Simchat Torah Time: Show Students How It's Made
This time of year, many children learn about the Torah and get to see one unrolled. To prepare for that experience and to learn about Simchat Torah, show students how this holiest object in Judaism comes into being.
How It's Made: Torah Scroll, published by Apples & Honey Press, explores all the materials and activities involved in creating a Torah scroll, the historic and modern traditions involved, and why we take such care in the making and preservation of the Torah.
More than 100 full-color photographs and interviews provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at scribes, artists, and craftspeople in their workshops in Israel and the United States who create Torahs.
Here are some ideas for how to use How It's Made: Torah Scroll to complement High Holidays learning:
Goal: Recognize that everyone makes mistakes, even adults.
Activity Idea 1
Have students tell (or write or draw) about a time they made a mistake, and how they fixed it. Learn how people who write Torah scrolls fix their mistakes (pages 16-17 of How It’s Made: Torah Scroll). Tie this into the concept of t’shuvah and trying to make things right when we make mistakes.
How do they know when they’ve made a mistake? How do they try to correct mistakes? Do they do anything differently the next time a similar situation arises to avoid making a mistake again?
Activity Idea 2
Practice proofreading. Give students a written page of text (English, most likely, but try it with Hebrew if students have strong language skills) with intentional mistakes on it and see how many they can find.
How It's Made: Torah Scroll can be used as an introduction to Torah or as part of units on Hebrew, Shabbat and holidays, mitzvot, or values. Download the How It's Made: Torah Scroll free educator's guide for more ideas.
Pair it with a lesson from Let's Discover the Holidays: Simchat Torah for additional rich learning.
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