May 18, 2024
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Sefer Torah Welcomed to Fair Lawn’s Anshei Lubavitch

On Thursday, May 19, the streets of Fair Lawn came alive with the welcoming of a new Sefer Torah to Congregation Anshei Lubavitch. The new Torah, dedicated by
Issac and Eileen Schwartz in memory of Issac’s mother and father, marked an exciting addition to the community to be used in the days and years to come.

The celebration began with the final lettering at the Schwartz residence. Community members then gathered on Carol Place for a parade to usher the new Torah to the shul. Torah dedications have been compared to weddings, and the atmosphere very much echoed such an experience. There was a chuppah, parade float and over 300 attendees, all of them singing and dancing as the Torah was delivered to the shul.

For Issac, the experience was quite euphoric. “It was a really big high,” Issac told The Jewish Link. “It was a lot of work getting everything together, between the parade, music and catering for the meal afterwards, but thank God, it was picture perfect when the time came. Everything worked out, and it was an incredible experience that I will never forget.”

For Issac, one of the best parts of the dedication was seeing the people who came out to celebrate. There were people from all different Jewish walks of life: Chasidim, Modern Orthodox, Reform, Ashkenazim and Sephardim. It contributed to the experience feeling like a true coming together of the Jewish people.

“Ish echad b’lev echad,” continued Issac. “One group, one heart. Everyone was focused on the same thing. It didn’t matter who we were or where we came from, we were all together, just celebrating this experience. And that was, I feel, one of the most beautiful things about it all.”

Issac decided to dedicate the Torah the day he got up from shiva after his mother’s passing last year. His father passed away 38 years ago, and both his parents were firm Jewish believers and Holocaust survivors. Issac’s mother—Sarah Bat Tzvi Yaakov—spent 11 months in Auschwitz. After the war they met in America and would go on to have 10 children and hundreds of grandchildren.

“Both of my parents embodied what a Jew is supposed to be,” Issac continued. “My mother was a true Eshet Chayil, and my father was a hard-working man. He would wake up at 4 a.m. to go to the mikvah and learn before going to work in a knitting mill. But above all, my family was known for its warmth and respectfulness in the community.”

Though both his parents have passed, Issac said his responsibilities of kibud av v’em (honoring one’s father and mother) have not ended.

“Kibud av v’em doesn’t stop just because a parent has passed away,” said Issac. “This was a dedication to them, for their neshama to have an aliyah. It was my way of showing that respect for them, and now there will be a Torah that will carry on their legacy. And also, the fact that this experience in their name brought so many people together, I could think of no better way to honor them.”

Issac especially felt their presence during the dedication ceremony, and is grateful for all those who came out to attend and assisted with putting the event together. “I could feel both my mother and father looking down and enjoying the spiritual connection from everyone being there,” continued Issac. “I just want to thank the people of Anshei Lubavitch so much for their help, and give a big hakarat hatov to them for what they did for me and my family. May we be zoche together and have only simchas in the future.”

Anshei Lubavitch is a Chabad synagogue and outreach center located at 10-10 Plaza Road in Fair Lawn. It offers a number of programs for children and teens, including a Torah reading initiative and preschool. For more information about their offerings, visit www.flchabad.com or call (201) 794-3770.


Adam Samuel is a journalist from Teaneck. He blogs at www.adamssoapbox.com.

 

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