June 21, 2024
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Sephardic Congregation Of Passaic-Clifton Hosts Hachnasat Sefer Torah

(Courtesy of Sephardic Cong. of Clifton) On Sunday, June 20, 10 Tammuz, the Sephardic Congregation of Passaic-Clifton, Kehillat Am Yisrael Chai, celebrated a hachnasat sefer Torah. The hachnasat sefer Torah was well attended by over 200 people, who filled the ballroom of the Beit Knesset Congregation Ahavas Israel to near capacity. Members of Kehilat Am Yisrael Chai were joined in the celebration by bachurim from the Mesivta of Passaic and the Yeshiva Gedolah of Passaic. The bachurim augmented the festivities with their youthful exuberance. The music and dancing were a wonderful melding of old-world mizrachi flair with contemporary litvishe style. Members of the Kehillat Am Yisrael Chai, the greater Passaic-Clifton Community and the bachurim danced with the new sefer Torah, encased in a traditional Baghdadi case, and with the kehillah’s two other sifrei Torah, from the ballroom through the beit knesset to place them in the aron hakodesh in the Blatt Beit Midrash, where the Sephardic Congregation minyan is held. The occasion marked the first time since the kehillah’s founding in 2001 that it would have three Sephardi sifrei Torah available for use.

The crowd had the honor of hearing divrei Torah from Rabbi Doniel Lander, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Ohr Hachaim; Rabbi Nosson Weissman, mashgiach of Yeshiva Gedolah of Passaic; Rabbi Gavriel Meir Elbaz, rav of Kehillat Ohel Simcha of Kew Gardens Hills; and Rabbi Yechezkel Khayyat, the chacham of Kehillat Am Yisrael Chai.

The sefer Torah was dedicated by the Avrahami family in memory of their beloved son, husband, father and brother Yisrael Amichai, z”l, ben Sarah V’Yosef, ybc”l, who passed away three years ago on the 19th of Tammuz. Yisrael Amichai Avrahami, a loving father and husband, was a dedicated founding member and active participant of Kehillat Am Yisrael Chai. He served as a chazan on a regular basis and led many communal activities in the nascent days of the kehillah. Additional sefer Torah dedications included the memory of a cousin, Shaindel Marissa bat David Halevi Rand, and several friends and members of the Passaic-Clifton community who were niftar from corona, including Mr. Yaakov Henningson, Dr. Elliot Samet, Mr. Shalom Mordechai Dreyfuss, Rabbi Chaim Dahan, Rabbi Motty Katz and Mrs. Tamara Hollander. A dedication plaque will be hung in the beit knesset displaying their names; may all their memories be blessed. Many of the participants in the completion of the writing of the Torah were family members of these niftarim. Many people of the Passaic/Clifton community and far beyond came together to raise funds for the Sephardic Congregation Widow and Orphan Fund through the purchase of letters, pesukim, and parshiot of the Torah. The Sephardic Widow and Orphan fund is a gemach created in memory of Yisrael Amichai, z”l, ben Sarah V’Yosef, ybc”l.

The hachnasat sefer Torah also served as a milestone for the kehillah, marking 30 days from their return to the beit knesset after a year of conducting services and prayers in the great outdoors due to COVID-19 regulations. Prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sephardic Congregation of Passaic-Clifton, the only Sephardic kehillah in the area, conducted services for the most part only on Shabbatot, chagim and Selichot; services were held in the Blatt Beit Midrash of Congregation Ahavas Israel. Over the course of the past year, and with Hashem’s aid, the kehillah expanded to have minyanim three times a day, on a daily basis, albeit located in tents. Minyanim and Torah learning took place sometimes in the most extreme weather conditions—from freezing cold and snow to stifling heat and humidity, and at times in gale force winds. With the momentous occasion of their safe return to their regular location, and in thanks for Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s siyata dishmaya, the kehillah adopted the name of Kehillat Am Yisrael Chai. The name represents their achdut, persistence and survival over the past year and their hope for continued growth as a kehillah in the future.

For more information about the kehillah, including zmanim and dedication opportunities, please visit www.sephardiccongregationpc.com.

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