Yesterday at the minyan, we worshipers were thrown for a bit of a loop when Rabbi Strom (this one, not this one) took this scroll from the ark at the beginning of the Torah service:
We, of course, were expecting this one, which we see and use each week:
As it turns out, Temple Shaaray Tefila was lucky to be hosting--for about 48 hours--the "guest scroll," which is in the midst of making its rounds throughout North America on its way to Israel. Its journey began in San Diego, thanks to the generosity of Congregation Beth Israel and Rabbi Michael Berk. Once in Israel, ARZA will present it to Women of the Wall to use at its monthly Rosh Chodesh service. Here's more about the scroll, including a travelogue, if you will, of its journey.
So, although technically speaking the scroll doesn't belong to our congregation, it does, in fact, belong to all of us whose story is detailed in the carefully lettered words on its parchment. Indeed, our guest scroll belongs to all of us just as does the Western Wall--into whose dry cracks and crevices we have been tucking our memories, stories and prayers, rolled thin like chiffonade, for much (but not all) of the last few millennia.
As they gather to welcome Rosh Chodesh Tammuz by singing, celebrating, and retelling a piece of our people's story, may the women (and men) of Women of the Wall find that this scroll--our scroll--brings new meaning, energy, and the spirit of each of us (and our individual and collective stories) to their celebrations and their work.