one of a kind

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One of the ways Jews show respect and honor for the Torah is to cover it with a beautiful mantle (k'tonet).

When it came to make a mantle for our Torah, we thought very hard about what it should look like and what it should represent. We wanted it to reflect the way we approach worship and study. At each Sabbath service, we have a discussion about the weekly Torah portion. In Exodus 25:4 (Parsha Terumah) we read about the fabrics in the tabernacle: "And these are the gifts that you shall accept from them: blue, purple, and crimson yarns..." It became the inspiration for the handmade Torah mantle you see here on the Home page, and when you visit our shul.

Just as the fabrics in the tabernacle were created by the artisans of the tribes in the desert, we wanted out Torah mantle to reflect the creativity in our community. We were fortunate to meet so many wonderful local people who helped us achieve our vision.

The spinning begins. It took hours and hours of hand work by more than eight women.

The spinning begins. It took hours and hours of hand work by more than eight women.

the team that joined together

Once the spinning was done, the yarn that resulted was handed off to the dyer and weaver.

Once the spinning was done, the yarn that resulted was handed off to the dyer and weaver.

...and these women, now completely involved in a Jewish ritual, came to the synagogue and were shown the Torah which would be covered by their work -- and their love.

...and these women, now completely involved in a Jewish ritual, came to the synagogue and were shown the Torah which would be covered by their work -- and their love.

In a profoundly moving gesture, the members of a nearby wool spinning group - Mary, Linda, Carol, Regina, Mary, Ruth, Phyllis and Joyce - donated all of the fleeces that their sheep produced during one annual shearing. Once the fleeces were washed, each of these women took turns spinning the fleece into wool during the annual 2007 Columbia County Fair.  Pat, in Troy, NY, dyed the wool and wove the cloth over a period of six months. Jerry, in Nassau, NY, took this fabric and formed it into what became our Torah mantle. During the 2008 Columbia County Fair, this event marked the end of a process that brought individuals from many communities together in a sacred task.

And none of them were Jewish.