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The Arrival of a New Torah

Object number
2023.24.2

Photographer
E. Brown, Birmingham Central Synagogue

Donor
E. Brown

Date
20/06/2010

Object Information

This image shows a celebratory procession at Birmingham Central Shul for a new Torah. The congregation are seen carrying the Torah, which is decorated splendidly with beautiful coverings and a large silver crown. Above the Torah, four members of the synagogue hold up a rich blue canopy, otherwise known as Chuppah. A chuppah is most commonly used during Jewish weddings, when a bride and groom will stand under the canopy to be married.

This image reflects the beliefs and practices of an Orthodox Community. They understand the Torah as containing the literal word of God, and therefore wish to celebrate its arrival in their shul almost as if it is a bride or groom, carried underneath the chuppah used in Jewish weddings.

The arrival of a new Torah is also a special event because there are purchased so rarely. A special scribe known as a Sofer will have spent years transcribing the text of the Hebrew Bible onto the parchment of a new Torah by hand, and if any mistakes are made the Torah can no longer be used. There is understandably a large cost involved and therefore a new Torah will be a moment of excitement and celebration.

Hear from the donor

In June 2010, a new Torah was completed, and it was taken from the home of Ruth & Lenny Jacobs to Birmingham Central Synagogue (to the old site at the corner of Pershore Road and Speedwell Road in Edgbaston, Birmingham).

Members of the congregation are walking down the Bristol Road, waiting at the traffic lights, then walking down Speedwell Road to the shul.

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