Aaron Severs writes: “At 10 a.m. on October 20, the crowd gathered at the corner of Pandora and Vancouver. Undeterred by grey skies above, participants had already begun to dance to the music of Avram Yuval & Friends. The restored Sifrei Torah were placed under the brand-new chuppah canopy. Proceeding west on Pandora towards the shul, we danced, sang and strolled with purpose.
"Children and adults alike, we accompanied and danced about our heritage Torah scrolls, carried by Sharon and Ed Fitch.
"At the parking lot behind the shul, an impromptu Hora broke out:
"Eventually we all entered via the sanctuary doors, and the newcomers (i.e. heritage scrolls) were greeted into the synagogue by our resident Torah scrolls, held by Leah and Uri Levi.
"Rabbi Harry welcomed the masses and explained that today’s simḥah was similar to a wedding ceremony. Torah is the covenant in our relationship with Hashem. A short drash by Marc Michaels, one of the sofrim or ritual scribes followed (Avielah Barclay taught later on).
"The last 12 letters of Deuteronomy were next to be filled in. All eyes in the room (about 150 participants) seemed transfixed on the front of the sanctuary. A big screen showed the programme, while the Torah to be completed lay open on a table, next to the sofrim and their Jewish scribal materials.
"The excitement mounted. One by one, groups of leaders/volunteers in our kehillah joined the sofrim in the completion of one letter each. Hebrew School teachers and kids went first, then Bnei Mitzvah teachers/tutors and USY/Kadima, then our Elders, Avodah Social Action and so on. Each leadership group stood next to the scribes and were encouraged to lay hands on the scribes. The energy in the room was palpable. Awhile later, once all the letters were filled in, the scribes declared the Torah scrolls to be kosher.
"The last portion in the Torah was chanted, then a t’kiah g’dolah was sounded and more dancing ensued. A specially written prayer for the kehillah was read aloud. More music was performed by the Jewish Community Choir, and a delicious Kiddush lunch followed.
"For many of us, participating in the Siyyum was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There was joy and pride and a renewed commitment to Torah.”