St. Petersburg's Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Kogan arrived in the Samaria town of Mitzpe Yitzhar to participate in a ceremony welcoming a new Torah scroll to the local Chabad yeshiva, "Tomchei Temimim."
The Torah scroll was donated by the Russian Jewish community in memory of those Jews who sacrificed their lives to keep the Torah's commandments under the Soviet regime.
Rabbi Kogan's father was killed by the Soviets after having been accused of baking matzah (unleavened bread) for Passover.
Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan helped write the final letters of the scroll and said: "The self-sacrifice of those Jews who succeeded in overcoming the challenges of Communist Russia is the same as the self-sacrifice of these pioneers in Mitzpe Yitzhar and all those living in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem".
"It is this same self-sacrifice which will win over terror and evil in this world."
Turning to Rabbi Kogan, Dagan said, "You are the ones sustaining us here on this hill."
Blessing the IDF soldiers and commanders who participated in the ceremony, Rabbi Kogan cried as he said, "Today, we have given birth to a family."
Later on, the gathering held a festive Chabad evening of song and Torah known as a 'farbrengen' and Rabbi Kogan told of the miracles which happened to him when he was a soldier in the Second Lebanon War.
After the crowd dispersed, Rabbi Kogan and Yossi Dagan traveled to the graves of Aaron the High Priest's sons Elazar and Itamar, as well as to the graves of the 70 Elders. These graves are located in the Arab village of Awarta.