An Austin synagogue is set to dedicate first female-written Torahis set to dedicate the first Torah written by a female in Texas.
"It's true what they say about Texans, they're a brilliant bunch," explained Jen Taylor Friedman, a soferet, or female scribe.
It's good that Friedman feels that way about Texas because by the end of the weekend, she'll be part of the state's history.
"The writing of Torah is a really special thing to do. It's part of a long tradition of writing scrolls that goes back several thousand years," explained Friedman.
But only very recently has that tradition included female scribes.
This will be the first female-written Torah in Texas, capping an 18-month process.
Friedman is one of about 10 soferets qualified to complete such a task.
"The Torah scroll is a thing that connects Jews to the Divine," Friedman explained.
It serves as a mark of pride for Congregation Agudas Achim Senior Rabbi Neil Blumofe.
"Caring very much about traditional Jewish practice, and reminding us in the Jewish world that women have an equal place alongside men in determining our future," explained Blumofe, who has lived in Austin for nineteen years.
Members of the community have also had their chance to inscribe a letter in the Torah.
"You hope the little ones, what they've been doing, they might not know what it means now, but you hope they remember what it means later," said Friedman.
"And to be able to say, 'I've written that letter,' begins to personalize this particular Torah to anyone and to everyone," added Blumofe.
This will be the first new Torah at Congregation Agudas Achim during Blumofe's tenure.
"People who grew up in this community can remember this day and say, 'I was here, and let me tell you the story of my connection to the Torah,'" Blumofe said.
It's an opportunity for people to leave their imprint on the 613th and final Mitzvah, the writing of the Torah.
The Torah dedication will take place Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Congregation Agudas Achim at the Dell JCC Campus, and is free to all members of the community.
Sunday at 5:00 p.m., Congregation Agudas Achim is holding a ticketed event, a panel titled "Jewish Wit, Jewish Wisdom, Jewish Women." It will include Rabbi Susan Silverman, Hadassah Lieberman, and Lisa Loeb, and be moderated by CNN correspondent Dana Bash. Following the panel, the Jewish a capella group The Maccabeats will perform.