Sunday, March 16, 2014

Torah and the Law (Firm)

Cataloged by the Nazis 
Last week, Neil Yerman, a well-known sofer, was in the URJ's New York office to assess the condition of several of the organization's Torah scrolls, including one from pre-war Czechoslovakia that now is on permanent loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust based in London's Westminster Synagogue.

When two colleagues and I entered the room where Neil and an assistant--whom he is training as a soferet--were working, there were introductions and handshakes all around: He introduced himself as Neil Yerman and his colleague as Nomi Lerman.  When I introduced myself, he invited me to join them in their work, quipping that the new firm would, of course, be known as Yerman, Lerman and Herman.

My colleagues and I chatted with him about his work, watching as he "erased" dirt and oil from the parchment of an open scroll, taking along with the debris some of the ink of the beautifully written words that tell our people's story.

Without correspondence to write or blog posts to edit, I could have watched and listened all day, but alas, it was not meant to be.  Taking my leave after 20 minutes or so, I thanked him for his time and the interesting conversation. On the way out, I quipped that I'd definitely be in touch when I'm ready to join his firm.

Hmmm...that exchange gives a whole new meaning to JanetheWriter, wouldn't you say?!