A scroll for the ages

The Chabad Jewish Center of Laguna Beach welcomed an exciting addition into its family Sunday as a new Torah Scroll was completed.

The celebration came as the center was gearing up to celebrate the Jewish new year.

“This is like a new entity that is joining us for the new year,” said Rabbi Eli Goorevitch.

This is the first Torah dedication since one was dedicated 13 years ago for Chabad’s opening.


Dedications are rare because the scroll is a hand-written work of art.

Rabbi Aaron Shaffier, a Torah scribe who works from Israel, said the process takes more than a year. The sacred Jewish document is written on parchment with a feather quill. The work is usually done by a scribe, such as Shaffier.

The first writing is done in public, and there is a ceremony for the ending where the last letters are filled in by the people who commissioned the work.

“That’s why we’re called ‘The People of the Book,’” Aaron Shaffier said.


Because of the heavy workload, Torahs are generally commissioned for a special occasions such as a birth or in memorial.

The new Torah that rests within Chabad’s ark was donated by Kaveh Lahijani and his family.

The Lahijanis commissioned the piece in honor of Eshagh Lahijani, the family’s patriarch. Eshagh Lahijani was abducted 26 years ago in Iran. The family was on hand to dedicate the Torah to Chabad.

“We thought it would be a great way to bring light to his name,” Haleh Lahijani, Kaveh’s sister, said.