Bolshoya Bronnaya Synagogue in Moscow has donated a Torah to a Tel Aviv yeshivah.
The gesture by the Chabad-run synagogue, a target of anti-Semitic hate, is particularly poignant as Oz v’Emunah was launched by terror victim Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, fatally shot in March at a junction near the Ariel settlement.
The 47-year-old father of 12 attempted to save others despite being critically wounded.
Rabbi Avi Tcidon of Jerusalem and Rabbi Yitzchak Kogan, director of the Moscow shul, organised the initiative.
The scroll was inaugurated before a crowd of about 2,000 people last Sunday with some of the final letters inscribed at Ettinger’s home by his children before a celebration in the neighbourhood of the yeshivah.
“We felt that this was the right thing to do,” said Rabbi Tcidon.
“To help fix the world after the loss of any one Jew with a new Torah scroll, and to come to the family and give honour to the victim, and ultimately, to all of Israel.”
Yeshivah students joined residents and dignitaries, Yuli Edelstein, Speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s Minister of the Economy and Industry Eli Kohen, Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin.
Ettinger, a resident of the of Eli, established Oz v’Emunah, set up in an abandoned synagogue as part of the Hesder program, to bring Judaism back to life in the rundown neighbourhood.
The yeshivah combines Torah learning with military service.
Students are trying to keep the institution running following the tragedy.
Bolshoya Bronnaya dates back to the late 1880 and its history includes a failed bomb attack in 1999.
In 2006, it was attacked by a white supremacist who stabbed nine people.
Rabbi Kogan, took over the synagogue after Soviet authorities returned the structure in 1991.
By Howard Lawrence