What is a Torah
A Torah Project is a year-long program where the
entire congregation participates in the mitzvah of writing a Torah
"I find this project to be the most creative and
fulfilling fund raising program around. It encompasses community
building, Jewish education and the raising of significant funds" said
Shearith Israel’s Executive Director, a former
Jewish Federation Executive.
If you are considering starting a Torah Project, we
can help pair you with mentor congregations who would share their
successful programs and experiences with you.
A Torah is Born,
A Community is Enriched
Imagine your congregation gathered to witness the
first strokes of the Scribe’s quill on new parchment: Bereshit.....Studying
passages of the Torah throughout a specially dedicated year. Feeling a
real connection to the shape of the letters, the texture of the
parchment, the concentration of the Scribe, holding his quill, preparing
to write the name of G-d. A child, up close, watches the letters, words
and passages being inscribed in the synagogue’s own Torah, the scroll
he will soon read for his Bar Mitzvah.
The Torah Project does much more than raise funds. It unites the
community and creates a new awareness of our heritage and a personal
commitment to pass on the teachings of our Torah to future generations.
Are all Torahs
Connecting with your Sofer
congregation who chooses Master scribe Rabbi Shmuel Miller to write
their new Torah has a very special year in store. For not only will
Rabbi Miller create a most beautiful scroll for the community to cherish
for years to come, he will share with you his warmth and insights which
come from a lifetime of learning, teaching and living the holy Torah.
will conduct an inauguration in which all are invited to
participate in the beginning of the writing the scroll. He returns during
the year for workshops with children and adults on the work of the
Scribe, writing Torah scrolls, and other topics. His openness encourages
participants of all ages and affiliations to ask their questions and
personally connect to Torah. Rabbi Miller returns to conclude the year’s
project with a festive Siyum/Completion of the Torah
sister and I have long been interested in paper, and the study of Torah.
Your first presentation invoked an intellectual and spiritual awareness
of the connections between our two interests. Within one week we had
committed to the purchase of the "Akedah" (Binding of Isaac).
We wanted to thank you Rabbi Miller for sharing your knowledge with us
so that we might...honor living and deceased family members, as well as
contribute meaningfully to the future of Judaism.
C.S. & L.S.
- Thank you for your time and presentation. The
students learned a lot, the parents learned even more, but the teacher
may have learned most of all. You reminded me of the importance of
Kavanah (intent) in everyday life...Thank you for the example. M.G
- Thank you for coming to Albuquerque. For all of us,
it was a once in a lifetime experience. It was not only the calligraphy,
but also your presence and instruction in Torah... L.K.
- Thanks for talking to our class. We had a very good
time when you showed us your stuff. Skylar
Advice from congregations who have been there:
1. Leaders Commit 100%: The involvement of
the Rabbi(s) and Executive Director in addition to committee chairs is
crucial. A large lay committee should be formed to volunteer their time
and study together during the year. They provide lay leadership and help
other congregants get involved.
2. More is Merrier...but Not in the Temple Office!Volunteers are key to handling the increased load of
mailings and activities. To reduce confusion, in Albuquerque, the
executive director has one "point person" with whom she
communicates for anything concerning the Torah Project.
3. Study Other's
Successes: Dallas’ Shearith Israel
studied five synagogues and then chose one after which to model their
4. Timing is Everything: Most congregations
need 6 months of planning before the official beginning of the project.
Leo Baeck declared "The Year of the Torah" to correspond with
their 50th anniversary jubilee. Congregation Albert’s Torah project is
central to celebrating their centennial year.
5. Set Goals: A 750 family
congregation in Albuquerque set dual goals of education and of raising
$250,000. They raised $100,000 in the first 3 months. In Austin, a
couple donated the cost of writing the Torah scroll. The rest of the
donations will go into a permanent endowment fund for special
educational and cultural programming. L.A.’s Sinai Temple raised
$150,000 in their campaign.
6. Get a Gimmick: Congregation Albert printed
magnets with its Torah logo and theme, "Once in a Lifetime"
and sent them to member families along with invitations to their