Religion: Saved from Vienna

Holiest object in a synagogue is its Torah (scroll of the Jewish Law). The Torah, consisting of the first five books of the Old Testament, is God's covenant with Moses and his people. The countless minute provisions of the Law, and the later commentaries which Jews say "put fences" around it, gave Jewry a complete guide to religious, social, physical behavior. Thus the Torah, in its ark or shrine, is the focal point in the most solemn synagogue services.

A Torah is made of parchment (calf or goat), hand-written by a scribe who must perform his task with the greatest purity of...

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