Ovation Chai Point residents will fulfill a mitzvah with an event called “Lettering in the Torah.”
Ovation Chai Point is welcoming a brand new Torah at the Kohl Family Synagogue.
“Torah is the heart of the community,” Rabbi Levi Emmer said. This Torah, to debut in December at the Kohl Family Synagogue, will be the one in use for the next 50 years. The synagogue is considered to be communal with no specific affiliation.
Emmer said it is “uniquely special” for the retirement community to receive this gift. “The grandparents are the link to our past and to who we are,” he said.
The new addition is filling a need. The Torahs at the synagogue are from the 1920s and 1930s and are no longer considered kosher. Only one Torah is still considered kosher, but it is too heavy for residents and staff to hold during services. “The most important part would be that the words are not broken,” Emmer said about considering a Torah kosher.
The organization commissioned a scribe who is still working on the Torah with quill and ink in hand, making sure that each word is correct. “It’s actually one of the mitzvahs, instructions, commandments of the Torah, is to write a Torah,” Emmer said.
A “Lettering in the Torah” event is to be held all day Thursday, Oct. 25 at Ovation Chai Point. Contact the Jewish Home & Care Center Foundation at 414-721-9255 for more information.
The lettering serves to “fulfill the commandment of writing in the Torah,” said Tanya Mazor-Posner, vice president of development. Residents from Ovation Sarah Chudnow, the community in Mequon, are invited along with members of the community. Everyone will take a turn holding the quill, being “hand over hand” with the scribe, while he writes a letter, Tanya said.
“In affording the residents the opportunity to partake in this, I’m sure for most, almost all of them, this might be a first in their life at 90 years old,” Emmer said.
On the same day in Peck Hall at Chai Point, children will be able to partake in Torah-related activities, one being writing letters with a feather and ink on a piece of parchment. This is an “opportunity for our young people to have a meaningful experience with our residents revolving around the specialness of bringing a new Torah into our community,” Tanya said.
The Torah will be welcomed in a big celebration at Chai Point on Dec. 9 at 4:00 p.m.
Rabbi Emmer related this joyous occasion to a wedding celebration; the Torah is welcomed into a new home. There will be dancing during this celebration and Emmer said, “the custom is that all the old Torahs will be taken out to greet the new Torah.”
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How to make a Torah
Writing a Torah scroll is a religious act. Here are some basics to making one.
- A kosher Torah is one that’s acceptable according to Jewish law.
- A Torah scroll must be hand-written by a sofer (scribe).
- Parchment must be made from skin of a kosher animal.
- Writing utensil, a quill, is usually from a turkey feather.
- Pieces of parchment are sewn together with thread made of animal veins.