By Rabbi Jeffrey Glickman
South Windsor, CT — June 25 … “When a synagogue needs to close its doors, it is never good.
However, we found a way to make the most and bring honor.
After an emotional open house and last Shabbat service, Temple Beth Hillel joined Congregation Beth Ahm and set out to carry the Torah the ten miles from Windsor to South Windsor. We carried it under a chuppah (wedding canopy).
Along the way, names of the Torah portions were put on signs. At each new portion, we gathered the group, read the name and called “tekiya” to prompt the shofar carriers to blow.
Churches rang their bells as we passed.
What started off as somber lightened as people from both synagogues shared the walk and talked with each other. Halfway into the walk, we came to the Connecticut River. We reenacted the crossing of the Red Sea. The exodus from Egypt was marching into the uncertainty of the desert, yet we found a way to sing and dance. This was the same. We found a way to sing and dance across the river.
Rabbi Alan Lefkowitz and Rabbi Jeffrey Glickman take a well deserved rest after walking from Windsor to South Windsor, CT in a ten mile Torah march.
When we arrived at Temple Beth Hillel, there was a Klezmer band and we shifted into wedding mode. The parade circled the parking lot 7 times, then the Torah was handed from person to person, across the threshold and into the sanctuary where a bar mitzvah read the portion of the week, “Ma tovu ohalecha Yaakov…” “How good are your houses…” the first lines a traditional Jew recites when entering the synagogue in the morning.
“We have just carried the Torah 10 miles. It was a challenge, but not a burden.
Congregation Beth Ahm has carried Torah for several decades. It was a challenge, but not a burden. When a major project has ended, we recite, chazak, chazak vnitchazek, It is strong, strong and may we be strengthened by it. The emotional walk has ended, as has the glorious decades of Jewish spiritual presence in Windsor.
Chazak, chazak vnitchazek.”
Rabbi Jeffrey Glickman serves as spiritual leader at Temple Beth Hillel, on Baker Lane here in town, where he teaches “This is a house of prayer for all peoples.” Since arriving in South Windsor in 1995, his commitment of uniting diverse people remains central to his values. Rabbi Glickman is the current president of the Greater Hartford Rabbinic Association.