Thank you for a great 2023 festival!


A fascinating, intimate short.

Commandment 613

Watch it at home
March 5, as of 9:00 AM (Link available for 96 hours)

Attend the virtual calligraphy demo / class
Sunday, March 7, 10:30 AM

Join the virtual film discussion
Monday, March 8, 7:00 PM

Torah scrolls are written by hand, following rules that go back thousands of years. Made to last for centuries, they are central to Jewish ritual; what is contained in them – the first five books of the Hebrew Bible – is the foundation of Jewish life. The final commandment in the Torah, number 613, is to write the scroll for yourself.

In this short documentary, we meet Northampton's Rabbi Kevin Hale, a joyful sofer (Torah scribe) who restores scrolls that were saved in Czechoslovakia during the Shoah. As he goes about his sacred craft, this son of refugees from Nazi Germany reflects on his own path to a life of faith and practice. And, at communities now entrusted with the scrolls, congregants and clergy explain the powerful bond they feel with these precious objects – and with the generations that previously cherished them.

Calligraphy demo / class (March 7): Zoom demonstration with film subject Rabbi Kevin Hale, who will show us the traditional tools, materials, and techniques used to write and restore Torah scrolls and other sacred texts. For this instruction, you will need paper, pencil, ruler, piece of crayon, and a calligraphy pen or chisel-tip marker.

Film discussion (March 8): Zoom conversation and Q&A with Miriam Lewin, producer/director; Rabbi Kevin Hale, sofer; and Randi Cecchine, cinematographer/editor. Moderated by Larry Hott, documentary filmmaker and owner of Florentine Films/Hott Productions.

Documentary SHORT | 2020 | 23 minutes
United States | English
Directed by Miriam Lewin



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