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Reform Group in Belarus Gets a Torah from Oklahoma

A Reform congregation in Belarus has received a Torah scroll as a gift from its sister congregation in Oklahoma.

The scroll, which the Minsk congregation Simcha received in a ceremony in the Belarussian capital last week, is being kept at a private apartment.

Simcha is the only Reform congregation in Belarus to have its own scroll.

The Belarussian Reform movement — which is relatively new in Belarus — does not have ordained rabbis or permanent synagogues, according to the leader of Simcha, Yakov Basin.

Basin said the congregationnow wants to obtain a permanent meeting place that would house the scroll.

The Tulsa, Okla, and Minsk congregations have been linked through Yad L’Yad, or Hand-to-Hand, a program of the Washington-based Union of Councils for Soviet Jews. The 5-year-old project works to support Jewish communities and synagogues throughout the former soviet Union.

Simcha, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, is one of 12 Reform congregations in Belarus.

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