Richmond welcomes a scrolly good show

Small community enjoys once in a lifetime event


For the first time in living memory, the small Richmond community has celebrated the inauguration of a new sefer Torah.

It was donated by congregant and Holocaust survivor Sam Freiman, 91, who made his home in nearby Kew and then moved to Richmond.

He dedicated it to the memory of family members who died in the Shoah and his wife Sonja, who passed away in December.

More than 100 people from the 250-member congregation attended the celebration in the synagogue car park. In an apt address, Dayan Yonason Abraham of the London Beth Din spoke of the “power of the Holocaust survivor to ignite and transmit the importance of the Torah to future generations”.

Born in in eastern Poland, Mr Freiman was incarcerated in the Theresienstadt concentration camp after attempting to escape the Warsaw ghetto.

Meir Shindler, the Richmond rabbi, said none of his congregants could remember the last time a new scroll was donated.

“The whole project of getting it and designing the cover took about a year-and-a-half, so it’s been a while in the making.

“Usually things like this happen through a big community fundraising project but we are currently looking at renovating parts of the shul.

“We have some very generous benefactors but it would have been a very difficult ask to raise the money ourselves.”

Malcolm Levi, the shul’s chairman, hailed the ceremony for the new scroll as a “landmark event” for Richmond.

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