Torah processional marks long-awaited move
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Torah processional marks long-awaited move

FRANKLIN LAKES ““ It’s only a short ride along Route 208 from East 33rd Street in Paterson to Franklin Lakes, but it has taken the congregants of Temple Emanuel of North Jersey years to move to its new home.

On Sunday a motorcade left the landmark building in Paterson with some 15 Torah scrolls, traveling slowly through Fair Lawn, Hawthorne, and Wyckoff to the shul’s new sanctuary on High Mountain Road in Franklin Lakes.

Mickey Levine holds one of the many Torahs to be transferred from Paterson to Temple Emanuel’s new home in Franklin Lakes. Photos by Ken Hilfman

Led by a police escort from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, the group took about an hour to reach a parking area near the High Mountain School, from which Torah-carriers and other marchers walked to the former Union Reform Church. Carrying Israeli flags and banners, they sang and danced before entering the sanctuary for the dedication ceremony.

Sheila Guston, chair of the Torah transfer committee, said “with [today’s] march, current members of Temple Emanuel have recreated the memorable march 79 years ago – September 20, 1929 – when congregants marched their Torahs from the synagogue on Van Houten Street in downtown Paterson to their new location in the newly developed area in the Eastside of Paterson.”

“It’s been a long journey,” Rabbi Joshua S. Finkelstein, the synagogue’s religious leader, told the more than 100 people attending the ceremony. “This is a turning point in our history.”

The building and parsonage on High Mountain Road sit on some five acres of property overlooking a lake.

“Still waters run deep,” Rabbi Finkelstein told this newspaper, referring to the serene setting of the synagogue’s new building.

Temple Emanuel of North Jersey’s new home in Franklin Lakes.

Seth Lipschitz, president of the congregation, welcomed guests, including Michael Goldberg, president, and Rabbi Kenneth A. Emert, religious leader, of Temple Beth Rishon in Wyckoff; Pam Himeles, president of Barnert Temple in this town; and Christine Dobkins, president of Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center of Ridgewood. State Assemblyman Scot Rumana (R-40) presented a joint resolution of the New Jersey legislature recognizing the relocation of the Temple and “affirming the synagogue’s important place in this state’s religious community.”

The event included a musical program with offerings from Kol Rishon of Temple Beth Rishon, the Choral Society of Temple Emanuel, and the HaZamir of Bergen County Chorale. Also participating were Cantors Ilan Mamber, Leon Scher, and Barbara Lieberstein, and singer Jane Koch. Pianist Janet Sosinsky provided the musical accompaniment.

With a long blast on his shofar, Rabbi Joshua Finkelstein concludes the dedication ceremony at the new home of Temple Emanuel of North Jersey.

Noting that Temple Emanuel of North Jersey and the Barnert Temple were once neighbors – located across from each other on Broadway in Paterson – Rabbi Elyse Frishman, who delivered the closing prayer, said, “How grateful we are to be together, dedicating yet another expansion of our spiritual garden. How privileged we are to know how our different offerings nourish the myriad of people who come into our midst…. Your roots run deep and wide. May this new soil in Franklin Lakes sustain you and nurture your growth.”

The dedication concluded with the singing of Hatikvah and a final blast on the shofar by Rabbi Finkelstein.

For information about Temple Emanuel, call the shul office, (201) 560-0200, or the rabbi’s study, (201) 560-0202.

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