Wednesday, May 18, 2011
After 2000 Years the Torah is Once Again Scribed at Masada
Every morning Shai Abramowitz leaves his home at the southern city of Arad and makes the trip to his “office”, a small aquarium like room located at the foothills of one of Israel’s most important historic sites- Masada. His mission, to write the first Torah (Bible) of Masada, a task no one has taken upon himself in almost 2,000 years.
The fortress of Masada was built in the year 30 BCE by King Herod, whose architectural feats have left their mark throughout Israel, but aside from its architectural ingenuity Massada’s true mark on Jewish life is attributed to a group of Jewish zealots who conquered the site during the great revolt against Rome. In the year 73, the 960 Jewish zealots living at the top of Massada chose to commit suicide rather than to fall into Roman captivity and ignited an ever growing air of heroism.
For Abramowitz, the assignment he embarked on is twofold; on the one hand he plays the part of the Sofer, the scribe of the Torah, and on the other he serves as a living exhibit inside the Masada museum, where people can come up to his studio and watch him work:” When you work in Masada you feel the weight of history with every letter you scribe. Writing the Torah is never technical calligraphy, and here the act of writing gets an even holier meaning”. Says Abramowitz
In the coming year Abramowitz will be hosting the tourists of Masada in his studio, but why stop there? After committing to life in a glass room the windows to the Sofer’s studio will be open to the world, when webcams will start documenting his work in the process. When the book is complete it will be placed in a festive ceremony at the Masada Synagogue, right below the fort.