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Laurel Robinson

A beautiful yad

Laurel Robinson, an artist and professor of art at Georgia Southwestern State University, is finishing this yad for the Women's Torah. The yad is 13 inches long. The yad (hand) part and one of the wings are crafted from a wood called pink ivory, the black is ebony, the white part is deer antler, and the red rose is carved carnelian. The design was inspired from the Song of Songs because it was, perhaps, written by a woman, and at least is a very ancient example of love poetry. Even when seen allegorically, it represents the love between the people Israel and G-d.

The yad is housed in a wooden box made of domestic cherry, lined with velvet from the Torah mantle. A prayer by the renowned poet and liturgist Marcia Falk is inscribed on the box.

yad by Laurel Robinson

First woman Torah scribe?!!!

As an artist and professor in the secular academy and a yad maker, I couldn't resist getting involved in this project. The history and art of our tradition, its vast richness and complexity, give evidence that we have come up with just about every angle to every question, every answer and every possibility for over 3,500 years. To hear that as far as we know a woman has never until now scribed a Torah, struck me as astonishing. Making a yad for a Torah rather than for a specific reader or institution is a wonderful challenge for me and the honor of making a yad for this particular Torah is great indeed. I am hoping that my work contributes another layer of hiddur mitzvah (the glorification of a mitzvah).

Laurel Robinson, Professor of Art, Georgia Southwestern State University

Yad artist and professor Laurel Robinson recently researched issues relating to scribing and adorning a Torah.

"...The important Jewish concept of Hiddur Mitzvah, “the glorification of a commandment," is the driving force for the creation of our ritual objects. It is permissible to make kiddush in a Styrofoam cup, to light Sabbath candles in tin candlesticks, or to put an etrog in a cardboard box, yet the idea of Hiddur Mitzvah is to construct elaborately beautiful cups, candlesticks, and etrog boxes is to enhance, glorify and elevate the performance of the mitzvah itself. To create adornment for the embellishment of a Torah enhances not only all of the symbolic meaning of the text, but also the work of the human scribe. These embellishments tie the artists to the Torah, to the stories, to the congregation, and to our history...."

Read her full article.

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