The Torah scroll that was donated, at the Jerusalem Municipality
The Torah scroll that was donated, at the Jerusalem MunicipalityPhoto: Jackie Levy

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat began a special voyage Monday to inaugurate an ancient Torah scroll to its new home.

The Torah was donated in memory of the late Shira Barki by Professor Mark Weinberg of Montreal, and will be given to the synagogue founded by the municipality for the Ethiopian community in Jerusalem.

Professor Mark Weinberg, a world expert in the field of HIV research at the Jewish General Hospital at McGill University in Montreal, decided to donate a Torah in memory of 16-year-old Shira Banki who was murdered at the Jerusalem Pride Parade this past summer.

After Weinberg had heard about her tragic death, he thought of ways to preserve her memory and decided to donate a Torah to a community in Jerusalem.

The chosen Torah scroll was written 150 years ago in Baghdad. As part of the donation, it was restored and repaired and through the Jerusalem Municipality, the connection was made to the Ethiopian community in Katmonim.

On Monday, Mayor Barkat held a ceremony in his office which was attended by the donor, Professor Weinberg, Shira Banki’s parents, and representatives of the Ethiopian community.

Mayor Nir Barkat said, "This is both a happy and sad moment. We remember Shira and the tragedy of her death, yet at the same time create hope and renewal among the Ethiopian community in the city. I would like to thank Professor Weinberg for this moving donation and to wish Shira’s family and all of us many moments of happiness, joy, hope and light."