Cairns dedicates and celebrates its first torah

August 7, 2017 by J-Wire News Service
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The Jewish community in North Queensland has received its first ever Torah scroll with a procession down the streets of Cairns’ Kewarra Beach.

A scribe and a Jewish band were flown in from Melbourne to the event at which more than 200 people  celebrated the Torah with singing and dancing.
A Torah, the holiest ritual object in Judaism, is a handwritten scroll of the five Books of Moses. It is word for word an exact replica of the scroll written by Moses himself, 3329 years ago. The last letter was filled in by the donors Tom and Issy Jacob while the crowd broke into spontaneous dancing.

Mayor Bob Manning, Rabbi Ari Rubin and scribe Rabbi Eli Gutnick

“In my wildest dreams I would never have imagined the scene that took place Sunday in Cairns” Judy Mariposa Freeman, one of the founder members of the Cairns Jewish Community, remarked “we celebrated this momentous event with a parade of 200 people, amazing food, dancing and singing the Torah to its new home with the dynamic Rabbi Ari Rubin and his gorgeous wife Mushkie”.

Jews came from all over Rural North Queensland for the event. The RARAJewish communities of Townsville, Ravenshoe, Mission Beach, South Johnstone and Mossman all sent representatives. This Torah will be the first Torah for the North Queensland region.
Mayor Bob Manning shared words of encouragement. Expressing how it is only when each culture is strong in their beliefs can we all grow as a community. Mr. Saul Spigler echoed those words and commented on how his organisation, Chabad of Rural and Regional Australia, has been there for all such communities around our great land. Special mention was made to the Late Paul Kamsler for his vision and care for the Cairns Jewish Community. Finally Tom Jacob shared his history and relationship with the Rabbi’s family, how blessed we are to live in Australia and his desire to see the warmth of Judaism spread to the North Queensland communities. The Torah then was escorted in a traditional canopy into the streets with the Police guiding the traffic until they reached its final destination.

Mayor Manning wrote later to Rabbi Ari Ruben: “Just a sort note to say how much I appreciated being invited to Sunday’s ‘Torah’ dedication ceremony.

It was a great honour to have been invited to be present and I look forward to the Jewish community playing an active part in the affairs of this city.”

“What an incredible day for our community in Cairns” said Shira David Stern of Kewarra Beach “We now have our very own Torah (our holiest book). Words can’t describe the feeling for seeing this scroll being finished first hand in our home. 5777 years of tradition is alive and beating in Tropical Far North Queensland”. Alex Meagan Dancyger, a fourth year dental student at JCU, related how tough it was to live away from her Canadian family and friends. The Chabad RARA of North Queensland group “makes me feel connected to my culture and heritage and I am so thankful to them.”


One Response to “Cairns dedicates and celebrates its first torah”
  1. Rabbi Chaim Ingram says:

    What a momentous event and what a heartwarming story! My wife and I were in Cairns a couple of months ago and,thanks to a conversation I had with your very own Henry Benjamin, I learned that there was a Chabad House in Kewarra Beach which was less than half an hour’s walk from where we were staying. (Three years earlier when we had last been in Cairns, there had been nothing!) Rabbi Rubin warmly invited us to spend Friday night with them where we mingled with 40 or so guestsd from all over. On the sunday, we were staggered to find in the local Coles a kosher section almost rivalling Westfield Bondi Junction! Looks like the Cairns community is growing fast. Rabbi and Rebbetsin Rubin, keep up your amazing work! Kol haKavod!

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