The History of Our Torah Scroll

Rabbi Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli, soferet (Torah scribe)

A timeline of Shaarei Shamayim's second Torah scroll . . . .

  • March 2011 Shaarei Shamayim’s president announces The Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Foundation grant awarded to CSS to commission a new, second Torah scroll

Following this exciting news the Steering Committee formed a committee to look for a new Torah. The members extensively researched possible options that would comply with specific parameters of the grant. Rabbi Laurie shared advice on how we could best meet the needs of our congregation and honor our values.

Beginning of GenesisBeginning chapters of Genesis

The process of searching for a Torah scribe which would complement our congregational values included researching the purchase of a scroll written by the sofer who taught us basic Torah repair skills during  the January 2011 Shabbaton . We communicated with sofrot (women scribes) making history by writing Torah scrolls here in North America and we discussed commissioning a scroll from the usual sources in Israel. Our process was complex, awesome and meaningful.

  • August 2012 CSS president announces,  “We’ve found a soferet!”

Along the way of diligent research and networking we discovered a soferet (female scribe) who seems like a “meant-to-be” match for our congregation. We had extensive conversations with her and are thrilled that she agreed to write our Torah.

  • September 2012 Rabbi Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli and CSS sign contract
  • November 2012  Rabbi Lavery-Yisraeli sends first photos of CSS’ second sefer Torah
  • April 2013 Rabbi Lavery-Yisraeli completes "B'resheet"/Genesis
    End of GenesisFinal chapters of Genesis

Rabbi Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli

Rabbi Lavery-Yisraeli was born in Northern Ireland and has lived in Canada, Jerusalem and now Sweden. She began studying Talmud and the laws of sofrut (scribery) several years ago. In addition, she has been creating Talmud Comics for several years. Rabbi Lavery-Yisraeli has repaired Torah scrolls and written mezuzot and ketubot. Our scroll will be the first Torah she has written. Rabbi Lavery-Yisraeli scribes in a lettering typical of the Darda'im, a subset of Yemenite Jews.

We are thrilled to have commissioned Rabbi Lavery-Yisraeli's first Torah scroll which, when completed will be the first scroll scribed by a woman to arrive in Madison, Wisconsin. We are enthusiastic about our role in perpetuating the Darda'im lettering of Torah scrolls and believe strongly in supporting women in finding their rightful place in the world of sofrut.

Learn more about sofrut at Soferet Lavery's blog:

Rabbi Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli at work. 

CLICK HERE to donate to our Torah Fund which supports this project, repair of our first scroll and related ritual objects.