Thursday, 31 May 2012

Scribal Midrash

Soferet Avielah Barclay is working on our scroll MST #1177 at the moment, and posting photographs and information as she goes along. Here she comments on the tiny letter 'hay' within the word:

"The letter Hey is small in "be-hibaram" because the letter Hey is one of those which symbolizes G@D - an abbreviation of both the Four-letter Name "Y-H-V-H" and "HaShem". And according to midrash, before the creation G@D *was* ... that's it. All there was was G@D and G@D was all there was. So in order to make room for us, The Holy One had to contract. The word our tradition uses here is "tzimtzum" (צִמְצוּם) - "reduction" in modern Israeli Hebrew. Like a mother's body making room for a growing baby. So the Hey in the word meaning "they were created" (נִבְרָא) inspired this midrash which teaches us about G@D's process."

It is not traditional for a woman to work as a scribe. Learn a little more about this soferet here.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A Wandering Sofer Comes to Rest

This photograph shows Sofer David Brand working on a Czech Scroll at his desk on the third floor of Kent House. Not long after the scrolls arrived at Westminster Synagogue, he was walking along Knightsbridge and saw the sign on the street corner (no longer up since these days it is not considered secure to publicly announce the presence of a synagogue). He knocked on the door and asked if there were any Torah scrolls that needed mending.  "Come in, sit down," he was told, "er ... we have one thousand, five hundred and sixty four Torahs!"

Sofer Brand stayed with us for 27 years until he retired and moved to Israel, where he still lives.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Distant Journey (a Czech movie)

Have just come across this film online. Have to admit I've never heard of it. Has anybody seen it? It sounds like it could be interesting. The Wiki page about it is here.

NB Wiki notes that Stanley Kubrick uses footage from the movie in "A Clockwork Orange". Will have to check that out!

Dobrý Den!

Better late than never, we've decided to join the world of Blogging! It's another way to communicate through the ether with those who are interested in the lives of Torah Scrolls, the history of the Jewish people, the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia, and the heritage of the Shoah.

We hope to bring you notes and queries about the 1564 Torah scrolls in the collection of the Memorial Scrolls Trust, share photographs from then and now; and perhaps even discuss and debate thoughts engendered by our encounters with the Scrolls and their people.

It seems appropriate that we reach out to you all in the week that the Children of Israel approach Mount Sinai  and prepare to receive the Torah. May its light illuminate the work we do.

Chag Sameach!