July 18, 2024
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The Shefa School Welcomes Sefer Torah

In these dark and difficult times, the Shefa School was especially heartened to celebrate a joyous simcha as a community. Daniel Cayre, a friend of the Shefa School, with incredible generosity, lent a Sephardic/Middle Eastern Torah to Shefa for continuous use.

For the past few weeks, the Shefa School was preparing for this much anticipated hachnasat sefer Torah ceremony (literally, “The bringing of a Torah into our midst”), which took place on Friday, October 27, with the entire school in attendance. The classrooms were filled with activities and rituals in preparation for this momentous occasion. In art classes, students made a chuppah, a wedding canopy, for the celebration, commemorating the coming together of the sefer Torah and the Shefa community. In Judaic studies classes and beyond, classroom teachers and students explored the questions of what the Torah means to them and which characters and stories they find most inspiring, and students made flags to hold during the celebration.

On October 27, the entire school gathered on the main floor, wearing blue and white, flags in hand, as the Torah scrolls were carried under a chuppah through the crowd. Everyone celebrated Shabbat, sang songs and learned about this new Sephardic sefer Torah from Mr. Cayre, who received it at his bar mitzvah. He then passed it to Shefa students and teachers, symbolically giving it to the school community. One students read from the Torah—choosing a section of the week’s parsha in which our ancestor Avram goes to war to free his nephew Lot, who was held captive. Everyone prayed for all of the captives and soldiers in Israel, sang and danced, and ended with “Hatikvah.” It is hard to overstate the intensity and the power of the moment for the Shefa community!

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