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IN CELEBRATION OF RABBI HAIM BENOLIEL’S 50 YEARS OF DEVOTED SERVICE A SPECIAL SEFER TORAH DEDICATION

By: Pnina S. Souid



For fifty years Rabbi Haim Benoliel has been a driving force for Torah in the Syrian/Sephardic community. The April issue of Community Magazine featured the rabbi’s dedication to his kehillah, his pioneering efforts to insure the continuation of a Sephardi rabbinate, and his dedication to proper education for our children.

To celebrate and honor the achievements of the Rav and Rosh HaYeshiva, a Sefer Torah campaign was launched. Within weeks of the announcement, the entire sum was raised.

On May 13th the Hachnasat Sefer Torah procession started from Rabbi Benoliel’s home on East 9th Street between Avenues M and N and headed towards Congregation Bnai Yosef on Ocean Parkway and Avenue P. Hundreds of people braved the inclement weather to take part in this opportunity to participate in this special simha.

The rabbis who participated were a cross section of the Torah leaders in the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities. Amongst them were Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rosh Ha Yeshiva of Yeshiva of Philadelphia, Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz of Mir Yeshiva, Rabbi S. Herbst, Av Beit Din, Avenue M, Rabbi Yitshak Yisraeli, Av Beit Din Torah u’Mishpat and rav of the Sephardi community of Mill Basin, and Rabbi David Ozeri, rabbi of Congregation Yad Yosef.

These rabbis joined together with the rabbis who lead minyanim and classes in Bnai Yosef: Rabbi Maoz Harari-Raful, Rabbi Eli David, and Rabbi Uziel Admoni.

Special recognition was given to those who purchased parshiot in the new Sefer Torah. Their names and the names of those in whose zechut they purchased the parasha were memorialized on the case of the Sefer Torah. The parasha sponsors also received a siddur with their names engraved on the outside and signed inside by Rabbi Haim Benoliel. In addition, a raffle for a free trip to Israel was held for the parasha sponsors.

The Sefer Torah was placed in the Aron HaKodesh of the Main Synagogue with indescribable joy, and all those attending were treated to a sumptuous feast. All of this was done to honor Torah. Anyone who has had any personal experience with the rav knows that he does not chase after honor. Our sages teach us that honor comes to those who run away from it.

As a young man Rabbi Haim Benoliel sought to learn, teach, and encourage others to learn, teach and build up the community. May Hashem give him the strength to continue.

Many people gave of their time and talents in order for this event to be the best possible. Rabbi Uziel Admoni, working together with the other rabbis would like to thank the special office staff of Congregation Bnai Yosef for their outstanding efforts.