Through a gift from the Spears Endowment for Spiritual and Moral Education, Choate Rosemary Hall welcomed the permanent installation of a Torah (the sacred scroll of Jewish people) on Sunday, September 25. The Spears Endowment for Spiritual and Moral Education was established by former Chairman of the Choate Rosemary Hall Board of Trustees, William G. Spears '56, P '81, '90.
A welcome parade led by the Klezical Tradition Klezmer Band of Fairfield, Conn., accompanied the sacred scroll around campus grounds with members of the community joining in. The Torah was carried under a traditional chuppah (wedding canopy) before it was walked over to its permanent home in the Seymour St. John Chapel.
After the procession, Headmaster Alex Curtis gave welcoming remarks: "It is an honor to be present today as our school receives and installs a Torah Scroll in our chapel. This is a historic occasion! I know it is one that has been in the works for a number of years and it is very meaningful to see it finally happen today — and to see it here in our chapel and to have it installed in this wonderful, hand-crafted ark. To have this sacred scroll available for our students to use today and in the future is truly special." Rabbi Barbara Paris led a brief ceremony as the scroll was unrolled.
Richard Stainton, of the Choate Facilities Department, built an ark of maple and basswood, situated in the front of the Chapel, where the Torah scroll will be kept.The doors of the ark were carved by Harvey Paris, husband of Rabbi Paris, and the President of Jewish Family Services of Connecticut.The Torah's embroidered cover was donated by Dr. Adam Beckerman and his wife, Julianne, parents of Brandt '13 and Logan '16.