Over the past month tens-of-thousands of school children received Bereishit, or the book of Genesis at Chabad synagogues across Israel.
Chagigat Hachumash marks a milestone for second graders who, accompanied by their parents, receive their new volume as they begin their Biblical studies. It has become a tradition for many schools across Israel to conduct the “ceremony” at Chabad synagogues with great fanfare.
In Kfar Chabad students have a chance to “meet” the Biblical Abraham who introduces him to the Torah. In Tel Aviv, parents baked cakes shaped as a Torah scroll. At all locations there is lots of singing and dancing.
Last month, 18 day schools in Netanya marked the beginning of their study of Genesis at Chabad in the city. Children were greeted at the synagogue with music, a kid-friendly description of the contents of Torah scroll. They also learned how the Torah scroll is created from hide, each letter painstakingly filled in with a quill and ink over many months by an expert scribe.
“Our goal is that a child should feel happy and comfortable to come to the synagogue and that he or she feels at home in this holy place,” says Noach Solish, director of youth activities at Chabad of Netanya.
A parent at the Tel Aviv celebration told Walla Israeli news site that he passes by the synagogue almost every day, but never entered the building. “Now that I am here with my 9-year-old daughter, it will be hard for me not to enter when I pass by. With the Torah, there is a taste of wanting to have more,” said the attorney.