The community of East Meadow, Long Island, celebrated the dedication of its first sefer Torah this Sunday, with close to 300 in attendance. In a clear act of hashgachah pratis, an elderly woman left funds in her will for a sefer Torah to be written for a shul with a daily minyan that is in need of a sefer Torah, and Congregation Shaarei Zedek of East Meadow was chosen as the beneficiary. The hachnasas sefer Torah on Sunday was a true milestone for this rapidly growing community, and a source of pride for its members.
The event began at the home of Rabbi Moshe and Rebbetzin Meira Winter, with the writing of the final letters of the Torah. There was a steady flow of community members and guests who came to write their letters in the Torah. It was heart-warming to watch the young children of the k’hilah inspired and excited about the completion of their very own Torah. As Rabbi Moshe Winter, the rav of the shul, wrote the final letter, there was joyous singing and Mazal Tovs echoed throughout the room. The program continued with divrei brachah.
Mr. Yaakov Portnoy, president of the board of Congregation Shaarei Zedek, introduced the event, discussing the original dream of creating this Torah community.
Rabbi Winter spoke next, explaining that the completion of a sefer Torah is an opportunity to be invigorated with the excitement of something new. At the same time, it is strengthening our m’sorah, as it is the same Torah received on Har Sinai thousands of years ago. Rabbi Winter expressed the importance of realizing the value of the community as a link in the chain directly to Har Sinai.
Rabbi Naftali Portnoy, founder of The Jewish Heritage Center of Queens and Long Island, spoke next. Rabbi Portnoy explained how all the ingredients necessary in the creation of a Torah are d’varim gashmiyim, but through our kavanah we have the ability to elevate them and transform them into d’varim ruchaniyim. He then commented that the establishment of the k’hilah is a realization of the vision of HaRav Henoch Leibowitz zt”l, former Rosh HaYeshivah of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim.
HaRav Dovid Harris shlita, Rosh HaYeshivah of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim, concluded the program by emphasizing the Torah’s ability to provide guidance and direction for our instincts. This not only brings happiness in Olam HaBa, but also leads to true happiness in Olam HaZeh. Rav Harris suggested that as the k’hilah dances with the Torah, they should reflect on the gift that they were given.
The divrei brachah were followed by a procession with lively music, singing, and dancing, as the sefer Torah was brought to its new home. Rabbanim and community members took turns embracing the Torah, and the men and children danced with tremendous joy and excitement. It was an emotional experience, as a Torah was carried through those streets for the very first time. The community and guests then enjoyed a delicious hot buffet and desserts.
The excitement in the air was palpable, and the warmth and achdus of the community was noted by many who came, as a common refrain that was overheard is: “This is the most beautiful hachnasas sefer Torah I’ve ever been to.” The k’hilah of East Meadow should be zocheh to continue to see success and growth in the years to come.
The sefer Torah should be a z’chus for Sarah bas Yitzchak a”h.