Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Torah Stitch by Stitch

In Judaism, it is a mitzvah for a Jew to either write a Torah or have a Torah written for him.  Physically writing an entire Torah is a task done by trained scribes with feather quills.  Most Jews fulfill the mitzvah by donating money to a Torah writing project, such as one to create a new scroll for their synagogue.  One artist, however, has started an innovative project to simultaneously update the task to the 21st Century while also using the ancient art of embroidery.

Torah Stitch by Stitch was started by Toronto-based artist Temma Gentles.  Her goal is to get volunteers from around the world, Jewish and non-Jewish, to cross-stitch every word of the Torah.  When you sign up, they mail you a kit with thread, needles, aida cloth, and a pattern of four verses.  You then have six months to send back your completed verses.  The completed projects will be displayed in an artistic installation.  The idea is to both find a new way to fulfill the aforementioned mitzvah, as well as a way of putting a female twist on the male-dominated scribe tradition.

Here's a kit that I got back in August.


This verse is the following:
"and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the loins, and the lobe above the liver, which he shall take away by the kidneys. And the priest shall make them smoke upon the altar; it is the food of the offering made by fire, for a sweet savour; all the fat is the Lord's. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings, that ye shall eat neither fat nor blood. And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying:" (Leviticus 3:15-4:1)

Ah yes, a very inspiring section.  Or not.  I like how it ends on an incomplete sentence.

For more information on this project, visit Torah Stitch by Stitch.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, that is really beautiful. I'm not Jewish, but I'd really like to join in.

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    1. They accept stitchers regardless of religion, so go ahead! An atheist friend of mine signed up and thinks it is an interesting experience.

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