To Touch the Spirit

 

Rabbi Kook, Rabbi of Jaffa and the Moshavot, wrote in his book Orot Hateshuva that the way to restore the spiritual health of the Jewish nation is to “learn Torah among the masses.” In plain speech, the intention is to make Judaism and tradition accessible to the general public.

Following this principle, the Torani Community of Jaffa holds activities all year round at schools, community centers, centers for the elderly and in public places. The activities are based on a few themes:

 

1. The Jewish Calendar – Activities based on the events of the Jewish calendar.

2. The Circle of Life - Births, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, adolescence, IDF service, marriage, aging and mourning.

3. The Family Circle - Happy marriages, parent education, dealing with life’s challenges.

4. Judaic Studies - Captivating lessons on Judaism for children, teenagers and adults, joint learning and discussion circles, community Beit Midrash study centers.

 

One of the very special activities in Jaffa that has become a city tradition is Simchat Torah.

The Torani community invites teenage boys and girls to the southern side of the city to dance with the Torah scrolls, passing from synagogue to synagogue and dancing through the streets of Tel Aviv bringing joy to the residents. Their impressive procession, along with the members of the Torani community and many participants from the neighborhoods, has become the main event in the area. On the night after Simchat Torah, the Tel Aviv municipality sets up a large stage at the beautiful Davidoff Park, where 3,000 Jaffa residents, both Jews and Arabs, come together to celebrate the Torah. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau both honor the event with their presence and recite the traditional verses of the Simchat Torah dancing.

Rabbi Yuval Alpert, Director of the Torani community, hosts the impressive event, as the musicians get everyone dancing and bring joy to the hearts. This powerful event expresses the deep, internal connection that the neighborhood residents feel toward the Torah and Jewish tradition.