Goucher Hillel’s First Torah Scroll

Torah Etz Hayim Close-Up

The Story

Goucher Hillel received its first Torah – a Holocaust memorial scroll – last year. It was transferred to us by the Memorial Scrolls Trust of London’s Westminster Synagogue from Shaare Tikvah Congregation of Waldorf, MD. The scroll, a beautiful Torah written in 1831 in the city of Brno (now in the Czech Republic), was one of almost 1,600 Torah scrolls saved by the Jewish community of Prague during the Holocaust. About 1,400 of these scrolls have been restored and are serving Jewish communities around the world.

Torah Blue Light

Fulfilling a Once-in-a-Lifetime Mitzvah

The Torah’s last Mitzvah – Mitzvah 613 – is the commandment to write a Torah. The completion of a Torah is cause for great celebration. On Sunday, April 28, alumni, student, staff, faculty, parents and community members joined us in filling in some of the final letters in Goucher Hillel’s first Torah scroll. Completing a Torah scroll is a unique moment and a once in a lifetime experience. More than sixty individuals and families left their own indelible marks as part of this precious Torah legacy, with Rabbi Gedaliah Druin, a sofer (ritual scribe), guiding each participant through the process.

Torah Shirat HaYam

The Torah scroll was dedicated on Thursday, May 2, in a special celebration in the Hyman Forum of the Goucher College Athenaeum. We completed the final letters in the scroll, honored student leaders and those who made it possible for us to obtain our first Torah scroll, and unveiled two custom Torah covers that were designed with student input and crafted by artist Susan Leviton.

The completion of our Torah was covered in a feature article in the Baltimore Jewish Times. Check back soon for photos from the dedication!

Please contact Lola Hahn to learn more.

Photos by Illana Goldmeier