RYE, N.Y. -- Clergy, staff and congregants of Community Synagogue of Rye will parade their Torah scrolls and eternal light (ner Tamid) through the streets of Rye on Sunday, June 18 at 10:30 a.m. to Rye Presbyterian Church where these sacred ritual objects will be kept while the synagogue undergoes renovation.
Clergy of both houses of worship are calling the transfer a symbol of shared community and religious respect.
Renovation of the synagogue’s sanctuary, which is to begin Monday, June 26, is expected to be completed in August 2018, and Rye Presbyterian Church will rent space to the Jewish house of worship during that period.
The synagogue’s Friday night and Saturday morning services will take place in the recently renovated church chapel, where the Eternal Light will continue to burn as a symbol of the presence of God, and the Torah—or ancient Hebrew text—will be read on each Sabbath.
Daniel Gropper, senior rabbi of Community Synagogue, said the parade will be a festive method for making this temporary move, but one based on Jewish tradition. “When a new Torah is inaugurated, when a synagogue moves to a new location, or when scrolls are transferred from one institution to another, the congregation participates in a ceremony called Hachnasat Sefer Torah,” Gropper said. “This ceremony often involves the parading of Torah scrolls to their new location accompanied with singing and dancing.”
The parade will leave from the back door of the synagogue, head down a small pathway behind Midland School to Midland Avenue, cross Midland through the Rye Recreation field area and emerge onto Milton Road at The Rye Arts Center. It will then cross Milton Road, and head south on Milton to Parsons Street and to the church at 882 Boston Post Road.
The parade is scheduled to arrive just as Sunday services are ending, said the Reverend Dan Love, co-pastor of Rye Presbyterian. “We will be very visibly here to welcome Community Synagogue into our sanctuary," he said.
"They will come into our chapel where they will put the scrolls in a temporary ark and we will join in the singing and dancing that follows."
The entire community of Rye is invited to participate in this parade from Community Synagogue of Rye (200 Forest Ave.) to Rye Presbyterian Church (882 Boston Post Road) beginning at 10:30 a.m.