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From I’ve been quiet the past few days due to overwhelm and very big feelings, and am still struggling… by Danica Bornstein

…rmed Nazis and that the people smuggled the Torah scrolls out of the building to hide them, I wept. I want you to know what a Torah scroll is because I want you to understand. We are a people of the book and that is Our Book; we are a people of memory and that is our memory. It is written on sheep skin and it is handwritten, every letter. A Torah scroll is difficult to make and because of that there are not very many of them. It is not a book that you buy in a store. In some ways it has the status of a human being. It wears a breastplate like the priests did in the ancient Temple. When it passes by we touch it with our prayer shawl and then we put the shawl to our lips, a way to kiss it without touching, and a scroll may stand in for a human person in reaching a minyan (the quorum required to recite certain prayers). It is written without vowels, without punctuation, without the markings that tell you how to sing it, yet there is a way to sing every single word of it; one thing you may not know about me is that I know how to do this. When you read from it you don’t touch it with your own finger, but you use a pointer which is itself shaped like a finger. It is our past and our future and so it is treated like the most respected elder and also the most precious child. It has a home: inside the ark, with the ner tamid (“the light, always”), in the sanctuary. I want you to understand this because I want you to know how important it is to protect a Torah scr…