Kylynn bids farewell to Terre Haute: Each scroll, and congregation, has its own story

By Student Rabbi Kylynn Perdue-Bronson

Last month, one of UHC’s very own, Izaak, read Torah publicly for the first time.

He read from one of the many Torah scrolls that the congregation is blessed with.

This year, my class learned that our people stayed with the scroll from the start.

Even when the codex (real book) was gaining speed, Jews did not adopt it right away.

Much as time and care go into our generic, daily, Jewish lives, an inordinate amount of care goes into crafting, reading or lifting a scroll.

While that was most likely a polemic against our neighbors and their silly paper fad, there is something to be said for our continued use of cumbersome, outdated technology.

Much as time and care go into our generic, daily, Jewish lives, an inordinate amount of care goes into crafting, reading or lifting a scroll.

The first time someone picks up a Sefer Torah scroll really conveys the weight of the book. Maybe that is the reason we keep using this ancient technology. The scroll has the heft of a toddler, is at least as cumbersome and is almost as holy.

The scroll has the heft of a toddler, is at least as cumbersome and is almost as holy.

We are taught to cradle the Torah like a baby. We dance with scrolls, we press our bodies to them, we give them kisses as they pass us. In short, the scroll is family. We are lovers of Torah; we are Torah.

Sometimes it’s heavy on the left, when we start out the journey, from the beginning. Then as Moses cries out one last time, the scroll grows heavy on the right.

When it’s fresh, you feel as if you could hold it forever. Sometimes the Torah becomes too heavy and we hand it to another to share both the burden and the blessing. The scroll is passed on.

Each scroll has its own story, just as we each have stories, just as this congregation has a story.

Each scroll has its own story, just as we each have stories, just as this congregation has a story.

Torah is our story. And at the end of the day, Torah should be heavy. If it weren’t heavy, lifting it wouldn’t make us stronger — although sometimes, if we are blessed with abundance, it’s appropriate to use a smaller scroll.

It’s been an extreme blessing for me to share in this community’s scrolls, and its strengths, this year.

Student Rabbi Kylynn Perdue-Bronson served UHC Terre Haute throughout the 2017-18 academic year.

Photos

With guitar accompaniment from Alexa, Kylynn officiated a Shabbat service in September 2017 and then led the kiddush and hamotzi as congregants enjoyed an oneg at the Temple.

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