To touch a document that is an exact hand-written copy of the Torah, unchanged for millennia, is one revelation in my search for the link to Abraham.

The wedding ceremony came as a surprise. It was Rabbi Garten's son and future daughter-in-law! What a wonderful way to end one's term, to bless such a union. Speeches, words of wisdom, blessings and song were enjoyed by all.

At the end of the Shabbat service, Larry played and the choir sang a favourite song of Rabbi Garten. It was Joni Mitchell's 'Circle Game'.

I think Abraham and Moses would have approved. Ditto for lox, bagels and cheesecake.

Next: Reality check 1, OMG! It's Saturday morning!

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