As it is Written: Project 304,805 (The Torah Project) was an unprecedented exhibition that centered on a soferet (a professionally trained female scribe) who scribed a Torah at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM). In less than 18 months that included 62 sheets, 248 columns, 10,416 lines, and finally 304,805 letters, the project was completed.
Now that the CJM-commissioned Torah is complete, it is traveling to Jewish communities in the San Francisco Bay Area before serving congregations in need around the world.
Following is a resource on the art of Torah scribing and provides ways of connecting with this Bay Area treasure.
Interview with Scribe Julie Seltzer
Meet the CJM's former scribe-in-residence Julie Seltzer and learn about the scribal tradition.
- What is Torah?
Learn about the Torah as a source text, material object, ritual object, and muse throughout the ages. Also included are lesson plans and information on scribal traditions.
- Alef-Bet Calligraphy
This animated video illustrates the scribal formation of each Hebrew letter for writing a Torah. Created by British sofer Mordechai Michaels.
- People's Torah
It is said that every one of the 304,805 letters in the Torah corresponds to a soul. Explore this concept in the People's Torah, an interactive, three-dimensional rendering of the Torah written by hand collectively, letter by letter.
Animating Torah for today through quirky cartoons of classic Jewish texts in prose, poetry, music, and hip hop, G-dcast discusses Parshah Vayelech (scribing a Torah).
Share your photos of interacting with the CJM Torah
Check out the CJM Torah page over on Flickr.
Where is the Torah Now?
As a community celebration, the CJM-commissioned Torah is traveling around the Bay Area to congregations that span geography, generations, and denominations.
- See where it's traveling:
View Torah Tour in a larger map
Conversations with the Scribe
- Torah in the Twenty-First Century
Five panelists explore new ways of considering how Torah is read and interpreted in this slightly raucous multi-genre exhibition-opening conversation. Panelists: Julie Seltzer, David Henkin, Elana Jagoda, Sarah Lefton, and Matthue Roth. October 8, 2009.
- Women Talking Torah: A Closing Conversation
This dialogue between the first two women known to have scribed complete Torahs, Julie Seltzer and Jen Taylor Friedman, celebrates the completion of Seltzer’s undertaking of writing a Torah. April 3, 2011.
- Words of a Feather
Soferet Julie Seltzer blogs her thoughts on her sojourn as the Torah scribe at the CJM.
In the News
- "A Torah Scribe Pushes the Parchment Ceiling", New York Times, November 7, 2009
- "Quill and Scroll: Female Torah scribe at work in a groundbreaking CJM exhibit," J Weekly, October 15, 2009
The CJM-commissioned Torah was scribed with the purpose of becoming a resource to emerging Jewish communities and Jewish communities in need around the world. It will be available for 2-3 year loan periods once the Bay Area tour is complete. If you know of a community that would benefit from this long-term loan, please contact the CJM.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum presentatin of As It Is Written: Project 304,805 made The Torah Project possible: The CJM gratefully thanks the Jim Joseph, Koret, and Taube Foundations, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, Max Leavitt Memorial Fund, Arlene and Keith Bronstein, Mort and Amy Friedkin, and Pam Rorke Levy. The Museum also gratefully acknowledges The Jewish Theological Seminary for their invaluable participation in the project.