Thursday, January 31, 2008


Scroll power: Nicaraguan Jews celebrate first Torah in 28 years (JTA)
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (JTA) – After 28 years without a Torah scroll, Nicaraguan Jews joyously welcomed a new Torah in a ceremony community members say helped rekindle the Jewish spirit in this turbulent Central American country.

The morning after Sunday's ceremony, the Torah was used for the first time in a minyan, at the bar mitzvah of Joshua Kain Teplitskaia.

Some two dozen people, including a rabbi from neighboring Costa Rica, attended the service. It represented the first real service in the country since it last had a Torah.

“We are taking the Torah once again to Nicaragua,” said Rabbi Hersch Spalter, the Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi from Costa Rica who presided over the festivities. “This is the rebirth of Judaism in Nicaragua.”

Never a large community, Nicaragua Jews began leaving the country during the political deterioration of the 1970s. After the Soviet-backed Sandinista Revolution in 1979, the few Jews who remained went into exile, taking their Torah with them.

Jews began returning to Nicaragua after the Sandinistas were voted out of office in 1990, but their Torah remained in Costa Rica until a suitable home in Nicaragua could be constructed for it.

With no synagogue or community center to serve the estimated 60 Jews in the country, this week’s festivities were held at the Torah’s interim home, the house of Jimmy Najman, a Shabbat and kosher observer who attends Spalter’s synagogue when in Costa Rica.

No comments: