Welcome to Our Torah Project!
In the coming year, Congregation Ohr Shalom will be creating our own new and beautiful Torah. We hope every member of every family will join us in this joyful mitzvah! We are lucky to have a nationally-celebrated Torah scribe, Linda Coppleson, as a member of our congregation, to lead us in this endeavor.
Our goal is to have everyone participate, so each of us will know this Torah is ours, personally and collectively. We are carefully planning events to foster personal connections over the course of the project. Please plan to learn, be inspired, connect and grow with us. Let us each use this new Torah to be strong, and become stronger, so we may be strengthened together.
The Torah Project Committee:
Pam Appel - Chair
Please contact us with any questions:
We hope that every member of our COS-SJCC community will participate in the creation of this new Torah as a gift to each of us now and to our strong Jewish community long into the future. Everyone is welcome to write a letter in the Torah with our Soferet. To make the experience extra special we have created opportunities for our members to dedicate portions of the Torah that are meaningful to them. Below is a list of donation levels or click here to view a detailed list of the contribution opportunities that can be made on behalf of yourself and your family, or in honor or in memory of a loved one.
How to Contribute:
Once you have chosen a level at which you would like to contribute, please send an email to TorahProject@Summitjcc.org. Please include your name, email address, and phone number as well as the level of sponsorship and any additional information regarding the request. When your request is received, a member of the Torah committee will be in touch to confirm the information and help you sign up for a scribing session. All donations can be sent via check into the office, please include Torah Project on memo line of check.
Check back for updated events.
Shavuot Night Live - June 4,2022 - Linda will be speaking at this incredible event and members of the Torah Committee will be available to answer any questions you may have about how you can contribute.
Scribing Sessions - TBD - Additional scribing sessions are being added for members who have contributed to the Torah Project
About our Soferet:
Our wonderful member and Torah Scribe Linda Coppleson.
My studies as a Soferet Sta’M* [Sefer Torah, tefillin, and mezuzot] began in 2003, when artist and Sofer Eric Ray, z”l, agreed to teach me. I worked and learned under his guidance for approximately two years, and later I studied Halacha (Jewish law) of safrut with Jen Taylor Friedman. In addition, I worked in the studio of Sofer Neil Yerman, learning to repair and restore Torah scrolls.
After several years, and many hours of practice, I was accepted to participate in the Women’s Torah Project, writing 20 out of 62 pages of a Torah that now lives in Seattle, WA. It is the first Torah in history written by a group of Sofrot (women scribes). Since then, I have written sifrei Torah on my own and have completed the writing of a sixth (for the Temple Sinai, Pittsburgh community) to be dedicated in October 2021. This new scroll for Ohr Shalom will be my seventh Torah!
My role as a Soferet extends beyond writing to include teaching about the art and skill of the Sofer and embracing and including congregants in the process. Scribing letters and words with participants and delivering divrei Torah about “their spot” in the scroll has become a favorite part of creating a Torah, both for me and for others.
My experience has taught me that, for many people, being physically close to a Torah scroll as it is being written, seeing the letters and words emerge from the quill onto the parchment, is to feel the inexorable pull of history and tradition and elicit that elusive sense of belonging and connection to Jews and Judaism. I never tire of witnessing that emotional response.
In addition to writing Torah, megillot and mezuzot, I repair and restore sifrei Torah. I am retired from a 25-year career teaching Tanach (Bible), Rabbinics and Jewish History, but I continue to teach in my role as a Soferet. I also write and illuminate ketubot and create life cycle art pieces.
I earned a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, and an MA in Hebrew Culture and Education from New York University.
Check back here to see a sample of the Columns as Linda completes them.