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Rare, 300-year-old Yemenite Torah dedicated to B’nai Vail congregation

August 3, 2022, 12:19 pm

B’nai Vail this week issued the following press release on the recent dedication of a rare, 300-year-old Yemenite Torah to its congregation:

A rare 300-year-old deerskin Torah from Yemen was recently dedicated to B’nai Vail in Vail, Colo., on Saturday, July 30 and was celebrated at the top of the mountain in Vail. B’nai Vail members, Marc and Rhonda Strauss, donated the Torah to the congregation where it will live eternally.

The Torah is written on deerskin as compared to the traditional calf or cow skin, and is written in a rare Maimonides Script which is a Sephardic script typical of Spanish and African nations. Over the last year, all 304,805 letters were examined and repaired by Rabbi Joel D. Newman of B’nai Vail. The Torah also has new rollers added and several pieces of the deerskin were repaired. On July 28, the Torah was finished via stitching and writing the last letters of the Torah by hand with a quill.

“This Torah holds so much history and is an incredibly rare piece of Jewish history that we are so proud to now have as a piece of our congregation,” said Rabbi Newman. “A Torah dedication is so special and having the opportunity to restore the Torah was quite the honor. We thank the Strauss’s for their generosity and enthusiasm throughout the whole restoration process and we could not be more thrilled that this Torah is officially part of B’nai Vail for eternity.”

“Growing up in various Jewish communities throughout my life, seeing so many different kinds of Torahs, dedicating a Torah is something I had always hoped to be able to do,” said Marc Strauss. “From start to finish it has been an amazing journey watching this Torah be restored and now that it is officially a part of B’nai Vail, where Rhonda and I spend so much time, we look forward to seeing this Torah in use for generations to come.”

B’nai Vail Congregation is a vibrant, active, and growing Jewish community in the beautiful Vail Valley, serving all of Eagle County. The congregation creates meaningful opportunities for worship, celebration of life’s events, learning, personal relationships, and spirituality.

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