Synagogue invites community to help write its new Torah


The Torah is the heart of Judaism and the Jewish community. Writing a Hebrew letter on the parchment can be a unique spiritual experience. In fact, writing a letter of Torah allows a person to fulfill the 613th mitzvah, or commandment, of writing a new Torah.

Congregation Agudas Achim, a Jewish synagogue with roots in Austin for more than 100 years, is currently immersed in fulfilling the 613th mitzvah and is inviting the community to join us.

Our country has seen an increase in hate crimes geared toward our religious community including the destroying of cemeteries, symbols and words of hate written on public transportation and buildings, bomb threats called into Jewish Community Centers, and online harassment. At least 20 percent of victims of hate crimes are victimized because of bias against religion, and of that 20 percent, 52.1 percent were motivated by anti-Jewish bias, according to FBI data that does not include the last six months.

Asking our brothers and sisters in the Greater Austin community to join us in writing this Torah symbolizes the hopeful future for interfaith solidarity and peace for all future generations. It promotes the most positive of what organized religion can be.

On April 23, we’re inviting participants of all religious views to place their hands on our Torah scribe Jen Taylor Friedman’s and guided by her, write a Hebrew letter. The special ink and parchment for the traditional Torah will last hundreds of years.

Friedman is one of a handful of female soferets, Torah scribes, in the world. This will be the first full Torah in Texas to be written by a woman. Commissioning a female soferet was intentional to continue the tradition of being a congregation that actively promotes egalitarianism and equality.

Following Torah writing, the community is invited to attend and participate in Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day. At the Yom HaShoah service, invited members of the non-Jewish clergy will stand up to honor the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust and stand firm in saying, “never again.”

Writing the Torah

When: 4-5:30 p.m. April 23 Torah writing, refreshments, 6:30 p.m. Yom HaShoah service

Where: Congregation Agudas Achim, 7300 Hart Lane

Price: Donations to support the 10,000 Faces of Torah endowment fund are accepted

Information: caa-austin.org/torah, 512-451-7770



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Lifestyle

Why do so many kids have anxiety? Some answers
Why do so many kids have anxiety? Some answers

Is anxiety the new depression in our kids? We’ve been writing about that in many ways during the last five years.  More people are talking about it after a New York Times story about high-schoolers and anxiety. That story pointed out that 51 percent of kids who visited college mental health services in the 2015-2016 school year...
Is your pediatrician talking sex with your children?
Is your pediatrician talking sex with your children?

A new recommendation — Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Services in the Pediatric Setting  — from the Committee on Adolescence at the American Academy of Pediatrics, reminds pediatricians how important they are in the sexual health of their teen patients. Lauren Fant, left, 18, winces as she has...
Do University of Texas, Texas A&M make top colleges list?
Do University of Texas, Texas A&M make top colleges list?

Financial analyzer Wallet Hub looked at the price of college and financing, selectivity, student-faculty ratio, graduation rates and post-attendance median salary and more to rank the top 30 universities and colleges in the United States.  University of Texas incoming freshman Maxwell Gaddy, from Midland gets help from...
Tired of traffic? Try one of these unusual commutes instead
Tired of traffic? Try one of these unusual commutes instead

Why sit in traffic when you can catch a workout on your commute to work? We checked in with a quartet of Austin residents who park the car at home now and then or skip the bus and travel to work under the power of their own muscles. We’re pretty sure they arrive at the office in a better frame of mind than those who sit in gridlock traffic on...
Volunteer logs almost three decades of pacing the Austin AIDS Walk
Volunteer logs almost three decades of pacing the Austin AIDS Walk

At the peak of the AIDS crisis, Becky Helton remembers hearing about an Austinite who was out of the office for a few weeks. Turns out that person was diagnosed with HIV. “Their desk was moved to ‘Siberia,’” she recalls. “This is in an office setting, not in a place where anyone would be at risk. It broke my heart to see...
More Stories