Hundreds of residents and shopkeepers in downtown Tel Aviv took a break from their usual Thursday afternoon routines to hit the streets for a parade celebrating the new Torah scroll of the Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue in the city’s Geulat Yisrael neighborhood.

As a canopy bedecked with a giant crown sheltering the Torah made its way past, accompanied by the Tzivos Hashem youth band from the village of Kfar Chabad, the people joined the circles of dancing celebrants. The parade route, which police closed to traffic, began at the home of Rabbi Yosef and Hinda Gerlitzky, directors of Merkaz Chabad-Lubavitch of Tel Aviv, and ended at the synagogue, where cold beverages and food awaited the crowds.

Vladimir Zeev Basplov, who donated the Torah scroll, came with his family from Russia for the occasion.

After a celebratory meal at the synagogue, former Israeli Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau spoke to the attendants. Turning to Basplov, he said: “This Torah scroll proves that the Communist regime did not erase your Jewish pride.”