(JNS) The Jewish community in Reykjavik, Iceland, celebrated the completion and inauguration of the island’s first permanent Torah scroll this week.
Celebrants danced down the streets of the nation’s capital, and guests came from Europe and Israel for the Torah dedication ceremony. Last Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to Iceland Jeffrey Ross Gunter, who is Jewish, hosted at the embassy a reception to celebrate and honor the historic occasion.
The Torah scroll was donated by Adina Krausz from Zurich, Switzerland, who chose to surprise her husband for his 50th birthday by giving a Torah to a community that did not have one.
Rabbi Avi and Mushky Feldman, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who moved to Iceland in May 2018 and established the island’s first permanent Jewish presence, called the celebrations a “momentous occasion in Icelandic—and indeed, Jewish—history,” according to Chabad.org.
“Until now, we’ve been borrowing the Torah scroll we read every Shabbat morning,” said the rabbi. “We’re very excited to finally have our own.”
While about 100 Jews have participated in community functions in one way or another, the year-round Jewish population, including university students and staff, is estimated at 250.
Iceland, however, is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the world, and the Feldmans are seeing more Jewish visitors and guests.