Rabbi Shmuel Miller, Sofer


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Guide to Starting a

 

 

 

Torah Project

A year long program of  

Learning,Community involvement, Fundraising

 

Studying, Writing & Dedicating a New Torah Scroll

What is a Torah Project?

15 Successful Torah Projects : List of Congregations

A Torah is Born, A Community is Enriched

Are all Torahs Created Equal?

Letters from participants

Torah Project tips

Interview with Torah Project leader Peachy Levy

Interview with Torah project leader Doris Katz

Torah Project Ideas

 

15 Successful Torah Projects: 

What do these participating congregations have in common?

Leo Baeck, Bel Air, CA 

Beth David, Saratoga, CA

Congregation Albert, Albuquerque, NM 

Shearith Israel, San Francisco, CA

Kehillat Israel, Pacific Palisades, CA

Beth Emet, Chicago, IL

Mount Sinai, El Paso, TX 

Bat Yam, Lake Tahoe, CA

Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 

Beth Shalom, San Francisco, CA

Bet Chaverim, Davis, CA 

Emanuel, Tucson, AZ

Solel, Phoenix, AZ Beth 

Hillel, North Hollywood, CA

 

...All recently beganor completed a Torah Project

Learn from their successes how your congregation can benefit.

Call or write for our Torah Project Kit including sample programs and publicity materials

 

(323)935-6081

samawel@pacbell.net 

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What is a Torah Project?

     A Torah Project is a year-long program where the entire congregation participates in the mitzvah of writing a Torah scroll.

     "I find this project to be the most creative and fulfilling fund raising program around. It encompasses community building, Jewish education and the raising of significant funds" said Shearith Israel’s Executive Director, a former Jewish Federation Executive.

     If you are considering starting a Torah Project, we can help pair you with mentor congregations who would share their successful programs and experiences with you.

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A Torah is Born,

A Community is Enriched

     Imagine your congregation gathered to witness the first strokes of the Scribe’s quill on new parchment: Bereshit.....Studying passages of the Torah throughout a specially dedicated year. Feeling a real connection to the shape of the letters, the texture of the parchment, the concentration of the Scribe, holding his quill, preparing to write the name of G-d. A child, up close, watches the letters, words and passages being inscribed in the synagogue’s own Torah, the scroll he will soon read for his Bar Mitzvah.

     The Torah Project does much more than raise funds. It unites the community and creates a new awareness of our heritage and a personal commitment to pass on the teachings of our Torah to future generations.

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Are all Torahs Created Equal?

Connecting with your Sofer

     A congregation who chooses Master scribe Rabbi Shmuel Miller to write their new Torah has a very special year in store. For not only will Rabbi Miller create a most beautiful scroll for the community to cherish for years to come, he will share with you his warmth and insights which come from a lifetime of learning, teaching and living the holy Torah.

     Rabbi Miller will conduct an inauguration in which all are invited to participate in the beginning of the writing the scroll. He returns during the year for workshops with children and adults on the work of the Scribe, writing Torah scrolls, and other topics. His openness encourages participants of all ages and affiliations to ask their questions and personally connect to Torah. Rabbi Miller returns to conclude the year’s project with a festive Siyum/Completion of the Torah ceremony.

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Letters from Participants

 - My sister and I have long been interested in paper, and the study of Torah. Your first presentation invoked an intellectual and spiritual awareness of the connections between our two interests. Within one week we had committed to the purchase of the "Akedah" (Binding of Isaac). We wanted to thank you Rabbi Miller for sharing your knowledge with us so that we might...honor living and deceased family members, as well as contribute meaningfully to the future of Judaism. C.S. & L.S.

 

 - Thank you for your time and presentation. The students learned a lot, the parents learned even more, but the teacher may have learned most of all. You reminded me of the importance of Kavanah (intent) in everyday life...Thank you for the example. M.G

 

 - Thank you for coming to Albuquerque. For all of us, it was a once in a lifetime experience. It was not only the calligraphy, but also your presence and instruction in Torah... L.K.

 

 - Thanks for talking to our class. We had a very good time when you showed us your stuff. Skylar

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Torah Project Tips

Advice from congregations who have been there:

1. Leaders Commit 100%: The involvement of the Rabbi(s) and Executive Director in addition to committee chairs is crucial. A large lay committee should be formed to volunteer their time and study together during the year. They provide lay leadership and help other congregants get involved.

2. More is Merrier...but Not in the Temple Office!Volunteers are key to handling the increased load of mailings and activities. To reduce confusion, in Albuquerque, the executive director has one "point person" with whom she communicates for anything concerning the Torah Project.

3. Study Other's Successes: Dallas’ Shearith Israel studied five synagogues and then chose one after which to model their program.

4. Timing is Everything: Most congregations need 6 months of planning before the official beginning of the project. Leo Baeck declared "The Year of the Torah" to correspond with their 50th anniversary jubilee. Congregation Albert’s Torah project is central to celebrating their centennial year.

5. Set Goals: A 750 family congregation in Albuquerque set dual goals of education and of raising $250,000. They raised $100,000 in the first 3 months. In Austin, a couple donated the cost of writing the Torah scroll. The rest of the donations will go into a permanent endowment fund for special educational and cultural programming. L.A.’s Sinai Temple raised $150,000 in their campaign.

6. Get a Gimmick: Congregation Albert printed magnets with its Torah logo and theme, "Once in a Lifetime" and sent them to member families along with invitations to their kick-off event.

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  Copyright 2005