events & activity

Additional illuminations

Sophie wrote, “Oh what beautiful illuminations, and what a shame I have no space for them in my panel!”

A:Thank you for wanting to further enhance our scroll, and for your perfectly timed comment. Several artists have donated original artwork for inclusion in our scroll, and I am in the process of reworking them into cross-stitch patterns.
One of each design will be made available as a kit, and will be announced in a MailChimp newsletter.
If you would like to create your own design or know other artists interested, please let me know. We are looking for artwork that illuminates specific passages of themes.


What will happen with our panels?

Many people have asked: Where will the Torah be when it is finished?

A: When Torah Stitch By Stitch was launched in June I was not at all sure we would ever achieve a completed scroll. The primary goal of the project still remains: “to engage with words of Torah” on a personal level.

By early September there were 300 stitchers in 9 countries; a month later we are 420 stitchers in 12 countries . . . and it now seems very likely that people will sign up for all of the 1463 portions. The panels already completed are beautiful, and the anecdotes people are sharing about their portion and stitching experience are profoundly moving.

Everyone who works on or contributes to the project will be acknowledged, at least in a digital catalogue. Already the data base and image archive are substantial, and that is growing each day as people submit their process photos, anecdotes, acknowledge those to whom they dedicate their stitching, etc. Application for funding for a documentary film is in process.

As to the exhibition and final disposition of the project: that depends on many factors. We have created a design for assembling the pieces so that all sections are visible and all components disassemble into manageable parts for shipping. We also have a wish list of museums to approach.

Take a look at the website of “Quilt of Belonging” and you will have a sense of how things may evolve in terms of documentation and exhibition.

Three very capable women have joined me as volunteers to tend to both the day-to-day tasks, as well as longer term needs such as: developing a business plan, applying for charitable status, forming a Board of Directors, applying for grants. Ultimately the extent to which we can take Torah Stitch By Stitch into the world of museums and publications will depend on successful fundraising.

We will keep you posted and seek your ongoing support.

Q of B comp for wp

Beautiful impressions from a TSBS observer

Marcia sent these moving observations by her friend Vanessa:

On Monday and Thursday afternoons, if all is well with the world, you will find me sitting with my ladies around a table. We are creating, talking. laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Yesterday was a typical afternoon until I saw Hebrew letters at the end of the table. They were being strewn together in an orderly fashion so I surmised that they must be of particular significance. It perked my interest and I entered the world of Temma Gentles and her project of Torah Stitch by Stitch. She is a local Judaic artist and I urge you to visit her web site. Each participant is given a kit for cross stitch and upon completion will produce 4 verses of the Torah. Eventually this will produce the 5 Books of Moses.
I am in awe of such a project and its ramifications. Firstly there is so much beauty in the essence of its simplicity. It is about going back to basics both in creativity and the guide for life. It is about the community of Jewish sisterhood. It is about linking Jewish souls together in a commonality of faith. Women who will more than likely never meet physically and yet connect through their love of hand work and the ancient written word. It is silent camaraderie with enormous sound. It is a solitary act that multiplies to include the many. It is about respect and reverence for our history. It is a moving vehicle that facilitates faith and vitality. It is validation of women’s contribution to Judaism. Its extreme depth is in the concept of clarity and vision.
It is a brilliant idea that is so elementary. My thanks to Marcia for opening my eyes. A humble needle and black thread on white canvas for the entire world to witness. In the beginning…

Shabbat Shalom

Rona, Rocky and Lili

Rona, Rocky and Lili

It was a busy day in the studio as stitchers came by to get their kits, ask questions, learn and practise skills, examine a real Torah scroll, and meet other participants.

Temma Gentles, artist-in-residence at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, introduced the Torah Stitch By Stitch project at the leil (night-long study sessions) on Erev Shavuot (Pentacost).  Taking place 50 days after Passover and Easter, this holiday celebrates the giving of the Torah on Sinai.

“This is the perfect time to begin honouring those sacred words,” says Gentles.  “Although very few of the participants in the project will be trained scribes, it gives all of us the opportunity to fulfill the final commandment, which is to write a Torah scroll.”

After a couple of hours at Holy Blossom, the introduction continued at the Miles Nadal JCC, which will be co-sponsoring a launch party on June 20, 7:00-9:00 PM. along with Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism.

So . . . you have your kit and you are staring at it with some trepidation or hesitating to begin stitching.

Please let me help you get started.

On Tuesday May 28 feel free to come to my studio at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto  any time between 11AM and 7PM.  Bring your kit.  If you can’t make it on May 28, request a time slot on another day, and I’ll try to accommodate you.

Despite the slightly rocky shore at the beginning, we will wade right in and you will swim away feeling very comfortable.  Please allow yourself 30-60 minutes for the workshop.

For those of you who are not in Toronto, let’s arrange a consultation via Skype.

Of course, those who do not want or need help are hopefully swimming along with a strong and even stroke!