, Gloucester, MA

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May 7, 2013

Temple's Torah gets finishing touch

Temple marks final letter in sacred project

Gloucester’s Temple Ahavat Achim, at its coming services, will begin reading from their new Torah, a sacred scroll containing each of the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures.

An expert pious scribe, called a sofer, has spent the last year in Israel using a feather quill to ink each letter in a special calligraphic style onto the parchment paper scroll.

Each part of the process must be just so, with the materials meticulously chosen. The Torah’s parchment is cured, tanned, scraped and prepared according to exacting Torah law.

The scribe flew the Torah back to Gloucester, where Rabbi Levi Selwyn of North Miami Beach etched the final letter Sunday afternoon in Gloucester’s synagogue.

Temple members held hands at the ceremony, as Selwyn filled in the final letter — the scroll’s 304,805th —connecting the community to the feather quill and symbolizing the participatory nature of the sacred project.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at

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