B’nai Torah Congregation Welcomes New Torah to Community
In mid-October, B’nai Torah Congregation – the largest conservative synagogue in the Southeast U.S. – welcomed a new Torah to Boca Raton. The Torah scroll is one of the most sacred objects in Judaism. Every synagogue or Jewish center needs it as the anchor. Reading directly from the Torah scroll is the focal point, and most sacred ritual, of synagogue religious services. It is a central part of Jewish life, according to Rabbi David Steinhardt. The new B’nai Torah Congregation scroll, named L’Chaim or “life,” is dedicated to those who lost their lives during the pandemic. It also celebrates new beginnings.
B’nai Torah Congregation began the process of writing the new Torah in December 2021. Community members and local leaders were invited to scribe letters throughout the winter, spring and summer. In Judaism, writing a Torah is an extremely Holy task. A scribe writes each Hebrew word by hand, using a feather quill dipped in ink on parchment. The pieces of parchment are sewn together and then wrapped around two wooden dowels before being dressed in cloth depicting the tree of life and adorned with a crown.
“The Torah’s writing not only connects us to something very ancient, of generations gone by, but it also a statement about the values that carry us and will carry us into the future, and what it is we want to leave for the future,” said Rabbi David Steinhardt, Senior Rabbi at B’nai Torah Congregation. “The Torah has the expression of something traditional and yet it has the expression of something that is very real and aspirational.”
The celebration of the new Torah at B’nai Torah Congregation was attended by hundreds of community members and included dancing, singing and refreshments.