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A Torah’s journey

By Pat Hirschl, photos by Shimon Growick

On Monday, Shalom San Miguel de Allende commemorates the giving of the Torah, the five books of Moses sacred to Judaism, to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Simchat Torah is a festive day—the Torah scroll is unrolled its entire length, taking up all the tables end to end in the TV Salon of the Quinta Loreto. Re-rolled, it is carried with a dancing, singing, joyous procession around the room, with anyone strong enough to lift the Scrolls taking turns carrying them

Simchat Torah
Jewish holiday celebration
Mon, Oct 8, 9:30am
Quinta Loreto TV Salon
Hotel Quinta Loreto
Loreto 15

One of the Torahs celebrated on October 1 arrived in San Miguel after a journey from Czechoslovakia, visiting London, Miami, Baton Rouge, and McAllen, Texas, on its way.

This extraordinary journey was masterminded by Hinda and Shimon Growick, members of both Shalom San Miguel and the Havurah of South Florida. When Shimon learned the Havurah was disbanding due to dwindling membership, he asked for its Torah for the San Miguel de Allende community.

Curious, Shimon tracked down the origin of the about-to-be transferred Torah, which was purchased from a Judaica store in Miami, said the havurah’s former rabbi. The store manager said, “…saved from the Holocaust in Czechoslovakia.” This led Shimon to the Westminster Synagogue in London, which was the depository for 1,564 Torah Scrolls from Prague in 1964 by the Czech Torah Scroll Trust, whose purpose was to repair the scrolls and find homes for them in Jewish communities throughout the world. The Havurah/San Miguel Torah was one of those, now on its way to a new home in Mexico.

From Miami, the Torah was shipped to the family of a Shalom San Miguel member in Baton Rouge, then to a couple in McAllen, Texas, who volunteered to drive it to its new home. When Cynthia and Tom Lynch went to the post office to pick it up, no Torah could be found. Luckily, the couple was on friendly terms with a post office employee, who permitted them to search the storeroom. There sat the Torah, patiently awaiting its ride to San Miguel in their van. The Lynches delivered it to the Shalom San Miguel de Allende community just in time for Rosh Hashanah services in 2010/5771.

The Havurah/San Miguel Torah is especially dear to Hinda and Shimon, who started it on its way. It was used at their wedding at the Hillel Center at the University of Miami Hillel Center in 1985.

The community invites you to join in celebrating its Torahs on Simchat Torah, Monday, October 8, at 9am.

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