The report features the extraordinary story of the Sefer Torah in Biella, recently restored by the Jewish Cultural Heritage Foundation in Italy, with the generous contribution of the De Levy Foundation, BPN Foundation, CRT Foundation, Piedmont Jewish Onlus, CR Biella Foundation and private sponsors, and owned by the Jewish Community of Vercelli.
Through a Carbon 14 test it was possible to date the scroll to 1250, thus classifying it as the world’s oldest of European origin owned by a Jewish community and still fit for reading. The restoration of this precious sefer, which is housed in the synagogue of Biella (section of the Vercelli community), was carried out in the context of the Foundation’s activity to promote the recovery, conservation, restoration and valorisation of the Jewish Italian historical artistic heritage. “It is not unusual to come across very ancient Sefer Torah”, Spagnoletto emphasised, as he presented the results of the carbon analysis to the Fbcei Board last year, “but in this case the scroll is still completely intact, without a single parchment having been replaced from 1250 to today”. Truly memorable was the Hacnasat Sefer ceremony featuring the arrival of a new Sefer, which took place in March last year. As the president of the Foundation, Dario Disegni, declared during the event, this is “an absolutely extraordinary shabbat, which will remain part of the history of the community of Biella, certainly, but also of the history of Italian Judaism”.
(August 4th, 2017)