five towns

New shul, new Torah

Serphardic Congregation of Hewlett


The completition of a new Torah scroll for the fledgling Sephardic Congregation of Hewlett was celebrated on Sunday.

After the sefer was completed in the Lawrence home of Eric and Mina Aminoff, who dedicated it memory of their parents, it was paraded under a canopy and accompanied by jubilent well-wishers along Broadway to the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, site of speeches and a festive dinner. Then it was transported for Hachnassatt Sefer Torah to the shul’s temporary home at 1725 Union Ave. in Hewlett.

The shul, founded last November, hopes to purchase a property for future development. Meanwhile, it is having services at the home of Shmuel and Anita Koren. Begun with six families, it now has 24, and its leaders say it is filling a void in the Hewlett end of the Five Towns, where the nearest Orthodox shul was a mile and a half away.

The congregation, with Rabbi Refael Ribacoff onboard as spiritual leader, is considering an eruv extension to accommodate the community’s growing needs.

The new Torah is the shul’s second.

At the YILC, Aminoff delivered an emotional speech  about family, community and Torah.

“Every nishama has a letter in the Torah that corresponds to it,” he said. “Every Jew has a place in the sefer Torah.”

He spoke with emotion about his father, mother and father-in-law, to whom the sefer is dedicated.

His father “was a hardcore Zionist who lived in America,” he said. “Physically he was here in America, but spiritually he was there” in Israel.

He said his father’s creed in business was to “be honest and tell the truth.”

“He said to me, ‘I never crossed the street to avoid another person’,” Ainoff said.

His mother was born in Tiberias, a seventh-generation Sabra. From her, he learned toughness and determination. He described his father-in-law as a quiet man who was as private as he was generous in giving tzedakah.

YILC’s mora d’asra, Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, who helped guide Asimoff, reminded those assembled that with the words of Torah “the Master of the Universe created the world. All that exists is in the Torah.”

Rabbi Yitzchak Israeli of the Sephardic Congregation of Mill Basic, who completed the final letters in the sefer that was written by his brother, reminded everyone that “each person has a share in the Torah.”