The Penn Torah photos copyright 2012 by Erwin Huebner
Not every young artist dreams of becoming a Torah scribe, but the late Irma Penn did. After 40 years, Irma fulfilled her lifelong ambition to become a Soferet and created the first Torah scribed by a Canadian woman. It was dedicated at a special ceremony which was held at Temple Shalom in Winnipeg on Shavuot, 5772, (May 27th, 2012.)
Irma was a valued member of Temple Shalom. Irma Penn, studied to be a soferet STaM, learning the practices of writing script for sacred texts in the Mea Shearim district of Jerusalem in Israel. She wrote several Megillot Esther, (the story of Purim,) as well as the Holocaust Scroll in both Hebrew and English which was read for the first time at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue. She also wrote the strips for a set of tefillen.
Irma was selected to participate with five other women, scribes from around the world, in writing the first Torah scroll ever created by women, for a congregation in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. She was an artist, a former archivist with the Jewish Heritage Centre in Winnipeg, a poet, calligrapher, teacher and genealogist.
The Winnipeg Jewish community had the unique opportunity of participating in the completion of a Torah, by the mitzvah of helping Irma to write the letters on the final page of the scrolls which were then woven together. It is said that to help write one letter is as if you had written the whole Torah. You can still be part of this amazing project.
You can make donations celebrating members of your family, a simcha, the memory of loved ones, an anniversary, b'mitzvah or other life cycle event. You can make donations on your own or with a group. Look for more information on our website: http://www.templeshalomwinnipeg.ca