Sefer Torah for Communities of Israel and Ukraine Completed; President Zelensky Began, President Herzog Concluded

By Hamodia Staff

President Yitzchak Herzog writes the final letter in the sefer Torah at the President’s Residence in Yerushalayim, flanked by Rabbi Yonatan Markovitch.

Two years after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, and several months after the beginning of the war in Israel, the writing of a special sefer Torah, dedicated to the Jewish community in Ukraine, residents of Israel, and the hoped-for peace in both countries, has been completed. The sefer Torah will be brought in the coming months in Kyiv’s Great Synagogue JCC, Beit Menachem.

The initiative for writing the sefer Torah was undertaken by Rabbi Yonatan Markovitch, the Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Chabad shaliach in the city, who works tirelessly to strengthen solidarity between Israel and Ukraine. The writing of the sefer Torah began shortly after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote the first letter in his office in the presidential bunker in Kyiv.

Among the letter writers in the sefer Torah were Israel’s Chief Rabbis Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, Jewish soldiers in the Ukrainian army, members of the Jewish community in Kyiv, families of abducted Israelis, families of Israeli victims of the war, and families of soldiers who fell in battle in Gaza, as well as prominent Rabbis and other influential Jews in Israel and the Diaspora.

President Yitzchak Herzog was honored with the writing of the final letter in the sefer Torah at an emotional ceremony held at the President’s Residence in Yerushalayim. Also present at the moving event was the Beilin family from Sderot, whose mother Zina Beilin was among the first victims killed by Hamas terrorists on the morning of Oct. 7 in Sderot. The Beilin family immigrated to Israel from Ukraine and settled in the city of Sderot. Zina, Hy”d, was killed moments after leaving her elderly mother Galina’s home, whom she had visited as soon as the sirens began.

At the emotional ceremony, President Herzog said, “Throughout thousands of years of exile, wherever they were in the world, the Jewish people united around the sefer Torah. Even today, we are in an especially challenging period, where the Jewish people and the Western world are defending themselves against enemies who oppose the values of truth and the desire to live in peace and tranquility. Therefore, the integration of forces between the Jews of Israel and the Jewish community in Ukraine constitutes a powerful force-multiplier for the survival and continuity of the Jewish people. There is nothing more moving than being a part of writing a sefer Torah that symbolizes this special unity, especially now.”

Rabbi Yonatan Markovitch, the Rabbi of Kyiv, commented, “It is a great honor for us that both distinguished Presidents, representing all the citizens of their countries, saw fit to participate and inscribe a letter in the sefer Torah that symbolizes unity. When we began writing the sefer Torah, we did not think we would reach a situation where our brothers, the people of Israel in the Holy Land, would also be under the threat of cruel war. The common denominator between the Jews of Israel and Ukraine is the story of Jewish heroism and resilience. The Jewish community in Ukraine greatly appreciates the assistance it received from Jews around the world and from Israel, immediately upon the outbreak of the war, and the connection between the Jewish fate in Israel and Ukraine strengthens everyone and highlights Jewish pride.”

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