Chabad makes Frisco history with completed Torah
Photos: Amy Gogan
Even Beard, Grandfather Ken Licker, Carolyn Beard, Grayson Beard and Rabbi Shmuly Kesselman.

History was made in Frisco last weekend as the Jewish community completed and dedicated its very first Torah scroll — a first for the city and for a local synagogue. Close to 200 people gathered to celebrate the completion of the Torah that will have a new home in Chabad of Frisco.
Rabbi Mendy Kesselman, co-director of Chabad of Frisco, welcomed the crowd. “The Jewish people are a collective Torah scroll,” he said. “Just as a Torah scroll needs each of the 304,805 letters to render it as kosher, so too each and every person plays an integral role in the Jewish nation.”
Rabbi Menachem Block of Chabad of Plano led the crowd in a prayer. He connected the dedication ceremony to the current Torah portion of Terumah, which talks about the building and dedication of the tabernacle. He explained how the Jewish community that is being built in Frisco mirrors what the tabernacle offered to the Jewish people during their travels in the desert.
A workshop was led by Rabbi Shmuly Kesselman, a sofer (Torah scribe) and Rabbi Mendy Kesselman’s brother, who flew in for the celebration. Participants explored various materials used in creating Torah scrolls and other handwritten Judaic items. Rabbi Shmuly hand-wrote each participant’s Hebrew name with ink and quill on parchment in the Torah’s script lettering. This one-of-a-kind experience was taking place amid flag decorating, Torah-themed activity books and other children’s activities.
Gene and Judy Levine generously donated the Torah in memory of their parents, Helen and Philip Abel and Bessie and Solomon Levine. Judy Levine shared with the crowd, “I want my parents to mean more to everyone than just names embroidered on a beautiful Torah cover. My parents were warm, affectionate, smart and also very funny.” Judy shared the amazing upbringing her parents provided for her, sacrificing everything they knew and were comfortable with to move across the country to put their young daughter Judy’s health above all else. She concluded, “They taught me to always prioritize being a part of a Jewish community. I like to think they would be proud of the community we’ve chosen.”
Gene Levine followed by sharing beautiful stories about his parents and his upbringing in Brooklyn. He concluded his message saying, “I’ve been asked many times how we came to the decision of dedicating a Torah to this shul. Today, while looking around at the joy we see on people’s faces at this dedication, it shows us that donating this Torah to Chabad of Frisco was the right decision.”
After the dedications, the Frisco Hebrew School students took the stage and performed a few Torah songs that they sing weekly at Hebrew School. The sweet sounds of children’s voices echoed in the room as the next generation, and the future of Jewish life, sang the words “I’m a Jew and I’m proud and I’ll sing it out loud!”
Their performance was followed by a moving video presentation. Finally, Rabbi Moshe Liberow, an expert scribe hailing from Colorado Springs, completed the last words of the Torah. The crowd erupted with shouts of Mazal Tov, followed by joyous dancing and singing. The Torah was escorted under a chuppah canopy to represent the unbreakable union between the Jewish people and the Torah.
“The blessings that the Levines have brought to the Chabad of Frisco community are incredible,” said Rabbi Mendy Kesselman. “The community will be forever grateful to them for their vision in creating the vitality and Jewish continuity that can only be accomplished through the gift of a Torah scroll.”
“We want to thank all of those who contributed dedications in the Torah scroll and to those who volunteered their time and efforts to bring this event to life,” added Chabad of Frisco Co-director Mushkie Kesselman.

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