Chabad opens in Angola
http://www.chabad.org/news/article_...for-Angola-Jews-Complete-With-a-New-Torah.htmA Grand Day for Angola Jews, Complete With a New Torah
Celebrating a multi-story villa and scroll of their own, with an eye towards future growth
By Karen Schwartz | September 22, 2016 10:12 AM
Chabad Lubavitch of Angola celebrated its grand opening on Sunday and welcomed a Torah written specifically for their community. About 150 people gathered midday for ribbon-cutting ceremonies for both the building and the synagogue, and also watched as mezuzahs were affixed to the new spaces and plaques were unveiled, dedicated to the founders.
Government officials, residents and guests attended, in addition to a number of philanthropists, including Jacob Karako, Ouriel Mansour, Elazar Benjamin and Haim Taib. Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila, executive director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Central Africa, flew in from Kinshasa, Congo, for the festivities.
Chabad of Angola is directed by Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and Devorah Leah Chekly, who moved there with their young daughter a year-and-half-ago. The Cheklys, who speak French, Hebrew and English, have been reaching out to the estimated 300 Jewish families living full-time in Angola, in addition to visitors. Initially housed in a small apartment, the family will now move into the three-story villa and workspace.
“It’s bigger and can cater to more people,” says Bentolila. “And it makes it very clear that we’re here to stay.”
In the evening, the group reconvened at the Epic Sana Hotel in Luanda—the country’s capital and largest city—to put the finishing touches on a new Torah with the help of sofer (scribe) Rabbi Dovid Cohen of Montreal, Canada. The Hachnasat Sefer Torah celebration, or welcoming of a Torah scroll to its new home, was followed by dinner and live music.