Five letters to finalise a torah

October 20, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
Read on for article

A brand new Torah in Australia’s Parliament House was completed by all five Jewish Members of Parliament witnessing the moment.

Dr Mike Freelander, Mark Dreyfus, Josh Frydenberg, Rabbi Shmueli Feldman, Julian Leeser, scribe Rabbi Eli Gutnick and Michael Danby

This historic Torah was dedicated to Australia’s enduring friendship to the Jewish people.

The completion ceremony was held in the main committee room in front of a standing-room only crowd of MPs, senators, ambassadors including Israel’s ambassador to Australia Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, faith leaders and community members. 

Michael Danby holds the torah after its completion at Parliament House. Danby said: “I told the crowd including dozens of  MPs that the AntiIsrael bigots & haters will never suppress me”


Rabbi Shmueli Feldman of Chabad ACT was MC the event.  Speeches were given by members of parliament Josh Frydenberg and Michael Danby. They both spoke about how proud they were to have attended the auspicious event in parliament…the first time ever a Torah has been the parliament.

The final word of the Torah , “Yisroel”– “the Jewish people”” – containing five letters , had its inscription individually witnessed by each of the five Jewish serving Members of Parliament .

Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg started his speech by saying he was representing the prime minister  “Menachem Turnbull” referring to Malcolm Turnbull. He said: “Ever since handed down to Moses on Mt Sinai it the Torah has been the basis of our religious and moral obligations as well as our civil laws “. He thanked all the politicians present for their support of the Jewish people and Israel and articulated that the record number of Jewish Parliamentarians from a cross – section of political parties proved how being a good Jew and a good Australian is not a contradiction but rather a testament to how welcoming Australia continues to be to the Jewish community.

Following the siyum the Torah was marched from the streets of Canberra under a chuppa to its new home at the Chabad ACT Synagogue

Australia’s longest serving Jewish Michael Danby MP,added: “All those present were witness to a proud declaration of what a great country Australia is with a first Torah scroll completion in Parliament House.”

He added how fitting it was that the event was being held on the anniversary of passing of  the late Rabbi Chaim Gutnick who had been the spiritual leader of Melbourne’S Elwood Synagogue and how emotional he would have been to see his family together celebrating the great country of Australia by organising such an event in its Federal Parliament.

He said that Rabbi Gutnick was a great Australian who served in the armed forces and had been so grateful to Australia for providing a safe haven to the Jewish people.

The inscription on the Torah reads “The first Torah to be completed in Parliament House. In recognition of Australia enduring friendship to the Jewish people.”
Following the siyum the Torah was marched from the streets of Canberra under a chuppa to the Chabad ACT Synagogue where the entire community gathered for a dinner and hakafot.

The purchase of this Torah by Chabad ACT’s Canberra Synagogue was made possible thanks to principal sponsors Dr Alena Rada and Jacob Reich and the many partners from around Australia who purchased letters in “Australia’s Torah” in a successful crowdfunding campaign . This is the first Torah to be owned by the Synagogue following several years of having loan Torahs..

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.