Monthly Archives: August 2011

Fun with piyutim – Iti Milvanon, 4/4

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 The hardest part was getting the braid around the outside right. I wanted it to be just one line, going round and round, but if you just run a sinewave around the edge, you get either two or four lines, and I very much wanted only one line, because […]


Fun with piyutim – Iti Milvanon, 3/4

Part 1, Part 2 One of the clever things about piyutim is all the little linguistic tricks they use. Rhyme, of course; I tried to use white space between stanzas to show the rhyming structure, but I think I didn’t use quite enough of it. So, there’s rhyme. Then there’s alphabetical acrostic, which I’ve indicated […]


Fun with piyutim – Iti Milvanon, 2/4

Part 1 Since this is a poem for Shabbat Nachamu, a poem which references the first verse of the haftara we say that day, I wanted to have that haftara in the border. It’s Isaiah chapter 40:2 ff and a bit of 41; it starts in the top right-hand corner. There are a couple of […]


Fun with piyutim – Iti Milvanon, 1/4

This is a liturgical piece, a Magen by Qallir for Shabbat Nachamu. A Magen is the first in a sequence of poems adorning the first three berakhot of the Amidah, up to the Kedusha; the Magen adorns the first berakha, “Magen Avraham.” Translation from the ever-estimable Mar Gavriel: With Me, from Lebanon, you shall not […]


on planning rituals

I write Torah scrolls for congregations, and part of my job is working closely with the congregation to make appropriate programming. Such as, for instance, an opening ritual. A good ritual starts by speaking to who the community is, and inspires them with a vision of who they want to be. My job as the […]


A Torah Named George – from the Torah repair mines

You’re not supposed to write your name on the back of a sefer Torah, just in case you were wondering. What *is* this? And what is it doing scribbled on the back of a sefer torah? By the way, if anyone can decipher these, I’d be delighted to hear about it. I really do wonder […]