Shoafim Yad Making Project


In anticipation of their impending services of bar/bat mitzvah, Shoafim campers had a unique opportunity to break their routine this week.  Camp Ramah in New England had the honor of hosting Rabbi Jay Greenspan, a Conservative rabbi and sofer (scribe), who engaged our Shoafimers in a number of activities.  To begin with, Rabbi Greenspan, also a skilled artisan in woodcarving, continued the Shoafim tradition of making yadot out of wood with each Shoafim hanich.  The yadot they crafted began from a simple wooden dowel and in a matter of two hours became beautiful and unique creations that the hanichim intend to use as they read from the Torah at their upcoming ceremonies of bar/bat mitvah.  After cutting and sanding diligently, hanichim then chose either gold, silver, or wood-style finishes and will take home a hand-made yad at the end of the session.

Yad making

Following the completion of the yad-making project, Rabbi Greenspan served as a special guest on Thursday morning at Shoafim Tefilot, giving the hanichim a half-hour long presentation on what it means to be a sofer and how, exactly, one goes about writing a sefer Torah, tefillin, or mezuzot.  He opened up our own sefer Torah to show details about the letters a sofer writes, explained the process of self-purification a sofer must undergo before writing YHWH (God’s name), and explained a bit about the distinction between writing sifrei Torah and tefillin.  Finally, in a live demonstration, Rabbi Greenspan pulled out a new, whole feather, cut it into a quill, and wrote in perfect calligraphy on a blank piece of parchment, which the hanichim learned has to be made out of a certain animal skin prepared in a certain way.

Edah Shoafim is blessed to have had such an informative and exciting opportunity and is looking forward to Rabbi Greenspan’s return to camp second session.

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