A new Torah scroll brought into the Synagogue of Uzhgorod: Jews waited 10 years for this event
In a conversation with Varosh about this event, the chief rabbi of Transcarpathia and Uzhgorod Wilhelm Menachem Mendel noted:
"The Torah is not only for Jews but also for the whole world. If a person reads it, it may seem that it is just a story, but in fact, you can learn endlessly from each verse and word. There are many ideas. If a person teaches and keeps the commandments from the Torah, his life becomes better. The Torah has the most commandments for Jews, but not only that. According to Jewish tradition, there are 7 commandments that are binding on all people of the world.
The introduction of the Sefer Torah is a special holiday. And for Uzhgorod, it is also a long-awaited event because the last time such an event took place was more than 10 years ago. Today, it is being restored by the Gozda family, who commissioned the writing of the Torah scroll in Israel.
It is a great joy for us to receive the new Torah Scroll here because it is a blessing for the whole city. We have invited not only Jews of Uzhgorod but also from all over Transcarpathia and other cities of Ukraine to this holiday. Everything happens in a special place for Jews – the former synagogue (ed. – the current Philharmonic Hall). It is of incredible importance to us because, for many years, Jews studied there, prayed, and communicated. I personally heard the stories of the grandchildren of a rabbi who lived at a time when the synagogue was still operating before the war. They tell amazing things-it was a live place that was open to people 24 hours a day. We are very hurt by the fact that there was a war and 10 thousand families who lived here were in trouble – 60% of them died. But we honor the synagogue, this place, and we always try to return to it for solemn events."
The rabbi also said that the Torah is not yet completed to the very end – they deliberately leave a few words so that every respected member of the religious community can finish it during the solemn celebration. Actually, it is not the person who writes, because this is a process that needs to be learned for a long time and there would be a high risk of making a mistake, so they simply approach the person who writes it and hold his hand, with which he outputs letters. After finishing writing the last letters, wait a few minutes for the ink to dry and then dress the Torah in a special outfit and decorate it with a silver crown. After that, it is brought to the existing synagogue on Russka street. The festival continues there with music and dancing.
According to the rabbi, there are not as many Jews living in Uzhgorod as in Kyiv, Dnipro or Odessa, only about 500-600 families. There are still about 200-300 Jews who do not say that they are Jews – mainly out of fear. This is the fear that happened to us because of the injuries inflicted by Hitler and later Stalin. Similarly, everything happens in Europe and America.