Every collection of things occasionally yields a mystery object, and the Gilman Archives is no exception.
Here, Gilman Archivist Steve Ammidown will be sharing some of our mysteries from time to time in hopes of jogging our collective memory and filling in some of the blanks in the Gilman story.
This month’s mystery resides in a plain brown box which until recently was tucked into a dark corner.
Upon opening the box, I was more than a little surprised to find a scroll with Hebrew script on the cover. The scroll itself appears to be a roll of 42” long photocopied sheets of paper, glued together. Lacking knowledge of Hebrew, all I was able to glean were the physical attributes of the scroll. I needed outside help.
I reached out to Joanna Church and Karen Falk from the Jewish Museum of Maryland, who told me that the cover says “keter Torah”, or “The Crown of Torah”. They were able to determine that the scroll begins with the Book of Genesis and ends with several haftorahs. As for its age, it likely dates from the 1960s or 1970s.
Unfortunately, none of this information helps us identify its origin. This is where help from the Gilman family comes in.
Have you ever seen this item before? The Torah scroll may have been used by an interfaith group, or an affinity group for Jewish students. It may have even been part of someone’s bar mitzvah.
If these pictures or the story rings a bell, I’d like to know about it! Hopefully we can solve this mystery together. As always, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.