A new Torah Scroll celebration took place in Bobruisk, Belarus for the first time in almost a hundred years on Sunday. The celebration took to the streets for festive Jewish dancing and a parade never before seen on the streets of Bobruisk.
The entire community came together to partake in the celebrations, which began in the ‘Jewish Court’ – an open-air museum in progress – and danced through the streets to the city synagogue for the welcoming ceremony. The police closed traffic on the city’s central street to allow the procession to march freely.
“This is a historic event for the city,” said Bobruisk Chief Rabbi Shaul Hababo. “Seeing such a big demonstration of Jewish presence in the city is unprecedented.” Many honorable guests from all over Belarus attended the ceremony, including regional officials and rabbis from Minsk, Mogilev, Grodno, Brest, and other cities.
Bobruisk was considered the “Jewish capital” of Belarus at the turn of the 20th century, with many prominent Jewish intellectuals, artists, writers, and religious leaders living and working there. During the war and the Communist period, Jewish life in the city was diminished to the bones, with synagogues closed and the Jewish population expelled or murdered. Since the ’90s, the community has been working hard to preserve and captivate the city’s Jewish heritage and make it accessible to the general public – an undertaking that is now beginning to come to fruition.