A major hub of Torah learning in the Five Towns officially moved into its new home on Sunday, launching its chanukat habait with the celebratory marching of sifrei Torah accompanied by music and a joyous, respectful crowd of more than 600 men, women and children.
Yeshiva Gedolah of the Five Towns had made its home in a storefront on West Broadway since 2003, beginning with six kollel (married) students and ten bachurim (unmarried students) and now has more than 70 kollelnikim and bachurim combined. The yeshiva is now at 218 Mosher Avenue in Woodmere.
Three Torah scrolls were held by the rabbis of the yeshiva and were passed to rabbis from other institutions and synagogues and community members during the slow but lively procession from the old yeshiva building to the new one. Rabbi Yitzchok Knobel, rosh kollel, Rabbi Moshe Zev Katzenstein, rosh yeshiva, and rebbe Rabbi Yaakov Zvi Goodman, as the principal rabbaim, were the first to hold the Torahs and ended the march holding them as well.
As the Torahs were carried under a chuppah (canopy) held aloft on poles by four men, a singer sang lively Torah oriented Jewish music accompanied by a keyboard from the inside of an open truck leading the march. Children waved Simchat Torah-type flags. Men danced, hugged and shook hands, women hugged and followed alongside or behind. Men danced backwards in front of the chuppah and others danced behind as the Torahs were carried and passed from hand to hand under the chuppah.
As the procession wended its way past Congregation Aish Kodesh on Woodmere Place, a roar of joy went up from those in front of the chuppah and the dancing increased in intensity, seeming in approval of the scene of all united under the canopy of Torah:
Rabbi Mordechai Kaminetzky of Yeshiva of South Shore, Rabbi Moshe Weinberger of Aish Kodesh, and Rabbi Herschel Billet of the Young Israel of Woodmere were dancing shoulder to shoulder, each holding a Torah under the chuppah.
The celebration was an inspirational show of solidarity as all segments of the community participated.
Each Torah was separately brought into the new building as the crowd sang “Seu Shearim Rasheichem.”