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Showing posts from June, 2010

EEEEEEEEWW, BLOOOOOOOOD!!!

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Thoughts from scribe-in-residence Julie Seltzer on what she's writing, her process, and the experience of writing a Torah on public view.

When I first started this Torah project, the question shocked me each and every time. At one point I was keeping track of how often it was asked, as well as what percentage of the questioners were women and what percentage were men. When the count was high but about evenly-split between men and women, I stopped caring and simply lost track.
The question: "Can you write the Torah when you’re menstruating?”

I have a question, too. What is up with everyone’s obsession with blood?! And when did my bleeding cycle become public interest law?

Maybe that’s unfair. The Torah itself is a little obsessed with blood. Recently, I was writing a section of Leviticus that deals with a woman’s state of impurity following birth and the associative blood. She is considered in a state of tum’ah (generally translated as “impurity,” though Everett Fox in his infinit…

People of the Book–People of the Link

In the second Museum LINK talk, Estee Solomon Gray threw down the gauntlet early: “The link, not the book, is (and always has been) the core of Judaism.” Mashing together educational theory, Talmudic dialogue and social technology, Estee spun out an integrated vision of Jewish community innovation evolving rapidly from a focus on “covenant and commandedness” to one of “community, commentary and conversation.” But even in olden times, she reminded us, Jews “evolved radically linked architectures” of text and community. Crossing the Talmud and the Internet is an inevitability, not a joke. Web 2.0 is an opportunity to experience the next generation of Jewish creativity in real time.


Halfway There

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Thoughts from scribe-in-residence Julie Seltzer on what she's writing, her process, and the experience of writing a Torah on public view.

Well, folks – I have reached the halfway mark.
Since I’m not writing the Torah entirely in order, I actually wrote the “halfway mark” some time ago. Of course, there are multiple ways of counting “half.” By the verse. By the words. The letters. By time. Effort. While a computer count would give us different halfway points, the Talmud names דרש דרש “And Moses did inquire” (Lev. 10:16) as the Torah’s middle words, and the letter “vav” in the word גחון “belly” (Lev. 11:42) as the middle letter. This middle “vav” is enlarged in the torah, depicted here in the form of matzah. Both are beautiful mythic midway points. The two middle words are the same word, meaning “interpret.” And the “vav” is a connector letter, meaning “and.”
“Halfway” is a way of marking time and space. In some ways, marking “half” is mechanical, like the way * we mark time according …