The climax of every Bar/Bat Mitzvah arrives when the 13 year-old celebrant stands and chants the Haftorah. A hush descends upon the congregation as he/she opens a book and begins to chant its ancient words.
But did you ever wonder why the Haftorah is read from a book, and not a scroll? The answer is that while Jewish law requires that the Torah be beautifully inscribed on parchment; there is no such requirement with regard to the Haftorah. And yet, wouldn’t a handsome “Haftorah-scroll” enhance and elevate the service? Of course it would!
Then why not read from a Haftorah scroll? Well, in fact that’s exactly why, through the ages, many Jewish communities created such a scroll. In so doing, they were declaring:”Although a beautiful Haftorah scroll is not “required’, this Haftorah scroll honors my Judaism; it honors G-d!”
Well, it’s for that reason that approximately ten years ago, the Men’s Clubs of Conservative Judaism created an attractive Haftorah scroll, designed to travel from community to community around the world. And on April 19, Saturday/Shabbat morning, it will be Or Shalom’s turn and privilege to read from it!