300-year-old rare Yemenite Torah restored, dedicated to Colorado congregation

The Torah is written on deerskin – as compared to the traditional calf or cow skin – and is written in a rare Maimonides Script: a Sephardi script typical of Spanish and African Jews. 

 Rare Yemenite Torah presented at Top of the Mountain in Vail, Colorado. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Rare Yemenite Torah presented at Top of the Mountain in Vail, Colorado.
(photo credit: Courtesy)

A rare 300-year-old deerskin Torah from Yemen was recently dedicated to the B’nai Vail congregation in Vail, Colorado on Saturday. B’nai Vail members Marc and Rhonda Strauss donated the Torah to the congregation and celebrated its dedication at the top of a mountain in Vail. 

The Torah is written on deerskin – as compared to the traditional calf or cow skin – and is written in a rare Maimonides Script: a Sephardi script typical of Spanish and African Jews. 

“Growing up in various Jewish communities throughout my life, seeing so many different kinds of Torahs, dedicating a Torah is something I had always hoped to be able to do,” said Marc Strauss.

“From start to finish it has been an amazing journey watching this Torah be restored and now that it is officially a part of B’nai Vail, where Rhonda and I spend so much time, we look forward to seeing this Torah in use for generations to come.”

 Inside look at the B'nai Vail Yemenite Torah. (credit: Courtesy) Inside look at the B'nai Vail Yemenite Torah. (credit: Courtesy)

Torah repairs

Each and every one of the 304,805 letters required to compose a Torah was examined and repaired by Rabbi Joel D. Newman of B’nai Vail over the course of the past year. Rabbi Newman also added new rollers and repaired several pieces of the deerskin on the Torah before finally commemorating the completion of the Torah on July 28.

“This Torah holds so much history and is an incredibly rare piece of Jewish history that we are so proud to now have as a piece of our congregation,” said Rabbi Newman.

“This Torah holds so much history and is an incredibly rare piece of Jewish history that we are so proud to now have as a piece of our congregation.”

Rabbi Newman

“A Torah dedication is so special and having the opportunity to restore the Torah was quite the honor. We thank the Strauss’s for their generosity and enthusiasm throughout the whole restoration process and we could not be more thrilled that this Torah is officially part of B’nai Vail for eternity.”