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PLU receives a 300 year-old Torah

December 1, 2008

PLU receives a 300 year-old Torah

During November, Cindy Boyce generously gave PLU a Torah with a pedigree that dates back to the 1700s.“You want to be careful what you do with them,” Boyce said about the scroll’s delicacy and how sacred it is in the Jewish faith. The 300 year-old scroll has been decommissioned for a number of years and was transcribed in Morocco.

“It can’t be used in a synagogue,” said Samuel Torvend, associate professor of religion and chair of the religion department.

The Torah is the most holy of sacred writings in Judaism. It’s the first of three sections of the Hebrew Bible and consists of five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

The manuscript is made of about 100 feet of tanned leather and each book is transcribed in Hebrew. Every detail, such as the words, was transcribed with painstaking detail by a specially-trained scribe working under very distinct rules.

The Torah Boyce donated to PLU is one of the oldest she has ever seen. Its value has been appraised at more than $100,000.

Her family has made donating religious artifacts to universities one of their philanthropic endeavors.

After she has collected the religious items, she searches for an institution that has the ability, knowledge and facilities to truly appreciate them.

She discovered PLU was one of those places because her daughter has several friends who attend the school here.

“This is a wonderful gift you give us,” Torvend said, upon reception of the Torah last month.

Along with the Torah, Boyce also donated several pulpit pages to the university.

The pages are from a first edition of the King James Bible and date back to 1611. Pulpit pages are collected from damaged or unusable Bibles.