The ceremony was attended by officials including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, representatives of the Ethiopian community, and Professor Mark Wainberg, who made the donation.

By Michael bachner |

A 150-year-old Torah scroll was donated on Monday, January 18 to a synagogue serving the city’s Ethiopian community in a ceremony at the Jerusalem municipality building.

The ceremony was attended by officials including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, representatives of the Ethiopian community, and Professor Mark Wainberg, who made the donation.

Wainberg is a Canadian expert on HIV research who works at Montreal Jewish General Hospital and at McGill University. He thought of making the donation after the murder of Shira Banki, the 16-year-old girl who was stabbed to death in July, 2015 during the Jerusalem gay pride parade.

When Wainberg heard of Banki’s murder, he decided to honor her memory by donating a Torah scroll (a calligraphic copy of the Hebrew Bible used in Jewish prayers) to a community in Jerusalem. Banki’s parents, Mika and Uri, also attended Monday’s ceremony.

The Torah scroll, originally written in Baghdad, Iraq, was restored and repaired, and the Jerusalem municipality assisted in contacting the Ethiopian Jewish community in the city’s Katamonim neighborhood and arranging the transfer of the scroll.

“This is both an exciting and sad occasion,” said Mayor Nir Barkat during the ceremony. “We remember Shira and the tragedy of her death, but, at the same time, we are creating hope and renewal among members of the Ethiopian community in the city.”

“I would like to thank Professor Wainberg for the thoughtful donation and wish the Banki family and all of us many moments of joy, happiness and hope,” added Mayor Nir Barkat.

Source: The Jewish Voice
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