Thursday, May 06, 2010

A hachnachas sefer Torah, as reported by the New York Times in 1852

I like everything about this story, and the thought of a sleepy community of Albany Jews welcoming a new sefer Torah to their shul. I'm especially charmed by the tone ("an excellent and appropriate address"(!)) and the errors in the transliterations of the Hebrew words.  I love that the reporter cared to find out what the Torah's garments are called - and came away with kele hakoesh, and I note that the ceremony began at an "early hour" - presumably so the participants would miss no work.

Now for some puzzlements: Why did they delay the ceremony? April 7, 1952 1852 was 18 Nissan, the first day of chol hamoed. Why did the congregation wait for the first day of chol hamoed, when they could have started the holiday with a new Torah? And what became of their children? How many of the crowd that turned out on that spring day 158 years ago have children who know that they are Jewish?

[Note: The last question isn't a slap at America. I'd ask the same question if the crowd had gathered in Poland or Hungary in 1852. Many - most? - of their descendants assimilated, too.]

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The best hearts are always the bravest.

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