The Solano Torah


Initiated by the Harris Family in memory of Jack and Judy Harris


The Torah scroll is traditionally adorned with beautiful and meaningful accompaniments.

  • Gartel (“sash”) is used to tie the Torah scroll so it remains closed and secured under its velvet covering. When a Torah scroll is found to be non-kosher (e.g., a letter has faded) and awaits correction, its gartel is tied around its velvet covering, on the outside, as an ostensible reminder that it is out of commission.
  • Mantel (“cloak”) protects this most valuable treasure and is always placed on the Torah before restoring it to its honorable place in the Ark and drawing the curtain. The mantel is typically made of velvet and embroidered with golden thread, silk, and ornamental beads.
  • Keter (“crown”): Often made of silver or even gold, and ornately designed, either a single crown covers both of the Torah’s handles, or each handle is crowned individually.
  • Choshen (“breastplate”): Modeled loosely on the “breastplate” worn by the High Priest in the Holy Temple, this hangs from the Torah’s handles, over the front of the covered scroll.
  • Yad (“hand”): A stylus that has a miniature hand with an extended pointing finger at its end, this is the only Torah ornament that has an actual function, as many Torah readers use the yad to point to the words of the Torah as they read. The yad typically has a chain that allows it to hang from one or both of the Torah handles.”