Bible Lands 248.88.
(photo credit: Kfir Meor)
Thousands of people from around the world are taking part in an interfaith effort to hand-inscribe 100 Bibles in their native languages and display them at a Jerusalem museum.
The project, which was initiated by the Bible Valley Society, an Israeli NGO, with the support of the Foreign Ministry, is meant to create bridges between cultures and faiths united by love and reverence for the Bible.
To date, thousands of people from 31 countries have participated in the project, dubbed "People of the World Inscribe the Bible."
Accord to organizers' plans, each community hand-inscribes the 23,127 verses of the Jewish Bible, with the goal being to inscribe 100 Bibles in 100 languages.
Among the 31 countries represented so far are Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, the United States, Argentina, Denmark, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Greece, Israel, Poland, Singapore, Finland, Canada, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Latvia and Ukraine.
Six of the Bibles - completed versions in Chinese (Mandarin and Taiwanese), English, Tamil and Finnish, and one in progress in Hebrew - went on display Monday at the Bible Lands Museum in the capital.
"This project is a leap into the future," said Amanda Weiss, managing director of the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, at an inauguration ceremony at the museum on Monday. "It will bring people more in touch with the Bible, whether they are religious or secular, Christian, Muslim or Jewish."
The exhibit of the first six Bibles will be on temporary display at the museum for at least six months, Weiss said. Visitors may inscribe verses into additional Bibles for a fee.
"This is a very meaningful project for millions of Christians around the world, and it can attract more support for Israel and the Jewish people, because people who know the Bible become closer to Judaism and Israel," said Terry G.C. Ting, Taiwan's representative to Israel.
"I believe that the Bible is a bridge of sorts," he said, proposing that the Bibles should eventually form a traveling exhibition around the globe similar to how Christianity was spread from Jerusalem two millennia ago.
Ting said Taiwan's 1.2 million Christians - who make up 5 percent of its population of 23 million - were "very strong" supporters of Israel.
"Christians are an important asset for Israel," he said.
"At a time when religious texts are being exploited to spread violence and hatred, we need to send another message of peace and understanding," said opposition leader Tzipi Livni of Kadima, who inscribed a verse from the Book of Isaiah when she was foreign minister.
Livni said that it was "amazing" to see the Bible written in a variety of languages.
"It does not matter in what language they are written, since we are talking about basic human values," she said.
The project, which was inaugurated four years ago, was formally launched in Israel in 2007.
By the end of the year, organizers hope to have 10 hand-inscribed Bibles in 10 languages completed, and they aspire to reach their goal of 100 Bibles in 100 languages within five years.