Pictures from Beth Israel dedication program
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet, these pictures speak to the emotions of a day that was seven years in the making.
Congregation Beth Israel's new home illumniated for their dedication weekend. (Photo: Alan Smason)
Congregation Beth Israel enjoyed a day of dedication last Sunday with speeches by politicians and a number of self-congratulatory acknowledgements to key movers and shakers within and without its congregational family. The events began at Congregation Gates of Prayer, the Reform temple Beth Israel had called home for the past five-plus years.
Following an emotional and gut wrenching video prepared by congregation president Eddie Gothard, the five Torah scrolls donated to the Modern Orthodox synagogue from across the nation were escorted under chuppahs to their new sanctuary next door accompanied to the strains of a New Orleans traditional street parade band and second line.
Ken Levin of Anaheim, CA holds the Torah scroll his synagogue donated to Congregation Beth israel in 2007. A traditional New Orleans "second line" occurred with a brass band providing the musical accompaniment as the Torash scrolls were carried from Reform Congregation Gates of Prayer to Modern Orthodox Beth Israel next door. (Photo Alan Smason)
Once the Torah scrolls were housed inside the specially constructed wooden Aron Hakodesh (holy Ark), a Chanukiah Habiyat (dedication of the house) was held when a mezuzah scroll was attached to the front door of the new synagogue and community center and a blessing said.
A donor dinner was held that night with Richard Stone, a former New Orleans resident and current chairman of the conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, introducing the guest speaker, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, the executive vice-president emeritus of the Orthodox Union.
Members of the New Orleans Jewish Day School and children of Beth Israel members hold small Torah scrolls and toy representations of Torahs to be housed in the new Beth Israel Aron Hakodesh (holy Ark). (Photo Alan Smason)
Rabbi Uri Topolosky, center, and his wife Dahlia (carrying their daughter) are accompanied by a traditional New Orleans jazz band as they prepare to formally dedicate the new Congregation Beth israel synagogue. (Photo Alan Smason)
Beth Israel first vice-president and event co-chair Alex Barkoff holds one of the five Torah scrolls carried from Gates of Prayer to the new Beth israel sanctuary. (Photo Alan Smason)
Beth Israel administrator Rabbi David Polsky, left, holds a Torah scroll along with Rabbi Robert Loewy of Gates of Prayer, right. Morris "Buddy" Bart, center, a member of both synaogues holds the chuppah over the Torah scrolls. (Photo Alan Smason)
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice-president emeritus of the Orthodox Union carries a Torah scroll into the new Beth Israel sanctuary. (Photo Alan Smason)