Jewish community in San Antonio celebrates completion of new Torah, sacred handwritten scroll

Members of the Young and Jewish San Antonio organization took months to carefully create the new Torah

SAN ANTONIO - – The Torah scroll is the most sacred object in Judaism.

The scrolls contain the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew bible, read aloud at prayer services and holidays.

Creating a Torah is a holy ritual that takes months.

That’s why the completion of a new Torah in San Antonio was worthy of a huge celebration, including a parade, dancing, and the blowing of the traditional shofar.

“Parading from, in this case my home, around half a mile from here through the main streets and it was a time to really experience joy and celebration of our 3,000-year-old tradition,” said Rabbi Eli Block, with the Chabad Center for Jewish Learning and Life.

Block is also the co-chair of the group, Young and Jewish San Antonio.

The members, in their 20s and 30s, spent months creating the new Torah and took the task very seriously.

The handwritten scroll contains more than 300,000 letters.

“Each letter is written meticulously with a lot of concern and care,” Block said.

He emphasized the importance of the new Torah being created by young Jewish community members, carrying the ancient traditions into a new generation, further preserving a piece of Jewish identity.

“Really symbolizes the continuation of Judaism. Kind of the golden chain, the link of the past, present and future,” he said.

An expert ritual scribe inked the final letters of the scroll, as done 3,300 years ago for the very first time by Moses himself.

About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.