Family Sefer Torah for today and tomorrow

Family Sefer Torah for today and tomorrow

From left, dad Joshua, Jeremy, grandpa Aaron, and brother Benjamin at the bar mitzvah party.
From left, dad Joshua, Jeremy, grandpa Aaron, and brother Benjamin at the bar mitzvah party.

A new Sefer Torah for a new bar mitzvah, and a new milestone for the Chaitovsky family.

It was a confluence of firsts that took place recently at Congregation Keter Torah as 13-year-old Jeremy Chaitovsky stood at the bima before family, friends, and community members and leined from the Sefer Torah on Shabbat parsha Mishpatim, a holy scroll that has now become the family’s prized possession.

He was the first grandson of several to have the privilege of inaugurating the brand new Chaitovsky family Sefer Torah.

“It was just wonderful,” said Jeremy’s father, Joshua Chaitovsky of Bergenfield.

“The Sefer Torah had just been finished being written and Jeremy was the first bar mitzvah in our family to use it,” Joshua Chaitovsky said. “There are many bar mitzvahs coming up in our family. My father wanted to have a Sefer Torah written for our family. We waited several months for it to be finished and hoped it would be ready. Thankfully, it was. And Jeremy was our first bar mitzvah.”

Jeremy’s grandfather, Aaron Chaitovsky of Plainview, Long Island, was only too happy to have the Sefer Torah written for his family. It was written by a sopher in Israel and completed just a few weeks before the bar mitzvah. The completion was performed at the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s Ohel, his resting place in Queens, by a sopher and member of the family.

Jeremy had a chance to practice from the Sefer Torah before his bar mitzvah.  On the actual  day of his bar mitzvah, in addition to the joy normally felt by the family, there was also a profound sense of generational nachas.

“It was wonderful,” said Aaron Chaitovsky. “It was very emotional. It was very powerful to be present and to realize how blessed to have a grandson, and the opportunity to be a part of this, and to make this happen.

“Jeremy did an amazing job,” said Aaron Chaitovsky, who stood beside his grandson on the bima. “This was very special.”

It also was grandpa who taught Jeremy his parsha. Because of covid, their lessons were confined to Zoom, but still, grandfather and grandson were committed to their twice a week study. The tradition of teaching his grandson had its roots in Aaron Chaitovsky’s teaching his own sons, including Jeremy’s father, Joshua, to prepare for their bar mitzvahs.

“I was very nervous to be the first one leining from the Torah, and nervous to do my parsha,” said Jeremy, a 7th grader at Yeshivat Noam. “I was very relieved when it was over.”

At the party later that night, at Congregation Keter Torah, the celebration continued. Jeremy was responsible for the balloon art and other decorations. Very creative, Jeremy makes balloon animals for his family’s birthday parties, does face painting, ventriloquism, sews puppets and is now learning how to play guitar. When he’s not doing that, Jeremy enjoys floor hockey and spray-painting art.

Said his mother, Devorah, “It was very special having the oldest child in our family read from the new Sefer Torah. When he was leining, I was very in the moment. I was enjoying him, listening, and watching him.”

The significance of posterity was clear.

“We can’t go on forever, but the Sefer Torah will be here forever,” she said.

In the meantime, the family Sefer Torah is safely ensconced in Aaron Chaitovsky’s shul in Plainview getting ready for the next family bar mitzvah, another grandson who will come to the Torah shortly after Purim.

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