Edinburgh receives its own Torah – a first for Scotland

The University of Edinburgh became the first Scottish University to house an on-site Torah scroll for Jewish students on 19 March, when a ceremony marked the occasion at the University’s Chabad centre.

The initiative was led by Rabbi Pinny Weinman, who is the co-director of Chabad of Edinburgh. “It is very exciting for all the students at the University of Edinburgh”, Weinman commented to The Algemeiner.

“This will be the first and only Torah in Scotland dedicated for Jewish students. The students are very excited to be able to celebrate Jewish pride in Scotland’s capital city, especially during these challenging times in Europe,” Weinman continued, speaking to Chabad News last week.

The University’s new Torah will be received courtesy of the Brooklyn-based organisation known as Beis Yisroel Torah Gemach (BYTG), which is a program dedicated to finding unused or abandoned scrolls, and redeploying them to Chabad centres in need of their own Torah around the world.

The donors who funded the transfer, Dani and Diana Sragowicz, have been involved in supporting the efforts of BYTG for years. Speaking to The Algemeiner, Bentzion Chanowitz, founder of BYTG, said that “the donor saw how widespread the problem of shluchim being able to accommodate a minyan, but unable to obtain a Torah [is]. I can’t believe there are so many places missing the essential book.”

Weinman sought the help of Chabad on Campus emissaries, as well as Chabad on Campus International (CCI), to make the transfer a success.

“More Torahs on college campuses means more access for Jewish students to the words and wisdom of our heritage”, Rabbi Yossy Gordon, Executive Vice President of CCI, told Chabad News.

On 19 March, visitors, students, and members of Chabad of Edinburgh joined Weinman and other officials to observe the final letters be written in the scroll before it takes its place permanently at the University site. It was estimated that more than 150 people attended.

Image: Bais Yisroel Torah Gemach

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