Thursday, February 5, 2009

Going to Oslo!

A few weeks ago, Rabbi Leila Berner came to town. We spent shabbat together and I learned about some of the amazing projects she's working on. 

On her trip out west she successfully raised funds to purchase a Torah to be sent to Oslo, Norway where a small Jewish community has been making due without a Torah of their own.

The purchased Torah is actually a "rescued" Torah that was repaired by a sofer in Maryland!
A number of Torahs were hidden away during the holocaust to protect them from the Nazis. Several of these Torahs have been discovered and lovingly repaired. 

Rabbi Leila saw my Shemot themed Torah Adornment or Breastplate and asked to purchase it as an accompaniment to the Oslo Torah.

This is an honor beyond words. My father was a holocasut survivor and he spoke occasionally of his efforts to hide a Torah. In Pirke Avot we read: "You are not required to complete the task but you are also not free to withdraw from it." My father understood that. He couldn't complete the rescue of his Torah but he did teach me Torah. 

The Breastplate is made with a deep purple background. I cut the shape of two tablets representing the ten commandments...and then I smashed them with a hammer! 

The pieces were re-assembled and tack-fused them to the surface. Hebrew letters form the words "na-aseh v'nish-mah";  "We will do and then we will understand."  

When light shifts in the room, the dichroic glass changes colors. Looking at the fused shards of glass one should contemplate the story of the tablets. Moses broke the stone, but he did not break the laws he was given. We were a broken people and his duty was to reassemble us; gather us together and bind us to our covenant with Hashem. Even though the first set of tablets were broken, they were carried with us as we continued our journey through the dessert.

Na-aseh v'nishma.... often we have to practice a lifestyle in order to understand what we are doing. The small Jewish community in Oslo is new and when they receive their first Torah they too will begin a new relationship with God's words. They will do...and they will come to understand.


estherbeads said...
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estherbeads said...

I'm so proud of you! This is such a wonderful confluence! I have to say, I'll miss that breastplate, but it's so cool to know what an honored position it will hold! Mazel Tov!