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#18 p 457-488.qxd 12/28/2007 9:42 AM Page 457 Abir Yaacob (a Shabbat Sidur), Joseph, The Chesed Boomerang, and more. At least ten publi-cations are in work at the present time. The

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Text of #18 p 457-488.qxd 12/28/2007 9:42 AM Page 457 Abir Yaacob (a Shabbat Sidur), Joseph, The Chesed...

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    Beyda came here from Aleppo. He quickly spread word that America was the place to go. Jews began arriving in large numbers from Damascus and Aleppo. Originally, many of the Jews who came lived on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. From approximately 1912- 1914, a movement of Syrian Jews began to populate a number of Brooklyn neighborhoods. The Rabbi described a feeling of awe that he gets when he enters the synagogue, a feeling of the labor of love that went into the building’s construction and years of dedication.

    Rabbi Moshe Shamah captured the essence of the synagogue when he said, “This edifice has had a major pos- itive influence on many Jews of our community.” In the mid 1940s and 1950s, Rabbi Shamah prayed at the synagogue every Saturday, absorbing the tangible feel- ing of spirituality, and wondering, how did such a mag- nificent structure come into existence way back in the 1920s? The Rabbi said that though there were a num- ber of financial struggles over the years, somehow the synagogue always prevailed. Rabbi Shamah pointed out that the synagogue can seat hundreds and can serve as a beacon to all of us for the rest of our lives.

    City Councilman Simcha Felder, Chairman of the council’s Landmarks Commission, told about his per- sonal connection to the synagogue and the community. Fifty years earlier, his father was an assistant to Chief Rabbi Jacob Kassin ZT”L. The councilman found it very touching that the first landmark dedication that he was presenting in his district was the Magen David Synagogue. Mr. Felder also recognized the much appreciated presence of members of the New York Police Department’s 62nd Precinct. The policemen, who were on hand to provide security, included Sergeant Collins and Officers Quelly and Borkovsky. It is always reassuring to see some of “New York’s Finest” helping our community to remain safe.

    Synagogue President Eddie Levy spoke about how proud the congregation was to receive the honor. As he put it, “Who would have dreamed the Magen David Synagogue would get landmark status from the great- est city in the world?”

    Sam Catton joined Mr. Levy on the steps of the synagogue and boldly declared, “The Syrian Jewish community was born in this synagogue, and the

    Talmud Torah next door.” Mr. Catton spoke about two specific events in the history of the synagogue. The first occurred on June 6th, 1944. As most people know, that date, known as D-Day, marked the Allied invasion of Europe, when our troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. People in the community began to arrive at the synagogue at 2:00 in the after- noon, to pray for the success of the invasion and the safe return of their loved ones. By 6:00 in the evening, the synagogue was packed. After evening services, the congregants learned of the success of the allies. Mr. Catton also recalled June 6th, 1967, when the community learned of the outbreak of the Six Day War in Israel. People literally ran to the synagogue to pray and try to get any details on the situation. Those gath- ered soon learned that the Israelis had destroyed the Egyptian air force before they got off the ground. Mr. Catton ended his speech by praising the city of New York and the United States, for without its religious freedom and tolerance of all people, this ceremony would never have taken place. Finally, he led the crowd in an emotional rendition of “G-d Bless America.”

    Susan H. Ball, chairman of the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation, read the dedica- tion plaque after it was unveiled. For those who were there, it was truly a historic and moving experience to see such an important part of our history become a New York City landmark. A grand icon from the past can now live on forever.

    Magen David... I M A G E W O R K S W I T H S Y N A G O G U E S T O B E N E F I T T H E C O M M U N I T Y

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    #18 p 457-488.qxd 12/28/2007 9:43 AM Page 459

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    T he name Edmond J. Safra is synonymous withphilanthropy and benevolence. A Lebanese-born Jew who rose to prominence in the bank-ing industry, Mr. Safra supported a remarkable diversity of institutions and charities during his lifetime. While his legacy of giving affected Jewish communities worldwide, his generosity may have had its greatest impact on the various Syrian Jewish communities in the United States and abroad. An example of how Mr. Safra's policy of supporting new Jewish institutions con- tinues even after his untimely death can be found in the recently completed Edmond J. Safra Synagogue.

    During his lifetime, Mr. Safra was often in New York City and spent many Shabbats on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Noting the absence of a formal syna- gogue and communal center for the Sephardim of Manhattan, Mr. Safra expressed a desire to build a cen- tral house of worship in the area. As was his practice, he moved this idea from a vision to a reality.

    He asked his wife, Lily, to supervise this project per- sonally. Although Mr. Safra lived to see the groundbreak- ing for the synagogue, Mrs. Safra was left to complete this effort alone after her husband's passing. Coordinating a team of skilled artisans, Mrs. Safra com- pleted construction of the building in December 2002. Dignitaries including the Chief Rabbi of Israel and His

    Honor Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended an official inauguration of the building. Praise for the edifice was exceeded only by praise for the man who foresaw it and his wife who completed it. Since opening its doors in March of 2003, the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue has become the communal center that its namesake imag- ined it would be. Under the spiritual guidance of Rabbi Elie Abadie, the synagogue offers regular religious serv- ices including daily minyanim, a bi-weekly Bet Midrash program, liturgy studies and daily tehilim readings. Moreover, the synagogue has become a prominent social, cultural and educational center having hosted more than 50 events over the course of the year includ- ing parenting and cooking classes, singles events, chil- dren's programs, and political and educational lectures.

    The Edmond J. Safra Synagogue is well located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at 11 East 63rd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. It is situat- ed near many of Manhattan's finest hotels and regular- ly hosts guests from around the world. The congrega- tion is comprised of Sephardic families of Middle Eastern background and follows the Aleppo style of prayer. The Synagogue is prepared to welcome all those interested in spending a Shabbat in Manhattan among this most vibrant Sephardic Jewish community. For more information please call (212) 754-9555.

    Haron Shohet, Joseph Shams, Rabbi Elie Abadie, Stanley Betesh and Philip Rutstein

    Purim 2003

    Celebrating the First Anniversary of the Edmond J. Safra

    Synagogue

    I M A G E W O R K S W I T H S Y N A G O G U E S T O B E N E F I T T H E C O M M U N I T Y

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    T he spoken word, the writtenword, and the electronic word;Tiferet Torah is the headquar-ters of all three. Why would one of our community's most respected rabbis, Rabbi Michael Haber, choose to move from his home of 26 years in New Jersey? Why would he leave his beloved congregants in Deal, and the position which he held for nineteen years as head of Congregation Ohel Yaacob? The answer: He saw the enormous potential of this new institution and felt that it can have a major impact upon our community.

    Onboard for this exciting synagogue/ torah center are all of the following: daily and Shabbat minyanim; Gemara and halacha classes before and after prayers; women's classes on weekdays and on Shabbat after- noons; a girls' learning group on Shabbat afternoons; a youth minyan, and more. Renowned Torah lecturers will be featured from time to time as well.

    On certa

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