Bread and Torah

Bread and Torah is inspired by the famous passage in the Mishna, Pirke Avot 3:17: Without bread [lit. “flour”], there is no Torah; without Torah there is no bread. Signifying the importance of both spiritual and physical sustenance in our tradition, Bread and Torah Programs are creative, hands-on learning experiences that combine traditional Jewish scribal arts and bread making with spiritual teachings and practices.

Rabbi Linda Motzkin is an artist, parchment maker, and soferet (Hebrew scribe) and creator of the Community Torah Project: a long-term educational endeavor to produce a Torah scroll with the assistance of hundreds of volunteers, from transforming deerskins into parchment to proofreading completed panels to sewing finished panels together.

Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein is a baker, baking teacher, and the founder of Slice of Heaven Breads, a nonprofit, all-volunteer charitable bakery based at Temple Sinai in Saratoga Springs. Slice of Heaven produces a variety of baked goods, supporting hunger relief and other charitable causes, providing a therapeutic work environment, and teaching the craft of bread-making from a Jewish spiritual perspective.

Join Rabbis Linda Motzkin and Jonathan Rubenstein for an afternoon of Torah-making and bagel-baking. Rabbi Linda will lead us in learning about the methods and materials involved in making a Torah scroll. We will stretch a deer hide on a frame as part of the process of making a panel of parchment for the Torah scroll she is writing, and proofread finished panels of the Torah. With Rabbi Jonathan we will mix the dough for bagels, boil them and bake them, share some and take some home. We will also perform the mitzvah of hafrashat challah and learn what it teaches about our relationship with the earth and the gifts of nature that sustain us.