Synagogue survived Kristallnacht, gets new Torah

Hundreds celebrate completion of Torah scroll begun during Holocaust. 'It's the marriage of G-d and the Jewish people.'

Yoni Kempinski,

Celebrating a new sefer Torah
Celebrating a new sefer Torah
צילום: ר. זונץ/קהל עדת ישראל

Hundreds of people from "Congregation Adath Israel" synagogue in Berlin participated in a ceremony welcoming a new Torah scroll to the old Bet Zion synagogue, which survived Kristallnacht.

During the Holocaust, the Re'em family commissioned a scribe who had fled Poland to Zurich to write a Torah scroll, wishing to provide him with a livelihood. Later, due to the Holocaust, the writing was stopped.

Completion of the Torah scroll was funded by a family who requested that the scroll be given to Germany's flourishing Jewish community.

The emotional ceremony included hundreds of Jews and many children, and the community sang and danced in the streets of Berlin.

Rabbi Meir Hildesheimer said, "The police and security forces who secured the event closed off Bronenstersa Street, which is a central thoroughfare, to ensure the safety of the celebration. It was an amazing sight. Hundreds danced in joy, welcoming the Torah."

Neighbors looked out their windows and hundreds of curious onlookers gazed in astonishment. One of the gentile locals who knew something about Jewish customs asked Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, "Is this a marriage ceremony?"

Rabbi Goldschmidt, who is is chief rabbi of Moscow and the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, replied, "Yes, it's the marriage of the Jewish nation to the Torah."

In his speech, Rabbi Goldschmidt spoke about the special connection that the Re'em family has with the rabbinical seminary in Berlin.

"Your great-grandfather, Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Re'em, and my great-grandfather, the rabbi of Zurich Rabbi Tuvia Levinstein, corresponded on a diverse range of topics with Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Hoffman, the head of the rabbinical seminary. The Torah is returning to its place, and 'the threefold cord cannot easily be broken'," he added.