Sunday, September 23, 2012

Torah Cover Project

The Torah Cover Project
 Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish New Year and commemorates the anniversary of the creation of the world.  Yom Kippur begins Tuesday night. These are the 2 holiest days of the Jewish calendar. During this time the covers for the torahs are changed.  These covers or mantles are traditionally plain (ish)- white/ivory/cream colored. As with many Jewish traditions, there are many different explanations for this.
My project for the summer was to make 2 covers for my synagogue,
Temple Sholom in Broomall, PA. 
This is what they look like.

They are relatively identical except for the front panels. 
One depicts a shofar and the other the "Book of Life".  The shofar is a ram's horn that is blown and sounds like a trumpet, several times during the High Holidays.  On Rosh Hashanah, God is said to inscribe the fate of every person for the upcoming year in the Book of Life.

Silk dupioni was used to make the covers. 
 Each top section was quilted with pomegranates. 

Then I quilted the background and appliqued the motifs for each cover.
The covers were then constructed like a quilt with a final dimension of 47" Wx 27"H.
They are then attached to the top of the cover or shoulder like a wrap around skirt
 with the flap in the back..
In the past the cover was attached to the shoulder 
encasing the wood inbetween layers of fabric and attaching the "quilt".
This time I tried  a very unique approach.   I used tops that were custom made of cherry for me by a very skilled local woodworker.
Then I used Velcro (c)to attach the cover to the wooden top.
These covers are only used for about 3 weeks and then stored the rest of the year.  The Velcro method of attachment makes storage and cleaning so much easier.
I made fabric slipcovers to store the wooden tops
and provided Temple Sholom with an acid free archival box for storage.

As we say in Hebrew, L'Shana Tova -
May you have a sweet and happy New Year.


  1. lovely covers and a great design! L'Shana Tova to you.

  2. These are beautiful, Cheryl. Wonderful stitching! I appreciate that I was able to enlarge the photos to see so much! Good ol' reliable silk dupioni! Good idea about the separate piece of lovely wood, but you're not the one who's going to have to put it together every year. :):) Shana Tova.

  3. Wonderful! And you make it look easy. My cousin's been talking to me about making covers for her temple, and I'm a bit nervous - your velcro method looks very unintimidating! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ohh these are so lovely! What a blessing and legacy! And yeah I love dupioni too!

  5. Beautiful covers, and i like the idea of the separate top! L'Shanah Tovah.

  6. Your temple is fortunate to have your lovely work. L'shana tova, a sweet year for you.

  7. Brilliant! I so admire how you thought of everything. May you be inscribed in the book of Who's Who in Judaic quilt art!

  8. L'Shana Tova! The covers are beautiful.

  9. L'Shana Tova to you and your family. These are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing them.

  10. The Torah covers turned out beautiful! Your quilting is incredible too! I love the monochromatic fabrics, and how you incorporated the symbolism in your design. The wood top is beautiful as well. I think the velcro idea was a great one. Thanks for letting us see it. Happy New Year!

  11. Cheryl, they are beautiful pieces of textile art! I'm very grateeful that you took the time to explain all the details.


  12. Cheryl,
    They are beautiful. It sounds like these are only ever used for these three weeks. Are others also restricted to specific times of the year or can they be used any time? Happy New Year.


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