We’re grade five Hadas and we are writing to share about our field trip to the Textile Museum of Canada. We visited the Torah Stitch by Stitch exhibit. People from around the world cross-stitched the words of the entire Torah on woven sheets and made amazing and interesting cross-stitch designs. The person who started it, Temma Gentles, wanted to write a Torah, but instead of writing it she decided to stitch it. So she told her friends, and her friends told their friends, and so on. And eventually, over 1,500 people from 28 countries, including: Vietnam, China, Australia, Japan, Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, and Israel cross-stitched the Torah and included detailed pictures, titles, and borders, and they’re still stitching it after six years.
There were also panels in Arabic and Greek. There was an English translation at the end of each panel to help people who don’t read Hebrew, Greek, or Arabic to understand what’s going on. When they were doing their illustrations they were only allowed to choose between seven colours so that the colour scheme wouldn’t be super-outrageous. They were allowed to use red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and grey, in addition to black for the text. All of the illustrations were really beautiful. There were so many different animals stitched in. Some people from different countries included their national animal – there was even a koala!
We even got to meet a person who helped stitch the Torah and heard a little story about her. One of the stories that the woman told was about a person she met in Japan who stitched a panel and she traveled to Toronto from Japan to see her artwork! Even though her piece wasn’t on display, she was still happy to see the project.
We felt fascinated, amazed, shocked, surprised, calm, interested, and we saw the Torah differently than we ever had before. We thought the Torah was a big book with Hebrew words, but when we came to the museum, we could see that other people were drawn to the Torah and they had to do their own work to create the Torah. We see the Torah differently now. We see the Torah as a book that has lots of deep stories and meaningful words that can be shared and illustrated. You can have different opinions on it because you can see it in a different way as a whole artistic creation; instead of seeing it on paper, you can see and imagine it in a different way. The Torah can be anything that you imagine it to be.
We loved seeing this exhibit and highly recommend that other people see it, too!
Grade 5 Hadas