Linda Coppleson, a soferet (female Torah scribe), will offer fascinating insights into this little-known profession at National Council of Jewish Women, West Morris Section’s Personal Giving Thank-You Brunch. The event will be held on Sunday, June 2, at 10 a.m., at a private home in Denville. Dorothy Cohen and Anne Gorman, both of Denville, are co-chairs of Personal Giving.
Linda’s talk, titled “A Year in the Life of a Torah,” will focus on the process of writing a new sefer Torah (the Torah scroll), from commission to siyyuum (completion and dedication). Among the topics she will cover are getting to know a congregation, ordering materials, the kickoff, scribing with members of a congregation, balancing writing and life, and writing as personal therapy.
Trained by artist and sofer (a male Torah scribe) Eric Ray, starting in 2003, 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. “That is the first Torah in history written by a group of sofrot [women scribes],” she points out. “Since then I have written four sifrei Torah on my own and am working on a fifth (for the Touro Synagogue community) to be completed in the fall of 2019.”
Beyond writing sifrei Torah, Linda teaches about the art and skill of the sofer, embracing and including congregants in the process. “Scribing letters and words with participants and delivering divrei Torah about ‘their spot’ in the scroll has become a favorite part of creating a Torah–both for me and for others,” she notes. “My experience has taught me that, for many people, 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. I never tire of witnessing that emotional response.”
Our Personal Giving Thank-You Brunch is open to anyone who makes a donation to the Personal Giving campaign. If you haven’t yet donated to the campaign, attend Linda’s talk, please contact Dorothy Cohen, at email@example.com.