A Torah for Ramot Shalom By Rabbi Michael Dolgin
Beginnings are particularly exciting. We read Torah all year, but we dance and sing and celebrate when we end and start the reading on Simchat Torah. When we donated one of our Torah scrolls to the newly formed Reform synagogue of Ramot Shalom in Be’er Sheva, it felt even more exciting than Simchat Torah!
We have been founding partners with this new community since before it had a name. We visited them on our 60th anniversary Israel mission in November, 2014, soon after their first Yom Kippur service. However, this new beginning was even more moving! Our Torah now belongs to a group of Reform Israeli pioneers who have dedicated themselves to strengthen our modern values in our beloved State of Israel. We danced and cried together as we celebrated Kabbalat Shabbat in a nearby park (too many people for their small, rented communal space!), marched the Torah under a chuppah through the neighbourhood and then placed it in the newly built ark of Ramot Shalom. On Shabbat morning, we prayed and read Torah together. Our president chanted an aliyah and the first blessings were recited by the mother of the first Bar Mitzvah who will read from the scroll in another six months time.
For all who were there to represent Temple, Neil Abramson, Richard Albert, Anne & Michael Goldman, Adam Hammond, Josh Hanff, Jeff Singer, Rhonda & Steve Singer, and Rabbi Michael Dolgin, it was an experience we will never forget! The bond of Torah now links Temple Sinai and Congregation Ramot Shalom in a unique and powerful way. Our entire congregational family should remember this moment as one of great pride and potential. No doubt there will be many more beginnings as we go forward together!