In the beginning, Holy Blossom Temple member Temma Gentles had a dream to create a project that would bring women and the Torah together in a deeply meaningful way.
Thus was born the Torah Stitch by Stitch Project which has, to date, involved almost 1500 volunteers – mostly women – from 28 countries around the world, who have dedicated over 200,000 hours of stitching. Many are Toronto participants and members of our own congregation. Let us celebrate them!
This monumental creative arts project was started in 2013 while Temma was then Artist-in-Residence at Holy Blossom.
And you can catch a glimpse of the finished panels, Tapestry of Spirit, The Torah Stitch by Stitch Project at the Textile Museum of Canada in downtown Toronto at 55 Centre Avenue.
On August 28, 2019, Judy Winberg and I spent the afternoon wandering among the magnificently crafted panels. We were literally overwhelmed by the scope and beauty of the exhibition. There are Torah portions from Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy along with sections of the Gospel in Greek and the Qu’ran in Arabic dealing with the creation story. Each panel is lovingly and painstakingly stitched in the original Hebrew with accompanying illustrations, also hand-stitched. The award-winning documentary short that plays throughout the exhibit truly drives home the diversity of the stitcher base as well as threading the entirety of this incredible project together.
When the project is finally complete, it will be the length of a football field.
In the meantime, you can see Tapestry of Spirit panel sections on display in all their glory at the Textile Museum until November 17, 2019. This is a must-see exhibition and the perfect celebration of the High Holy Days.
Torah Tapestry Stitched by 1500 People a Spiritual Experience: The Toronto Star https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/2019/06/15/torah-tapestry-stitched-by-1500-people-a-spiritual-experience.html
Jewish Canadian Art Exhibit Promotes Tolerance over Hate and Racism: The Algemeiner https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/07/28/jewish-canadian-art-exhibit-promotes-tolerance-over-hate-and-racism/
Cross-Stitching the Torah: Hadassah Magazine https://www.hadassahmagazine.org/2019/06/18/cross-stitching-torah/
1500 Cross-Stitchers are nearly done this huge Torah: Broadview Magazine https://broadview.org/cross-stitched-torah-project/
The Stitched Torah: Toronto Tapestry Project Inspires Volunteers from Around the World: The National Post https://nationalpost.com/news/religion/the-stitched-torah-toronto-tapestry-project-inspires-volunteers-from-around-the-world