Repairing a Torah, stitch by stitch
Rabbi Batsheva Appel completed a special project with Temple Emanu-El’s confirmation class on Sunday, Jan. 26. Appel learned from a scribe how to sew a Torah scroll onto new etzei chayim (literally, Trees of Life, the wooden poles to which the parchment is attached) and involved the class, including parents, in this mitzvah of repairing a Torah. Appel removed the old poles, then sewed the Torah onto new supports while the students held the parchment in place. “Afterward, Appel handed the Torah to her students, literally and symbolically, creating a beautiful, sacred moment for this close group of confirmands,” says Mila Vasser, Temple Emanu-El program coordinator and mother of one of the confirmands.
Making Super Sunday Extraordinary
The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Super Extraordinary Sunday on Jan. 26 raised $187,000 for the 2014 Community Campaign, which supports a variety of humanitarian, educational and cultural programs in Tucson, Israel and around the world. Led by co-chairs Kris and Ben Silverman and Sherri and Dick Belkin, 125 phone and clerical volunteers gathered at the Tucson Jewish Community Center logged more than 550 pledges, while mitzvah projects involved hundreds more of all ages. Seventy people gave blood through a Red Cross blood drive, 10 potential donors signed up for the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry, 55 B’nai Tzedek teen philanthropists made 55 lunches and 45 scarves for people in need, and younger children assembled 70 bags of soup ingredients for Refugee Focus and created more than 80 blankets and toys for rescued dogs and cats.