"Make for me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8)
With those biblical words, World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky opened the festive dedication of a beautiful new synagogue on the campus of the WIZO Gan Va'Nof Youth Village in Petach Tikva.
Generously donated by Sion & Frida Harari and family from Panama and members of the Jewish community of Panama, the synagogue is named Yad Mordechai, in memory of the Harari’s son, Mordechai Max S. Harari Z"L.
Left to right: World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky with Frida & Sion Harari of Panama
The ceremony included greetings from the Mayor of Petach Tikva Yitzchak Braverman, Chief Rabbi of Petach Tikva Rabbi Micha Halevi, WIZO Panama President Betty Btesh and the generous donors from the Jewish community of Panama.
Rabbi Micha Halevi, Mayor Yitzchak Braverman, and World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky
The donors were invited to write the final words of the new Torah scroll. Then Mr. Joseph Esses, Mr. Emmanuel Kabasso, and Mr. Joseph Kabasso of Panama were honored with carrying the new scroll into the synagogue as the crowd accompanied them with music, singing and dancing.
Outside the synagogue, Sion and Frida Harari, along with their son and daughter in law Moises and Vicky Harari unveilied the signage on the facade of the synagogue and the dedication plaque at the entrance.
The Harari family in front of the new synagogue.
Mosies Harari affixes the mezuza to the new synagogue.
Inside the synagogue, the leaders of WIZO Panama, President Betty Btesh, Honorary President Estela Faskha and Vicky Lynn Fidanque addressed the gathering.
"This synagogue is a culmination of a dream of many years," Betty Btesh said. "And now it is finally a reality."
"We worked tirelessly for months to make sure this synagogue would be beautiful," Estela Fashka said. "Everything from the ark to the new Torah scroll to the seats to the lovely art on the walls has been generously donated by the Harari family and members of the Jewish community of Panama."
Left to right: WIZO Panama Honorary President Estela Faskha and WIZO Panama President Betty Btesh
"This beit knesset (synagogue), will not just be a place of prayer," Uri Saar, the Director of the WIZO Gan Va'Nof Youth Village declared. "It will also be a place of gathering, a place of learning, and a place where our students will connect with their ancient Jewish tradition."
"The building of this wonderful synagogue reflects the special spirit of WIZO Panama," World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky said. "May this beautiful synagogue, generously donated by the Harari family and the Jewish community of Panama, inspire and serve the students at WIZO Gan Va'Nof Youth Village for many years to come."
Photo Credits: Kfir Sivan