Gavin Young
KU Office of Public Affairs

Ceremony to celebrate first Torah scroll written at KU

Tue, 02/17/2015

LAWRENCE — The first Torah scroll to be completed and dedicated on the University of Kansas campus will make its way from the Chabad Center to the Kansas Union in honor of its completion. Students, parents, alumni, and community members are invited to join in the celebration, which will be Sunday, Feb. 22.

The Chabad Center for Jewish Life commissioned a scribe to write the special Torah scroll dedicated in honor of the campus Jewish community. The special project further unites KU’s unique multicultural community and recognizes the vibrancy of Jewish life on campus.

"This scroll is a very appropriate addition to the KU community because it represents the unbroken chain of Jewish tradition and survival,” said Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, director of the Chabad Center. “The ancient wisdom contained in this scroll is the essence of our identity as Jews. Possessing our own Torah scroll at an academic center of learning is cause for great pride and celebration."

The event will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday at the center, where an expert ritual scribe along with community leaders will ink the last letters of the scroll, as done 3,300 years ago for the first time by Moses. The event will continue at noon with a Grand Torah Procession, a parade from the Chabad Center to the Kansas Union, where the Torah will be dedicated. The procession will include live music and dancing.

“We are honored to have such an important document dedicated to our Jewish students,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, who will participate in events at the Chabad Center. “Students come to KU both to express their broad backgrounds and diversity and to gain new experiences and insight. This celebration is a wonderful opportunity for the entire KU community to experience a unique and special event for the Jewish community.”

Events will conclude with a gala lunch celebration at 1 p.m. in the Kansas Union Ballroom. Lunch and dessert will be provided along with a live performance from the renowned cantor Aryeh Hurwitz.

The process of creating an authentic Torah scroll requires labor and skill. Each scroll is composed of between 62 and 84 sheets of parchment, which is cured, tanned, scraped and prepared according to Torah law specifications. A completed scroll contains exactly 304,805 letters and takes months to scribe. The slightest error voids the entire document.

“The Torah is the heart of the Jewish people, its lifeblood and its nourishment," Tiechtel said. "After months of much effort and toil, the Jewish community along with all of the KU community will now be celebrating the completion of this magnificent scroll.”

RSVP online at, or email, or call 785-832-TORAH. For further information, contact Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel at, at 785-832-8672 (work) or 785-917-0200 (cell).

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