August 19, 2008
Ohr HaTorah ends 15-year trip in a walk down Barrington to a new home [VIDEO]
Web extra video: Rabbi Mordechai Finley's 'Introduction to Spiritual Judaism'
(Page 3 - Previous Page)
Congregants on Aug. 8 seemed to agree.
The procession reached the new building just as the sun was setting; many threw rose petals at the Torah scrolls and cheered. The Finleys cut the ribbon strung across the facility's doors, and the crowd rushed in, burst into a spirited rendition of "Heveinu Shalom Aleichem" and joined hands to dance around the Torahs.
Finley shook hands with and greeted members of the congregation, including writer-director David Mamet.
A six-year Ohr HaTorah member, Mamet worked on a committee with other congregants to help secure the new building.
"I'm thrilled to be part of this shul," said Mamet, who attends Shabbat services each week as well as evening study sessions with the rabbi. "Everyone is so happy and proud. This is a magnificent event."
The party pressed close around the bimah to see the Torah scrolls placed in their new ark. The Finleys' four children were also there: Lev, 28; Kayitz, 26; Shulamit, 14, and Avigayil, 11.
Meirav Finley, who is also the synagogue's music director, helped lead a brief Shabbat service as the approximately 300 attendees sat around the room on folding chairs. After the service, Rabbi Finley invited the former pastor of Faith Tabernacle Church, who first took in Ohr HaTorah eight years ago, to bless the congregation.
The Rev. Mike Hinojosa donned a yarmulke and told congregants that offering them their longtime rental space was "one of the best things I've done in my career."
As attendees waited to sit down to a celebratory dinner, Meirav Finley contemplated the unfinished wall around the ark, mottled with splotches of paint and spackling. She said she has decided to leave it as is.
"People thought I was a nut when I first said I wanted to leave it, but it reminds me of the work it took to get here. Besides," she added, running her hand over the marble-like pattern, "it's just beautiful."
Rabbi Finley's introduction to spiritual Judaism