Monday, November 26, 2012

Earl's response:

You are indeed welcome and to be commended.
I am proud of you, and your team's dedication for continued learning and practical application of the principals that we each hold important in our lives.

Kol Hakovod, 

A Gift from a Male Admirer

Over the past several months, a group of men in St. Louis have been learning the laws of shchita.  A few weeks before Thanksgiving they had their first encounter with real chickens, which they shechted, cleaned,  and koshered perfectly, all earning A+ from teacher, Alan Greenspan.  As pre-arranged, the chicken were then donated to the local Tomchei Shabbos food pantry (run by Merle Hartstein). On Thanksgiving morning the fledgling shochtim shechted some turkeys, also to donate to needy families.  One of the shochtim has long been a follower of our Megillah writing project, and when he began plucking the hard turkey feathers, he thought . . . quills!  With the help of Alan and a sharp razor blade, he cleaned and shaped 5 of the feathers into perfect quills and yesterday presented them to me for the group to use!  Thank you, Earl Newman!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

בחזון עובדיה פורים עמוד רמא (ב) נפסק שהנוהגים לצייר או לכתוב את הברכות בראש ובסוף המגילה, יש להם על מה שיסמכו. ומותר לקרוא בה אף לכתחילה.

The source we will rely on
Ricki Heicklin, Soferet! (Aug. 2012)
Three amudim going on four (Aug. 2012)

Halachik Sources re Illumination of a Megillah (compiled by David Mescheloff)
The unknown author at the following site believes there's no problem, but gives neither references nor reasons:
While there might seem to be historical support for his view, as from almost four centuries ago:
and see
nevertheless, history doesn't tell you whether something was approved l'chatekhilah, or even b'dieved.
Check out what HaRav Avraham Yosef indicates in the name of his father, haRav Ovadya Yosef, at:
and as is succinctly summarized (with a solid Ashkenazi source) at:
We hope to finish the writing by November when Shaarei Tzedek plans to bring in a sofer from SoferonSite to do a program re Sifrei Torah.  The plan is to have a "siyum" to mark the completion of the writing of the Megillah and sew the 4 pieces of klaf together, under the guidance of the visiting sofer.  Not sure if artwork will come before or after.  Artwork will be minimalist so as not to be distracting for a reader.  We are now looking into sources to find a basis for allowing artwork (l'chatchila). 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Update:  After a long hiatus, I am returming to the blog to report and document the group's progress.  The actual writing on the klaf has begun.  Shelly, Aviva, and I began writing our sections about 6 weeks ago - motivated in large part by Shelly's fast-approaching aliyah.  A photo of the first completed 'amud' is attached to the blog.)  We are now down to the five scribes who will, IY"H, write the text, and we are enlisting local women artists to do "illumination," or decorative art, in the margins. 

Happily, our recent burst of activity coincides with Rabbi Fasman's much-improved health, and his own return to writing a Megillah on the klaf the group presented to him in appreciation for his teaching us. 

We have come to the attention of media!  This Tuesday, a reporter and photogrpaher from "The Jewish Light" will come for our writing/practicing session to do a story on the project.