Home > Israel, Judy Lash Balint, Morocco, United States of America > Completion of Torah Scroll in Old City prompts celebration

Completion of Torah Scroll in Old City prompts celebration

Scribe completes a Torah scroll

By Judy Lash Balint

Judy Lash Balint

JERUSALEM–The Sephardic Educational Center in Jerusalem’s Old City celebrated the completion of a new Torah scroll Wednesday night, July 28, in a lively celebration of Jews from around the world.

A scribe dips his quill pen into special ink and puts the finishing touches to a new Torah scroll before sewing up the parchment with special thread and dancing with the Torah through the streets of the Jewish Quarter.

Dozens of people from all over the world took part in the dedication of the scroll that was donated by families from Morocco and the United States.

A delegation of Sephardic leaders from Los Angeles and New York took part in the festive event, with many men putting their hand over the hand of the scribe as he finished the last letters of the scroll that contains the Five Books of Moses.

Scribes who are trained in the art of writing a Torah must undergo rigorous training. It takes about one year to complete the writing of the quarter million letters that make up the scroll.

The parchment must come from a kosher animal–usually a goat, bull or deer and generally takes about 80 skins for one Torah scroll.

A special feather quill and ink are used and the scribe must not write anything from memory. After checking the scroll with another scribe, the ceremonial completion is scheduled. It’s considered a great honor to take part in the writing of a letter of the Torah.

The last part of the scroll was sewn together, a cover and silver bells placed on it, and the entire congregation accompanied the Torah under a wedding canopy, dancing through the streets of the Jewish Quarter.

Balint is a freelance writer based in Jerusalem.  This is reprinted from her website, Jerusalem Diaries:In Tense Times

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