Sunday, September 21, 2008

A New Torah

There was a lot of excitement in our shul this week. A new Sefer Torah arrived amid a flurry of anticipation and activity. I have never witnessed the inauguration of a new Torah scroll before and got quite caught up in the joy of it all.

First off a ceremony was held at the Rabbi’s house. Several of the men, including my husband, were asked to ‘finish’ the Torah. The letters had already been written and simply needed coloring in. However, the task was more complex than you might think, as the tool for the job was a feather quill! I was worried my husband, not used to such an old fashioned writing tool, might accidentally splodge some ink on the parchment. I think I would have been far too nervous, had I been given the opportunity to write on the scroll.

There are so many specific regulations that need to be adhered to when writing a Torah; from the level of observance of the ‘sofer’ or writer, to the distance apart of each line, letter and word. The Torah must be perfect to be kosher so, at all stages of its creation, care needs to be taken to ensure that each letter is properly formed and that there are no errors at all.

With much luck and a steady hand, all the men rose the occasion and the final letters were duly ‘colored in’. Following on from the completion of the Torah, it was paraded along the street in a procession, under a chupa (like a wedding canopy) and escorted amongst much excitement and ceremony to the shul. At the shul there were many people waiting to receive it and the evening was rounded off with fireworks and celebratory dancing.

I have been a member of many old synagogues with Torah scrolls dating back many years. How lovely to be present for the installation of a new Torah, one that I hope will service a growing community.

Sharona B

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Time to Unwind

There’s been no blog for a short while. Life is a little hectic at present. New school for both kids, new work projects coming in and just that giddy feeling that comes with being time starved.

I ‘took five’ today. The little one was acting bored so I took her out into the garden for a walk around. I was about to busy myself out there when I decided that I would hang out with her a little. The chores could wait.

I followed her as she toddled about, investigating plants, poking about in boxes and chasing the cat. She located a tube of ‘bubbles’ so we sat down, blew them and watched as they floated, gracefully into the air. She stood up, arms out-stretched with a gleeful expression on her face.

She then decided to walk down the side of the garden where, under the trees, lies a pile of dried out pink blossom and leaves. This is one of her favorite places. She stomped her little feet in the shifting pile of summer’s lost glory. We marched through, delighting in the noise and feel of our actions and then stooped down to take handfuls of petals and throw them into the air.

I know that some people spend precious time and money buying a whole range of stress relief products or undertaking all sorts of treatments and activities.

I think we are all born with an innate ability to relax and enjoy the world around us. However, it seems that the older we get the less in tune to that side of ourselves we become. We also have it low down on our list of priorities.

Today I had a strange thought; I imagined what it would be like for every office to have a 'leaf room', where workers could chill out and recapture a wild, childhood pleasure. Wouldn't that be fun!

They say that the best things in life are free; well twenty minutes in the garden with my adorable daughter and I felt like a new woman.

Sharona B