Claire Martin – The Denver Post
Rabbi Dovid Mintz leads Vail’s expanding Jewish community, which is housed in a Lionshead hotel, one floor above a pizza restaurant. Recently, Mintz and his congregation commissioned a Torah, a parchment scroll containing the first five books of Hebrew Scripture, which is in the hands of a scribe.
Q: How long has the scribe been working on this Torah?
A: About a year and a half. He’s in Leviticus now.
Q: And he’s writing it on sheepskin?
A: Yes. He’s using a feather and ink pen, and parchment. This is the real deal. It hasn’t changed since we received the Torah on Sinai.
Q: Some people will be surprised to learn that Vail has a sizable Jewish community.
A: We’ve been here for three years now. There’s a large Jewish contingent out here. The Hebrew school is growing every day. The Mommy and Me (class) — growing every day. This is the future. This is who the Torah is being written for. At their bar mitzvahs, this is the Torah they’ll read.
Q: What Torah are you using now?
A: We have one on loan to us from a friend in Los Angeles. This one we’re commissioning is going to be here, live here, work here. There will be a tremendous celebration once it’s completed.
Q: What does having your own Torah signify?
A: The Torah means everything to the Jewish people. It’s not like we all grew up in one area and know each other and have the same traditions. It’s not like that at all. We grew up in different circles, with different traditions and different customs, and different languages for that matter. My great- grandfather might have succeeded in business in America, while your great-grandfather suffered through a society of hate. The Torah is what binds us together. That’s why it will be so important for people in Vail to have their own Torah.
Q: Was it expensive?
A: Sixty thousand dollars. And we commissioned it right after last year’s High Holidays, right after the stock market took a dive.
Q: When will it be ready?
A: Just in time for Passover. The scribe will come out with the last verses empty, and he will fill in the last few letters here in Vail. It will be history in the making for the Jewish community in the valley when we really finish the Torah. Singing with this, dancing with this, will be a very special day.