Stam Center Tzfat

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Safed Stam Center
Stam Center Safed
אוצר הסת״ם צפת
Other Names:
Safrus Center of Tzfas, Otzar HaStam
Activity center and museum portraying the work of Jewish Scribes located in Safed, Israel.

According to “halacha” -- Jewish law -- ritual parchments that are used for Torah scrolls, “tefillin” -- phylacteries -- and “mezuzzahs” must conform to specific and exacting criteria. A “Sofer Stam” is a trained scribe who has learned these intricate laws, often over the course of many years. Tzfat’s Stam Center provides visitors with an opportunity to learn, view and ultimately try to create a “kosher” scroll using the center’s learning tools and the expertise of trained guides.

[edit] Laws

Hundreds of “halachot” -- Jewish laws -- govern the details of “Sofrut” -- the craft of ritually writing Jewish parchments and scrolls. These laws dictate which materials must be used, the way that the scribe shapes each letter, the type of quill and ink to be used and in the case of Torah scrolls the scribe will ritually immerse in a “mikve” -- a ritual bath -- before beginning the day’s writing.

[edit] Sources

The laws that direct Jews to place meuzzahs on their doorposts derive from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Deuteronomy 11:13. The laws relating to tefillin come from Deuteronomy 6:8, Exodus 13:1-10, Exodus 13:11-16 and Deuteronomy 11:13-21. God commands Jews to participate in writing a Torah scroll in Deuteronomy 31:19. Throughout the millennium sages, rabbis commentators and scholars have expanded on these verses in setting down detailed instructions that provide directions of how to carry out these Torah laws. The Stam Center offers visitors the opportunity to learn, through interactive experiences, how scribes follow these laws in producing scrolls and parchments for ritual objects.

[edit] Center Activities

The Stam Center’s activities are appropriate for children and adults of all ages. Trained guides offer a full experience for tourists, whether they come as a group or individually. The center’s goal is to inform visitors about the ancient art, traditions and customs of ritual scribes. A multi-sensory audio-visual presentation presents a well-rounded overview about the kabbalistic properties of Hebrew letters as well as the laws and customs related to the production of “sofrut” -- written ritual objects.

The center staff facilitates a game which adds additional information about sofrut while solidifying the information already learned regarding the laws and craft of a sofer stam.

Finally, participants have an opportunity to create their own parchment using a 3-D practice quill, parchment and ink.

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