The Jewish Religion comprises a variety of ethnic cultures and it is as geographically dispersed as any religion, said Rabbi Dovid Mintz. The Torah is one of the most important things that all Jews have in common, he said.
That’s what motivated Mintz and the Chabad Vail congregation to commission a scribe from Israel to create a Torah scroll for the Jewish community in Vail. The Torah will help to unite the community, as well as connect it to other Jewish communities world wide, Mintz said.
The Torah contains the five books of Moses, said Mikki Futernick. It is hand written by a scribe, and rolled around two handles, so it can be opened to any section. Each section of the Torah is read on the same day each year, as dictated by the Jewish calendar, she said. On the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, both the final section of the Torah and the first section are read, concluding one year of Torah readings and starting the next, she said.
Once it is completed and the Chabad has fully purchased the scroll, members of the community will be invited to help finish writing the last bit of the Torah, he said.
“According to Jewish law a person who completes even one letter of the Torah is regarded as if he has written the entire scroll,” he said, “ You are signifying that you are one with the Jewish people, one with tradition and one with destiny.”
The Torah will be used for Jewish services and programs in the Vail Valley including holidays, bat and bar mitzvahs, and weekly Shabbat services, he said.
“Once it is completed we will dance with the Torah, we will bring the Torah here, and we will live with the Torah,” he said. “This Torah was written for the community, and indeed we’re going to celebrate it with the community.”
The community opened its arms to Chabad Vail three years ago when Mintz arrived in the area, and in return the Chabad has provided Jewish programs, he said.
Chabad community member Jordan Balsom said he is impressed that the Chabad has been able to organize a commissioned Torah in only three years.
“Having our own Torah written for our community is an amazing thing,” he said.
Chabad hopes that members of the Jewish community will help fund the completion of the Torah, so the whole Jewish community can enjoy it together, Mintz said.
It will be called the Vail Community Torah, and will be dedicated to Chana Raskin Wolvovsky, who passed away in July last year.
To learn more about the Vail Community Torah, the Chabad Vail, or to make a contribution toward the Torah fund, visit www.jewishvail.com.