Rejoice in Our Torahs!  

A Simchat Torah Celebration!

Your history lesson this week:  

The Taller Vilna Torah Scroll

This Torah scroll was dedicated in 1980. It was a gift to CAA from the Kogut and Tanenbaum families in memory of Rose (a”h) and Bernard Tanenbaum (z”l).  It  was written in Vilna, Poland probably between 1930 and 1940.  Similar to the Smaller Vilna Scroll, it was  written by two different soferim or scribes.  This scroll is heavy:  there is white washing plaster on both sides of the parchment.  The covering, designed by Mark Podwal, depicts a Torah scroll dressed in her mantle and decorated with two tablets, capped by the Lions of Judah. Her crown hosts an iconic representation of  the city of Jerusalem.   CAA’s chapel ark, which originated from  the San Jacinto synagogue, also portrays the Lions of Judah at its top. 

This Torah was reconditioned for our use.  This means that small tears were repaired, damaged letters or words were reworked, and the parchment was thoroughly examined and repaired as needed.  

 

Caption:  Taller Vilna Scroll

Answers to Quiz 4

  1. False

The two Vilna scrolls were written about the same time period, from 1930-1940,  by two different soferim. Both demonstrate  the same Vilna style known as the “ Bet Yosef” script. One of the two soferim for the Taller Vilna Scroll varied from the Vilna script, so it is  unlikely that the two Vilna Torahs were written by the same soferim.    CAA procured the shorter scroll sometime between 1931-1963;  the Taller Vilna Torah Scroll was acquired in 1980. 

2. True.  

The Taller Vilna Scroll is our heaviest scroll because it is covered with white washing plaster on both sides. Using plaster was once a common practice to protect the parchment.   

3. False

Although we don’t know the exact  repairs that were needed, we do know that all the letters, seams and status of the parchment were deemed kosher and intact before the scroll  was dedicated in 1980.  

Credit goes especially to Cynthia Winer, and also Dr. Eric Ray(z”l), Roberta Long (a”h)  and Robert Cullick for their study of the Torahs and their history.  

**The author begs forgiveness for any errors in these articles. 

Correction to the third chapter of Agudas Torah History:  Cynthia Winer was falsely identified as (a”h) :  she remains happy, healthy and an active and devoted CAA member and volunteer.  We salute her uncountable hours of volunteerism to CAA.