As It Is Written: Project 304,805

Julie Seltzer is: “…a Hebrew calligrapher who writes sacred texts on parchment. A mere handful of women do what she does, and an even more select handful are practiced in the especially ritualistic craft of writing particularly holy scrolls, including The Torah, considered the foundation of Jewish life and thought.”  Seltzer is also referred as a soferet which is defined as a professionally trained female scribe.

Normally men can only be trained to be a scribe and a Torah created by a woman would be considered unsuitable for worship.  There are only about 10 women in the world that write the Torah and other related documents.

Over the next year, Seltzer is writing the entire text of the Torah at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Art Museum in an exhibition titled: As It Is Written: Project 304,805. She will write 62 sheets equivalent to 248 columns, 10,416 lines and 304,805 letters.  The dates of the living exhibition are October 8,2009 – October 3, 2010.

The style of the writing is beautiful.   The materials go back to the basics: sheets of parchment, black ink and quills.  Not computer generated but by hand, it’s a creative process that is increasingly becoming rare.  Even though the intention is to copy, I find the process meditative and expressive.

Here are the links:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/08/arts/design/08sfculture.html

http://www.thecjm.org/index.php?option=com_ccevents&scope=exbt&task=detail&oid=43

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