A new chapter in Solano County Jewish history began Sunday when the Vacaville-based Chabad of Solano County gathered families and friends to begin writing the Solano Torah.
The project is expected to take about a year. Moshe Klein, a fifth generation scribe, is doing the writing.
He was joined Sunday by local dignitaries and youth as work began on the Torah, which is considered to be the most precious article in Jewish life.
The Torah was initiated through the generosity of the Harris family.
“This synagogue is our home,” said Steve Harris. “As you raise your children here, may they read the same Torah as we are initiating.”
The youth concurred. Sean Gadasy, who is preparing for his bar mitzvah, noted he would be reading from the Torah at his bar mitzvah.
Sara Amar, 8, stood a little taller than the podium she spoke from and delivered a powerful message on Jewish youth and their role in keeping the “Jewish flame alive.”
Jonathan Gadasy shared how he’s written essays of 250 words, a far cry from the estimated 98,000 words in a Torah. He recalled a time when his grandparents were forbidden from studying the Torah.
“We live in a time when I can study the Torah,” he said.
Chaim Zaklos, rabbi of Chabad of Solano, was praised for his efforts to bring Jewish life to the Vacaville area.
“This is truly a historic milestone,” said State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis. “The Solano County Jewish community is more than 100 years old but this is the start of the first Torah to be copied.”
Zaklos spoke of how the Torah hasn’t changed in its 3,300-year existence. It is the source of Jewish eternity.
“It has survived the test of time,” he said.
Yehuda Ferris, a rabbi with Chabad of East Bay, delivered some humorous quips to wrap up the event.
“I feel like Keith Richards,” he told the group of about 100. “I’m still here.”
Harris and Ferris met several years ago on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. At the time, neither had an idea they would be celebrating such a historic occasion together, Ferris said.
“The tree of life is growing in Solano County,” Ferris said.