Congregation Ohav Shalom completed its Torah Writing Campaign at the end of 2012 with the arrival of a new Torah scribed by Rabbi Gustavo Surazski of Kehillat Netzach Israel, a Masorti (Conservative) congregation in Ashkelon, Israel. During his time with the leadership at Ohav Shalom, Rabbi Surazski mentioned that another Masorti congregation back home was in need of a Torah. The arrival of the new scroll in Albany presented Ohav Shalom with the opportunity to perform an additional mitzvah in Israel.
Congregation Ohav Shalom has donated one of its older scrolls to Congregation Kehillat Ohel Avraham and Sarah, in the town of Rishon l’Tziyon, Jerusalem, a small Masorti congregation that is in desperate need of it. The Torah scroll must be repaired in order to become kosher, but the recipients will make the necessary repairs so it can once again be used. Congregation Kehillat Ohel Avraham and Sarah is now linked to Ohav in a very special way, as it is home to a Torah that was with Ohav since its inception.
On the mornings of March 30 and March 31, Ohav conducted brief “Hotsa’at HaTorah” ceremonies with its congregation bid farewell to its Torah. The Torah was passed from congregant to congregant and started its voyage to Israel with singing and rejoicing.
Following the Sunday ceremony, Rabbi Kieval, assisted by Malka and Rami Almog, removed the scroll binding, prepared the Torah for travel, and then carefully wrapped it in a tallit to protect it during her journey. She hand-carried the Torah to its new home in Jerusalem on April 9 and presented it to representatives of the Masorti movement and to the congregation, who welcomed it joyously.
Plans are already in the works for the next Ohav Mission to Israel to include a visit to Congregation Kehillat Ohel Avraham and Sarah in February 2014.
Congregation Ohav Shalom, led by Rabbi Daniel Ornstein and Rabbi Rena Kieval, is a Conservative/Egalitarian Synagogue affiliated with The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.