Kehilat Hadar purchased a second sefer Torah in the summer of 2007 from the community at the Avenue Z Jewish Center in Brooklyn.
In the fall of 2008, a team of artists from the Kehilat Hadar community (Daniel Braunfeld, Heather Stoltz, Michal Richardson, and Michal Shinnar) designed and created a cover for this Torah that reflects the values and vision of our community. The following is the artists' statement.
In designing a new cover, we asked ourselves: How can we, the Kehilat Hadar community, represent the vibrancy, spirituality, and philosophical ideals of our community within the confines of the fabric that will cover our new sefer Torah? The Torah cover design team has designed an image that attempts to mirror the community Kehilat Hadar is and continuously strives to become.
The central image on the Torah cover is two intertwining trees, each adorned with both budding and ripe fruit. The linked branches serve as a poignant reminder that our Judaism is a communal experience, filled with connections to others. As a community grows, it is essential to honor and nourish its many facets. The two trees on the Torah cover reflect the the wooden pillars, known in Hebrew as "atzei hayim," or "trees of life," that hold the Torah scroll together. Just as the atzei hayim support the Torah scroll and the intertwining trees on the Torah cover support one another, so Kehilat Hadar participants provide support for each other.
The two trees bear pomegranates and etrogim. Rashi explains that the etrog is the only fruit which remains on the tree from one season to the next. Therefore, an etrog tree has well-ripened fruit from years past, co-existing with newly budding fruit from the current year. We look at this as a metaphor for an ideal community. We all bring to the community our ripened fruit, the experiences and ideas we have developed in the past, our patterns and rhythms which define us. The challenge is to be open to new ideas and experiences without rejecting the ripened fruit of our past. A pomegranate, according to midrashic literature, has 613 seeds corresponding to the 613 mitzvot; it is a fruit eaten on Rosh Hashanah to infuse our new beginnings with a commitment to mitzvot.