FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The experience of being a part of this Torah project is intended to reach every single member of Touro Synagogue. All donations are welcome and will support a new Touro Torah Fund that will sustain the well-being of this new Torah scroll, and ensure the healthy condition of all of our beloved Torah scrolls for years to come. A profound dimension of this experience is that your donation allows you the honor of scribing in the Torah with our Soferet Linda Coppleson. While she is here working on our scroll, donors to the project will be allowed to join hands with hers and work on the lettering wherever she is in her writing of the Torah scroll. You also may choose to donate to this project and our Torah Fund without choosing the scribing experience.
What is a scribing session?
During your scribing session, you and/or you and a family member will join hands with Linda as she scribes a letter.
In the case of a large family or friendship group you will form a chain, with each person touching someone who is touching
someone who is touching Linda’s hand. Linda will teach you about the significance of the section that you will be
helping her to write in the Torah scroll. Each scribing session will last approximately 10-15 minutes.
When will the scribing event take place?
Linda will be in town and with us March 26-28, 2019. Arrangements will be made through the Touro Synagogue office
with each donor for a specific scribing time. An online form will also be made available if you’d like to secure your time slot that way.
Who can scribe?
Every Touro Synagogue member can scribe. Just as a Torah is not complete without each letter, the story of
our congregation is not complete without each member taking part of this unique and special experience.
What if I’m not Jewish?
Every Touro member is enthusiastically encouraged to scribe – all members – non-Jewish members,
women, men, children and teens, and seniors. Singles, couples, families, and friends. Everyone.
How young is too young?
Every member from 1 to 100 is invited to be present at a scribing session. Generally, children under age four are welcome to
be part of your family’s experience, but their little hands aren’t quite grown enough to join Linda in writing the scroll itself.
What if I don’t write or read Hebrew?
No Hebrew experience is necessary to participate in this amazing experience.
Linda will guide you with her teachings and her hand as you scribe the letter together.
What if I mess up?
Impossible. You can rest assured, Linda will be holding the quill with you at all times.
There is no risk of messing up the Torah scroll. Quite the opposite. Your participation makes it most sacred.
How should I prepare?
On your scribing day, the Torah Team, rabbis and soferet (scribe) will be there to lead you through this holy moment.
In advance you may want to consider someone whom you would like to honor with this experience – in memory or in celebration.
You needn’t necessarily share this publicly – just a consideration, if you choose.
What if I want to scribe with other Touro Synagogue members?
Members should feel free to sign up to scribe as individuals, or as a Touro friendship group or family unit. Even multiple families can experience scribing together. Because this is an individual, family, and communal experience, you may sign up with other members with whom you feel connected and/or with those you may not yet know, but will come to know through this shared experience.
How long will it take to complete the new Torah?
A new scroll requires about a year to complete plus another month for meticulous inspections and assembly.
We can hardly wait to see it all complete!
Linda B. Coppleson, Soferet STa”M
After years of training, Linda was accepted to participate in the Women’s Torah Project, writing 20 out of 62 pages of a Torah that now lives in Seattle, WA. It is the first Torah in history written by a group of Sofrot (women scribes). Her role as a Soferet extends beyond writing to include teaching about the art and skill of the Sofer and embracing and including congregants in the process. Being physically close to a Torah scroll as it is being written, seeing the letters and words emerge from the quill and appear on the parchment is to feel the inexorable pull of history and tradition and elicit that elusive sense of belonging and connection to Jews and Judaism. In addition to writing Torah scrolls, megillot and mezzuzot (STA”M), Linda repairs and restores sifrei Torah. Linda recently retired after a 25 year career teaching Tanach, Rabbinics, and Jewish History. She earned a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, and an MA in Hebrew Culture and Education from New York University.